End of the Era?
It's hard to say whether the Patriots will come back as a top team next year or not. They played competitively with the Broncos; indeed, you could argue that if Brady doesn't throw the interception to Bailey that New England would have been in the game right up to the end. I did think that the fumble at the end of that play should have been ruled a touchback; Patriots ball at the 20. Heck of an effort by Kevin Faulk (Correction: Ben Watson, pointed out by Crazy Politico
in the comments) to get back and cause that miscue.
The Patriots had five turnovers to Denver's one; it's very hard to overcome a net -4 in takeaways/giveaways. The game reminded me of the 1994 NFC Championship Game, in which Dallas had a bunch of early turnovers in their effort to three-peat.