Patriots Suffering From Killer Road Trips

The road has not been kind to New England. Whether it's close games or blowouts, every game has the same feel -- a loss. After losing 22-21 to Miami, the Patriots are now 0-5 on US soil on the road.

Until Sunday, you could make a legitimate argument for the Patriots' road woes in 2009 simply being a case of a rare, unlucky draw.

For example, the Saints and Colts both won Sunday, making this the first time in league history there have been two 12-0 teams in the same season. The Patriots played both of them on the road and lost.

Yet after this Sunday's latest road debacle, the Patriots no longer have any excuses. Playing an inconsistent Miami team teetering on the brink of extinction, New England flushed away another winnable game on the road, dropping its record away from Gillette Stadium to 1-5 and leaving the outcome of the AFC East race in doubt.

Miami and the New York Jets -- both 6-6 -- now trail the Patriots by just one game in the division race with four games remaining, which is plenty of time for New England to lose control of its lead. After all, the Patriots still have two road games left to play.

To further illustrate how bad the Patriots have been on the road this year, consider this: Their only "road" win came at Wembley Stadium in London against the Buccaneers. Minus the fact they still had to travel, sleep in hotel rooms and get accustomed to a foreign turf in less than 24 hours, this hardly qualified as a true road game, especially since the majority of the crowd consisted of Patriots fans.

Also, the Patriots have the second-worst road record in the AFC ahead of only the Browns, who are 1-6 away from home.

Assuming the Patriots hold on to win the AFC East, their inability to win on the road could prevent them advancing.

Indianapolis has all but wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Even with a division title, the Patriots are now in danger of missing out on a first-round bye since they trail 9-3 Cincinnati by two games for the No. 2 seed. If the current positioning holds up, that means the Patriots would have to win three games to get to the Super Bowl, with perhaps two of them on the road barring any major upsets in the divisional round.

Given New England's track record on the road this season, it's hard to imagine the team pulling off such a tremendous feat. Only time will tell, but a win two weeks from now at Buffalo would help quell some of those fears before the postseason begins in January.

Second Half Meltdown
In addition to their overall road woes, the Patriots have been ineffective in the second half of road games this season.

For the second game in a row, they were held to seven points in the second half. Against the Jets and Broncos on the road, they were shut out over the final two quarters.

Likewise, they were outscored 21-10 by the Colts at Lucas Oil Field in a loss to Indianapolis.

Gathering No Moss
The Patriots have lost three of their last four games, and some of that can be attributed to Randy Moss' sudden struggles.

Outside of a 58-yard touchdown in the first half of Sunday's loss to Miami, Moss had just one other catch for 8 yards.

Take away his two biggest plays (including one in New Orleans), and Moss has just eight catches for 62 yards in the last three weeks. The big plays certainly count, but they skew the cumulative numbers. The bottom line is Moss has been surprisingly quiet in recent weeks, and so have the Patriots.

Old Reliable
Wes Welker continues to be a bright spot offensively, catching 10 passes for 167 yards Sunday, but he's sharing his teammates' frustration of not being able to finish games -- especially on the road.

"We've always been a team that's been able to overcome situations and fight through things, and we haven't been able to do that," he said. "To have the opportunities we had and not finish is pretty disappointing. We have a long way to go. We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and figure things out. We're coming to play on a weekly basis, and we need to make sure we're doing our jobs the way it needs to be done."

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