Being from the Boston area, I'm a pretty big Patriots fan. So watching last night's game was miserable. Though, being objective, I have to admit it was a great game to watch.
A few things came to mind while I was trying -- unsuccessfully -- to get some sleep after the game.
Rob Gronkowski's ankle injury had a huge impact. When a big tight end can't make quick lateral cuts, it's almost impossible for him to be an effective receiver. Brady's interception was clear evidence that Gronkowski's ankle had an impact. I don't recall ever seeing a linebacker defending a receiver that far down the field. The ankle injury allowed a slower defender to cover him and freed up the corners and safeties to cover the Patriots’ receivers.
On the last drive of the second quarter, Brady ate up the Giant defense with his typical quick, short passes. He was 10 for 10 on the 98 yard drive, virtually neutralizing the Giants' pass rush. The Giants made a big adjustment at the beginning of the second half by rushing only 3 linemen; putting one man on Gronkowski and a tight zone on the rest of the receivers. Brady had plenty of time to throw but nobody was open. The Patriots couldn't adjust to the new scheme quickly enough and as a result could only put up 7 points in the second half.
Making quick adjustments is critical in business and sports. The game you’re playing in today is going to be much, much different in six months or a year.
Check out James Surowiecki’s New Yorker column this week on RIM and the fall of the BlackBerry; a company that, much like the Patriots on Sunday, couldn’t adjust until it was too late.