Was Patriots' 2021 season a failure? Tom Curran and Michael Holley discuss

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Was the 2021 season a failure for the Pats? Curran and Holley discuss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

What was once considered a promising New England Patriots season came to an unceremonious end Saturday night as the Buffalo Bills asserted their dominance.

The Patriots were blown out in the wild-card round, 47-17. It was the most points ever scored against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team. Bills quarterback Josh Allen enjoyed a historic performance against New England's defense, completing 21 of 25 passes for 308 yards and five touchdown passes while rushing for 66 yards.

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It was a fitting end to a 2021 campaign that was marred by head-scratching struggles after their Week 14 bye. The Patriots lost four of their last five regular-season games -- their only win coming against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars -- and capped it off by getting embarrassed by the new AFC East champions.

I think the season winds up in a failure because we find ourselves in a familiar place with no answers, where I thought they had some answers a month and a half ago.

Michael Holley on the 2021 Patriots season

Our Michael Holley believes those late-season struggles proved this Patriots team had no business being in the playoffs in the first place.

"Look, the Patriots did a lot of good work in October and November to really qualify, to stack up some playoff victories. But they didn't belong in the playoffs. They didn't belong here," Holley said on Patriots Postgame Live. "We saw what they did in the winter. This was just a continuation of what they had done in December in January. There was a clear difference between the playoff team and the playoff imposter.

"The Patriots had no answers for them, and it's really disappointing. We talked about it before the game, we said, 'If they lose this game, will it be a disappointment?' I thought 'failure' was too harsh, but now I don't. Because now I have questions about the Patriots that I didn't have six weeks ago. So not only was it disappointing, I think the season winds up in a failure because we find ourselves in a familiar place with no answers, where I thought they had some answers a month and a half ago."

Tom E. Curran isn't ready to call the entire season a failure, but there's no excuse for the performance they put on the Highmark Stadium field Saturday night.

"I think tonight was a failure. I think it's gonna color the entire offseason," Curran said. "I don't think that they are playoff imposters. I think that they play the schedule laid out for them, they put together some really impressive wins against what you would call the mediocre, the mid-level teams. But every time they got in with a good one, they got their posteriors handed to them, generally speaking.

"Tonight, it didn't surprise me that they got rolled over by the Bills. I thought the Bills would win convincingly. But to not force a punt, to have so many of your key players again -- on defense especially -- come up little in a game of this import, for Bill Belichick to have no answers -- Steve Belichick, Jerod Mayo, whoever's running whatever is being run over there. Yeah, you could tip your cap to Josh Allen and say he's one of the best three players in the league and dynamic and unique in what he can do both with his legs and his arm, but there's no excuse for having 82 points on 14 possessions in two games with no punts."

Hear everything Curran and Holley had to say about the end to the Patriots' season in the video above.