Common threads in playoff defeats

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Jeremy Lundblad of ESPN Stats & Information writes on three common threads from the Patriots' last three playoff losses.

He focuses on these areas:

1. Pressure on Tom Brady -- "Dating back to 2003, Brady has gone 120 consecutive regular season starts without getting sacked five times. Yet, it's happened twice in his last three playoff games," he writes.

2. Losing offensive rhythm -- "In all three games, a significant part of the offense remained dormant. A failure to adjust prevented points from going on the board," he writes.

3. Plagued by slow starts -- "The Patriots' first-quarter performances have set them back for the rest of the game. Brady in particular has been terrible, and the offense has followed suit," he writes.