FOXBOROUGH, Mass. –- With the 2009 Patriots season over, a look back at 10 defining moments that led up to Sunday's stunning home playoff loss:
Fourth-and-2 in Indianapolis: Bill Belichick’s unsuccessful decision to go for it late in the fourth quarter, from the New England 28, generated passionate debate.
Wes Welker’s knee injury in Houston: Having already locked up a playoff berth, the Patriots suited up most of their top players for the regular-season finale and the results were devastating as Welker tore ligaments in his left knee.
Tom Brady’s return to action: After a 2008 season on the sidelines, Brady returned; in the season opener, he helped engineer one of his trademark fourth-quarter comebacks in a 25-24 win over the Bills on "Monday Night Football."
Randy Moss' effort called into question: A firestorm ensued when two Carolina Panthers defenders said that Moss shut it down during the Patriots’ 20-10 win on Dec. 13. Owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady threw their support behind Moss.
Moss interaction with a fan: Everything seemed right in Patriot Nation when Moss was interacting with a 12-year-old fan who wore a Moss mask and was filmed on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard during the team’s AFC East-clinching victory over the Jaguars Dec. 27.
Records set in the snow against the Titans: The Patriots set team records for points in a game (59) and total net yards (619) in a snowy 59-0 victory over the Titans at Gillette.
Going far to get their first road win: An out-of-the-ordinary road trip to London yielded the team’s first road win of the season, 35-7 over the Buccaneers.
Devastating back-to-back losses in New Orleans and Miami: At a time when the Patriots usually made a postseason push, they were outclassed against the Saints on Nov. 30, then couldn’t hold a late lead against the Dolphins on Dec. 6.
Facing former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: After opening the season 3-1, the Patriots traveled to Denver and lost an 20-17 overtime decision to the McDaniels-coached Broncos. McDaniels, who wore a gray hoodie in honor of Belichick, pumped his fists repeatedly as he left the field.