With too many injuries and too few receivers, the New England Patriots' season is over two wins shy of a Super Bowl championship.

They may have overachieved with rookies and unproven free agents playing key roles. But they were overmatched when they ran into the NFL's best offense.

The Patriots (13-5) saved their worst game of the season for the most important one when they lost to the Denver Broncos 26-16 on Sunday.

So on Monday, running back LeGarrette Blount stuffed his belongings into a large trash bag, defensive tackle Joe Vellano left the locker room with an autographed football in his helmet and other Patriots talked of how much they'd overcome just to get to the AFC title game for the third straight season.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org