I don't know. I can only guess from what I saw. I believe Atlanta lost their mental edge. They went from fighting hard to compete and defeat New England to let's hold on and run out the clock. They didn't possess a "killer's instinct"; I hate the phrase, but it accurately describes what happened. They should have kept attacking, but they turned it down a notch. Before you know, New England amazingly came back. Whose fault is it: the coaches, the players, or who? I don't know. My guess, each person on the team, especially the offensive side. But this is what you need to know, once you lose one's mental edge, it's hard to get back. You can see that from Atlanta's defeat.
By the way, you can see teams losing their mental edge in games all the time. It is nothing unusual for a basketball team to lose a game after having a 15-20 point lead. You choose the sport and I am sure you can find many examples of Atlanta's flop.
But let's think more personally. We might do the same thing at work. We may have begun our job with enthusiasm and zeal, but over time with some "lost battles" or disappointments, maybe we have given up and just go through the motions. How many times have I met people who work only for the money? Or, maybe in our relationship with Go, we started with fire and passion, but now our faith is "sleep walking." Maybe we just lip sync our prayers and don't spend any real time with God. Losing our mental edge affects our faith, our marriages, our families, our jobs, our churches, our communities, our nations and so forth.
Remember what an NBA coach said many years ago as his team tried to come back from a deficit, "the opera ain't over until the fat lady sings." Atlanta thought the fat lady had sung. In the words of Paul, let's "run for the prize.' Don't stop running until the race is over. Let's not flop like Atlanta. Let's push on for victory.