You can disagree all you want, but if, as Bill Belichick claims, he meant to kick-off starting O/T against the New York Jets Sunday there can only be one reason. He lost confidence in Tom Brady’s ability to pull off another miracle comeback, and that’s sad. Brady has made a career out of pulling the team out of the fire, often with limited resources.
Those making the claim that he was playing it smart because the defense was playing well (428 yards) and the offense looked stagnant are missing the point. You probably are right in his reasoning, but how many times does Brady have to carry the team on his back to victory for the Head Coach to trust him to do it again?
Instead, by electing to kick, Brady never had a chance to touch the ball. No one can predict what would have happened if the Pats had elected to receive. They may very well have still lost…but at least you gave it your best shot by putting the ball in the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history.
After the game Belichick stuck by his call and said he wouldn’t have changed his decision. “We just didn’t play good enough defense.”
Always outspoken Rob Gronkowski had this to say “You always want a shot to score,” “It is what it is.”
And finally, the always politically correct Tom Brady said “Whatever coach decides, that’s what the team does,”
Jet’s receiver Brandon Marshall was shocked by the call. “After the game Josh McDaniels came up to me, my old ball coach in Denver, and I asked ‘What were you guys thinking?’“ Marshall said, via CSN New England. “He explained to me the situation a little bit but I didn’t believe him.”
As the Head Coach said “I clearly thought that was our best opportunity, so that’s why we did it. I didn’t like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right decision for our team at that time.”
History Repeats Itself
It reminded many Patriot long timers of a call Belichick made on November 11, 2009. New England was ahead of Indianapolis 34-28 with 4th and 2 at their own 28. With just over 2 minutes remaining common sense said punt, but instead the Head Coach went for it… and failed on a controversial call. The Colts took over and scored an easy TD to win 35-34.
Later Belichick said “I thought it was our best chance to win (sounds familiar). I thought we needed to make that one play and then we could basically run out the clock. We weren’t able to make it.”
A few other factors came into play in that game:
- They were facing Payton Manning in his prime and didn’t want to give him the ball with an opportunity to win
- The New England defense was struggling after the offense built a 17 point lead (In other words he didn’t trust it to hold the lead)
Former Patriots disagreed vehemently with the call – Rodney Harrison called it “the worst coaching decision I’ve ever seen Bill Belichick make.”
Tedy Bruschi said, “The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. … I would look at this decision as a lack of confidence in our ability as a defensive unit to come up with a big play to win the game.”
Sorry fans, but it was a bad call in 2009 and just as bad Sunday!
On To Miami
The good news is, the loss really didn’t cost the Patriots their chance to host all their post-season games up to the Super Bowl. A win Sunday in Miami and the season has been a complete success no matter what happens between the Broncos and Bengals. Achieving 100% of their goals for the regular season is astounding considering the injuries they have overcome.
- The Patriots sat their walking wounded with the exception of Dant’a Hightower. It cost them, but was worth it to give Devon McCourty, Patrick Chung, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman another day of rest.
- The loss of McCourty & Chung was noticeable throughout the game and particularly in O/T when confusion in the secondary resulted in a 48-yard completion to Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa on the second play of overtime
- Not a bad game by Brady, but also not one of his best. 22 for 31, 231 yards, 1 TD & 1 bad interception when he and Gronkowski seemed to be on a different page.
- Steven Jackson made his 1st appearance in a Patriot uniform. As expected he looked a little rusty, carrying the pigskin 7 times for 15 yards
- Brandon LaFell was the forgotten man with just 1 reception for 9 yards
- James White had the only TD by the offense (leading to Belichick’s O/T thought process?)
- A strip sack fumble caused by Jabaal Sheard resulted in 7 by the
defense when Jamie Collins recovered the ball and ran it 14 yards for New England’s 1st TD
- The Patriots were 1 for 10 on 3rd down, leading to their demise (hurry back Edelman & Amendola)
- The defense gave up 428 net yards while the offense could muster just 284
So, now it’s time to move ahead. It will be interesting to see who suits up against the Dolphins. With Sebastian Vollmer going down the offensive line is once again in shambles, so it is anyone’s guess as to who (whom???) plays where.
Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob