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Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

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  • Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

    Bill Belichick's blunder shows he doesn't trust defense

    Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell

    From Pawtuckett to Worcester, from Hyannis Port to Falmouth and all points in between where he is looked upon as an exalted football patron saint, the good folks of New England do not know what to make of Bill Belichick's Sunday Night Gaffe. How in the world did Coach Hoodie he of the numerous Super Bowl rings, cerebral coaching reputation and the reigning title holder of Greatest Living Coach the NFL Ever Did See suddenly lose his mind and allow his wonderfully wonderful Geniusness to go all haywire on him?

    Of course, those of us in St. Louis and New York and so many other places where Belichick is looked upon as a shadowy football dark lord, are practically giddy. We're not really sure how in the world bleepin' Coach Belicheat he of the clandestine scouting operations, film study habits of an NSA operative and reigning title holder of Most Shameless Cheater-Covert Ops Manipulator the NFL Ever Did See suddenly lost his mind, but we are here to revel in the momentous occasion.

    People are still talking about how one of the greatest coaches in NFL history lost his mind (or his defensive nerve?) on Sunday night prime-time television in a stunning 35-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. With the Patriots leading 34-28 and 2:08 remaining, Belichick inexplicably decided to go for a first down rather than punt when he faced fourth and 2 from his own 28-yard line!!!!

    At the moment it even appeared that he was thinking about doing this, most of the folks inside Indy's Lucas Oil Stadium and nearly everyone watching the game on NBC figured The Hooded One was going to have Tom Brady line up under center and see if he could draw the Colts defense offsides.

    No one expected that he was actually going to go for it.

    And why did no one expect it?

    Well, because it was a horrible decision.

    Of course it failed.

    Brady threw a 3-yard pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who bobbled the ball and was pushed backward, losing 2 yards before he regained possession of the football.

    That gave the ball to Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game, only 29 yards away from the end zone, and it didn't take long for him to throw the game-winning touchdown. And now everyone is wondering what the heck Belichick was thinking. Why didn't he tell his punter to get out there and kick the ball as far as he could? Why not trust that your defense could make life difficult for Manning, and at the very least force him to drive 65 or 70 yards with roughly 2 minutes left, to get six points the hard way?

    On Monday, Belichick revisited the play before reporters in New England and said he would do it the same way if he had a chance. He also said that he hoped most of his players understood that any decision he made was with the best interest of the team at heart.

    The trouble with the move is that through his own hubris, Belichick exposed something rather shocking about himself. He coached out of fear. That's what he was telling his team when he decided that the best possible option to win the game was to keep his defense off the field because he didn't think his young defenders could stop Manning from marching 70 yards to score the game-winning touchdown.

    He told his defense in no uncertain terms that it couldn't do the job. But don't listen to me. All you have to do is listen to the words of his former players to understand how his coaching decision was perceived inside the locker room.

    Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi told ESPN on Monday that if he was still a member of the New England defense, "I'd be surprised and bothered, actually. Surprised that a chance like that (to help win a game) was taken and bothered as a former defensive player that the defense wasn't put out there to win the game. ... You have to look at it how the defensive players look at it. Bill Belichick said that we have a better chance of going for it on fourth down rather than you trying to stop Peyton Manning from going 70 yards."


    And he's right. The biggest job Belichick has to cope with now is convincing his inexperienced defense that he believes in them the same way he used to believe in those Super Bowl defenses led by Bruschi and former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison. If you think Bruschi was upset about the play, you probably didn't see Harrison after the game on NBC, where he now makes his living as an outspoken studio analyst for Football Night in America. After the game, Harrison was asked by Bob Costas what he thought about the move.

    "It was a really bad coaching decision by Coach Belichick," said Harrison. "I have all the respect in the world for him, but he has to punt the ball. The message that he's sending into that locker room is I have no confidence in my young guys on my defense. ... As great as Peyton Manning is, you have to force him ... to drive 65-70 yards to beat you."

    No matter what he says now in hindsight, the best coach in football made a gigantic mistake, and its impact may have cost the Patriots a lot more than an important football game.

  • #2
    Re: Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

    Here, my enlightened opinion...

    "I've been saving the Universe for over a thousand years. I figure it owes me just this once."


    • #3
      Re: Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

      I thought it was really funny when they failed, but im sure all rams, eagles, and panthers fans think it is hilarious.

      Just my opinion but i would trust my tom brady and randy moss offense to gain two yards in any type of situation, I don't care if it is the fourth play of the game i would trust those guys to get me two yards.


      • #4
        Re: Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

        I don't think is a offense or defense trust thing, I think there was more into it. My gut tells me that he thought that because HE is belichick, and HE has tom brady and HE has randy moss and THEY are the patriots he was going to get a 1st down, no matter what, either by catching the ball, penalty or whatever. If he had the extra time out, I have no doubt in my mind that he would challenge the spot and win....


        • #5
          Re: Burwell: Bill Belichick's Blunder Shows He Doesn't Trust Defense

          Yeah, unsure how anyone thinks this was a terrible decision. That defense was getting gashed by Manning and Wayne. You have more offensive star power than just about anyone else in the NFL, of course you go for it and put the game away. I'd be appauled if they punted it away and let Manning drive it down the field for the third consecutive TD drive.


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