armchairquarterblog

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT By Ross MacCallum

In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on January 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

The Jets’ “trashy mouths” won a critical playoff game on the road at New England.  How could the Patriots allow this to happen?

Other than some “foot fetish” innuendo from Wes Welker, the Pats kept their mouths shut and tried to let their game do all the talking against the Jets.  But, Rex Ryan and company definitely got under Bill Belichick’s skin and then Belichick’s EGO did what Belichick wouldn’t let himself or his players do–it started to do the “trash talking.”

You see, Belichick has this invincibility-sorta-thing going for him; and sometimes against him.  We saw it in 2009, when Belichick went for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 against Peyton Manning and the Colts.  PEYTON MANNING AND THE COLTS!  The lead was 6 with 2:08 to play.  4th and 2 Pats became 1st and 10 Indianapolis.  And, the 6-point lead disappeared with 13 seconds to play.   Belichick was confident he would get the 2 yards!  Overconfident, actually.  In part, because the same stunt had paid off in a win earlier in ’09.

Flash forward to 2011 and Sunday’s date with the trash-talking Jets.  Trailing by 10 late in the fourth, Belichick eschews the Shayne Graham field goal attempt and a much-needed 3 points after a time-consuming, almost lackadaisical, non-Patriots-like drive.  Sure the field goal was 51 yards (maybe even 52).  Certainly, not a gimmee.  But, Belichick’s EGO called for some Brady magic on 4th and 13.  The EGO  was sending a message to the brash-talking Jets.  This is how New England wins at home in Foxboro. But, this is how the game’s play-by-play reads:  Brady to Branch-INCOMPLETE.

The decision to go for it clearly indicated that Belichick was confident he could get two more possessions in just over 5 minutes.   Afterall, he got the earlier, now critical, 2-point conversion when the book said “go for one”.   His Pats defense could and would stop the Jets.  And for a moment, it seemed like Belichick would be right.  A three-and-out by New York set the table for a Pats field goal.  But, an unlucky bounce on the “had-to-have-it” onside kick, and a little magic from the Jets’ Cromartie and Greene left the Pats down 14, and effectively out.  In the end, the Belichick “trash-talking” EGO came up 7 points short simply because it couldn’t let the Jets do ALL THE TALKING.

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