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Bill Belichick’s bizarre punt leads to Ravens’ long scoring drive

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Getty Images

Bill Belichick is usually one of the NFL’s more aggressive coaches when it comes to going for it on fourth down. But not today in the AFC Championship Game.

Belichick has already punted three times while in Ravens territory, and the last of those punts came with the Patriots facing fourth-and-8 from the 34-yard line. Belichick apparently thought the windy conditions in New England made it unlikely that Stephen Gostkowski would make a 52-yard field goal, but it’s surprising that he didn’t just go for it instead of punting the ball back to the Ravens.

And punting the ball back to the Ravens turned out to be a mistake: The Ravens marched down the field on a 10-play, 87-yard drive and scored a touchdown on a five-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pitta to take a 14-13 lead.

It’s been a hard-hitting, back-and-forth battle in New England. With the Super Bowl on the line, Belichick may want to take a few more chances with Tom Brady’s arm, and not put so much on Zoltan Mesko’s foot.

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38 Responses to “Bill Belichick’s bizarre punt leads to Ravens’ long scoring drive”
  1. jpb12 says: Jan 20, 2013 8:46 PM

    Dude – it’s windy.
    Haven’t seen ravens fg attempt yet.

    Why give Ravens field position?

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 20, 2013 8:47 PM

    Cold and win is cutting off circulation to Bill’s brain.

  3. dietrich43 says: Jan 20, 2013 8:47 PM

    and if they do not make it, a 66 yard td drive is better?

  4. kelvinmchale says: Jan 20, 2013 8:48 PM

    Uh, the Patriots defense had only given up 7 pts up to that point. So no, not bizarre.

  5. jakec4 says: Jan 20, 2013 8:48 PM

    It’s a heavyweight fight. You throw jabs until it is time to throw haymakers.

  6. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 20, 2013 8:48 PM

    What a shame. I’m a UofM guy and it pains me to see Brady on the Patriots. They could have won more titles if they had a shrewd man in charge of the team, but Belichick is a very irresponsible Head Coach that anchors this franchise from achieving true greatness. What a poor example of leadership.

  7. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Jan 20, 2013 8:51 PM

    The hoodie act is tired and the hockey horn is obnoxious !

  8. FinFan68 says: Jan 20, 2013 8:51 PM

    Bizarre? Nope. Smart. Field position was the smart call there. It just happened to not work out this time.

  9. britishraven says: Jan 20, 2013 8:52 PM

    Gostkowski’s kickoffs are barely making the 15 yard line!

  10. kingdm8 says: Jan 20, 2013 8:54 PM

    Michael, 87 yards > 66 yards.

  11. fakefranknunley says: Jan 20, 2013 8:55 PM

    Harbowl talk for 2 weeks. Deal with it!

  12. spearsnva says: Jan 20, 2013 9:05 PM

    Billacheet IQ <10

  13. wisdomnfl says: Jan 20, 2013 9:08 PM

    How was that not a 15 yard penalty????

  14. skinsfaninnebraska says: Jan 20, 2013 9:09 PM

    thestrategyexpert says: Jan 20, 2013 8:48 PM

    What a shame. I’m a UofM guy and it pains me to see Brady on the Patriots. They could have won more titles if they had a shrewd man in charge of the team, but Belichick is a very irresponsible Head Coach that anchors this franchise from achieving true greatness. What a poor example of leadership.

    ——————————————-

    LOL, wow.

    “Bill Belichick is a terrible head coach,” said nobody who knows anything about NFL football ever.

  15. foosball11 says: Jan 20, 2013 9:12 PM

    Still no post-spygate SB win for the Patsies

  16. wisdomnfl says: Jan 20, 2013 9:13 PM

    Okay let me be the first from Steelernation to congratulate the Ravens. You guys kicked butt in the playoffs and I’ll be pulling for you in he big game. Totally earned my respect.

  17. wwwfugu says: Jan 20, 2013 9:14 PM

    It is now a beat-down.
    I like both teams and coaches, but it is especially cool for Flacco. What a start to a career.

  18. spillertime21 says: Jan 20, 2013 9:17 PM

    Zero super bowl rings in the years the pats didn’t cheat! 28-13 ravens now

  19. mgscott says: Jan 20, 2013 9:19 PM

    Ravens 20 Niners 27

  20. bucs4life1014 says: Jan 20, 2013 9:23 PM

    So Bellicheck is the punter now too?

  21. sabatimus says: Jan 20, 2013 9:27 PM

    A 52-yard FG is not a gimme in any situation, let alone one where the wind is 16-22mph (as stated in the broadcast) into your face.

    What I think is far less acceptable is that they had a running game going with Ridley, and Vereen was hot last week and they hardly used him at all until Ridley literally got knocked out.

  22. jackbauerqb says: Jan 20, 2013 9:28 PM

    “And punting the ball back to the Ravens turned out to be a mistake:”

    Yeah, if they would have turned the ball over on downs, there is no way the Ravens could have drove the length of the field and scored. Bellicheck is soooo stupid.

  23. bartlettruss says: Jan 20, 2013 9:32 PM

    Maybe the NFL told Bill that today’s narrative is perpetuating the incredibly motivational Ray Lewis story. He would certainly understand since the league used the “Patriot” narrative post September 11th…

  24. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 20, 2013 9:33 PM

    skinsfaninnebraska-

    I beg to differ. You haven’t even examined the half dozen major gaffes that Belichick made in games this year on just my spot time observing him. I have logic, game theory, common sense, and the laws of statistics and probability that securely back me up. I am a smart person on solid ground here. Belichick has nothing on me in that regard.

    Also some of the blame belongs to Brady. He had a horrible game of decision making especially with trying to get that play off near the end of the half and he had a guaranteed first down on that last possession if he just runs further towards the outside. Brady does not do a good job of making smart decisions in the clutch. A playmaker he is, but he is poorly coached and not a good thinker in too many critical moments and that is his biggest flaw of his game over his career.

  25. buff80 says: Jan 20, 2013 9:33 PM

    Hoodie and brady are done!

  26. rikker12 says: Jan 20, 2013 9:35 PM

    Brady has been overrated for years, and it shows in the playoffs. He can’t run or throw on the run, and those are very important elements to the QB position. Not to mention his arm strength is WEAK!!…. He’s a system QB, plain and simple…

  27. countduku says: Jan 20, 2013 9:41 PM

    give belichek 1 more year then fire him. the Bears should be looking for a new head coach by then.

  28. patssteelersorgiants says: Jan 20, 2013 9:58 PM

    As a Pats fan I say congrats to the Ravens, the best team won. Pats were flat as they often are in big games and Brady looked like Joe Theisman out there. I’m afraid to say the Pats are done.

  29. vaphinfan says: Jan 20, 2013 10:22 PM

    Lights…camera…act…..wait wheres the cameras. We’re screwed. Billicheats words during the first quarter

  30. proBirdie says: Jan 20, 2013 10:24 PM

    Back on topic. I was shocked he punted also. Conservative play calling sunk Brady and Manning.

  31. kevpft says: Jan 20, 2013 10:26 PM

    Truly the decisive moment. Pats never scored again after that inexcusable bit of cowardice. I wanted to see the Pats win it all this year, but the football gods don’t reward so many fraidy-cat punts in such a crucial game.

    Didn’t they learn anything from “take a knee” Manning and Fox?

  32. brazin99 says: Jan 20, 2013 10:59 PM

    How exactly is it a mistake to punt and put the other team on their 13 yard line to start a drive? Excuse me??? Isn’t that EXACTLY what you want to do? Put your opponent in a situation where they have to drive a long way? Sheesh, what an idiotic thing to write.

  33. cmdrsmooth says: Jan 20, 2013 11:23 PM

    Guess he tried to prove he can win without Tom Brady. Belichick would be Defensive Coordinator some where else in the league, without Tommy and Giselle.

  34. swagger52 says: Jan 21, 2013 1:11 AM

    The Ravens were taking away Brady’s 5 yard passes. If you force him to throw long, the result is a punt. I know that, Bellichek knows that, Ravens Defensive Coordinator that came from NE knows that…somebody just needs to tell CBS the Tom Brady network.

  35. jeremycrowhurst says: Jan 21, 2013 1:36 AM

    It really is amazing that they haven’t won a Superbowl since Spygate. I mean geez, pretty much every team in the league has won one. The Jags, the Browns, the Bengals… They all just went to the Super Bowl tree and plucked their Lombardi trophy from the branches.

    What’s that? That’s not how it works? Oh… my bad.

  36. raideralex says: Jan 21, 2013 2:35 AM

    Giving Brady a chance to convert a 4th and 8 (and be in FG/TD range) is MUCH MUCH MUCH better in game theory (the math involved in winning an NFL game) than punting and gaining a net 20 yards of field position.

    Bill has usually been in tune with the math of the game, so it was surprising to see him willingly decline Brady a chance to score points all for 20 measly yards of field position.

  37. haywoodjablomee says: Jan 21, 2013 7:24 AM

    Where are all the Patriot fans defending there team. They all show up on this site when they win. Must be hiding in their bedrooms at their Mommy and Daddys house crying their little hearts out.

  38. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jan 21, 2013 7:13 PM

    “I thought it was the right call. Always play not to lose is what I say”. Sincerely, John Fox

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