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Belichick second-guessing himself for fourth-and-3 call

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Late in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game, with the Patriots facing fourth-and-3 at the 29-yard line, Bill Belichick decided to go for it. Tom Brady was sacked on the play, and Belichick has been kicking himself for it since.

Belichick said on WEEI that in hindsight, he thinks a 47-yard field goal to cut the deficit from 20-3 to 20-6 would have been the better call.

Those three points would have been good to have at the end of the game if we would have made the kick, which we would have had a good chance to,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “I felt like, at the time, we were down by 17 points, only had three points, and hadn’t got down there very much. I don’t think you’re going to beat Denver kicking field goals, but . . . if we would have had a field goal and then the two touchdowns we ended up getting later on, those would have been important points for us. I don’t know that was the right decision. It wasn’t, obviously, when we lost yardage on fourth down and gave the ball back without any points.”

Obviously, it didn’t work, so Belichick wishes the Patriots had called a different play on that fourth down. But I’m not so sure that going for it was the wrong call: As Belichick said, you’re not going to beat Denver kicking field goals. By that point in the game the Patriots were way behind and probably weren’t going to win either way, but that fourth-and-3 was not a bad call. Just a call that didn’t work.

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43 Responses to “Belichick second-guessing himself for fourth-and-3 call”
  1. marcuswelby70 says: Jan 23, 2014 7:50 AM

    Belichick always takes the blame when things go bad, and deflects the praise to others when things go good.

  2. intrafinesse says: Jan 23, 2014 8:11 AM

    Belichick made the correct percentage call. It just didn’t work out, but it was the right call.

  3. 2001asterisk2003asterisk2004asterisk says: Jan 23, 2014 8:14 AM

    not the greatest coach of all time.

  4. 6ball says: Jan 23, 2014 8:15 AM

    .

    The Patriots put themselves in a position where they had bad options and worse options. It appeared both roads led to defeat.

    .

  5. Patskrieg dot com says: Jan 23, 2014 8:16 AM

    I wasn’t thrilled with the call but it wasn’t a bad one per say. Mankins, who had a great season, lost track of the fattest guy on the field. The defense just plain gave up too. They couldn’t buy a stop and that was where the game was really lost.

  6. bushwoodcc says: Jan 23, 2014 8:20 AM

    It was the right decision to go for it. Field goals weren’t going to do it and if you had taken the FG I’m pretty sure Denver wouldn’t have gone to the prevent defense as early as they did.

  7. bostoncommon says: Jan 23, 2014 8:22 AM

    He should second-guess himself for a lot more than that, but I suppose it’s a start.

  8. jersey73 says: Jan 23, 2014 8:24 AM

    Belichick’s fear of Peyton Manning led him to take risks he wouldn’t usually take. Remember 4th & 2 back in 2009.

  9. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 23, 2014 8:35 AM

    Not that big a deal Bill. The Donks just have the better roster this year and you got the team to massively overachieve as it was.

    Most teams if they had gone through what Hernandez did alone would have collapsed for at least part of the season. Belichick and the Pats had a great year and I don’t think many Pats fans are disappointed with the season.

  10. atleastimnotaraidersfan says: Jan 23, 2014 8:45 AM

    It didn’t matter billy boy. Your team scored three points in three quarters. You were not winning that game.

  11. ez4u2sa says: Jan 23, 2014 8:47 AM

    It isn’t often that one of Belichick’s decisions ends up being the wrong one. When it does happen. he is usually the first to admit it.

  12. dynaco says: Jan 23, 2014 8:48 AM

    Bill never makes the wrong call. The one time he thought he made a wrong call…it turned out he was mistaken. That’s what makes him the genious he is.

  13. youngs79 says: Jan 23, 2014 8:52 AM

    He should be second guessing himself calling a legal play the worst he’s ever seen.

  14. u4iadman says: Jan 23, 2014 9:01 AM

    He has a history of aggressive yet wrong calls.

  15. jcmeyer10 says: Jan 23, 2014 9:05 AM

    See Bill, doesn’t getting it off your chest feel better? And it makes you more likable to boot.

  16. jrebar88 says: Jan 23, 2014 9:06 AM

    They knew they had the game lost after the first quarter, they were already considering going for it on fourth downs at that point.

  17. eviltwin007 says: Jan 23, 2014 9:07 AM

    Did he not learn from his 4 and 2 debacle in Indy a few years back?

  18. chris6523 says: Jan 23, 2014 9:09 AM

    I thought he was going to blame it on “the receiver”.

  19. mgifford15 says: Jan 23, 2014 9:13 AM

    A lot of the Parriots calls that game proved to be a bust, and now that they’re out of the playoffs, Bill Belichick will return to Valhalla to slumber and feed.

  20. belichickdominatedjoemontana says: Jan 23, 2014 9:18 AM

    The Patriots were in the 3rd quarter with 3 points and could barely stop Peyton and the Broncos.

    Sure hindsight says you should have kicked the field goal because you needed it at the end.

    Honestly, at the time I don’t think anyone was questioning Belichick’s call.

    I think we were all surprised that the Patriots still had 3 points before that call was even made.

    Which is even more reason it weights more in BB’s favor to make the call that he did.

    Great season….get healthy and ready for next year.

  21. nflfan4now says: Jan 23, 2014 9:22 AM

    Or he wished he had a qb as smart as Manning to change the play into something that would have worked!!

  22. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 23, 2014 9:39 AM

    It’s nice that he’s evaluating his own decisions, but he’s focusing on the wrong calls. To go for the FG or play for the TD is a debatable strategy akin to calling a run versus a pass as how you go about getting those 3 yards. What he needs to examine are the plays that are unquestionably bad choices, such as a strategy choice that wastes time on the clock unnecessarily when they need to be conserving max time possible or vice versa in the reverse situation. There are lots of times they miss the favorable odds strategy play, and stuff like that is going to be more productive to try and break down and improve upon.

  23. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 23, 2014 9:39 AM

    It’s nice that he’s evaluating his own decisions, but he’s focusing on the wrong calls. To go for the FG or play for the TD is a debatable strategy akin to calling a run versus a pass as how you go about getting those 3 yards. What he needs to examine are the plays that are unquestionably bad choices, such as a strategy choice that wastes time on the clock unnecessarily when they need to be conserving max time possible or vice versa in the reverse situation. There are lots of times they miss the favorable odds strategy play, and stuff like that is going to be more productive to try and break down and improve upon.

  24. the8man says: Jan 23, 2014 9:57 AM

    Broncos just better.

    Go Patriots!

  25. hehateme2 says: Jan 23, 2014 10:03 AM

    Ole’ Pot roast made him pay for his arrogance.

    Hardly the genius the past decade, eh?

  26. weepingjebus says: Jan 23, 2014 10:43 AM

    I think the second guessing should be more focused on immediately abandoning a running game in the 1st quarter that had powered them all the way to the AFCCG.

  27. azarkhan says: Jan 23, 2014 10:48 AM

    Love to see Welker take out Sherman like he did Talib.

  28. crumz19 says: Jan 23, 2014 10:48 AM

    POT ROASSSSSST

  29. themiamidolphins says: Jan 23, 2014 11:03 AM

    Bill Belichick is the best head coach of all time.

  30. brazzz01 says: Jan 23, 2014 11:08 AM

    Stick to defense Bill. That is where you’re great. Forget trying to get cute on the other side of the ball.

  31. puhleezho says: Jan 23, 2014 11:47 AM

    wouldn’t have mattered. denver was killing them in every phase of the game.

  32. 69finfan says: Jan 23, 2014 11:49 AM

    Probably should start with the choice to let Wes Welker go.

  33. nflgiant says: Jan 23, 2014 11:50 AM

    Go

  34. dexterismyhero says: Jan 23, 2014 1:00 PM

    I bet he said it in that old monotone voice also.

  35. blackqbwhiterb says: Jan 23, 2014 2:22 PM

    Omaha

  36. truths4all says: Jan 23, 2014 2:24 PM

    Every team has a bunch of injuries throughout the season and that affects how they perform.

    With that said, what Belichick and his coaches did with the new unwanted players they integrated that were not rejected and unwanted by other teams is amazing and really amazing that they competed up to the conference championship game. There is no other team who lost so many of its vital front line players and starters that was able to continue to compete and even win until the title game.

    Sure, it was an ugly and uneven season. And who out there did not expect the Patriots to fold and get blown out and eliminated early?

    With the new decent players they uncovered and trained plus the return of their “stars” next season, the Patriots could be one of the scariest teams out there. Or, if they guys don’t heal right, they could be just another ugly team churning its roster trying to find gems week in and week out.

  37. jimjets says: Jan 23, 2014 2:26 PM

    you pft heads know i hate this guy, but i respect him admitting this. i first guessed it that day, i would have taken the 3

  38. rickc402 says: Jan 23, 2014 2:32 PM

    I don’t know why Bill is so upset with Welker. The way I saw it, Denver just returned the favor after New England ran a very similar play the series prior in which Edlemann injured Rodgers-Cromartie. Bill is wrong on this one, Denver just pushed back, I thought it was funny and ironic both team lost DB’s to that same type of play.

  39. apkyletexas says: Jan 23, 2014 3:19 PM

    Is that why you lost Bill?

    Funny – my eyeballs told me that it was because the other team was a lot better than yours.

  40. lucimorland says: Jan 23, 2014 3:41 PM

    He must not have had any video of what the Broncos would do.

  41. fourdegrees says: Jan 23, 2014 3:47 PM

    I thought he screwed up. A 2 score game versus a 3 score game is huge. 2 score games can turn rapidly. You score on your next possession, they turn the ball over – happens fairly often.

    People talk about how Belichick gets into Manning’s head, but Manning gets into Belichick’s. This is the 2nd time Peyton has messed with him in recent history; going for it on 4th down on his own 28 being the other.

  42. cranespy says: Jan 24, 2014 1:01 AM

    Second youngest roster in the NFL and a QB who misses far more than he hits…….time for action……unload Brady on O’brien for the Texans #1 pick then parlay that into a boatload of picks down the board. Stockpile players, draft McCarron and turn the keys over to Mallet for a couple of years while McCarron learns…….what have we got to lose? Think about it…..Marino stayed too long in Miami….don’t make that same mistake with Brady….look back at the playoff and even Super Bowl pass attempts the past three years that were blamed on the receiver. No one will agree but it’s time. Tom misses far more often than he connects.

  43. bospat says: Jan 25, 2014 10:36 PM

    Funny both times Peytin has beaten BB and Brady, he had the
    aid if one if our best players – 1st Vinateri then Welker
    and both timed Brady had his worst WR cast cue the Reche
    Caldwell bunch and this year even worse …Seattle ain’t not Sexy Rext led Bears team that’s for sure! min two picks for Peyton!

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