Belichick: Late fourth-down strategy was a “tough decision”

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The Buccaneers had a chance to win last night’s game against the Patriots, thanks in part to a decision from Bill Belichick to take the ball out of the hands of Tom Brady on fourth and three from the Tampa Bay 30 and place it on the foot of Stephen Gostkowski and, ultimately, on the backs of a the worst defense (statistically) in football.

Let me stop right there and emphasize this point, since if you were watching the game last night it was never mentioned: Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived and entrusted the outcome to a consistently leaky defense.

And that defense nearly leaked right down its leg by allowing Tampa Bay to drive the ball in position for one last shot at a victory.

The CBS broadcast failed to properly characterize (if it even mentioned it at all) the decision to not let Brady win the game and instead to trust a bad defense not to lose it. Even if the man who instantly has been crowned the greatest analyst in any sport didn’t realize in real time the significance of the strategy, repeated shots of Brady’s sideline demeanor should have given him a clue: Brady was not happy that Belichick chose to not let the quarterback win the game with a quick three-yard pass.

Belichick explained his thought process in a post-game press conference.

“That was really a tough decision,” Belichick told reporters. “First down ends the game. We don’t have to play anymore. It’s a long kick. It was 45 yards, something like that. The wind was challenging; it was a cross wind. So, you know, Steve hit a great ball. I definitely thought about — you know, if we could pick up fourth and three, then the game would be over. That would be it. So one play would have ended it. I just felt like the percentage play was the field goal, and Steve came through. The defense came through. That’s one that really could have gone either way. And honestly punting was an option there too. Had it been a couple yards further out like we did earlier in the quarter and tried to put them down inside the five yard line. A field goal would have won but, you know, [they were] out of time outs. It would have put another, if we could have executed it well, put another 20, 30 yards on the drive. So, you know, that was one of those that there was some options. It was a tough decision.”

Maybe it’s a tough decision if: (1) Brady isn’t the quarterback; and (2) the defense isn’t terrible this year, statistically. But with Brady in position to throw the ball three yards and deliver the dagger, that’s what Belichick should have done.

Indeed, that’s the only outcome that doesn’t put the New England defense on the field with a chance to blow the game. Made field goal? Touchdown loses it. Missed field goal? Bucs have the ball at the 37, and a field goal loses it. Punt? Bucs have the ball at the 20 at worst inside the five at best, and a field goal loses it. Go for it and fail? Bucs have the ball on the 30, and a field goal loses it.

It ultimately worked out, barely. And maybe the faith Belichick showed in his defense will improve their confidence down the stretch.

And maybe the lack of faith Belichick showed in Brady will make him even more determined to show Belichick that Brady can and should be trusted to win and/or not lose any and every given game.

95 responses to “Belichick: Late fourth-down strategy was a “tough decision”

  1. The Pats’ 4th quarter offense went into hibernation. They played the 4th quarter not to lose rather than to win. Strange times here in New England.

  2. I was thinking about this as it played out, and don’t necessarily agree with the point you’re trying to make. The Tampa Bay defense had been getting to Brady all night. Had they stopped him on 4th & 3, the Bucs would’ve only had to drive the ball 40 yards for a game winning field goal. Granted, Folk had been missing all night, but you don’t take that kind of chance, in my opinion. I think the decision is much harder than you give Belichick credit for… and this is coming from a Jets fan by the way.

  3. Man i was trying to watch this game, but holy heck tony romo is super annoying. he is way way way too hyper, sounds like im listening to some 12yr old.

  4. This is a pretty dumb take. For Tampa to score a touchdown in a minute 14 after how they’d looked would require a series of low probability requests. If you go for it and miss, field goal wins for Tampa Bay. Going for it and missing would result in decent field position where a field goal wins it. The field goal ne kicked was mid-long range but was still a high percentage play that would require everything to go just right for Tampa to win. Sure, it almost happened. But almost doesn’t show up in the pats’ record. Treating this as a stupid choice by Belichick is the height of hubris on your part

  5. That one didn’t bother me nearly much as the punt from inside long field goal range on the prior drive that of course saw the Bucs immediately come flying out of their own end zone for a TD drive. Belichick has made some very questionable calls this season, particularly sitting on his time outs at the end of the Panthers game. They are like a shell of themselves, which makes sense if you brand yourselves as the Patriots and then kneel for the flag.

  6. The Patriots defense *needed* that faith put into them. They played their best game of the year and the first 59 minutes of the game earned them that opportunity. What they did in games 1 through 3 does not apply. Defense wins championships. That defense needed that win in that way if the Patriots were to have any hope of getting their mojo back.

  7. he trusted hie defense enough to keep the Bucs out of the end zone, not enough to keep them out of field goal range. They go for it and come up short, they lose that game

  8. I love the “arm-chair” Coaches… who are always so certain they can “out-coach” the Coaches. Just a simple 3 yard completion… what could go wrong? Who was it that said “When you throw the ball, three things can happen, and TWO of them are bad”?

  9. The real criticism on coaching calls late should be directed at koetter for the onside kick. New England was set up to protect against the onside kick, they had one time out and the two minute warning. Kick it over the top and New England has to chase it, they’d be lucky to start from their 20. So a stop on defense and the bucs get the ball back down on,y two with a field position gain of probably 40 yards.

  10. “It ultimately worked out, barely.”

    A win is a win ugly or pretty….. In Bill we trust.

    12 weeks from now it will be looked at as a turning point for the Defense.

  11. Let me stop right there and emphasize this point, since if you were watching the game last night it was never mentioned: Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived and entrusted the outcome to a consistently leaky defense.
    ———–
    That was a classic BB move for those that don’t watch them every week. BB loves putting his team in challenging competitive situations. It’s a critical part of team building that many do not recognize. It brings the team together. It builds confidence at a time when the defense needs some confidence. How can you depend on a unit if you never put them in position to prove themselves with the game on the line? I get Florio’s point, but this is classic BB IMO. It’s week 5 so it’s not like they couldn’t recover if they did happen to lose.

  12. Make all the arguments you want, but in the end what we have here is a sportswriter telling Belichick he should have done differently even though Belichicks choice did result in a win.

    Another way of looking at it: Imagine they dont get the three yards, then if the stinky defense lets Tampa Bay march down the field like that they can win with a fg. (And just for the heck of it go back and replay the end of last Sunday’s game)

  13. Not sure why you’re so incredulous. The FG made it a 5 point lead – only a TD beats them. D had been playing well most of the game. TB O wasn’t very good either. Smart decision by Bill.

  14. PresidentTrumpIsRightRespectYourCountryAndFlag says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:56 am
    Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.

    —————
    He has excelled in so many systems so which one are you referring to?

  15. Fairly certain if he kept Brady in and they didn’t get the first down…you guys would yell idiot about that too. They won, looks like his choice was right…

  16. .
    It’s questions like these that make sports fun. You could make a legitimate case for each option. However, we must remember that disasters can upend even the best laid plans. Field goals do get blocked. And, even as good as Brady is, it’s hardly a 4th and 3 gimme vs a Tampa D that dominated the line of scrimmage for most of the game . Added to that is the fact that every time the ball’s in the air, bad things can happen. Belichick wasn’t thinking about previous stats when he trusted his defense. He was basing his decision on how his defense was performing last night and up until that point they had performed very well.
    .

  17. As a Bucs fan, I was definitely relieved to see the Pats try a FG there. Additionally, I wanted Gostkowski to make it, because I sure the heck didn’t want the game to come down to a Folk FG attempt.

  18. Reminds me of the Indianapolis game years ago when BB made the (correct, IMHO)decision to go for it from his own 28 on 4th down, knowing that a first down ends the game. They failed, as we all know, and Manning marched in for the winning TD.

    BB’s thinking there was that Manning was going to march them down the field even if he punted down to the 30 or wherever so why not let TB12 try to pick up the 2 crummy yards.

  19. Panoramic Wifi says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:11 am
    “Make all the arguments you want, but in the end what we have here is a sportswriter telling Belichick he should have done differently even though Belichicks choice did result in a win.”

    Exactly. Its the difference between Guys Who Do Things, and Guys Who Write About Guys Who Do Things.

  20. Your argument assumes 4th and 3 was a gimme for a Pats offense that:

    1) Went 1-for-3 in the red zone,
    2) Was equally as bad on 3rd down (4-for-12, including short yardage situations)
    3) Is eventually going to get Brady killed (3 sacks and about 1509850182 hits/pressures).

    All against a banged up Bucs D.

    More than a “lack of faith” in the offense (not just Brady), Belichick chose to trust his kicker (4-for-4 with two from 45+ in windy conditions) and a D that held the Bucs to 7 points for 57+ minutes.

  21. Another reason BB let his defense back on the field was to show
    he has trust in them. The defense knew what he did.
    This was a move not just for the game, but for future games.
    BB is way ahead of the rest of the league.

  22. Pats O in 2017 on 4th downs = 50% (pretty good but 1yd & 2yd jobs, NOT 3yds like last night)
    But, Stephen Gostkowski on Field Goals in 2017 = 100% (12 of 12, inc several long ones)

    IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

  23. The thoughts of 19-0 went down the drain fairly quick and all those catch phrases “Drive for 6” and “Push for 6” should be changed to “Please let us win the division” and “Let TB12 get through the season in one piece”. The hope for #1 seed doesn’t look promising. With the hits Tom is taking I think this may be his last year and the torch is turned over to Jimmy G. By no means is this Tom’s obituary just an observation after the first 4 games.

  24. Remember when he did that 4th and two against Peyton in 09 under the premise that his D was screwed no matter where the Colts got the ball and he got years of ridicule for that decision.

    This time he does the opposite and wins and he gets ridiculed.

    Poor Bill.

    BTW where was the article last week about Bill not using TOs against the panthers to get one crack with about 30 seconds left after the field goal attempt to win or tie?

  25. I don’t think it was any doubt in Brady, but more the offensive line and not wanting to risk a sack or something at that point, that offensive line was not holding it’s own all night and you know Tampa would’ve stuffed the line and send in the blitz on that play. I think more chance of the kick being made there rather than protection holding up.

  26. Wow.. I can understand Bill getting some heat if the result had gone the other way but man its tough to beat up on one of the greatest coaches of all time when his team win!!!

    4th and 2 at Indy all over again!

    I suppose had they gone for it on 4th down and not made it and lost the game you would have beat him up for not kicking a field goal!

  27. Panoramic Wifi says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:13 am
    PresidentTrumpIsRightRespectYourCountryAndFlag says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:56 am
    Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.

    —————
    He has excelled in so many systems so which one are you referring to?

    —————

    His system is “winning”….and he is the best

  28. I watched the last 3 plays of the 1st half and that was enough for me. That was some terrible football. 2 roughing the passer calls and a missed field goal. Those defensive players on NE are not very bright.

  29. Can you imagine the articles that would be written if the Patriots went for it on 4th and 3, failed, and then TB went down and kicked a FG to win by 1?

    You’d be the first guy killing Belichick for his idiotic decision.

    The only play there was to kick the FG, go up by 5 and force TB to drive down the field and score a TD to win it. They couldn’t do it. Game over.

  30. bjwbrown2011 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:35 am

    BTW where was the article last week about Bill not using TOs against the panthers to get one crack with about 30 seconds left after the field goal attempt to win or tie?
    —————————————————————————————–
    Beliechick said he did not use a TO because Carolina thought it was a batter chance to force them to kick from the 45+ than to call TO and give Carolina the chance to get it closer.

  31. I remember Belichick receiving an awful amount of criticism for going for it on 4th down (in his own territory, sure, but it was Peyton Manning on the other sideline) in an attempt to finish a game. Here, he went the other direction…and there is more criticism. Damned even if you, damned if you don’t, which is especially strange given that such criticism is usually only levied when the decision leads to defeat. Hmm… Meanwhile, let’s remember that Belichick is also thinking about the long term here. He wants to test his defense, so he can know whether or not it can step up when needed. It reminds me of the story of Bill Parcells and Adam Vinatieri in the latter’s rookie year. Vinatieri had a rough second game of his career, and was 0-1 through three quarters in the following blowout Patriot win. Parcells had Vinatieri attempt a short FG up 28-0 with less than a minute to go, apparently just to gauge the kicker (Parcells says if Vinatieri had missed the kick he would have been released immediately). Coaches are always evaluating; Belichick wouldn’t have learned much either way had he gone for it on 4th down, but I’d bet he learned something about his defense last night.

  32. The Pats defense did not play well. Bucs had 409 yards….on a day where he was off most of then time Jameis Winston had 334 yards passing!!! BB made the right call, they don’t get that first down and the probability of losing the game is much higher.

  33. i look at as a pats fan and feel as if Tampa BLEW that opportunity. Not just to win the game, but their execution at the end. Why in the hell would you not try to pooch that puppy OVER our ONSIDE RECOVERY TEAM?! Chase after the ball with gunners! It seemed fairly obvious we intended on taking the field goal. Folk had missed 3 but the 55 yarder doesnt count into the wind. You do not run the risk of allowing Tampa to travel 30 yards and set up the game winning kick. It was a ballsy move by Belichick, but it paid off. People were barking about not taking the 55 yard field goal attempt earlier in the game. I thought that was outstanding decision making as well. Tampa had not moved the ball all night, why risk another opportunity for gift points?

  34. “Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.”

    I usually ignore these system QB comments for the silliness they are. But there was an interview with Brady the other day that shows how much farther from the truth you couldn’t be.

    “I would say there’s a pretty core group of plays that you have,” Brady said, “but we have, I don’t know the numbers, but there’s over the course a season, pass plays, there’s probably anywhere from 500 to 1,000 that are designed and you’ll probably call 500-600 of them, and there will be repeats within that.

    1000 pass plays and only the football gods know how many run plays, but there have to be at least 200-300 of those if not more. That means the Pats playbook, or “system”, has 1200+ plays in it, by far the most of any NFL team.

    To comprehend, remember and use that many plays, to be able to pull any of 1200+ plays out of his mind at the line of scrimmage says only one thing. The “system” is Tom Brady’s brain. Period.

    So keep embarrassing yourselves with the system comments. Because that’s all you’re doing with them.

  35. aballinhighgrass says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:54 am
    The Pats’ 4th quarter offense went into hibernation. They played the 4th quarter not to lose rather than to win. Strange times here in New England.

    88 4 Rate This

    ——————–

    Brady.

    Cement shoes. “Brady Lock” is in full effect again. Without binkies, he’s pedestrian. No other elite QB has this kind of an issue.

    I saw Hollister streaking all over the field on replays, wide open.

    He and McDaniels are such a terrible combination when they don’t have All Pro weaponry available.

    Fascinating…..You’d think Brady was not spoiled. He is.

    IMO, this is his last year in NE, likely to retire. He can ramble on all day about secret pajamas and avacado ice cream, but this is ridiculous.

  36. So Tampa having no timeouts and having to get a TD to win with 1:05 isn’t good odds??? Had they not converted the 4th down, Tampa only needs a field goal. Granted the kicker was having a miserable night… but lets not over analyze this.

  37. Yes the defense has been poor the first 4 games, but played better last night. If it hadn’t been for a few ticky tack calls the Pats would have blown out the Bucs. That’s ok, every team gets good and bad calls and you can’t allow yourself to be in a position where the refs can decide the game.

  38. redsoxu571 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:57 am
    I remember Belichick receiving an awful amount of criticism for going for it on 4th down (in his own territory, sure, but it was Peyton Manning on the other sideline) in an attempt to finish a game. Here, he went the other direction…and there is more criticism. Damned even if you, damned if you don’t, which is especially strange given that such criticism is usually only levied when the decision leads to defeat. Hmm… Meanwhile, let’s remember that Belichick is also thinking about the long term here. He wants to test his defense, so he can know whether or not it can step up when needed. It reminds me of the story of Bill Parcells and Adam Vinatieri in the latter’s rookie year. Vinatieri had a rough second game of his career, and was 0-1 through three quarters in the following blowout Patriot win. Parcells had Vinatieri attempt a short FG up 28-0 with less than a minute to go, apparently just to gauge the kicker (Parcells says if Vinatieri had missed the kick he would have been released immediately). Coaches are always evaluating; Belichick wouldn’t have learned much either way had he gone for it on 4th down, but I’d bet he learned something about his defense last night.

    0 1 Rate This

    ————-

    Pats were robbed in that game, too. I still can’t believe it almost 10 years later. It’s on You Tube for anyone to see.

  39. joseferreira1967 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 10:04 am
    The Pats defense did not play well. Bucs had 409 yards….on a day where he was off most of then time Jameis Winston had 334 yards passing!!! BB made the right call, they don’t get that first down and the probability of losing the game is much higher.

    0 0 Rate This

    —————–

    LOL!!!

    The game is won between the 20s…TB had 66 yards passing at one point in the first half. Chung put on a clinic on Brate. Jackson did jack squat except for some garbage time fantasy muscle flexing and Evans was frustrated beyond belief trying to start fights. Martin was completely dismantled in the second half.

    You do realize they are down 3 starters right now on D, correct? It was a short week and the D dominated, when all we heard all week long since Sunday was how dangerous the TB offense is.

    LOL!!

    Seek that help you need. Clincally.

  40. Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived

    Florio. There is nothing you can do henceforth that’ll cause me to doubt you…as I have been prone to do…many times.

    TB12=GOAT

  41. Panoramic Wifi says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:11 am
    Make all the arguments you want, but in the end what we have here is a sportswriter telling Belichick he should have done differently even though Belichicks choice did result in a win.

    Another way of looking at it: Imagine they dont get the three yards, then if the stinky defense lets Tampa Bay march down the field like that they can win with a fg. (And just for the heck of it go back and replay the end of last Sunday’s game)

    69 1 Rate This

    —————

    Stinky D?

    All Pro players Evans, Jackson and Martin did very little and NE held to 14 points.

    Dems the facts.

    They won the game again….Even with Goodell cheating with creepy ref calls right in front of everyone.

  42. footballboozer says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:27 am
    Another reason BB let his defense back on the field was to show
    he has trust in them. The defense knew what he did.
    This was a move not just for the game, but for future games.
    BB is way ahead of the rest of the league.

    17 2 Rate This

    —————-

    Absolutely agreed. They dominated the game. All 3 All Pro weaposn weapons were frustrated especially in the first half and into that second half where Martin was shut down completely.

    We have too many fantasy league Millennial dorks who simply don’t understand the sport.

  43. Bad decision? Here is the scenario if he left it in Brady’s hands:
    Brady gets sacked @ the 35. Bucs ball. Next two plays, Pats called for “Roughing the passer.” (remember the first half?) Bucs have ball at NE 35. Three passing plays, Bucs have the ball on NE 10. Three running plays later, ball on NE 5, 4th and five, 30 seconds remaining. Folk surprises everyone and makes field goal. KIckoff is muffed and recovered at the NE 5. Brady has 25 seconds to go 70 yards to get field goal range with no timeouts. Tall order for even ” the greatest quarterback who ever lived “. IMO

  44. PresidentTrumpIsRightRespectYourCountryAndFlag says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.
    ——————–

    Since all quarterbacks, past and present, operate within a “system”, adding it is just redundant.

  45. Don’t you see? It’s an early season NFC game. Gronk sat… Why? Because he was too hurt? No, because it’s an early season NFC game. They need him in the division games. No reason to risk it.

    Same goes for the 4th down decision. Can’t win later in the season if the defense has no confidence. Had to put in on them and see if they could pull out the win. That was super smart coaching. I think a punt would have been stupid, but the FG over trying for a 4th and 3 was smart.

    Now he knows what he has… They came through in the end, regardless of how close it was.

  46. When the Patriots are rolling, which they often are, they frequently stick to predictable comments. They’ll say they “still have things to work on” et al. At this point of the season it is clear the Patriots honestly have things to work on. They may soon be in a situation where folks no longer wonder when things will be fixed, but rather, if they can be fixed.

  47. PresidentTrumpIsRightRespectYourCountryAndFlag says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:56 am
    Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.
    ___________
    Good point, Montana is second greatest system QB, and I’d say Manning is third.

  48. “They won, looks like his choice was right…”

    I actually don’t think you can look at the outcome and justify the decision as correct or incorrect. We often see bad things happening when the best choice is made.

    When I ask myself if Belichick made the right choice when the choice seemed reasonable, I recall the play where Malcolm Butler picked off the pass in the end zone of the SB against the seahawks. Just before the play, when the coaches are asking Belichick whether he wants a time out, and I was expecting a time out, Belichick just keeps staring at the Seattle sideline. He then decides not to call the timeout based on his instincts and what he saw. The rest was history. Bill Belichick has shown that he has excellent instincts which can seem counter-intuitive. So, for me, I am not sure questioning Belichicks instincts when he made a reasonable call is anything more than trying to stir the pot.

  49. Belichick did not ‘take the ball out of the hands of the greatest QB that ever lived.’ He prevented the o-line from having the opportunity to lose the game or some mindnumbingly ridiculous flag to steal it. In that scenario 4 things could have happened and 3 of them were not good. Making the FG put the pressure on Tampa’s offense, which if you watched the game was exactly where you’d want it if you were Belichick.

  50. tylawspick6 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 10:12 am
    aballinhighgrass says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:54 am
    The Pats’ 4th quarter offense went into hibernation. They played the 4th quarter not to lose rather than to win. Strange times here in New England.
    88 4 Rate This
    ——————–
    Brady.
    Cement shoes. “Brady Lock” is in full effect again. Without binkies, he’s pedestrian. No other elite QB has this kind of an issue.
    I saw Hollister streaking all over the field on replays, wide open.
    He and McDaniels are such a terrible combination when they don’t have All Pro weaponry available.
    Fascinating…..You’d think Brady was not spoiled. He is.
    IMO, this is his last year in NE, likely to retire. He can ramble on all day about secret pajamas and avacado ice cream, but this is ridiculous.

    —————-

    I thought Brady played pretty well. I wouldn’t throw to Hollister either.

    He does tend to get more conservative after throwing a pick, but for stretches he was great.

    As for his binky, I think he’s made most of his binkies. Welker and Edelman were nobodies from nowhere. Sure, once he establishes a rapport at that level he does struggle if he suddenly loses them, but it seems that when it happens it’s good for him and the team later in the season.

    Like they said on the broadcast… that is now 12 straight wins without Gronk in the lineup. That’s not so bad.

    Other elite QBs do struggle when they lose their toys too. Rodgers looked really bad for stretches without Nelson over the last few years, but he eventually adjusted.

    Also… It’s not that unusual for the Patriots to play that game plan at the end of a game. We have seen them do it a bunch of times. At the end of the Super Bowl against Philly for one. I think it happens when they believe the game is won and only mistakes can lose the game. Still a first down or two in there would have been good.

  51. Brady is indeed the GOAT SYSTEM QB. Why do so many still argue about this is a mystery to me. Especially since Brady himself has acknowledged it. Must be just sad trolls.

  52. Luckily, the Patriots ran into a kicker with confidence issues last night or they were not going to get out of there with a win. Clock management had me wondering what the heck Belichick was doing… He almost handed Tampa the game at the end.

  53. I think Romo is actually doing a pretty good job, kept Thursday night interesting. He just needs to turn it down a notch. I think a lot of people were hoping to see him implode on tv.

  54. Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived
    =================================
    That’s arguable… Brady’s has/had the benefit on being on probably the most complete and consistent TEAM and COACH that has ever lived… Fixed it for ya

  55. Was it difficult?

    ‘We’re not blocking anybody’

    ‘Lets make them go the length of the field’

    Simple math, it seems like.

    Simpler for a genius like him.

  56. PresidentTrumpIsRightRespectYourCountryAndFlag, October 6, 2017 at 8:56am, says:

    “Correction…..The greatest “system” QB in history.”

    ============================

    Where can my Bears copy this “system” that you’re talking about? In fact, why can’t everybody copy this system?!

  57. bullcharger says:
    October 6, 2017 at 10:51 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 10:12 am
    aballinhighgrass says:
    October 6, 2017 at 8:54 am
    The Pats’ 4th quarter offense went into hibernation. They played the 4th quarter not to lose rather than to win. Strange times here in New England.
    88 4 Rate This
    ——————–
    Brady.
    Cement shoes. “Brady Lock” is in full effect again. Without binkies, he’s pedestrian. No other elite QB has this kind of an issue.
    I saw Hollister streaking all over the field on replays, wide open.
    He and McDaniels are such a terrible combination when they don’t have All Pro weaponry available.
    Fascinating…..You’d think Brady was not spoiled. He is.
    IMO, this is his last year in NE, likely to retire. He can ramble on all day about secret pajamas and avacado ice cream, but this is ridiculous.

    —————-

    I thought Brady played pretty well. I wouldn’t throw to Hollister either.

    He does tend to get more conservative after throwing a pick, but for stretches he was great.

    As for his binky, I think he’s made most of his binkies. Welker and Edelman were nobodies from nowhere. Sure, once he establishes a rapport at that level he does struggle if he suddenly loses them, but it seems that when it happens it’s good for him and the team later in the season.

    Like they said on the broadcast… that is now 12 straight wins without Gronk in the lineup. That’s not so bad.

    Other elite QBs do struggle when they lose their toys too. Rodgers looked really bad for stretches without Nelson over the last few years, but he eventually adjusted.

    Also… It’s not that unusual for the Patriots to play that game plan at the end of a game. We have seen them do it a bunch of times. At the end of the Super Bowl against Philly for one. I think it happens when they believe the game is won and only mistakes can lose the game. Still a first down or two in there would have been good.

    2 1 Rate This

    ——–

    all well and good but does rodgers pout and sulk on the sideline and have bromances like brady does?

    does the media go into great detail trying to deflect from rodgers’s binky addiction problem or does rodgers not have the same level of a
    binky addiction problem as brady?

    is rodgers good friends off the field with mccarthy like brady is
    with mcdaniels?

    i don’t think so

    brady needs to put on the big boy panties..others can catch quick passes and screens too..not just edelman and amendola

  58. What am I missing here? The NE coach made a decision that led directly to a victory for his team. As a Redskins fan I can only hope to see more of these “Questionable decisions” from Jay Gruden. Jeez.

  59. Now maybe you know why Belichick is the worlds best football coach, and you are just a commentator. And I’m not a patriot fan at all, but give the man his due.

  60. No offense to any writer but it is really easy to sit in the cheap seats and be a critic.

    Had they chose to run a play and not pick up the fist down and the Pats still win it would be because there was no confidence in the defense, and criticism would follow.

    Had they chose to play the down and make the first it would be because there was no confidence in the defense, and criticism would follow.

    They choose FG, make it, and they win, it implies confidence in the defense and criticism follows

    Had they chosen FG, not made it and lost, you guessed it, it would be because there was no confidence in the defense, and criticism would follow.

    The only constant here and what we all probably know already is no matter what the decision criticism will follow.

  61. is rodgers good friends off the field with mccarthy like brady is
    with mcdaniels?
    =====

    Not an equal comparison due to Belichick.

    McDaniels and Brady may be buddies, but if something isn’t working Belichick can intercede, or shut McDaniels down if need be.

    There’s no buffer between McCarthy and Rodgers. They’ve hit the boiling point a few times.

  62. tylawspick6 says:
    October 6, 2017 at 10:25 am
    Panoramic Wifi says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:11 am
    Make all the arguments you want, but in the end what we have here is a sportswriter telling Belichick he should have done differently even though Belichicks choice did result in a win.

    Another way of looking at it: Imagine they dont get the three yards, then if the stinky defense lets Tampa Bay march down the field like that they can win with a fg. (And just for the heck of it go back and replay the end of last Sunday’s game)

    69 1 Rate This

    —————

    Stinky D?

    All Pro players Evans, Jackson and Martin did very little and NE held to 14 points.

    Dems the facts.

    They won the game again….Even with Goodell cheating with creepy ref calls right in front of everyone.

    ———————
    Im glad you are happy but IMHO the defense needs work and is not ready to be relied on for a must have solid stop if that can be avoided.

    And note that in this case they did not get a solid stop the defense did let them get down the field. Had the Bucs been able to win that with a field goal they did get down there into easy position for one. (And as bad as he was you dont want to stake your game on Folk or any kicker missing easy ones)

  63. October 6, 2017 at 10:56 am
    Brady is indeed the GOAT SYSTEM QB. Why do so many still argue about this is a mystery to me. Especially since Brady himself has acknowledged it. Must be just sad trolls.

    ——————-
    Probably because know one knows which system is being referred to. He has excelled in so many. So really its just GOAT.

  64. No Edelman or Gronkowski factors into this decision. He can’t keep sending Danny across the middle to get thumped.

  65. In this case I think Bill was right but it’s a close call. I love Brady but the offense as a whole (“my husband cannot throw and catch the ball”) wasn’t giving any reason to believe they would get the 3 yards, they were 4/12 on third down while the kicker was perfect. He also should know far more about his defense in week 5 than we do. In the end he was right to back the defense.

  66. Other elite QBs do struggle when they lose their toys too. Rodgers looked really bad for stretches without Nelson over the last few years, but he eventually adjusted.


    Also thid is a different Patriots offense this year by necessity. Vertical passing requires QB to hold on to the football longer and exposes the OL in a way that can be hidden when the GOAT throws those darts to the likes of Edelman and Amendola.

    OL has some work to do for sure. But they’ll be fine. 🙂

  67. If Belichick didn’t trust his defense to keep the Bucs out of the end zone… then there’s no point thinking they can successfully defend their title. At some point the defense has to play ball and it was a very nice step forward last night. Gimme more of that! 🙂

  68. Bottom line… short week… road team…defense has to make a statement that things were getting better… W.

    That is all.

    🙂

  69. And smart decision as a TD must be had by Tampa Bay, NOT a field goal. That is why it was the right decision. You miss on 4th down play by Brady, they only have to go maybe 30-40 yards for a field goal. Think harder.

  70. sb44champs says:
    October 6, 2017 at 11:04 am
    Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived
    =================================
    That’s arguable… Brady’s has/had the benefit on being on probably the most complete and consistent TEAM and COACH that has ever lived… Fixed it for ya

    Didnt really fix it, just added to it. “Greatest QB who ever lived” is a correct statement. But you are right about the team and coach too.

  71. I’m not a Patriot fan in the least….

    But I can tell you this article is all kinds of crazy.

    They won the game…the decision was correct YET still is questioned ?

    Maybe nobody watched the fact that Tom Brady got hit….ALOT yesterday….

    So if they put the ball in his hands and he fails to convert….the Nucs probably win by FG…

    You forced the, to beat you with a TD, and the Bucs couldn’t do it.

    I honestly don’t see why there should be criticism.

  72. factschecker says:
    October 6, 2017 at 9:09 am
    Let me stop right there and emphasize this point, since if you were watching the game last night it was never mentioned: Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived and entrusted the outcome to a consistently leaky defense.
    ———–
    That was a classic BB move for those that don’t watch them every week. BB loves putting his team in challenging competitive situations. It’s a critical part of team building that many do not recognize. It brings the team together. It builds confidence at a time when the defense needs some confidence. How can you depend on a unit if you never put them in position to prove themselves with the game on the line? I get Florio’s point, but this is classic BB IMO. It’s week 5 so it’s not like they couldn’t recover if they did happen to lose.
    __________________________________________
    Yes and Belichick lets Brady get sacked all those times to tough’n him up too.

  73. Thoughts:

    a.) BB got roasted for going for it on 4th ans 2 in Indy a few years back, LOL.

    b.) BB did not call a time out before Butler’s interception in SB 49.

    c.) I’ll live and die with BB’s decisions. He has done better than .500….no complaints.

  74. I don’t think Brady minded getting the kicker in there for fourth down, because he had been hit numerous times and the offense was terrible all night. And that is exactly what the defense needed, even though TB almost scored at the very end.

  75. I’m picking up what you’re putting down here, but what happens when Bill puts the ball in Brady’s hand and somebody drops a pass… or the squeaky, rotting picket fence of an offensive line gives up a sack and the Tampa capitalizes on great field position and wins the game? I’m sure Bill thought about it, but I’m even more confident that he was immediately reminded of 4th and 2 in 2009 when an offensive line that makes this one look like a wheelchair yoga class and an offense consisting of prime Brady, Welker and Moss couldn’t pick up 2 yards to end a game. I was so nervous they were actually going to snap that ball last night and was even more so relieved when they called the timeout and trotted out Gostkowski. Bill made the right choice taking the 5 point lead and allowing his defense to close the door, even if it slightly cracked open there at the end.

  76. Panoramic Wifi says:

    October 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    sb44champs says:
    October 6, 2017 at 11:04 am
    Belichick took the ball out of the hands of the greatest quarterback who ever lived
    =================================
    That’s arguable… Brady’s has/had the benefit on being on probably the most complete and consistent TEAM and COACH that has ever lived… Fixed it for ya

    Didnt really fix it, just added to it. “Greatest QB who ever lived” is a correct statement. But you are right about the team and coach too.
    =====================================
    If Brady was on the Saints with a bottom 5 defense every year for a decade he’d have 1 measly Super Bowl win just like Brees. If Brees was on the Patriots with usually one of the top defenses for over a decade he’d have just as many rings as Brady but doing his damage 4 inches shorter. Brees’ career is more impressive than Brady’s considering how short Brees is, its that much tougher.

  77. BB made the punt decision not only for this game, but to raise confidence level of his defense for future games. Could have failed, but didn’t. Risky, but good move.

  78. 1. The Pats won
    2. Belichick’s strategy was risky but worked
    3. As a fan, I didn’t like the conservative play
    4. In reality, that game brought the team together and promoted trust between players and players, coaches and coaches, and players and coaches
    5. Bill has done best when teams overcame early adversity

  79. sb44champs says:
    October 6, 2017 at 11:04 am
    ….
    =================================
    ….Brees’ career is more impressive than Brady’s considering how short Brees is, its that much tougher.
    —————————————————————————–

    Drew Brees has had a great NFL career.

    Drew Brees is a first ballot HOFer.

    No player in NFL history has had a more impressive career than Tom Brady.

    There are maybe a few players in the Super Bowl era who have had careers that are close to as impressive as Tom Brady’s career. Jerry Rice…maybe. Joe Montana…maybe. Peyton Manning…no.

    Okay, not a few players, two players.

    Drew Brees is not one of those two.

  80. The Pats won the game. So you are saying they could have won it better? SMH

    We know the outcome. They won. The decision has no other possibility because the outcome is history. So playing Monday morning quarterback on a Sunday gives you the possibility that Brady throws an interception. Why. Because it is possible. So you would rather have that possibility that a certain victory. SMH ad infinitum.

  81. With Brees’ Top 5 QB numbers outshining Brady’s, Brees’ career is just as impressive… Due to Brady’s 4 inch height advantage and the benefit of having a consistent top defense and the best coach that ever lived, You know, facts and all!

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