Bill O’Brien says Welker play wasn’t a drop


We interrupt the ongoing coverage of an activity that may have influenced the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV to address once again a play that may have influenced the outcome of Super Bowl XLVI.

Patriots receiver Wes Welker has taken the blame for failing to catch what likely would have been a Super Bowl-clinching pass against the Giants.  Some (i.e., me) think that the inaccuracy of the throw made the effort much more difficult.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has taken things one step farther.  O’Brien, who now serves as the head coach at Penn State, says that Welker has no blame at all.

That wasn’t a drop,” O’Brien tells Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe.  “That would have been a tremendous catch, and he should never think twice about that.  And it had nothing to do with us losing the game.  There were many, many plays before that where we could have made better coaching decisions, and better plays.  That’s just one play of many.”

Curiously, O’Brien said nothing about the quality of the pass from Tom Brady.

As I’ve believed from the moment the play happened, Welker made a remarkable effort — leaping, leaning, and lunging — to even get his hands on the ball.  Mindful of the reality that, if he’d hit the ground with his hands stretched out, he likely would have provided the latest example of the so-called Calvin Johnson rule, Welker likely lost control while trying to instantly shift the ball into the nook of one of his elbows and to turn his body to absorb the impact without letting any of the real leather touch the fake grass.

So I agree with O’Brien.  And given the manner in which Brady chewed O’Brien out on the sidelines of a December 11 game against the Redskins, I can understand why O’Brien stopped short of finishing his thought.

51 responses to “Bill O’Brien says Welker play wasn’t a drop

  1. I am not sure I would classify it as a “drop” because it was a difficult catch. But the Calvin Johnson play had nothing to do with it, he lost control because it clanged square off his palms of his hands.

  2. Welker was thrown to the wolves on that play. Terrible toss by Brady who did his best Sanchez impression on that throw and should have done a better job taking responsibility.

    But then he wouldn’t want to face Giselle after the press conference if he did that

    Two weak playoff performances by Brady to finish off the season after a lousy one to finish last year….but Pats fans keep telling us how great they’ll be next year.

  3. Brady has shown us four things over the course of his NFL career.

    1. He is an amazing NFL Quarterback
    2. He is prone to making mistakes when you get in his face.
    3. He has come a long way from his humble roots as a back up at Michigan to the arrogant conceited baby he clearly is today.
    4. He has horrible taste in women.

    She is overrated. Seriously, her face looks like a tan colored creature from the Lord of the Rings movies and she is dumber than Chad Ochocinco.

  4. .


    ” two weak playoff performances ”

    Baltimore and the Giants are both quality teams who make you earn every yard. What were you expecting from Brady …50 points per half?


  5. Going back an re-watching it, I am sold it’s a drop. If a ball hits you square in the hand with no defenders around you have to catch it.

  6. Ok sure, the pass was a bit behind him, so he had to spin around to try to make the catch. But gimme a break with the leaping, leaning, lunging exaggeration.

    Those who say it was a drop aren’t necessarily saying that it was an easy catch. It was a hard catch. But big time receivers in big time games HAVE to make those catches. Welker will make that catch 99 times out of a 100, so the time that he doesn’t catch it is a drop.

  7. Is this garbage still going on? Its football people. The comments I’ve read since this game have been borderline stupidity. For everyone that has an opinion that someone has to be blamed, suck it up. Brady stood in front of 90,000 screaming people on the world’s biggest stage and made a throw. If he was a robot instead of a human being we might argue the fact that he should be deadly accurate on every play, but they’re all human. If Welker had caught the ball it would have been a phenomenal catch. They both gave it their all and came up just shy. I’ll bet Welker and Brady don’t blame each other. But given this never-ending saga of ridiculous sports reporting I have pretty much figured out how to be a sports writer. Forget talking to the winners about their stories and what they overcame to get there – no, instead generate controversy by constantly asking stupid questions to the losers and who is to blame. There were two other receivers that had much more catchable drops, but we haven’t heard a word about them. They may very well have been the receivers that Giselle was referring to to begin with, but no, that wouldn’t have been controversial enough, so we’ll continue to focus on a difficult play that didn’t work out. I’m not even a Patriots fan, but I have come to the conclusion that most sports writers are by and large idiots.

  8. afc22 says But then he wouldn’t want to face Giselle after the press conference if he did that

    If I had to decide if getting some off Giselle or throwing Welker under the bus then Wes better watch out.

  9. B.S. Its was a drop, if Manningham would have missed that pass what would it have been? Not a drop? Use common sense, if it hits you in the hands catch the ball. Dwight Clark was overthrown and so was Tyree, but they made the CATCH. Welker came up short. Bottomline.

  10. “blue18hutthutt” TB12 said right after the game that Wes didn’t drop that ball, that he’s a great player & that he loves the guy. Know what you’re talking about before trying to be funny. You don’t get much classier than Brady.

  11. If you have an IQ over 5 you know it was not a drop. It would have been a fantastic catch. Collinsworth comments during game were laughable.

  12. Giselle is all muscle and bone, with some fledgeling funbags. About like Tom, now that i think of it…

  13. bearsstillsuck says:
    Mar 3, 2012 5:08 PM
    Brady had to place the ball there so he didn’t lead wes into a defender.

    I’ve heard this argument before, but I still don’t see a defender IN FRONT of Welker. I’m a Giants fan, and when I saw the ball going to Welker, wide open, my instant reaction is “Its over.” Welker made so many remarkable catches in a remarkable season. I thought the pass was just a little off the mark and Welker tried his best to make the grab. No shame there.

  14. Brady cost them the game more than Welker. Least I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Welker that got called for intentional grounding or decided to play catch with Chase Blackburn.

  15. Not all drops are created equal- have every wide receiver try that exact same catch 10 times in a row- I bet there is a 25 percent success rate or less. Is it a drop? Yes, it’s also a below average pass. It’s a team game, move on.

  16. I have bought from the very beginning that it was brady’s fault. It woulda been a great play If you would’ve made the play it would’ve just bailed brady out

  17. Nice of O’Brien to set the record straight, that game was lost by the defense. I Like this O’Brien fellow.

    He speaks the truth

  18. Didn’t the man who has caught a KAJILLION passes since he became a Patriot, (read Wes Welker) say he blew it? Yes, he did. Doesn’t he make millions of dollars not to just make routine catches but difficult ones also? Yes. Kara Henderson, NFL channel reporter, made an adjustment on a ball that was behind her and caught it…mind you this was just going through a fan drill, but she did what Wes didn’t; adjust to a ball behind him and hold on to a ball that hit him squarely in his hands = DROP

  19. Here’s my deal with the whole thing. If Welker had caught that ball, is all we would hear about is how amazing he is, and that only Welker could make that catch. I said this a few weeks back and I’ll say it again, Welker is a 1-trick pony who shouldn’t be relied upon for crucial catches, and centering the offense around his skill set is holding the Pats back. It hit him in the hands, therefore, he should catch it. Bad throw or not, Welker knew the stiuation just as much as Brady did, Big players make Big plays in Big games.

  20. How the hell can anyone say that isn’t a drop? The ball hit him square in the hands. There are other factors of course but lets not go kidding ourselves.

  21. I’ll tell you who blew it. Brady drives the Patriots to the Giants 40 yard line from the Patriots 7 as they go for the winning score. 1st and 10 using the no huddle offense (a little up tempo) and O’Brien decides to take the air out of the ball by sending out a big package, one WR, 2 TEs (one of whom is a LT), 1 FB, 1 RB. Giants send 10 men in the box, and snuff it for a 2 or 3 yard loss. Stupid play by O’Brien to take the air out of the ball when you’re driving toward Super Bowl victory. 2nd 12 becomes 3rd and 12, and that was it.

    Thanks O’Brien, and good riddance.

  22. No true football fan – let alone a Patriots fan – faults Welker for not catching that pass. Brady was rushed and it was an awkward throw over Welker’s opposite shoulder.

    It’s a team sport. The OL, other blockers, Brady, and Welker all could have done a better job…

    But no one, aside from perhaps Welker himself, is placing blame on Welker.

  23. bearsstillsuck says:
    Mar 3, 2012 5:08 PM
    Brady had to place the ball there so he didn’t lead wes into a defender.

    I’ve heard this argument before, but I still don’t see a defender IN FRONT of Welker. I’m a Giants fan, and when I saw the ball going to Welker, wide open, my instant reaction is “Its over.” Welker made so many remarkable catches in a remarkable season. I thought the pass was just a little off the mark and Welker tried his best to make the grab. No shame there.

    Agree with both of you… to a point. Brady read one thing, Welker another. There was a safety over the top. Brady gave the safety too much credit though, and threw the ball to Welker’s back shoulder. Welker probably felt that the safety wasn’t a threat and kept his original route. Welker was right, the safety had turned his shoulders and was in a ‘pursuit’ position (because he was beaten) instead of a ‘defensive’ position. But it’s hard to blame Brady, when he threw the ball, the safety was still racing toward Welker.

    I’m a Pats fan, and the last couple of drives came down to execution – the Pats failed to execute this play (and others) regardless of whoever is at fault, and the Giants executed their great play (Manning to Manningham). Simple as that. BTW, O’Brien was right, they had plenty of chances before this, and I’m glad that he took some blame too, it wasn’t his best game plan.

  24. Giants made the plays at the end, and the Pats didn’t. Without either Brady or Welker, Pats would not have even been close to making the SB, anyway.

  25. Brady did not rush the throw. The Giants had done a great job of getting their hands up along the line of scrimmage and knocking some balls down. Mankins was engaged with a Giants’ lineman in the passing lane. Brady threw the ball up and over the lineman and towards Welker’s back shoulder because Rolle was coming across from his safety position. Had the ball been on target to Welker toward the inside of the field it may have been a similar play to Manningham’s catch where Welker catches the ball and Rolle hits him. Brady likely felt he could get the ball more cleanly to Welker on his back shoulder. The pass was not thrown as well as he would have liked but he couldn’t throw the ball low with zip on it with the passing lane covered by a Giants’ lineman. If he had been similarly off to Welker’s front side as he was to his back shoulder Rolle may have been able to make a play on the ball. Welker is a very sure handed receiver. I was surprised he didn’t make the difficult catch. It was a drop but not like the easy drop Wallace had near the end of the first half against the Broncos. That was a much easier catch. Good players make mistakes too.

  26. It was a drop. If you want to win the Super Bowl you have to make the special play. Do I think the Pats got screwed on the safety? Yes I do. And I think that heavily influenced the game. A large percentage of times a safety turns into nine points. We all know that. I think the league protected the Giants for weeks to help them along toward a Super Bowl victory. So it will always be a tainted Giants victory in my mind. But Welker should have caught that ball. Period.

  27. Drop? Yes, but Welker shouldn’t blame himself for not making the catch, it could have been a much better throw but not every pass can be perfect, Brady to Welker is still what its all about and those two will have themselves back in the playoffs again next year. Plus O’Brien was right when he said there were many other chances for them to win that game.

  28. I really wish people would stop with the “if it hits your hands it’s a drop” bs. Just because you get your hands on a pass, doesn’t mean that you have to be able to catch it. This isn’t Madden where even a bullet off of your fingertips is considered a drop.

    David Tyree’s catch was simply amazing. Now, he got his hands on it, but had to maintain possession with Rodney Harrison making a valiant effort to try to cause an incompletion. If Tyree would have loss possession, can you possibly call it a drop? How about when players get drilled by defenders as soon as the pass arrives? How about the WR is running full speed one direction and the QB throws it where the WR used to be?

    It’s much more than simply managing to get your hands on the ball. It’s not everytime the ball hits your hands or you manage to get your hands on the ball that it is a reasonable pass.

  29. It was clealy a drop, but who cares. That happens it’s football. I’m more struck with the writer’s choice of words to describe football. “The nook of one of his elbows”? WTF?
    Never played a down and wants to pass judgement on Brady?

    Al Davis Forever!!!
    Just Win Baby!!!

  30. this discussion is absurd -no one should even comment on this play until they have read the Cold Hard Facts assessment (with pics) or the less full but still good analysis in the Globe. Bottomline – very diff catch and far diff from literally every throw his way this year- a “drop” is what we saw in the GB vs NY game, where easy passes bounced off hands. Different.

    Agree that Brady should step up and relieve the pressure in Welker. And of course Welker says what he said – he’s a “gamer.”

    Bottom-line: there were 15-17 plays in that game that were very “close” and 14-16 went in the Giants favor – call it luck, call it a statistical stretch, call it skill – it happened.

    Manning’s catch was amazing as a play given the space, yards gained and situation/timing, and that he was the 3rd read, but it was a much easier catch -it was directly into his hands. His challenge was dragging his toes and hanging on, but Chung’s hit was a bit late and not on his arms and much less violent than his hit that broke up an earlier pass to Nicks. Diff situation in every way.

  31. blue18hutthutt says:
    Mar 3, 2012 5:44 PM
    Real “classy” of Brady to never once stepping up and taking the heat off his receiver

    Brady is such a terrible leader that he took Wes on a vacation to Costa Rica after they lost the Super Bowl. Classless.

  32. afc22

    Two weak playoff performances by Brady to finish off the season after a lousy one to finish last year….but Pats fans keep telling us how great they’ll be next year.

    Hey, if you want to bet against them breaking .500 this year, hit me up. The last time you guys said they were ‘finished,’ they went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl instead.

    Unless you’re a Giants fan, you’ve got nothing to brag about.

  33. Any other QB would have been blamed by the media. Tom if he hasn’t needs to come out and say the pass was off target and show support for Welker.

  34. Brady missed a wide open Hernandez against the Ravens on a play that would have won the game.

    Brady missed a wide open Welker in the Super Bowl that would have won the game.

    Brady is still one hell of a QB, but he’s not what he was.

    Age is a bitch.

  35. jimmer2372 says:Mar 3, 2012 11:24 PM

    every NFL team wishes they could have Welker.

    As what, a third or 4 option, perhaps, perhaps not.

    Welker was nothing before Tommy hairplugs…

  36. O please u pat fans complaining about brady r spoiled brats hjust wait till he retires and ur looking for another 7th rd steal.

  37. O’Brien continues to prove he is an idiot. Fortunately he is Penn States’ idiot and no longer ours.

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