Eric Rowe found out just before kickoff he was starting

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Eric Rowe didn’t know he was starting ahead of time. He didn’t know he would play almost every snap. He didn’t know Malcolm Butler wouldn’t play on defense.

“No, that wasn’t the plan,” Rowe said, via postgame quotes distributed by the league.

While Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia insisted that Butler was benched strictly for football reasons, something smells fishy.

Rowe played in only eight games this season and started only three. Butler started 15 of 16 regular-season games. He played every snap of the first two playoff games, while Rowe played 98 of the 141 snaps.

Once the game started and Butler stood on the sideline with his helmet on the entire game, it became clear why Butler wept during the national anthem.

“It wasn’t official until kickoff,” Rowe said when asked when he found out he would start. “. . . I feel for [Butler].”

Rowe did not play well Sunday night. He made four tackles and defensed two passes and repeatedly was beaten as the Eagles rolled to 538 yards, including 374 passing yards.

“Very frustrating,” Rowe said. “Obviously on the biggest stage. It is not like a regular-season game where you are like, ‘OK, we will bounce back.’ This was it.”

23 responses to “Eric Rowe found out just before kickoff he was starting

  1. Eric bleeping Rowe; They picked on him all night and he was not good. Belichik should have swallowed his pride and put Butler in….

  2. There’s much more to this to come….as our best defensive player with Hightower out, this was a huge benching and it certainly played into this loss with Rowe getting burned over and over. BB needs to answer for this one!

    And this opinion is coming from a Pats fan.

  3. Wouldn’t have mattered anyway because SUPERBOWL MVP NICK FOLES just carved that defense apart.

  4. Belichick wanted to try and show up someone and it cost him. He played himself to feed his massive ego. Dont get me wrong he’s the greatest coach ever but his massive ego is also one of the biggest ever.

  5. The guy got torched all game and the Patriots are known for their adjustments. You really think people believe it was a football decision to keep him out of the game while Rowe stunk up the joint? Belichick also flat out said “it gives us the best chance to win the football game”, what a nice thing to say to a player that helped you win a super bowl a few years ago.

  6. I’ll be interested to see if any details come out about this (and I’m sure they eventually will…).

    I wonder if Belichick let his ego get in the way of his better judgement here. Foles threw for almost 400 yards today. The Pats D could ulent make a stop on 3rd down and their pass defense struggled on many occasions tonight.

    I have to believe that Butler could have made an impact in that secondary. Instead of starting the guy that had taken thr practice reps at starting corner all week (and all season), they threw a backup in at the very last minuet before kickoff.

    Belichick is a genius but he may have outsmart himself here, or maybe he just let his ego/temper get in the way of making a better decision.

  7. Bill put his ego in front of winning a ring.
    This was obviously some kind of punishment or grudge against Butler and it will be a huge story for the next week or so.

    To bench a quality player like Butler in a superbowl is insanely arrogant.

    Bill owes an explanation to everyone, including Kraft, as to why he benched Butler.

  8. This was absolutely absurd. Belichick is supposed to be a defensive genius. The offense put up 650 yards and 34 points (with some special teams blunders), and it wasn’t enough to win this game. Butler didn’t play, and then Rowe in man coverage on Jeffrey in the first half? Jordan Richards? At best, the Pats beat themselves with a horrible game plan. At worst, Patricia and Belichick had bets on the Eagles. lol

  9. So, Darth Hoodie isn’t the infallible, all knowing, football dark Lord every Patsy fan wants to believe he is? He too makes mistakes?

    Say it ain’t so!

  10. You guys are nuts. BB doesn’t HAVE an ego/temper. Not at gametime anyway. When people bring up Welker’s benching, it was a team discipline thing, and the correct way to go. If Butler didn’t do anything, and didn’t play, then they thought Rowe was the way to go. NOBODY is mentioning that Butler gets eaten alive by big receivers and both Jeffery and Agholor are bigger guys. They just chuck the ball over his head and he’s done. Rowe was in there because of that. Having watched teams take Butler down all season, I don’t think that he would have helped much. Neither defense got much done until suddenly the Eagles did, at the perfect time. And that’s ballgame right there. Foles was NUTS, lights out, that is hard to beat.

  11. How missed tackles last night.Butler does get beat at times, but he is a vicious and finishing tackler. The facts are, with over 600 yards and Brady>passing record, benching Butler WAS a huge error in judgment. They lost. PS, how nice would it have been to have had Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones last night? BB is great, but hardly perfect, in any way

  12. EXTREMELY odd to take a starting corner and outright bench him for the entire game. Normally, you’d see Rowe promoted to starter and Butler playing on nickel downs because he’d be better than the backup guys. And even if he wasn’t slated to be part of their packages how do you let Foles pick you apart for the ENTIRE game and never sub Butler in for any of the struggling guys? At some point “next man up” just doesn’t work. You cannot ALWAYS coach up the backups to be better than the starters, else they would have already won the starting job.

  13. ESPN First Take A Smith has some strong words for Belichick, as to would not play for him, by this decision. Let the rumors start.

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