The bad-rule-applied-correctly on Sunday created a screwy outcome for one reason and one reason only: Nobody bothered to pick up the ball that ended up on the ground loose after what turned out to be a catch and a fumble by Bears receiver Anthony Miller.
Most if not all players are coached to do otherwise. Patriots coach Bill Belichick again coached his players to do it on Monday, consistent with the practice characterized by former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison at halftime of Sunday’s game.
“We hit it again today,” Belichick told reporters on Monday. “As Rodney said, we’ve been through it a thousand times but we went through some of those things again today just to make sure everybody understands what we want to do and how important it is to do the right thing in situations like that or other game-type situations. Again, there are so many close plays in all these games — fumble, no fumble, score, no score, catch, no catch, did it cross the goal line, did it not cross the goal line. It seemed like there were a dozen of those kind of plays just in this weekend so every inch, every little thing is so important. We’ve emphasized it before and we’ll continue to do that.”
And that’s one of the reasons why Belichick and the Patriots have five Super Bowl wins, and why they’ve been getting ready for a game in the round of eight every January for the last nine.