Kendrick Bourne beat the odds with his touchdown run, and an unflagged taunt

Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
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Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne had a Sunday remember. There’s a good chance that at least a little bit of his Monday will be something to forget.

Bourne had two touchdown catches in the 36-13 win over the Titans. One, in the corner of the end zone, happened when Bourne somehow planted his second foot while being forced out of bounds by Titans safety Kevin Byard. Then, Bourne took an underneath crossing route 41 yards to the end zone, an outcome that the NFL’s @NextGenStats account calculated at 0.3 percent.

A couple of jukes allowed Bourne to get to the sideline and then a block from Jakobi Myers helped spring Bourne, who threw a stiff arm at linebacker Jayon Brown as Bourne somehow managed to remain in bounds on his way to pay dirt.

The most fascinating moment, given the league’s current obsession with its renewed emphasis on the taunting rule, came when Bourne gave in to the temptation to quickly flash a peace sign at cornerback Buster Skrine as he tried in vain to keep Bourne from scoring.

The officials didn’t see it. The cameras did. Coach Bill Belichick surely did. And Belichick undoubtedly will let Bourne hear about it.

Although fans and media have become exasperated with the taunting focus, everyone knows the rules at this point. And everyone knows that any gesture toward an opponent potentially crosses the line. Bourne did it too quickly for the officials to see it.

If they had, it would have resulted in a kickoff from the 20 and presumably better field position for the Titans as they embarked on the effort to cut the margin back to six. (Tennessee ultimately got the ball to the two, with an interception happening on fourth and goal.)

This isn’t a defense of the rule. It’s an acknowledgement of it. And it’s an observation that Belichick undoubtedly has told his players to not do anything that would remotely fall into the category of taunting.

Indeed, receiver Brandin Cooks and tight end Rob Gronkowskigot yelled at” in 2017 for their piggyback-ride celebration, even though a relaxation of the rules that year allowed such gestures. Bourne, despite his two touchdowns, quite possibly will get yelled at by Belichick, as a reminder to all Patriots not to risk giving up 15 yards of field position — especially as the stakes of an unexpectedly special season get higher and higher.

16 responses to “Kendrick Bourne beat the odds with his touchdown run, and an unflagged taunt

  1. The Titans style of back-alley fist fight football is taxing on both them and their opponents. They seem to be wearing down.

    That run and catch was excellent. Pats look good while the Titans peaked in LA

  2. …….I remember when peace signs were a loving gesture.

    …….how did we get here?

  3. I actually didn’t see this in real time. Maybe because it wasn’t obvious or “taunting”? I was concerned the JC Jackson pick 6 vs Carolina with him looking behind him over and over might get called.

    The refs need to call this with some light discretion. Trying to mitigate taunting when maybe it isn’t is pretty sad.

  4. the pats dont get that flag. we went over this after the steelers/bears game. the following teams dont get taunting penalties: ne, gb, pitt, dal, kc, lar.

  5. I noticed this real time and was surprised it wasn’t flagged. I’m not sure if he meant it as “peace” or because it was his second touchdown. Either way, wait until you get into the end zone and then celebrate with your teammates, the only reason he scored was because of Meyers block. This stuff drives me just as nuts as DBs who celebrate a WR dropping a pass

  6. I’m OK with celebrating…but I can’t stand the taunting. It’s petty, cheap, unprofessional, demonstrates poor sportsmanship and generally crappy values. It just drives me nuts to see the taunting. The players should be able to hold themselves to a higher standard.

  7. How come an entire defensive unit running to the end zone after an interception or fumble recovery is not taunting, but an offensive player holding up two-fingers while crossing the goal line is taunting? I would think that both would be celebrations. Now if he were only holding up one finger and it was one particular finger, that might be taunting.

  8. Amazing how Belichick can take other teams castoffs and make them productive. Agholor, Bourne, Henry, Smith are all productive.

  9. I feel assured that someone on the staff will talk to him about it. I too was waiting for the flag when I saw it on the replays.

  10. Good point about defenses running into end zone to celebrate after a turnover. Watched the Ravens do it last night after a turnover, all 11 players ran about 50 yards to celebrate in the EZ. Not a pick 6 or fumble recovery for TD, just a regular turnover. The Ravens should act like they’ve done it before. Maybe they haven’t, I don’t know their turnover stats. Last night there were 6 turnovers by both teams, hope this didn’t happen for all 6.

  11. How on earth could the league screw up figuring out what constitutes taunting and what’s just celebratory? I mean, it’s not like trying to figure out the Ideal Gas Law in middle school science class or something.

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