Beligenius outsmarts himself with fake punt

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field during warm ups before the AFC division playoff game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on January 16, 2011. UPI/Matthew Healey

Bill Belichick is widely regarded as the best head coach in the league, and with good reason. Some even go so far as to say he’s the best head coach in the history of the league. That’s going a little too far (in my opinion) because Belichick has a tendency to outsmart himself. Here’s an example:

Down 7-3 with 1:14 to play in the second quarter, the Pats faced a 4th-and-4 on their own 38-yard line, and Belichick dialed up a fake punt that failed miserably. The Jets took over, and four plays later, Braylon Edwards was carrying two Patriots into the endzone to give the Jets a 14-3 lead going into halftime.

I understand what Belichick was going for — he was trying to steal momentum and continue the Pats’ final drive. But his team was only down four heading into halftime and was going to get the ball first in the second half. Why risk giving the Jets even more momentum by potentially giving them the ball in your own territory? It looked from the replay that had Patrick Chung caught the ball cleanly, he may have gained the first down, extending the drive. But there’s always a chance that a risky play is going to fail, and that one did.

The Jets are like a sorta-hot girl who thinks she’s really hot, but isn’t entirely sure, so she constantly needs to spur conversation about how hot she is. She’s not sure she’s as hot as her (really hot) best friend, so she needs that affirmation. When she gets it (via an 11-point lead at halftime), she gains confidence and becomes a real pill to deal with. At that point, even Tom Brady won’t be able to score with her.

If New England had simply punted the ball away, the conservative Jets would probably have been content with their four-point lead, but the doubts would still linger. If Brady and Co. drove down the field on the first possession of the second half and took the lead back, all of those old insecurities would return to the surface.

Instead, the Pats went for it on 4th-and-4 and essentially gave the Jets a field goal with a shot at a touchdown. When Edwards carried those two defenders into the endzone, the Jets’ self-esteem went through the roof.

From New England’s point of view, it seemed to be a frustration call, and those rarely work out. They couldn’t believe how they were struggling offensively in the first two quarters and felt like they should be able to put points up on the board on that final drive. But they didn’t consider the downside of a botched fake punt, and it might have cost them a win.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

One response to “Beligenius outsmarts himself with fake punt”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>