Monday, November 16, 2009

Belichick made the right call

As Patriots fans we live by the phrase, "In Belichick we trust." Why wouldn't we? He has three Super Bowl wins in four appearances, and has been the leader of the most dominant team of the decade. Everyone is calling his decision to go for it on 4th and 2 idiotic, and that is understandable. But, would those same people be calling it gutsy if they had converted that 4th down?  That is what I always get so frustrated about with both the media and the fans. Their opinions often change based on the result.

My first reaction was the same as many of yours. Are they really going for it? Or, well they must just be trying to get them to jump offsides. I was crushed. We had dominated the Colts for most of the game and now our chance at home field was gone. This morning on my drive to work, I realized that this was really the only call he could have made. Does anyone think Manning wouldn't have driven 60 yards for a touchdown? He had two drives that quarter of equal or more yards, one which took less than 2 minutes. Sure, one of those drives was aided by a suspect pass interference call, but I think Belichick knows his defense well enough to know when they are out of gas.

Also, they had one timeout plus the two minute warning to work with. The Patriots were down  two defensive linemen and their best rushing linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. If you add that to the fact that Manning has gotten to the point where he always scores touchdowns in these situations, you can see why Belichick might have made the decision he did.  Would it have been more difficult than going the 30 yards? Of course. But I still think it was the right call for that situation.

Though I defend Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th and 2, he made plenty of other mistakes in the game.  His first mistake was using up all of his timeouts too early. Even though I think Faulk did come up short, it would've been a play to challenge, and without the timeouts he did not have that luxury.  Also, I don't understand why they called a timeout on first down after the kick off.  Lastly, though Kevin Faulk is probably my favorite player in the league, why not go to Wes Welker on that 4th and 2? He was doing basically anything he wanted the entire game and is the best slot receiver in the league.  Sometimes I  think Belichick is over confident and just expects the chips to fall in his favor every time.

What makes Belichick so great is that he is willing to take chances, but sometimes these risks backfire. I understand both sides of the debate, but at the end of the day it is easy to make opinions after the fact. The Patriots are still going to win the division and be a 2 or 3 seed in the playoffs. They aren't scared of the Colts at all, but I will admit Manning is in Belichick's head. Belichick showed the ultimate respect to Manning by going for it on 4th and 2. Peyton showed how great of a quarterback he is by virtually winning the game by himself, with the absence of a running game. I think he has developed into the equal of Brady in terms of being clutch, at least in the regular season.

The bottom line is this; Belichick made the call and has to live with the consequences.  The game is over so there is no use in mulling over what could have been. If you can't make 2 yards, maybe you don't deserve to win the game.  These two teams will most likely meet again in the playoffs on the same field, and I fully expect the Patriots to win that game. Remember hate him or love him, Belichick always will get your attention.

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