Don't worry Patriots fans. Fresh off your loss vs. the Jets, I am going to help you out. I am going to give you someone to blame. It's easy if you think about it, the goat of the game is clearly the guy that Patriots fans say is a "genius" That's right, the head coach Bill Belichick.
I wrote a column a while ago on this site about the Patriots, and many Pats fans told me Belichick was the greatest coach of all time and a football "genius."
Well, I am here to tell you that "genius" is the main reason your team is sitting home next week instead of playing the Steelers.
First, benching Wes Welker before the start of the game which some people say shows Bill Belichick runs a disciplined team was stupid. You make statements in the regular season not in the divisional round of the playoffs. Benching Welker was not showing discipline. It was showing arrogance.
It was saying, we are so much better than you; we can bench our best WR for the first possession and still beat you.
I understand the purpose of benching Welker, who broke a Belichick rule by speaking to the media and trash talking the Jets. Yet at the same time, the Patriots did not score in their first possession. Maybe they would have if Welker was on the field, and they would have gotten momentum and potentially changed the whole game. We'll never know now.
In a game this important, was it really worth making a statement to your best WR? Not to mention, it was Wes Welker, a guy who has NEVER been a disciplinary problem before. I could understand if it was Randy Moss, but you bench one of the calmest, quietest guys on your team? Really, Bill? Really?
Benching Welker was nothing more than Belichick being arrogant and thinking his team would win anyways. Belichick's team was not prepared for the adjustments the Jets made on defense, perhaps because their head coach was so arrogant, he thought the game was over before it started.
I know all the Patriots fans thought that. Apparently, the head coach did too.
That was not the only mistake Bill made though.
Second, with about five minutes left, down 21-11, Belichick went for it on 4th-and-13 rather than trying a 52-yard field goal. I understand that Shayne Graham may not be the best kicker in the NFL, but you need the field goal anyways, and the odds of making a 52-yard field goal were significantly better than converting 4th-and-13.
Any other coach kicks a field goal in that spot. Belichick, who is so arrogant to think his offense can convert, goes for it. The Pats don't convert the field goal and have to burn a timeout still down 10, instead of potentially seven.
Was benching Wes Welker at the start of the game a smart thing to do?
Not to mention, if you miss the field goal, you are in the same boat you would have been if you did not convert the first down, meaning you would have had to get a quick stop. So why not try to get the points on the board?
Another terrible mistake by Belichick.
Finally, the Patriots score with just under two minutes left to make it 21-18. They still have two timeouts. If you kick it deep and use your timeouts, you might get the ball back with about a minute left and no timeouts, but with good field position, possibly at the 30 or 40-yard line.
The Jets were set up for an onside kick, so kicking it deep would have possibly pinned them inside their own 20.
By kicking it onside, you almost guarantee the Jets a field goal, unless you recover it which is a very low-percentage play. You don't give the Jets an easy field goal at worst in that spot.
The smart thing to do is kick it deep. Phil Simms even said the same thing on the broadcast.
Belichick, aka, the "genius" goes for the onside kick, and Cromartie runs it back, and the Jets have the ball at the Patriots 20, which pretty much ended the game.
This game was won by the Jets largely because Rex Ryan outcoached Bill Belichick. People say Ryan is arrogant, yet Ryan's team seems to do exactly what he says. On 4th-and-1, Ryan punts the ball. He plays defense. He coaches smartly, and his team played a smart, well executed and well disciplined game.
Belichick always seems to think no one can stop Belichick and Brady. That arrogance is why the Patriots are going to be sitting at home next week watching the Steelers and Jets play in the AFC Championship.
Congrats to Rex Ryan and the Jets. It was a well earned win. They are the first team in a decade to beat the Colts and Pats on back-to-back weeks.
It's amazing that the Patriots for the second straight year lost at home in their first playoff game, largely because Belichick got outcoached.
I don't want to say it, but I have to: The Patriots still have not won a Super Bowl since Spygate. Be honest, I am not the only one thinking it. Kind of makes you wonder about the "genius" of Bill Belichick, doesn't it?
I do have one piece of good news. I do think there was a genius coaching in this game. His name is Rex Ryan. He coaches the Jets, who might just go all the way.
Just ask Rex, he'll tell you!