Pro Bowl 2011: Bill Belichick Coaches Lackluster AFC in 55-41 Loss To NFC
Bill Belichick should have known it was going to be a bad day when Tom Brady wasn't his starting quarterback.
A Belichick-led AFC squad watched the points pile up in a 55-41 loss to the NFC on Sunday. The AFC may have put up as many points as Kobe Bryant did on Sunday, but in both cases, it wasn't enough.
Is it sad to say that the New England Patriots head coach looked classier than usual on the sideline wearing khaki shorts and a lei. Thanks to the Hawaii's warm weather, Belichick was able to finally slither out of his sweatshirt and soak up some sun.
Here are some other notable happenings for Belichick and his coaching staff at the 2011 Pro Bowl.
Scouting...Or a Lack Thereof
The crowd was surely happy to see the players in action, but Belichick knew he wouldn't be able to scout out future free agents.
“With the tempo of those practices, I think that would be pretty minimal,” Belichick said. “We’ll scout the golfing.”
A candid Belichick enjoyed the climate, but knew better than to go to Hawaii in search of new players.
A First Half Worth Forgetting
One team played defense and one team did not.
The AFC saw four consecutive possessions ended by turnovers in the first half, two thanks to Washington Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall. Four first half interceptions would usually make Belichick cringe, but he remained calm on the AFC sideline.
A little past midway in the second quarter, the AFC trailed 42-0.
If you looked close enough, you could see Belichick trying to switch teams.
The Patriots Were Represented Well
Wes Welker was among seven New England players on the field in Hawaii. Even with Tom Brady out of the picture, the Patriots still had a good showing.
Welker had five catches for 34 yards, which is a lot of touches for a player when so many people play in the game.
Rookie Devin McCourty leaped in the air to intercept a Matt Ryan pass in the second quarter. He defended two other passes and registered four tackles.
Jerod Mayo was second on the team with seven tackles after finishing with a career-high 175 this season.
Brandon Meriweather had three tackles of his own.
Offensive linemen Matt Light and Logan Mankins tied defensive tackle Vince Wolfork with one tackle each as all lineman spent the day playing paddy cake and standing upright.
The AFC Fought Back
Behind two Philip Rivers touchdown tosses, the AFC made a late run. The red team fell victim to another turnover when Carolina's Jon Beason intercepted former Patriot Matt Cassel and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown to bounce the lead back to 28.
Cassel, now a Kansas City Chief, threw two touchdowns after the fact to bring the game total to 96 points.
The offensive output was the second-highest in Pro Bowl history behind the 2004 edition of the game when the two teams combined for 107 points.
As the game clock expired, Belichick began his offseason. As you already know, his 14-2 Patriots were bounced from the playoffs by the pesky New York Jets in an AFC Divisional game.
Belichick watches as Brady put up numbers that will likely earn him the NFL MVP award, but faltered a little in the loss to the Jets. Belichick will look to make some key additions this offseason to push his team over the edge and gear them for a return to the Super Bowl.
Rumors are that he may be looking at Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is a free agent.
If Asomugha teamed up with McCourty, offenses would have a lot more trouble throwing against the Patriots.
Consider the AFC warned.