Manning, Colts continue streak thanks to Gift-wrapped TD from Belichick, Brady

Casey Mabbott@@oregonsportsguyContributor INovember 16, 2009

Bill Belichick can no longer handle being a head coach in today’s NFL.

The stress has clearly gotten to him.

You never want to see a coach wild eyed and wringing his hands in the waning moments of a crucial game.

If you have won three superbowls in the course of 10 years, it really doesn’t matter what you do after that—but it is still in your best interest not to embarrass yourself or derail your legacy.

That is why fans and haters alike are able to forgive the spygate/eff you season of 2007.

Belichick and his assistants set out to embarrass every single opponent they faced, and could not make good decisions in the most critical moments of the biggest game on the biggest stage.

The Patriots coaching staff made many of those same mistakes last night, and were it not for a talent laden roster, I am not sure Bill (one of the best defensive minds in the game) is able to compete with the way defenses are built now.

His schemes are no longer confusing opponents, and his players are getting younger each season.

At the peak of their dynasty, the Pats would employ a veterans-only roster, compiled of all-pro linebackers and some of the nastiest corners and safeties to play the game.

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Those days are long gone.

Never wanting to pay one of his own defenders what he is clearly worth, Belichick always used free agency to bring in other veterans, choosing experienced and intelligent players over youthful and inexperienced players.

It was as if the Patriots had a sign at the players entrance that read "Must be leaning towards 30 and possess a laundry list of nasty hits to apply".

The current defensive roster is comprised of youthful, inexperienced players that seem to tire too quickly and fail to live up to the expectations the “grey-beards” have set for them.

During all those championship runs, the Patriots employed a much different offense.

The job of the quarterback was to manage the game, control the clock with lots of run plays, and complete short and intermediate passes.

My oh my how the times are changing.

The Patriots seemingly went from a run first, team-first offense to a pass first, me-first attack.

Watching and listening to Tom Brady the last few seasons, it's clear the success of the offense has boosted his ego beyond control.

As a QB, he obviously loves to throw the ball. But he lacks many of the game changing dynamics that make Peyton Manning a coach on the field.

Faced with 4th and 2 on his own 29 yard line, coach Bill opted to go for it.

He sent the offense back on the field, with the ever dependable Kevin Faulk lined up in the backfield as a check down option for Brady.

How many times has Faulk bailed the offense out by turning short throws into long gains?


So you can see why Belichick thought the gamble would work. He shouldn’t have taken the gamble, but you can see why he did it.

What he did not count on is that Brady would fail to check down to the right route.

The Colts loaded the box, clearly showing an all out blitz. Brady watched them do this, and failed to audible to a better play.

You only need two yards.

Throw to Welker or Moss on the outside and let them lean over for the first.

Waiting for Faulk to get out of the backfield and cross the marker took too much time against a blitz. The pocket fell back, and Brady was forced to rush his throw.

This caused Faulk to try and make an awkward catch falling backward, which rendered the play useless.

No one in the stadium doubted that Peyton Manning would capitalize on such a reckless gamble.

He had just taken the offense 80 yards in little more than a minute and a half to score. Did anyone think 29 yards were going to stand in his way of sticking it to his biggest rival?

By the looks on Brady’s and Billichick’s faces, even they knew the inevitable.

It was the same look you saw when younger brother Eli threw the game winning touchdown in the 2007 Superbowl.

Side note- The Patriots lost that game by three points and had gone for it on fourth down deep in Giants territory that basically took points off the board. Yet another moment Billicheck will have to live down.

So much for comparing Walsh-Montana or Knoll-Bradshaw to Belichick-Brady.

I have never seen a Coach-QB combo blow this many big games with bad decisions.

Brady should have made a higher percentage throw.

Belichick should have punted.

Moss and Welker should have been furious.

They were both brought in to be big-money playmakers and game-changers. And yet on the most critical play of possibly the most crucial game of the season (in the last several years this matchup usually determines home-field advantage) they were demoted to non-factor status.

You have God’s gift to football standing on the field and you don’t trust him enough to throw his way.

You have arguably the best slot receiver ever in the game, and you don’t even look his way.

You have a career backup at running back, and he is your first and only read.

Game-set-match, Manning.

This whole argument of who is the better QB can be shut down.

Manning is trusted and encouraged to make all the necessary adjustments at the line of scrimmage, and he rarely makes costly errors.

So which is it? Is Brady not allowed to adjust the play or did he simply fail to make the right call?

Either way, it is clear the Manning has the trust and ability to single-handedly change the outcome of a game.

It is also clear that Brady is a much more effective QB when he is relegated to game manager.

In the early parts of this season, the Pats tried to employ their pass first offense, and were burned by the Bills and Jets, two teams that rarely gave them problems in the past.

Right after those contests, Belichick saw the warning signs and simply reverted back to a run first, team first gameplan that saw the Patriots turn around a season heading towards decline.

I can only guess that against an injury depleted Colts secondary and facing a rookie head coach, good ol’ Bill liked his chances.

Mouth watering, he went right back to his “eff you” gameplan.

One-nothing Colts. Since they seem to be the only team equipped on all sides of the ball to compete against the Pats and Randy Moss when he has 176 yards and 2 scores, Bill may not learn the lesson he needs to. Not until an inevitable matchup in the playoffs that is.

Great coaches constantly change plans and adjust to what they are faced with. They usually bring in talent on both sides of the ball to create a gameplan that gives them the best chance to win.

Decent coaches use an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” gameplan, and ride the coattails of talented players. They will usually ignore the wants and needs of the players they have deemed “replacable” and state that the system is far more important than any one player.

From 2001-2006, Bill Belichick was a great coach. No one questioned his methods, because he would always find a way to beat you when it really counted.

From 2007-present, Belichick is a decent coach, who too often gambles and loses. He has not made the proper adjustments, and an argument can be made that he has failed to bring in the proper personnel to make his system effective.

Switching from a stalwart, eat you alive defense and a ball control game plan to a pass first offense and a young, tired, and ineffective defense has clearly slowed his sprint to the hall of fame.

He is wandering away from the Walsh comparisons, and getting ever closer to the Seifert comparisons.

Walsh built a dynasty and left during his prime, having changed the way football is played today.

Seifert seemingly rode Walsh’s coattails, assisted by the talented offense run by west coast deciple Mike Holmgrene.

Seifert won two superbowls with the 49ers, both times shattering the record for biggest winning margin in a game.

He took over the Panthers in 1999, and was fired in 2001 after leading the team to a 1-15 record.

Billicheck seems to be riding the waves Parcells created, and it is starting to show.

Everyone has to hang it up eventually, perhaps it is time for the Patriots to start looking for an heir to the throne.

Brady only has 5-6 years left, doesn’t he deserve a coach that cares about what his players can do, not trying to control every single thing they say and do?

Losing Josh McDaniels may be the biggest loss the Patriots suffer all season, and that could cripple their hopes for another championship this decade.

The Patriots need a new head man, not a coach who isn’t quite finished giving the collective sports world “the finger”.

Bill Belichick is a good enough coach.

In the win-now NFL, good enough just isn’t good enough any more.

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