The Pats Have No Class
Did the Patriots run up the score? Um, duh. Most Redskins said no, or deflected the question; a few said yes and were ticked off. But they don't have to say what it was; we're all sentient beings, and we can judge for ourselves.
The issue began on New England's first drive of the fourth quarter. The Pats were leading by 38. The Redskins had been manhandled all day, and hadn't scored as many as 38 points in more than two years, since Oct. 23, 2005. Were they now going to score that many in less than one quarter after flailing about for the first three? Um, no. This isn't baseball, with no time limit and infinite scoring opportunities. The game was over. So what did the Pats do? They left their All-Everything QB in the game, they threw a deep ball to the most dangerous receiver in the game, and then they went for it on fourth-and-one.
"What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?" muttered Bill Belichick at a reporter who dared question such tactics. "Just out there playing. Just out there playing."
And taking seven instead of four. Astutely discerning that 45 might not be a big enough lead, on their next drive the Pats then went for it on fourth-and-two from the Washington 37. Check that, they passed on fourth-and-two from the Washington 37. What else could they possibly have done, bumptious knave, attempted a field goal? Oh wait! Here's a third option for Belichick in case he gets confused in future situations: the punt. It can be your friend! And hark, here's a fourth option, courtesy of Phillip Daniels, in the Globe.
"They could run the ball: that's what most teams do when they get ahead like that in the fourth quarter," Daniels said. "They run the ball to knock the time off the clock. It's better to kick the field goal. I would be satisfied more if you kicked the field goal rather than throw the ball or go for it on fourth down. You've already got a giant lead and you still want to go for it on fourth down? To me, that's running up the score, no matter how you look at it."
Let's check in with Ty Warren, a member of those Patriots, also in the Globe.
"It is amazing to see the score ran up the way it's been," he said.
Ok, then. Consensus. Now the question: is this what a classy team would do? I mean, I don't particularly care; maybe it's better for a football team to have no class, to be barbarically dedicated to crushing people. As Shawn Springs put it, "they have one objective: to whoop people's ass....That answers all your questions." But classy, it's not. Here's what Randall Godfrey said to NBCSports.com.
"I said something to [Belichick] after the game....I told him, 'You need to show some respect for the game.' You just don't do that. I don't care how bad it is. You're up 35 points and you're still throwing deep? That's no respect....You gotta show some class, show some respect. Joe Gibbs? We wouldn't have done that. Bill Walsh? You wouldn't see those types of guys doing that stuff. I've never seen nothing like that....That was blatant disrespect. I hope we see them again, definitely. You don't see Joe Gibbs doing that. You can't even imagine that kind of stuff coming from him."
Etc. Much etc in that link, which is the definitive take on the running-up issue and includes more response from Belichick. Point being, whatever you think of the tactic, it's just not classy, and thus, the Patriots--on this day at least--have no class. (Also, they're convicted cheaters.) Regardless, more reaction to the score padding after the jump.
Jason Campbell: "When we're in those situations, you know, we tend to back of a little bit because that's just what we do....Their motto may be different. They may have a different approach for how they do things....As an NFL team we have to stop it. One thing you learn at this level is no one's going to give you anything."
Daniels, more, in the Globe: "That's like a slap in the face. At the same time, we've got to stop them. I don't know. If I was an offensive coach, maybe I'd do the same thing. I want to score too. I don't know. Sometimes, you've got to realize the game's won, just run the clock down and get off the field and go home."
Joe Gibbs: "I have no problem with anything they did. Nothing, no problems from me."
Belichick, alluding to an injury to tight end Kyle Brady: "We kind of offensively got knocked out of all of our regular formations there at the end of the game....We had to be pretty much in a three-receiver set....It wasn't really what we wanted to be at the end of the game, but that's all we had."
Gregg Williams: "We knew going into the ballgame that they were going to go for it on fourth down....Those are some things that good football teams do....That's on us. We've got to get off the football field."
Asante Samuel, in the Globe: "I don't think he's intentionally running up the score, not at all."
Pierson Prioleau, to me: "I don't want to get into saying they were running it up. They're a football team and it doesn't really matter. They can call as many plays as they want to call, try to score as many times as they want to score. It's up to us to stop them."
Boston Herald columnist Michael Felger: "They are basically in the process of raising their middle finger to the NFL."
Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, in the Herald: "You get paid for 60 minutes, not 30."
More Felger: "Belichick's utter refusal to lay off the throttle is becoming almost humorous."
Herald betting scribe Chris Letourneau, noting that the Pats are 8-0 against the spread and 7-1 against the over: "Some people might say enough is enough, but the Pats have a grudge against the entire league, and nobody likes it more than their loyal gamblers. The best part is that next Sunday, the line will be relatively small. Knowing Belichick's feelings about Bill Polian and the Colts, bet the farm. Pats by 60."
Roosevelt Colvin, to the Herald, about running up the score: "In your opinion, you could say that....You have a job to go out and do. Guys are getting it done. You can take it however you want to take it. We're trying to win the ballgame."
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