Blame rests with Redskins, not Belichick

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 29, 2007 - 11:25 PM

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, the Patriots coach did nothing wrong in slapping 52 points on the overmatched Redskins.

SAN DIEGO - Dec. 2, 1995. That's the last time I remember Bill Belichick being accused of running up the score.

His Browns were trailing the host Chargers 31-10. Reporters had drifted from the comfy press box at what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium and were standing near one of the end zones.

The Chargers have this tradition of scaring the bejesus out of sportswriters by firing a cannon blast at the end of each game. Reporters were preparing for the nearby explosion when Belichick threw a curveball and called time out.

Out trotted place-kicker Matt Stover to kick a 40-yard field goal as time expired. The ball sailed through the uprights as one reporter cracked, "Bill Belichick just became the first coach in NFL history to lose by 18 points and run up the score."

Twelve years later, it's a much different story. The Patriots' 52-7 crushing of the Redskins on Sunday has many accusing Belichick of running up the winning score while at the controls of one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Even out here on the other coast, Chargers coach Norv Turner joked about the Patriots' 45-point victory and how it had become a hot topic in NFL circles on Monday.

Lamenting an overthrown pass to Chris Chambers that should have been an easy 65-yard touchdown in Sunday's 35-10 victory over the Texans, Turner paused and smiled. The Chargers were leading 35-3 midway through the third quarter when the deep ball was overthrown.

"Then again," he said, "I suppose if we hit that one, people would be accusing me of running up the score. So ... "

The Patriots are 8-0 and are averaging an NFL-leading 41.3 points per game heading into Sunday's showdown at Indianapolis. The Colts are 7-0 and averaging a mere 32 points per game.

Not since the Buffalo All-Americans (7-0) met the Akron Pros (7-0) in 1921 have two unbeaten NFL teams met this late in the season.

It's the perfect matchup. The Colts and Tony Dungy are the good guys in white hats. Belichick and the Patriots are the bad guys in black hats.

But, despite that and as much as I'd like to think otherwise, Belichick didn't do anything wrong in slapping the Redskins with their worst loss in 46 years.

The two plays in question are a fourth-and-1 from the Washington 7-yard line with 11:02 remaining, and a fourth-and-2 from the Washington 37 with 7:16 left. The Patriots converted both times en route to scoring touchdowns and taking leads of 45-0 and 52-0.

"What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?" Belichick asked. "It's 38-0. It's fourth down. It's the fourth quarter. We're just out there playing."

Washington defensive end Phillip Daniels said, well, yeah, he'd rather they kick the field goal.

"You've already got a giant lead and you still want to go for it on fourth down?" Daniels said. "To me, that's running up the score, no matter how you look at it."

To me, Daniels looks worse in saying that than Belichick does in going for it on fourth down.

And besides, on the fourth-and-1 at the 7, the Patriots did run the ball. Quarterback Tom Brady gained 2 yards on a sneak.

If Daniels and the Redskins are so mad, then stop Brady from falling forward for a first down, for gosh sakes. There also was 11 minutes left. And, remember, this is an NFL season that has seen the Lions score a league-record 34 fourth-quarter points, and Sage Rosenfels tie an NFL mark with four fourth-quarter touchdown passes.

  • related content

  • Looking ahead to San Diego

    Monday October 29, 2007

    NFL POWER RANKINGS(Through Monday night's game)1. New England (8-0)2. Indianapolis (7-0)3. Dallas (6-1)4. Green Bay (6-1)5. San Diego (4-3)6. Jacksonville...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 Bottom 9th Inning
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 Bottom 9th Inning
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 5 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 3
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 1 Top 2nd Inning
San Francisco 2
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Diego 3
Texas 0 Top 3rd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 2 Top 2nd Inning
Arizona 0
Arizona 0 Top 2nd Inning
Colorado 0
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 50 3rd Qtr
Brooklyn 61
Minnesota 22 2nd Qtr 8:18
New Orleans 34
Philadelphia 5 1st Qtr 9:56
Cleveland 2
Detroit 5:00 PM
Miami
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Boston
Dallas 6:00 PM
Indiana
Memphis 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Washington 2 3rd Prd
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 4:00 PM
Nashville
Boston 4:00 PM
Carolina
Detroit 4:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 4:00 PM
Ottawa
Anaheim 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Chicago 6:30 PM
Winnipeg
San Jose 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Michigan State 72 1st OT 1:26
Louisville 68
Gonzaga 4:05 PM
Duke
Philadelphia 4:00 PM
Chicago
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 57 2nd Half 3:52
Southern Miss 48
Temple 4:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Siena 4:00 PM
Louisiana
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
UCLA
(5) Baylor 7:30 PM
(2) Notre Dame
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close