Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

WP:Patriots Are Bedeviled by the Details


Recommended Posts

Patriots Are Bedeviled by the Details

Questionable Calls On Last Drive Cut Short Rally

By Emily Badger

Washington Post Staff Writer


Half an hour after the Washington Redskins' 20-17 victory yesterday, New England quarterback Tom Brady still looked stunned that the Patriots had squandered the perfect opportunity to steal a win after trailing for most of the game.

"A lot of times it comes down to execution, and what more could you ask for than what we had?" he said. "We did a good job getting back in the game. The defense did a hell of a job keeping it close. Then it just comes down to our shoulders. When you get the ball with 1:40 on the 45 and you can't get a first down, that's a pretty bad feeling."

The Patriots instead ran a four-play drive that stalled at the 38-yard line and left enough questions hanging over the field to keep the couch quarterbacks and call-in shows in New England busy all day today.

Why didn't the Patriots use their final timeout at fourth and three from the 38-yard line? Why did Brady throw 15 yards downfield on the final play instead of waiting out his short receivers? Why not go for the field goal? And why call a draw play at third and five?

"We were trying to pick up the first down," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick deadpanned in answering the last question.

He offered scant analysis of the drive that cost the Patriots the win -- or at least a chance to tie -- and instead let his curt answers hint at the frustration he felt after watching his team turn the ball over four times.

As for the final timeout, Belichick said he thought his team had more than enough time on the clock to pull out a leisurely comeback.

Brady's first play from the 45 was an incomplete pass to Deion Branch. He then connected with fullback Larry Centers for a five-yard gain. Brady went to Centers up the middle again for another two yards, giving New England fourth and three from the 38.

Centers said he was poised to convert the fourth down with 43 seconds left but instead saw the ball fly over his head.

"The quarterback saw an open guy downfield, and he went for it, and unfortunately we weren't able to hook it up," he said. "Where I was really doesn't matter once the ball leaves his hands."

The ball was tipped about 10 yards away by Redskins safety Ifeanyi Ohalete, ending the Patriots' comeback and inviting all of the questions.

Patriots place kicker Adam Vinatieri said a potential 55-yard field goal was just outside the range he and the coaching staff had set for the south end zone before the game: within 54 yards. His longest career field goal is a 57-yarder kicked last season against Chicago, but the chances of converting a fourth down seemed more likely.

"If it would've been fourth and 12, I guarantee you we would've kicked it," Vinatieri said. "But we thought we were going to get a first down and have a chance to score a touchdown."

The Patriots' final drive fell far short of the one that set it up: With 3 minutes 34 seconds left, Brady directed a nearly flawless scoring drive in which he had consecutive completions of 22, 14, 15, 12 and 7 yards to make the score 20-17.

Brady was positioned to redeem his three interceptions -- two in the first half -- but they only appeared even more glaring after the game.

After Washington ran out the final 37 seconds, Centers tried to play diplomat about all the close calls that could have reversed the outcome.

"I'm not going to say anything about that," he said of the decision not to take the final timeout. "I try to stay away from the coaching side of things. I've been told when you start coaching, you've got to take a pay cut."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...