photos by Mike Cyrus / Sports View America
By Dr. John Huang
(CINCINNATI, Oh.) – When it comes to the New England Patriots, you either love them or hate them. There is NO middle ground.
Cincinnati fans found little to love in the Bengals’ 34-13 loss to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and crew. An all too familiar dismal performance chalked up loss number thirteen for a franchise in apparent disarray. A relatively manageable 13-10 halftime deficit quickly ballooned out of hand as the home team self destructed in the final two quarters.
A season-high crowd of 57,066 saw quarterback Andy Dalton throw a career-high four interceptions on his way to another forgettable outing. On the afternoon, the nine-year pro—entering most likely his last season with the team—was 17 of 31 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Joe Mixon continued to excel. His 136 yards on 25 carries was essentially the lone bright spot in a disappointing campaign that has jumped the rails.
As uninspiring as the in-game action was, the postgame wrap-up was better than I anticipated. Let’s just say the Patriots do things a little bit differently than other NFL teams. Whether it’s Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, there’s a level of arrogance manifested through needless additional security measures. The irony of the franchise known best for spying and cheating doing everything in their power to keep their opponents from gaining the upper hand was not lost on the media members present.
Bill Belichick, the seven-time Super Bowl winning coach, was much more cordial and animated than I anticipated. Missing from the interview room today was that usual curt self, spewing out answers to reporter’s questions in the most banal manner possible. Perhaps spending the last few years attending Marvin Lewis’ postgame pressers has permanently skewed my judgment.
I asked Belichick what words of encouragement he had for Coach Zac Taylor. After all, with all his expertise gained over years of coaching in the NFL, surely he remembers what it was like for a rookie coach just starting out.
What Belichick said: “They’ve got a good football team. They’ve got a lot of good players. We had a hard time with their defensive line. They’re fine.”
What I think Belichick meant: I have to say something good here. I can’t say anything remotely positive about their offense because it was atrocious. They can’t score touchdowns in the red zone to save their lives. Their receivers didn’t fight for any balls. The turnovers they committed won the game for us. Ergo, I’ll just say something positive about their defense.
What Belichick said: “They’ve got great depth at their skill players. You know they lost two of their best players—Green and Tate. Losing their top two players—it’s tough.”
What I think Belichick meant: Hey, injuries are part of the game. I know. Been there, done that. Guys can’t help you if they’re not on the field. You gotta be prepared to go out and snatch some future stars on the free agent market. No feeling sorry for yourself. Next man up.
What Belichick said: “They’re tough, they’re competitive, they’re good in all three phases of the game. As always, we have trouble with their special teams. They’re a very good unit. And that’s why they’re ranked as top one in the league. That was a big challenge for our guys on special teams.”
What I think Belichick meant: They punt a lot and kick a lot of field goals. They should be very good in those areas. Practice makes perfect.
What Belichick said: “This is a good football team. It has a lot of good players. I’m sure their day will come.”
What I think Belichick meant: Their day will come, but not anytime soon—at least not while I’m still coaching, hehe.”
There you have it—direct from the mastermind behind Deflategate, Spygate, and whatever else gate that’s sure to come our way. After all, if you want to play Patriot Games, you have to play by their rules.
Tom Brady completed 15 of 29 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. New England clinches playoff berth with 11-3 record. Cincinnati drops to 1-13. Dolphins and Browns remain on the upcoming schedule.