Four corners: Did Belichick play with fire, or just play the percentages?

Putting the outcome aside, what did you think of Patriots coach Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 against the Colts with his team leading by 6 inside its 30-yard line?

November 17, 2009

The odds were with him
Dave Hyde

Sun Sentinel

I liked Bill Belichick's call. He went for the win. His quarterback, Tom Brady, converts 76 percent of fourth downs. His defense is weaker than most years - and it was gassed by that point in the game.

Here's what Peyton Manning did in the fourth quarter to that point: Five plays, 79 yards in 2:04, touchdown; one play, interception; six plays, 79 yards in 1:49, touchdown. So Belichick put the game in Brady's hands.

Here's why people say it was dumb: It didn't work. We play the result all the time in sports. And the catch by Kevin Faulk came up just short. Four plays and 29 yards later, Manning finished off the comeback.

I wish Belichick had made it. Then more coaches would be brave enough to play the smart odds like this.

dhyde@tribune.com

'Genius' had brain cramp
George Diaz

Orlando Sentinel

Bill Belichick is not a genius. He is a doofus.

The Hoodie lost his mind when he went for it on fourth-and-2 from the New England 28-yard line with his team leading the Colts 34-28.

The Patriots failed to make a first down, giving Peyton Manning and the Colts the ball and a very short field with a little under two minutes to play.

Room service. Colts win 35-34.

"We thought we could win the game on that play," Belichick said.

No, you lost the game for your team on that play. For somebody who has such a reputation as a mastermind, this is inexcusable.

This was a Little League meltdown, or something you might see on a flag-football field.

gdiaz@tribune.com

Is he starting to lose it?
Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

The term "jump the shark" is a reference to a "Happy Days" episode in which Fonzie, on water skis, jumps over a pool of sharks. It was over the top, and that phrase is now used when TV shows seemingly lose their way.

Bill Belichick may have "jumped the shark" Sunday. After so many years of success, he may be so convinced of his infallibility that he can persuade (delude?) himself into thinking that any move he makes is right. Could there be another explanation for going for it on fourth-and-2 at his 28 with a six-point lead and 2:02 left?

This will pass, and Belichick ultimately will be remembered as a multiple champion by his admirers. But if his career begins to wind down, this could be the point he went over the edge.

damore@tribune.com

Pats had no good options
Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The call always is wrong when it doesn't work.

But the truth is, there probably wasn't a right call to be made by Bill Belichick on Sunday night.

The Patriots probably would have lost to the Colts regardless of what their coach decided to do on fourth-and-2 from their 28. If they would have punted, they would have been more conventional, but they likely would have watched Peyton Manning drive his team 70 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

Belichick decided to go for it, which was the risky call. He could make that risky call because he's Bill Belichick. He gambled on Tom Brady rather than gamble against Manning. He lost - so he made the wrong call.

dpompei@tribune.com

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