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The top banana, Belichick, slips up

He's critical -- of himself

By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / October 18, 2004

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FOXBOROUGH -- After Bill Belichick won his 20th consecutive game, he told the world how lousy he coached in yesterday's 30-20 win over the Seahawks, which ran his record this season to 5-0.

"We had some mistakes and we screwed some things up," Belichick said. "A lot of our problems, I shouldn't say a lot, some of our problems, defensively, are just coaching problems. We just did a poor job. I did a poor job, and a lot of the yards and points they got were just -- I should take responsibility and will take the responsibility."

Belichick's mea culpa was surprising, but he was serious. Asked to elaborate, he said, "It was just, well, poor. I had guys wide open. It was bad, bad coaching, period. It was bad coaching. There was a guy wide open and there was nobody covering him because I screwed the thing up, just bad."

The play he seemed to be referring to was Darrell Jackson's 37-yard reception on third and 3 in the second quarter, which put the ball at the Patriot 19. New England's defense held Seattle to a field goal that made it a 17-3 Patriots lead.

Belichick's "admission" led cornerback Ty Law to quip, "No comment on that. For him to say that, maybe we won't get chewed out as much when we're watching the film this week."

Safety Rodney Harrison said, "He's such a perfectionist that he's going to say that. When we watch the film, maybe we'll see what he sees."

Belichick talked to the officials often during the game, especially when Bethel Johnson's outstanding late catch was challenged by Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren.

"When a play is being reviewed, what is supposed to happen, the official is supposed to come to both benches, or especially the bench of the team that has not challenged, and explain what the challenge is. They should come and tell me, `OK, this is what is being challenged.' "

Belichick said he recalled a similar situation involving the same referee (Terry McAulay) in 2001 in a game against San Diego.

"Doug [Flutie] went to spike the ball, the ball went out of his hand, was it a fumble, was it an incomplete pass, was it a lateral, what was it? They reviewed the play and they went back, and San Diego spiked the ball and they kicked a field goal, and the guy missed it, but that was another one of those `What is going on?' So all I was looking for was an explanation," Belichick said.

Milestone for Law
Law tied Raymond Clayborn for the team interception record (36) with his first-quarter pick of Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "That was one of my personal goals this year," Law said. "I wanted to get that one. That was real important to me. I'm glad I own a piece of it. I'm glad we won the game." In describing the interception, Law said, "I know [Hasselbeck] couldn't throw it that far, he'd have to be [Donovan] McNabb or [Daunte] Culpepper to throw it deep. I took a chance, I read the route, and I jumped on it and I was fortunate to get it. I had to stretch out for it. I wish I didn't have to, so I could run down the sideline. Ultimately, I'd have liked a score. But the most important thing is to get the ball back in Tom Brady's hands, and I was happy to be able to do that." . . . As expected, Deion Branch (knee) and Troy Brown (shoulder) were inactive. Also inactive were quarterback Jim Miller, receiver P.K. Sam (groin), offensive lineman Gene Mruczkowski, tight end Jed Weaver, and defensive linemen Marquise Hill and Ethan Kelley. Two players listed as "questionable" during the week who were active were starting cornerback Tyrone Poole (knee) and running back Corey Dillon (foot, ankle). Poole was re-injured in the first half, and didn't return. Patrick Pass also came out of the game with an undisclosed leg injury and didn't play in the second half. The Patriots used Rabih Abdullah as a fullback in some formations.

A first for Klecko
Dan Klecko caught his first NFL pass on third and 4 at the Seattle 39 with 5:14 remaining in the second quarter. Klecko was left wide open on the right side, and went 11 yards to the Seahawks 28, which set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal. Brady knew he might throw it to Klecko. "I [was] just letting him know that I [was] thinking about him, and then if the opportunity comes up, although it hadn't come up all week in practice, that you better stay alive because I might be throwing the ball to you," he said. Brady's first two reads weren't open, so he went to the 5-foot-11-inch, 275-pound defender . . . Harrison, who would like to be an official when his playing days are over, made sure the officials called Koren Robinson for taunting when he spun the football around after a 31-yard catch with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter. The 15-yard penalty put the ball back to the 26 and the Seahawks eventually had to punt from deep in their territory . . . The Patriots' Josh Miller, who has been solid this season, punted only twice. His long was 52 yards and he dropped both inside the 20 . . . The Patriots used a lot of looks on the defensive line, sometimes using nose tackles Keith Traylor and Vince Wilfork at the same time, with Wilfork playing end. Ty Warren, who was credited with a sack on the Seahawks' opening drive, said the rotation wasn't new. But it did seem to add to the confusion for Hasselbeck.

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