Mike Vrabel took a page from Belichick’s playbook and the Patriots coach didn’t like it a bit

Belichick ran a similar play against the Jets earlier this season.

The pupil learned well from the teacher; Mike Vrabel used a bit of Bill Belichick trickery against his former coach in the Titans’ wild-card victory.

FOXBOROUGH — Titans coach Mike Vrabel pulled a trick right out of Bill Belichick’splaybook in the fourth quarter when he employed a loophole that allowed the Titans to burn 1:55 off the clock and make his former coach livid while doing it.

The loophole involves intentionally drawing penalties while the clock is running, which means the clock will remain running after the penalty is enforced. It can only be done in the first 10 minutes of a quarter.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Belichick used the same strategy against the Jets in October, drawing delay-of-game and false-start penalties that Adam Gase kept declining. The maneuver tickled Belichick so much, he even cracked a smile on the sideline.


This time, Belichick was seething. He was caught on camera ripping off some expletives in the ear of an official.

The Titans committed two 5-yard penalties — delay of game and false start — before the Patriots committed one of their own (neutral zone infraction). The Titans’ Brett Kern finally punted the ball away with 4:51 left in the game.


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