Morning Sports Update

Rob Ninkovich responded to Sean McDermott’s postgame soundbite about Bill Belichick

"Their mind is gone."

Sean McDermott
Sean McDermott during the Bills' loss to the Patriots. AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

The Bruins lost 2-1 to the Canucks in a shootout on Wednesday. Boston will have a quick turnaround, facing the Oilers in Edmonton tonight at 9 p.m.

The Celtics also lost on Wednesday, falling 114-111 to the Clippers. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 29 points.

Rob Ninkovich on Sean McDermott: In the aftermath of the Bills’ Monday night loss to the Patriots, Buffalo players and head coach Sean McDermott expressed their frustration during postgame press conferences.

McDermott bristled at a question regarding the psychological aspect of Bill Belichick’s run-heavy game plan.

“Let’s not give more credit than we need to give credit to Bill Belichick in this one,” McDermott said in response. “Whether it’s Bill or anybody else, they beat us. You sit here and you tell me when we start with the average starting field position at the 40-yard line and he starts [at] the 23-yard line—I’m rounding up in both cases—and we were 1-4 in the red zone, and they were 0-1 in the red zone. You give me that ahead [of the game], I’m sorry, I like my chances.


“With all due respect, it’s not a Bill Belichick-type thing,” McDermott added. “It’s, ‘what are you doing with the opportunities you’ve got?’”

The quote drew widespread attention as the Bills sunk below New England in the race to win the AFC East. One former Patriot couldn’t resist a response during a Wednesday “Get Up!” segment on ESPN.

“Their mind is gone,” said ex-Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. “I could say another phrase. We all know what that phrase is. You fill it in. Mind is gone. They’re not going to win this next game. It’s over with. What are we doing? What are we doing, head coach?”

The Bills will face a difficult matchup against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

Ninkovich also cited McDermott’s failed coach’s challenge on a Mac Jones quarterback sneak (which ultimately cost Buffalo a second half timeout).

“Let’s challenge another QB sneak and see if we get the turn,” said Ninkovich. “Like, what are we doing? How about I question your play-calling? How about I question a lot of things you did? Yeah, let’s challenge a muddle of a first down by the Patriots to see if they didn’t get the first down. That’s a terrible challenge. The head coach messed up. Give Bill [Belichick] the credit. He actually told you what he was going to do all day. OK, we’ll run the ball. Can you stop us? No.”


Looking ahead to the rematch between the Bills and Patriots in New England on Dec. 26, Ninkovich sees a Patriots rout.

“In Foxborough? One hundred to nothing.”

Trivia: In the Patriots’ 45-10 Divisional Round win on Jan. 14, 2012, which quarterback did Rob Ninkovich record 1.5 sacks against?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Despite leading his team to a division title and a playoff win in the wild card round, this was the last time this player would start an NFL game at quarterback.

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Ranking where the Patriots’ windy win on Monday night ranks in Bill Belichick’s career:

On this day: In 2007, the Patriots played the Steelers in a highly anticipated matchup. New England was undefeated with a record-setting offense, while the Steelers possessed the league’s top defense.

Prior to the matchup, Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a win. Of course, it didn’t got well for him (or the Pittsburgh defense as a whole). Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns and 399 passing yards as New England won the game, 34-13.

Both Brady and Randy Moss trash-talked Smith to his face during the game. Afterward, even Bill Belichick referenced the second-year safety.

“We’ve played against a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you,” said Belichick. The loss sent the Steelers’ season spiraling downward. Pittsburgh closed out the year 1-3 over the final month, and lost to the Jaguars in the playoffs.

2007 Patriots Steelers

Daily highlight: Obi Toppin threw down a between-the-legs dunk in a loss against the Pacers on Wednesday.

Trivia answer: Tim Tebow


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