Morning sports update: Bill Belichick might have made a ‘fun’ reference to Lane Johnson

Belichick used unusual wording in his postgame press conference.

Bill Belichick during Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Bill Belichick during Sunday's game against the Eagles. –AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Patriots found a way to rally from a 10-0 deficit to defeat the Eagles on Sunday, 17-10. New England is now 9-1, clinching a 19th consecutive winning season.

Also on Sunday, the Kings ended the Celtics’ 10-game winning streak with a 100-99 win. Marcus Smart’s shot with time expiring bounced agonizing on the rim, but ultimately didn’t fall Boston’s way.

The Celtics are in Phoenix today for a 9 p.m. game against the Suns.

Bill Belichick made a conspicuous reference during his press conference: After the Patriots’ win on Sunday, Bill Belichick began his postgame press conference with a short summary of his thoughts.

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The Patriots’ coach ended his introduction with an interesting choice of words.

“It looked like everyone had fun out there today and we played with a lot of good energy,” said Belichick. “It was good to come down here and get a win.”

The usage of “fun” drew some reactions, given that it’s not a usual Belichick description. More importantly, it was a possible response to a criticism of vocal Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson.

After the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, Johnson criticized the Patriots as a “fear-based organization.”

“They’ve won for a long time,” Johnson said in 2018. “Do I think people enjoy and can say, ‘I had a lot of fun playing there’? No, I don’t.”

It wouldn’t be the first Patriots response to Johnson. After winning Super Bowl LII earlier in 2019, New England safety Duron Harmon and linebacker Kyle Van Noy each offered direct ripostes to Johnson on social media.

And prior to Sunday’s game, Johnson himself restarted the trash-talking with a “fun” tweet:

Johnson exited Sunday’s game with a head injury, and did not return.

Trivia: Julian Edelman threw a touchdown pass for the Patriots on Sunday. It’s the second touchdown pass of Edelman’s career in New England (the first coming in the playoffs). Combining the regular season and the playoffs, can you name all of the Patriots not named Tom Brady who have thrown a touchdown pass since 2001?

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(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Their initials are MC, DB, JE, JB, JG, VT, AV, BH, and DP.

More from Boston.com:

Kyle Van Noy heard that Tony Romo referenced him as a “no name”:

Visual representation of the Patriots’ dominance:

Former Celtic Evan Turner went at the king and did not miss: Of course, LeBron James’s Lakers won the game, 122-101.

On this day: In 2001, the Patriots lost to the Rams at Foxboro Stadium, 24-17. It would prove to be New England’s last loss of the season, as Bill Belichick’s team rattled off nine straight victories, culminating in a rematch win over the Rams in the Super Bowl.

The November loss to the then-St. Louis Rams was a fascinating measuring stick for the Patriots. The Rams — then in the midst of a golden age of offensive production (the “Greatest Show on Turf”) — were an excellent test for Belichick’s defense.

The Patriots were able to bottle up Marshall Faulk on the ground for just 83 yards rushing, but he caught seven of 10 passes throw his way for 70 yards receiving and a touchdown. And Kurt Warner, the NFL MVP that season, completed 30 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns.

Still, the Patriots learned from their mistakes in the game. As Michael Holley noted in his book, “Patriot Reign,” the Super Bowl rematch elicited a different game plan from New England. Instead of blitzing, the Patriots’ defense focused on a physical, coverage oriented approach (especially against Faulk’s routes out of the backfield).

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Belichick’s “bullseye” game plan in Super Bowl XXXVI was the result of concepts he’d learned from the regular season defeat. So while the home loss was a setback, it ultimately provided valuable wisdom.

Daily highlight: Somehow, 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel managed to make the catch here.

Trivia answer: Matt Cassel, Drew Bledsoe, Julian Edelman, Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Vinny Testaverde, Adam Vinatieri, Brian Hoyer, and David Patten.