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Bill Belichick on fumbles: ‘We just can’t overcome those, not for very long’

11.26.13 at 11:37 am ET

Are the Patriots reaching a breaking point with Stevan Ridley and his fumbles?

Bill Belichick wouldn’t mention him by name but the coach continues to send a message with benchings against Carolina (18 snaps) and Denver (final 82 snaps of the game) that he can’t have what Ridley even conceded after Sunday’s game is a “sickening” trend with losing the football.

“Ball security is the paramount issue for your football team every week, our football team every week,” Belichick said.

Another reason Belichick didn’t want to mention Ridley by name was the fact that Ridley wasn’t alone. Yes, his fumble led to the 60-yard TD return by Von Miller. But Tom Brady put the ball on the ground twice and so did Julian Edelman (on one play). In all, the Patriots fumbled six times and were rescued somewhat by the fact Denver fumbled five times.

The Patriots were able to overcome it on Sunday night against a future hall of fame quarterback. But that will surely be the recipe for disaster going forward in the cold weather.

“We fumbled the ball, whatever it was, six times,” Belichick said. “We can’€™t go on like that. We just can’€™t. There were multiple situations and multiple things involved and it hurt us the week before in Carolina. We’€™re just not going to be able to overcome turning the ball over, however you turn it over. Whether it’€™s fumbles or interceptions or muffed punts or tipped interceptions, whatever it is, fumbled snaps ‘€“ we just can’€™t overcome those, not for very long.

You might get it for awhile but in the end, it’€™s just too big an advantage go give to the other team. We have to take better care of the ball. Obviously they had a hard time taking care of it last night too. There were multiple turnovers throughout the game. Certainly the conditions were part of it but in general we have to do a better job of coaching and playing and securing the ball. That includes everybody, everybody who touches it. It’€™s not limited to one guy, it’€™s anybody who touches the ball. That’€™s the center, the quarterback, the running backs, the receivers, the returners, the holders, the kickers, the snappers ‘€“ everybody. Everybody that touches the ball, we have to take better care of it.”

Meanwhile Belichick again referred to his days with Bill Parcells in the 1986 NFC championship game when the Giants took the wind on the opening kickoff instead of the wind, scored 17 points in the opening quarter and won, 17-0. He said he thought of that again Sunday night before overtime.

Belichick was asked if overtime rules were the way they used to be, when first score wins, if he would’ve still taken the wind, not the ball, against Peyton Manning.

“I don’€™t know,” Belichick conceded. “I’€™d have to think about that one. I know I’€™ve mentioned this before, but I go back to the 1986 NFC Championship Game, where Coach [Bill] Parcells against the Redskins took the wind to start the game and we went ahead 17-0 and that was the final score of the game. I really think that that decision was a big decision in that game and a big decision ultimately in that team’€™s championship.

“I learned a lot from that. I’€™m not saying that that’€™s always the right decision. Clearly each situation is different but there’€™s a place for it. I think there’€™s a time when it’€™s right. I just thought that last night was the right time for us. But that decision by Bill in that game, it just was a good lesson for me that it’€™s such a huge factor in the game, if the conditions are what they are. It can be such a big factor in the game that it’€™s worth making that decision if you feel it’€™s that significant. He did it in ‘€“ there are not many games bigger than an NFC Championship game ‘€“ he did it in that game and I think that was probably the difference in the game.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, fumbles, New England Patriots



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