|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price wrap up 2013 Patriots, look forward to busy offseason||01.20.14 at 10:40 pm ET|
Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos spoke with Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss the Wes Welker-Aqib Talib collision during Sunday’s AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“Clearly in my opinion the contact was prior to the ball being touched by Demaryius Thomas,” Daopoulos said. “It should have been a foul.”
“The way I looked at it was when Welker went across the middle he made contact with Talib prior to the ball going to the receiver.”
According to Daopoulos, Welker initiated contact with Talib and restricted him from playing defense.
“He just basically committed an illegal act where he picked Talib off and actually committed a foul by restricting Talib’s opportunity to play defense,” Daopoulos said.
“You have to have contact. You can pick all you want in the NFL. Picks are not illegal. What makes them illegal is the contact. If you pick the guy, it’s OK, but you cannot initiate the contact.”
Daopoulos, who spent 12 years as an NFL supervisor of officials after 11 years on the field. noted that the referees called the Patriots for a pick later in the half.
“Clearly, Welker’s contact gave Denver an advantage, and that’s what you’ve got to rule,” Daopoulos said. “The timing is so tremendous with these athletes, and it’s all timing out there.
“The only issue I have, we saw one earlier right at the end of the first half with New England, No. 47, with [Michael Hoomanawanui]. Same exact situation. All I think the people want, whether it’s coach [Bill] Belichick or players, coaches, anyone, is they want consistency out there. If you’re going to call it one minute against one team, then be consistent and call it against the other team and do it consistently throughout the game. You can’t call it against one team and let it go against the other.”
Despite what Belichick expressed on Monday, Daopoulos does not think it was a dirty hit, nor should it warrant a fine from the NFL.
“I can almost assure you that it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to injure Talib,” Daopoulos said. “I think Welker was just running his pattern, he was doing exactly what he was trying to do, he was trying to get that hesitancy in Talib’s coverage so if he hesitates that just instance that let’s his man gets open.”
“I’ve looked at the play many many times and there’s nothing that will draw a fine. All it was was an illegal pick and it should have been a foul for offensive pass interference.”
Daopolous concedes that the game was a hard one to call.
“You can stop-frame this game, this game was so difficult to officiate,” Daopoulos said. “As an official, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to determine is someone getting an advantage by doing something illegal. There’s a lot of illegal activities that go in a football game, but as officials what you’re looking for is someone gaining an advantage by committing a foul.”
DENVER — Of all the Patriots who had a rough day Sunday, Danny Amendola is certainly at the top of the list. He was targeted just once in Sunday’s 26-16 loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship. The one time he was targeted, he dropped a Tom Brady pass right in his hands over the middle of the field in the third quarter.
“Credit to the Broncos,” Amendola said. “They played hard. I feel like we had to play better.”
For Amendola, this was his first taste of postseason after four injury-riddled seasons in St. Louis. As the Patriots were preparing for the eventual loss of Wes Welker in free agency, Amendola signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract last March to come to New England and chase his Super Bowl dreams. One drop on his only target of the day in the AFC championship is not what Amendola or Brady had in mind when the Patriots signed Amendola, who has battled through a torn groin and a concussion this season.
Sunday, he said, was the toughest loss of his career.
“It is, yeah,” Amendola conceded. “I felt like we fought hard for the whole season and it came down to a couple drives at the end and we couldn’t get the job done.”
After catching 10 passes for 131 yards in the Dec. 15 loss in Miami, Amendola finished with just six catches in his final four games, a point WEEI’s Chris Price expanded on after the game.
“It wasn’t our goal to lose at the end of the season but we have a bunch of fighters on this team,” Amendola said. “We fought through a bunch of adversity throughout the season. We just have to get better.
“We didn’t win the game so I’ll always think we could do better. Like I said, we have a bunch of fighters and we just couldn’t get it done today.”
|Bill Belichick on Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib: ‘It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen’||at 9:34 am ET|
FOXBORO — Less than 18 hours after the Patriots’ season-ending loss to the Broncos, Bill Belichick had a chance to re-watch some of the game, including the play in which Denver wide receiver Wes Welker hit Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on an apparent pick play across the middle of the field. The hit knocked Talib out of the game early in the second quarter.
Belichick didn’t have much to say on the hit during his press conference after the game, but he did come Monday morning in the opening statement of his end of the year press conference at Gillette Stadium.
“I feel badly for Aqib, the way the play turned out,” Belichick said. “I went back and watched it, which I didn’t get a chance to do yesterday. It was a deliberate play to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that. It’s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. And that’s all I am going to say about that.”
After the game, Welker said there was no intent to run into Talib.
“It was one of those plays where it’s kind of a rough play, and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,” Welker said. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that.
“I hope he’s OK — he’s a great player and a big part of their defense.”
The Patriots announced Talib suffered a knee injury on the play and his return was questionable, but he never returned to the game.
|Tom Brady: ‘Certainly, I wish I could’ve done more to help us out’||01.19.14 at 9:17 pm ET|
DENVER — This was not Tom Brady‘s finest hour.
He knows more than anyone that when you don’t put points up early on the road in a playoff game, you’re in big trouble.
Sunday it was the difference as the Patriots fell behind 10-0 and 13-3 at the half and could never recover as New England fell, 26-16.
Several times in the first half Brady missed open receivers, twice to Julian Edelman and once to Shane Vereen out of the backfield. Brady had Aaron Dobson deep over the middle in the third quarter but couldn’t connect for what would’ve been a momentum-changing touchdown. Instead, Brady lofted it out of the end zone from midfield.
Brady threw his first touchdown pass of the playoffs in the fourth quarter to Edelman and ran in another. But it wasn’t enough.
“Certainly, I wish I could’ve done more to help us out,” said Brady, who finished 24-of-38 for 277 yards and one touchdown pass.
“We executed a little bit better,” Brady said of the two fourth-quarter touchdowns. “I just found some spots and made some throws and catches. We found a little space in there. I just wish we could’ve done it for four quarters.”
In the first three quarters, Brady was just 13-of-22 for 142 yards. He was victimized by a drop by Danny Amendola and the Patriots had just 39 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
“I think when you play good teams, the margin of error is pretty slim all day,” Brady said. “We dug ourselves a pretty big hole there. We just couldn’t do enough. They have a good team and made a lot of plays. I give them a lot of credit.
“It’s the same it’s always been. Certainly, for the New England Patriots, we want to win every time we take the field. We did a decent job to get ourselves to this position. There are two teams that were playing and one gets to advance, and that is the team that played better today.
“They played good and have a lot of good players. I thought they made plays offensively and defensively that really helped them win.”
|Quick Hits: Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Patriots’ AFC championship loss to Denver Broncos||at 8:39 pm ET|
DENVER — Julian Edelman got dressed slowly in front of his locker before slowly turning around to face the media.
After Sunday’s 26-16 season-ending loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship here at Sports Authority Field, the receiver fought back tears when trying to put into words the sudden stop to their Super Bowl dreams.
“I’m very proud to be a part of this team,” Edelman said. “We fought through a lot of adversity. There’s a lot of ups and downs and it’s just very unfortunate that it had to end this way. It’s not the way we wanted to [end the season].”
As he has all season, Edelman led the Patriots with 10 catches on 15 targets and 89 yards (all team highs) while hauling in Tom Brady‘s only touchdown pass of the postseason.
He led a receiving corps that fought through the inconsistencies that come with new players (Danny Amendola) and rookies (Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce).
Even Austin Collie provided production Sunday, catching four passes on six targets. But, Brady couldn’t make it work Sunday.
“It was a pretty special group,” Edelman said. “Everyone fight to the very end, and it just didn’t go our way. They flat out beat us today”
Now comes the big decision for Edelman and the Patriots. Has Edelman done enough to early a big free agency payday? He will be one of four significant unrestricted free agents on the roster. Will the Patriots franchise him?
“I’m not even thinking about that right now,” Edelman said of his future. “I’m thinking about the fellas in this locker room, the coaches, all the hard work we put in and this season. I’ll think about [free agency] later.”