|Bill Belichick is asked about faking injuries to slow down the game||09.20.11 at 1:05 pm ET|
The Patriots have been big proponents of the hurry-up offense this season, using the no-huddle an extraordinary 42 of the 138 plays from scrimmage this season over the first two games. (For more on that, check out my story here.)
But the Chargers found a way to slow down New England on Sunday — albeit very briefly — when San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips went down early in the game. Phillip returned to the contest shortly afterward, but his actions (as well as the actions of some of the players in the Giants-Rams game Monday night) have sparked a discussion across the league about defensive players possibly faking injuries in hopes of taking an offense out of a rhythm.
“I think we all see, the way the game is now,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, speaking on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “There are different breaks in the game at all points in time. You can have the momentum, and positive things going in your favor, and we stop and review a play, review a score, or a play gets challenged, or a player gets injured, a beach ball rolls on to the field. It could be a dog runs out there. It could be anything. Streakers, you could have that.
“Things happen,” Belichick added. “That’s part of being focused and playing through the situation, whatever it is that comes up, you have to be able to deal with it, both sides of the ball, for and against it, on the road and home. It’s just part of the game. I think if you want to address that whole issue, that’s something that needs to go to the people who make the rules.”
Of course, the Patriots have been accused of similar stalling tactics in the past. In a 2003 game against the Colts, Indianapolis was in the midst of a second-half comeback before New England linebacker Willie McGinest went down with what appeared to be a knee problem — a strange sight for one of the Patriots most durable players of that era. (He returned to the game soon after, and later, was a little coy about the nature of the injury.) Of course, McGinest made the big play at the end of the game, stopping Edgerrin James on the goal line, but the memory of McGinest’s action is still fresh for many Indianapolis fans.
Of course, this give us an excuse to post our favorite fake sports injury of all time: