|Andre Carter on Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib: ‘It was a nasty play’||01.20.14 at 1:21 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Much of the talk the day after the Patriots’ 26-16 loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship game has been surrounding the apparent pick play across the middle of the field early in the second quarter when Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker ran into Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, forcing him from the game with a knee injury.
“When I saw it, as a play in general, Wes, was he doing his job? He was to a certain degree,” Carter said. “Do I think the hit could’ve been cleaner? Yes. I’ve been around a lot of football to see that. At the end the end of the day it was a nasty play, but we’ll see what happens and what the league does.”
Talib was not spotted in the locker room during the media availability period.
Other members of the Patriots defense didn’t have much to say on the play as they haven’t had a chance to see it on film.
“I haven’t seen it yet. I just remember being on the field and the collision happening,” safety Steve Gregory said. “I haven’t seen the replay or anything like that.”
Defensive captain and safety Devin McCourty also didn’t see the hit, but noted he’d probably go along with what Belichick said.
“He’s seen a lot of football, so I’d probably go with what he says, I don’t know,” McCourty said. “I haven’t gotten a chance to watch it and a chance to look at it.”
McCourty noted it’s hard to say a player would deliberately hit another player with the intent to injure, but winning the game is always the ultimate goal.
“That’s tough to say someone would do that, but I think all of us out there would do anything to try and win that game,” he said.
|Matthew Slater on M&M: Patriots receivers taught to run pick play, but ‘we’re always going to play within the rules of the game’||at 1:07 pm ET|
Patriots receiver and special teams Pro Bowler Matthew Slater checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to offer his take on Sunday’s loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship game and the controversy surrounding Wes Welker‘s off-the-ball hit on Aqib Talib. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Said Slater: “Obviously Aqib is so important to this football team, what he brings to the table. So for us to lose him in that type of situation was tough. Obviously coach saw something on the film that he didn’t deem fair, and I’m sure he had just reason to feel that way. I haven’t seen the play. If he felt that way, I’m sure that that’s what it was. But there’s nothing that we can do about it now.
“I hope Aqib is OK and on the mend and we can get him healthy and have a healthy offseason. That happens in football and there’s nothing that we can do about it now.”
With the Patriots losing so many key starters this season, Slater said Talib’s injury was just another challenge to overcome.
“We’ve been put in that position so many times this year that we didn’t give it a lot of thought,” he said of the team’s initial reaction. “We just thought we’ve got to continue to play on. But obviously, just like those other guys, looking back in hindsight, when you lose a guy like that it’s going to have an impact, especially in a game like that. But during the time, we didn’t think about it.”
The hit happened while Welker appeared to be running a pick play to free up a teammate, and he collided with Talib as the ball was arriving in Demaryius Thomas‘ hands (Thomas dropped the pass).
“With a lot of man coverage being played in the league, there’s certain things that you have to do to be creative to get your guys open. But you’ve got to do it within the rules and regulations,” Slater said. “When we’re taught to run those routes, we’re taught to still run to get open, not just go in there and set a basketball pick. You’ve got an attempt to get open and make it look like you’re getting open, because the rules state that you have to do that. So, we’re taught to do that, obviously, but within the rules of the game. We’re always going to play within the rules of the game.”
|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘It’s a very abrupt end’ to season||at 11:15 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his final appearance of the season on WEEI’s Patriots Monday with Dennis & Callahan and discussed the team’s disappointing performance in Sunday’s AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“They played a lot better than we did yesterday,” Belichick said. “We certainly didn’t make enough plays to win. There’s a lot of plays that impact the outcome of the game. We didn’t make enough good plays to impact the outcome in a positive way for us. It’s unfortunate for our season to come to an end like this. But I would say Denver earned it. They played a lot better than we did yesterday.”
Added Brady: “It’s a very abrupt end,” Brady said. “And it’s that for 30 teams, really. It comes to really an abrupt end for all the guys that don’t make it to the playoffs. Then you have the wild card round and the divisional round and then the championship, and there’s only two teams left. Those two teams really earned it. They’ve played good over the course of the whole season.
“One or two breaks that we get, maybe we’re playing that championship game at home, and maybe that has a difference. That’s why Denver really kept the pedal to the metal all season. They scored a lot of points. They overcame some adversity, too. When you look at a team like that, they certainly earned it. I tip my cap to them, because I understand the challenge it is to do that. They have a lot of mentally tough guys. That’s why they’re going to represent the AFC.”
Brady acknowledged that the game might have had a different feel had it been played in Foxboro rather than Denver.
“Yeah, of course it would have been different,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of things that play into these types of games. You’re right, you look at those games, you look back at the Cincy game and the Jet game, those games that we lost, and all of them mean something. It means something in September, they mean something in December. The good teams play well over the course of four months. And we played good, we played good enough to get the second seed. We didn’t play good enough to get the first seed. Then we would have needed to play a lot better than we played yesterday.
“It was more of how we played and not where we played yesterday. It’s a tough environment to play in when you go on the road. But look, we’ve won games on the road in tough environments. We got to a game yesterday where we needed to play really well, and we just didn’t play well enough. And Denver played a really good game. They were pretty flawless. They didn’t have any penalties, they didn’t turn the ball over. They played pretty good on third down on both sides of the ball. We just couldn’t force them into making many bad plays on either side of the ball.
“Special teams were really a nonfactor for both teams with the balls that were kicked into the end zone; there wasn’t much in the punt game. So it came down to offense and defense, and they got the best of us in both of those phases, and that’s why they advanced.”
|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.
|Wes Welker: I wasn’t trying to knock Aqib Talib out of game||01.19.14 at 8:32 pm ET|
“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 after the game. “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.”
After the collision, Talib left the field, and then departed for the locker room. He came back out at the start of the second half, but was unable to go the rest of the way. Following the game, Talib said ‘if I could have been out there, I would have been out there.’ The corner said he ‘[couldn't] remember how the play went,’ but said that it was ‘very difficult’ to sit and watch the rest of the game.
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FOXBORO — Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib wouldn’t comment on whether or not there was anything wrong with the hit he took from former teammate Wes Welker that knocked him out of Sunday’s AFC title game, only saying that it was “very difficult” to leave the contest, a 26-16 loss for New England.
Talib left midway through the second quarter after taking a shot from Welker to the right side of his upper body on an incomplete Peyton Manning pass over the middle intended for Demaryius Thomas. He was announced as questionable with a rib injury and then, after halftime, a knee injury was added to the prognosis.
Talib left the field, and then departed for the locker room. He came back out at the start of the second half, but was unable to go the rest of the way. Following the game, Talib said “if I could have been out there, I would have been out there.” The corner said he “[couldn't] remember how the play went,” but said that it was “very difficult” to sit and watch the rest of the game.
Asked about the hit after the contest, Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged it was a “key play in the game” and added that Talib wanted back in.
“Of course,” Belichick said. “There’s not a more competitive guy in that locker room than Aqib Talib.”
“He is a very huge part of our success,” said running back LeGarrette Blount. “A huge part of it all the way to this point. I wish he would have been able to go back in and play, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able. It hurt us a little bit.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
DENVER — The Patriots No. 1 cornerback is questionable to return after a former Patriot delivered a big body blow.
Aqib Talib left midway through the second quarter after taking a shot from Wes Welker to the right side of his upper body on an incomplete Peyton Manning pass over the middle intended for Demaryius Thomas. He was announced as questionable with a rib injury and then, after halftime, a knee injury was added to the prognosis.
Talib went down immediately and hunched over, holding his stomach and side. He was on the field several minutes as the Patriots training staff tended to him.
Replays showed Welker going low, aiming for his ribs and making contact with Talib’s hip and right side. The Broncos used several crossing routes in the first half to free their receivers but were not call for any pick penalties. Michael Hoomanawanui was called for such a penalty, a key penalty on third down that pushed the Patriots out of field goal position on their third drive.
As the Broncos were driving down the field 93 yards for a touchdown, Talib was escorted by Patriots medical personnel to the locker room. He returned to the end of the Patriots defensive bench on the team’s sideline as the Patriots were driving down the field.
Talib walked up and down the sideline with his helmet on, appearing as if he wanted back in the game, as the Patriots kicked a field goal. But instead, he was led back into the locker room for an early halftime.
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