Did Bill "tank" the Denver game?

Hawg73

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Before you get worked up, I'll explain what I mean by "tank" a bit later. For now, please just consider this:

Postgame presser. Belichick starts out by complimenting his team for competing and fighting so hard. It was sincere, in my opinion.

During the game we all got understandably distracted by the shit refereeing and Gronk's injury and we focused largely on those things, because they were both big deals.

After thinking about it, that game reminds me of the Green Bay game last year. Both were road games against really good teams at approximately the same point in the season. In each the Pats entered the game virtually a playoff lock with home-field advantage still a goal and a closing stretch of games that were favorable. In both losses we broke long winning streaks of seven and nine games, respectively. Eddie Lacy played the C.J. Anderson role and we couldn't stop him, either.

My impression during that game against the Packers was that something was a bit off. It was a close game, but I felt like we were playing conservatively. Or something. There were some faint whispers that we were holding something back for a potential future meeting against a team that was a leading NFC Super Bowl candidate. Of course, that is crazy talk. Wild-ass speculation. But the Denver game made me wonder.

Now, if there is one lesson to be learned from 2007 is that 18-1 isn't nearly as great as it sounds if you lose the last one. I think the Coach felt like he owed it to his players to chase history, but perhaps that took a psychological toll that was a negative factor. That is strictly my guess, but whatever.

Point is, I don't think Bill wants any part of a 19-0 quest redux. No way.

When I use the word "tank" I mean that I think it is entirely possible that Bill Belichick thought it was more important to play this game using a vanilla game plan and save the good stuff for a potential playoff matchup with Denver regardless of whether we won or lost. Injuries would provide a perfect cover.

Why did we sit on the ball with a 7 point lead with more than two minutes to go and time outs in our pocket before halftime? I wondered. It made zero sense. If you're afraid to turn the ball over in THAT situation then when is it ok to not be afraid? You've still got to play the game. We ALWAYS sit on the ball before halftime, standard operating procedure, but not with THAT much time on the clock. You only get so many chances in a game and we clearly just pissed that one away and none of us can really know why.

I also wondered when our game plan seemed to be comprised of fruitless dives into the line and then long bombs. That is not what we do. Ever. I know we are way down on the depth chart at WR, but where were the slants? The trips? Screens? It didn't feel right regardless of the personnel. We dominated the first quarter and then.......it seemed like we just eased off the gas pedal.

I'm not saying Bill Belichick wanted to lose this game. I know he wants a potential homefield advantage that could hinge on a win, but I think it is entirely possible that he felt it was more important to hold something back and play it on the down low in this circumstance regardless of how it affected that home field. Let Denver think what they want but the next meeting would be entirely different, especially with the potential for a return of Jules and Amendola. In short, Denver shot their wad but we didn't.

As Bill noted, the Pats fought hard. I think that is what was really going on here. We're looking at a team that is decimated by injuries, faced the ugly loss of Gronk for the season, was the victim of multiple flags and non-flags and was (perhaps) holding something back scheme-wise and they STILL almost won that game. No wonder he was proud of them. There was your galvanizing team moment of 2015. In a loss. When they are on fumes in all three phases.

Belichick KNOWS his guys can beat Denver next time and so do they. The regular season is nice and all, but 2007 taught him to focus entirely on the end game at all times regardless of how that might conflict with conventional football wisdom.
 

TommyD420

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I'll give you this.

They ran nothing but vanilla soft serve on both sides of the ball. Whether it was by design or necessity, it's what they did.
 

Dwight Schrute

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2008.

It can be gone in a blink.

Gronks foot is planted? This ride is over.

The game is tenuous at best. Saving is not the answer. Now, not showing every hand is completely possible.

But I think the presser showed how pissed he was that perfection in this monumental season against everything they've battled meant to him. I think they embraced it and would have clung to it if the preposterous injury count hadn't reached its zenith.
 

Annihilus

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I don't think that 'tanked' is the right word, but I think the truth of the matter is somewhere in the vicinity of Hawg and TommyD. When I see the word 'tanked' I think 'they purposely tried to lose'. I don't think that is the case, but it sure seemed to me that things were pretty vanilla. Maybe that is because of available personnel, maybe not.

I don't think he really wanted any part of 16-0 again either, honestly. That's a big weight off their shoulders now.
 

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Excellent point Hawgie, and one that I entirely agree with. When I read your headline and the first couple lines of your post, I immediately thought of the Green Bay game last year

Playing the way they were going into each game with the almost 100% reality that you're looking at not only making the playoffs but are pretty much a mortal lock for a first round bye gives you some flexibility, enough so that you can almost treat a game like this as a pre-season game. It wasn't just these 2 games either. I've felt for years that there has always been a game every year where Bill either backed off or took them down a peg for whatever reason. maybe it was to not show to much to a potential playoff opponent. Maybe it was to level them off and give them some definitive things to clean up.

The proof will be in the results after the fact. What always seems to happen after these games is that they come flying out of the box. If they go out and beat the Eagles by 35+ this week I'll chalk it up to business as usual.
 

Jaric

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Guys, I'm sorry but this is silly.

If you were going to give less than your best effort intentionally to "remove undefeated pressure" or whatever, why do that against the team you're going to be competing against for playoff seeding and give them a precious tiebreaker?
 

Gumpboy45

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Guys, I'm sorry but this is silly.

If you were going to give less than your best effort intentionally to "remove undefeated pressure" or whatever, why do that against the team you're going to be competing against for playoff seeding and give them a precious tiebreaker?

i agree wit the colts fan on this 1
 

Joe

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Guys, I'm sorry but this is silly.

If you were going to give less than your best effort intentionally to "remove undefeated pressure" or whatever, why do that against the team you're going to be competing against for playoff seeding and give them a precious tiebreaker?

To humor the idea that they gave less than their all, it could be that they fully expect to see the team again in the playoffs. Why not go balls out against someone like the Jaguars when you know they won't see you again?
 

TommyD420

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Guys, I'm sorry but this is silly.

If you were going to give less than your best effort intentionally to "remove undefeated pressure" or whatever, why do that against the team you're going to be competing against for playoff seeding and give them a precious tiebreaker?

I don't think it was intentional, and I thought the same as you when I saw "tank".

In reality, they played a vanilla game plan while having some injuries at key positions on both sides of the ball - against a team they could face again in the playoffs (even if I personally don't think so). Whether it was necessity or intentional, I don't know, but that's what happened.

I don't think "undefeated pressure" played into it at all. Certainly, there's no need for Kubiak to see the whole playbook on tape, either.
 

dchester

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I'll give you this.

They ran nothing but vanilla soft serve on both sides of the ball. Whether it was by design or necessity, it's what they did.

I'm thinking it was more by necessity. BB didn't "tank" it, in any sense of the word, IMO.
 

Joe

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I'm thinking it was more by necessity. BB didn't "tank" it, in any sense of the word, IMO.

I agree. They didn't have any other choice but to play a dumbed down version of the playbook. Though, I'm not so sure that version of the playbook should have included throwing deep to Scott Chandler down the sideline almost every other play
 
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Hawg73

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Guys, I'm sorry but this is silly.

If you were going to give less than your best effort intentionally to "remove undefeated pressure" or whatever, why do that against the team you're going to be competing against for playoff seeding and give them a precious tiebreaker?

I realize that it does sound silly to many, but.....I have a feeling it's not silly at all.

I also believe that there is something to it. Belichick is playing a game of brinksmanship and counting on us doing enough in the upcoming games to stay ahead of Denver so that tiebreaker doesn't come into play.

An I saying he is a supernatural being capable of clairvoyance? Not exactly. More like wicked smaht and not afraid of being wrong.

And if he is wrong about the tiebreaker and we had to travel out there? No biggie. Next time we disconnect the governor.

If that happens then we take Denver apart. That's a Hawg73 GUARANTEE.
 
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Hawg73

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I agree. They didn't have any other choice but to play a dumbed down version of the playbook. Though, I'm not so sure that version of the playbook should have included throwing deep to Scott Chandler down the sideline almost every other play

If there is anybody out there that wants to illuminate me as to why a team that seldom throws deep was doing it so often to a guy that has pizza paddles at the end of his sleeves and has zero deep speed and against a team with a fine pass rush and excellent DBs, then I'd love to hear it.

That's a red herring. A giant one, to me.

That has nothing to do with any dumbed-down playbook, imo.
 

TommyD420

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If there is anybody out there that wants to illuminate me as to why a team that seldom throws deep was doing it so often to a guy that has pizza paddles at the end of his sleeves and has zero deep speed and against a team with a fine pass rush and excellent DBs, then I'd love to hear it.

That's a red herring. A giant one, to me.

That has nothing to do with any dumbed-down playbook, imo.

I'd agree with you, if they didn't pull that shit most of the first half of last year, as well.
 

aloyouis

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Before you get worked up, I'll explain what I mean by "tank" a bit later. For now, please just consider this:

Postgame presser. Belichick starts out by complimenting his team for competing and fighting so hard. It was sincere, in my opinion.

During the game we all got understandably distracted by the shit refereeing and Gronk's injury and we focused largely on those things, because they were both big deals.

After thinking about it, that game reminds me of the Green Bay game last year. Both were road games against really good teams at approximately the same point in the season. In each the Pats entered the game virtually a playoff lock with home-field advantage still a goal and a closing stretch of games that were favorable. In both losses we broke long winning streaks of seven and nine games, respectively. Eddie Lacy played the C.J. Anderson role and we couldn't stop him, either.

My impression during that game against the Packers was that something was a bit off. It was a close game, but I felt like we were playing conservatively. Or something. There were some faint whispers that we were holding something back for a potential future meeting against a team that was a leading NFC Super Bowl candidate. Of course, that is crazy talk. Wild-ass speculation. But the Denver game made me wonder.

Now, if there is one lesson to be learned from 2007 is that 18-1 isn't nearly as great as it sounds if you lose the last one. I think the Coach felt like he owed it to his players to chase history, but perhaps that took a psychological toll that was a negative factor. That is strictly my guess, but whatever.

Point is, I don't think Bill wants any part of a 19-0 quest redux. No way.

When I use the word "tank" I mean that I think it is entirely possible that Bill Belichick thought it was more important to play this game using a vanilla game plan and save the good stuff for a potential playoff matchup with Denver regardless of whether we won or lost. Injuries would provide a perfect cover.

Why did we sit on the ball with a 7 point lead with more than two minutes to go and time outs in our pocket before halftime? I wondered. It made zero sense. If you're afraid to turn the ball over in THAT situation then when is it ok to not be afraid? You've still got to play the game. We ALWAYS sit on the ball before halftime, standard operating procedure, but not with THAT much time on the clock. You only get so many chances in a game and we clearly just pissed that one away and none of us can really know why.

I also wondered when our game plan seemed to be comprised of fruitless dives into the line and then long bombs. That is not what we do. Ever. I know we are way down on the depth chart at WR, but where were the slants? The trips? Screens? It didn't feel right regardless of the personnel. We dominated the first quarter and then.......it seemed like we just eased off the gas pedal.

I'm not saying Bill Belichick wanted to lose this game. I know he wants a potential homefield advantage that could hinge on a win, but I think it is entirely possible that he felt it was more important to hold something back and play it on the down low in this circumstance regardless of how it affected that home field. Let Denver think what they want but the next meeting would be entirely different, especially with the potential for a return of Jules and Amendola. In short, Denver shot their wad but we didn't.

As Bill noted, the Pats fought hard. I think that is what was really going on here. We're looking at a team that is decimated by injuries, faced the ugly loss of Gronk for the season, was the victim of multiple flags and non-flags and was (perhaps) holding something back scheme-wise and they STILL almost won that game. No wonder he was proud of them. There was your galvanizing team moment of 2015. In a loss. When they are on fumes in all three phases.

Belichick KNOWS his guys can beat Denver next time and so do they. The regular season is nice and all, but 2007 taught him to focus entirely on the end game at all times regardless of how that might conflict with conventional football wisdom.

I believe this happens far more than people realize, especially amongst the better teams.
 

Jaric

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The far more obvious answer is that a combination of bad calls, injuries, and missed opportunities/mistakes caused the Broncos to score more points than you did at the end of them game.

Which is fine, that happens to every team sooner or later. Stop looking for Nazi's in the woodpile.

You've moved on to Philly.
 

Joe

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The far more obvious answer is that a combination of bad calls, injuries, and missed opportunities/mistakes caused the Broncos to score more points than you did at the end of them game.

Which is fine, that happens to every team sooner or later. Stop looking for Nazi's in the woodpile.

You've moved on to Philly.

They don't have to be mutually exclusive. If you want to move on to Philly here you go :)

http://www.patriotsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=70863
 

dchester

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If there is anybody out there that wants to illuminate me as to why a team that seldom throws deep was doing it so often to a guy that has pizza paddles at the end of his sleeves and has zero deep speed and against a team with a fine pass rush and excellent DBs, then I'd love to hear it.

That's a red herring. A giant one, to me.

That has nothing to do with any dumbed-down playbook, imo.

I think it's to keep the defense from just packing it in close, and instead force the defense to have to cover the full field.
 

Joe

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If there is anybody out there that wants to illuminate me as to why a team that seldom throws deep was doing it so often to a guy that has pizza paddles at the end of his sleeves and has zero deep speed and against a team with a fine pass rush and excellent DBs, then I'd love to hear it.

That's a red herring. A giant one, to me.

That has nothing to do with any dumbed-down playbook, imo.

We've seen those WTF offensive gameplans plenty of times before in the Brady-McDaniels era though. The ones where it seems like Brady focuses on one or two receivers and tries to force it to them
 
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