FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
All Bill Belichick wanted was an explanation. He'll probably end up
with a fine.
Wrapped up in an intense game with fellow AFC power Baltimore, the
coach of the New England Patriots grabbed the arm of a replacement
official after the Ravens won 31-30 on a last-play field goal Sunday
Belichick had an angry look, but didn't pursue him.
He was much calmer on Monday.
''When the game was over I went out and I was really looking for an
explanation from the officials as to whether the play was under
review,'' he said. ''I did try to get the official's attention as he
was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn't able to do
The usually laconic Belichick discussed at length the incident that
followed Justin Tucker's 27-yard field goal, which capped Baltimore's
comeback from a 30-21 deficit in the fourth quarter and dropped the
Patriots (1-2) to their first sub-.500 record in nine years.
The kick appeared to go just inside the top of the right upright or
slightly above it.
Belichick said a field-goal kick is not reviewable if it goes above the
top of an upright, but is reviewable if it goes below the top and to
either side of it.
''I saw our players waving that it was no good and I saw the officials
giving the signal that it was good,'' he said. ''I just wasn't sure
from where I was standing whether the ball, when it went over the
crossbar, was above the upright or in between or not in between the
''So I didn't know whether or not that play was going to be under
review or whether it wasn't.''
His contact with the official was very brief, but the NFL is taking a
hard line against coaches while it has locked out regular officials in
a labor dispute.
On Monday, it fined Denver Broncos coach John Fox $30,000 and defensive
coordinator Jack Del Rio $25,000 for arguing with replacement officials
a week ago. NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray
Anderson said he is reviewing the conduct of Belichick and the Ravens'
In his postgame news conference Belichick said he didn't expect to get
fined. On Monday, he didn't mention the possibility of a fine or having
touched the official.
''I've coached in this league a long time and never been penalized,
never had any incidents with officials or anything like that,'' he
said. ''I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse
or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was
just trying to get an explanation for, obviously, an important call.
''That's the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials. It's always at
the forefront. It's just communication of what's going on, what's
Back in 2000, Belichick's first season as New England's coach, his
communication with referee Johnny Grier resulted in the Patriots and
Miami Dolphins returning to the field for the final play after about 35
minutes in the locker rooms.
Drew Bledsoe had just been called for a fumble and an illegal forward
pass as time ran out and the teams left the field. Belichick said
Monday that as he was walking off the field he told Grier the play
appeared to be an incompletion and the Patriots should have another
play. But Grier said, ''No. That's the ruling. The game is over,''
''We go back into the locker room (and) 10 minutes or so later, Johnny
comes back and says they're reviewing the play, we may have to go back
out and finish the game,'' he said. ''About five minutes after that,
when the players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that
''I've been through a situation in the final play of the game where
it's over, but it's not over, that type of thing. That was really the
situation last night. So, I was trying to get the official's attention
to get an explanation on it and in no way was I trying to do anything
other than that.''
There were questionable penalty calls throughout the game.
''I'm trying to focus on coaching our football team,'' Belichick said
when asked about his frustration with replacement officials. ''We need
to do a better job of controlling the things that we need to control.''
There were 14 penalties against the Ravens and 10 against the Patriots.
''We've all got to understand that, hey, they're making those calls on
both sides of the ball. There's some good and bad calls on the Ravens
(Sunday) night. There were some good and bad ones on us,'' Patriots
wide receiver Deion Branch said Monday on WEEI radio. ''As players, we
need to remove ourselves from what the refs are doing and just go out
and play our game.''
Last season's AFC champions haven't been doing that up to their usual
standards, having lost 20-18 to Arizona before Sunday's setback.
The Patriots led 30-21 with 10:50 left, then punted. The Ravens scored
with 4:01 remaining, making it 30-28, but Tom Brady and the offense
couldn't use up the entire clock. Another punt gave Baltimore the ball
with 1:58 remaining.
Then New England's defense struggled, capped by Devin McCourty's pass
interference that gave Baltimore the ball at the Patriots 7-yard line.
Two plays later, Tucker made his winning kick.
''We just don't play well when we need to,'' Brady said. ''We've got to
play our best when it means the most, and we need to start winning
Belichick Only Wanted An Explanation
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