November 08, 2004
Looks Like Martz Will Never Learn
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
ST. LOUIS, MO -- From the time that the media held their Championship Trophy photographs with St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in the week leading up to the Superbowl nearly three years ago, even a casual fan could see there was a distinct difference between these two coaches.
Heading into that game all the media talked about was how New England had no chance in that game. NONE. There was no good reason why they should have even taken the field. While the flash bulbs went off and Martz held the trophy, he looked like he was trying to figure out where in his home he was going to display it. If there was ever a coach who looked overconfident, this was the guy.
Meanwhile, when his turn came, Belichick simply leaned over and wouldn’t pick it up, but the smile on his face could only lead you to believe he knew something you didn’t. That Sunday his team went out and beat Martz’s Rams, and when the game was over Belichick held that trophy high.
After the game the media began talking about how Belichick had outcoached Martz, and that was the reason why “The Greatest Show On Turf” was shut down.
While those moments may be history, some things don’t seem to change.
Missing two starting cornerbacks against what was thought to be one of the best passing attacks and most explosive offenses in the NFL, Belichick put together another game plan that the Patriots executed to perfection. In the end they embarrassed the Rams (4-4) and reduced them to just another .500 team.
"I think it really came down to being more physical than they were," defensive end Richard Seymour told the Boston Globe. "All week we talked about having to help the DBs and they had to help us. We wanted to pressure Bulger to get the ball out of there quick so they didn't have time to get into their routes."
It’s almost like he knew it was going to happen. When training camp began, Belichick began working wide receiver Troy Brown in the secondary, almost as if he knew at some point during the season he might be in a pinch due to lack of personnel. After all, in last year’s Super Bowl he saw Rodney Harrison suffer a broken arm and was left with less than adequate replacements. Not one to leave anything to chance, Belichick sat down and came up with another solution, and it lead to another win for his team on Sunday.
When the game was over, Brown finished with a touchdown catch on a fake field goal, made three receptions, three tackles, and nearly intercepted two passes. Not a bad day for the veteran who played on both sides of the ball all afternoon.
"The coaches were schooling me on the run," Brown told the Globe. "It was a little intimidating at first to be out there against some of the best guys to play wide receiver, but after I got a little sweat worked up I got more comfortable. That's what they teach you around here. Prepare for everything."
When the game was over, Martz faced the St. Louis media and the differences between him and Belichick came to light once more. When New England loses, Belichick will typically tell you his team was “outplayed and outcoached”, taking the blame himself for the reason why his team lost the game. When asked by the St. Louis media about whether or not his team saw the fake field goal coming, Martz instead pointed the finger at his players.
“You're asking me?” Martz responded. “That's the question I'm going to ask them.”
"I could see it from the sideline," continued Martz. "I don't think that was the trickiest thing in the world. I mean, where was he going? To the 'john?'”
Meanwhile in the Patriots locker room there was quite a different story. Belichick was there praising his players.
“This is probably as much of a team victory as anything I've ever been around,” Belichick told the media after the game. “They fought to the end. That's what a team's about.”
After losing to the Rams the first time around back in the 2001 regular season, Belichick seemed to learn from his mistakes. Luckily for Patriots fans Martz hasn’t. Not yet anyway.
Here Come the Bills
The Buffalo Bills have won two in a row and appear to be gaining momentum as they get set to take on the Patriots this weekend in Foxboro. The Bills beat the New York Jets 22-19 on Sunday, and running back Willis McGahee had a big afternoon. McGahee carried 37 times for 132 yards and has made life much easier on quarterback Drew Bledsoe who hasn’t been sacked in the last two games.
McGahee has 473 yards on 128 carries along with 3 touchdowns and 4 runs of over 20 yards. The Bills running back played sparingly but didn’t have a carry against New England in their meeting back on October 3rd.
With his running game finally clicking and his offensive line giving him time to throw, Bledsoe is finally starting to feel comfortable again in the pocket.
“No doubt,” Bledsoe told the Buffalo media after Sunday’s win over the Jets. “Now I can see the field a little bit more and get back to a third and fourth read. And it really allows me to function at a much higher level. When we're running the ball like we are, when the pass protection is good, obviously it makes my job much, much easier and allows me to function much more efficiently.”
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