New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick delivered a scathing, accusatory review of Denver Broncos
wide receiver Wes Welker
's block on cornerback Aqib Talib
in the second quarter of Sunday's AFC Championship game.
Talib left the game with what was initially announced by the Patriots as a rib injury. The Patriots said 10 minutes later Talib suffered a knee injury.
"I was asked about the hit on (Aqib) Talib and I feel badly for Aqib the way that play turned out," Belichick said Monday morning at the team facility. "I went back and watched it, which I didn't have a chance to do yesterday. I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib; no attempt to get open. I'll let the league handle the discipline on that play; it's not for me to decide, but it's one of the worst plays I've seen."
Broncos head coach John Fox said Monday that he wasn't prepared to comment without seeing Belichick's comments for himself. He also said he didn't review the game film from the AFC Championship.
"I know Wes Welker is a great player, high integrity," Fox said. "He did not do anything with intent (to injure)."
Welker said Sunday the contact was unintentional, and definitely not malicious.
"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 Sunday afternoon from his locker. "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 failed to match up in man coverage without Talib, a Pro Bowl-caliber coverage defender.
The "pick" play, on which receivers run crossing or drag routes in opposite directions to advtertently create traffic for defensive players to avoid, is not legal.
According to the NFL rulebook, the reception and offending block or pick in question must clearly occur in a specific order to warrant a penalty.
"If the contact occurs as ball is being touched -- no offensive pass interference should be called. When the sequence is simultaneous: the ball being touched and contact elsewhere, it is not a foul. The contact has to be clearly before the ball is touched for it to draw a flag."
Talib was in a volativle mood in the postgame locker room. According to New York Post reporter Bart Hubbuch, Talib shouted an expletive and told the reporter to "get out of my face" before a media relations staffer intervened.
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- Wes Welker
- Aqib Talib
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