The Minnesota Vikings decided to gamble early in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Trailing 24-10, Minnesota faced fourth-and-inches on their own 38 and went for it. The Patriots appeared to stuff a Latavius Murray run for no gain, but officials granted him a first down, citing forward progress.
Thielen gets hot when Belichick challenges
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, along with most everyone else with two functioning eyes, disagreed with the call and threw a challenge flag.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen approached the Patriots coach with some angry words on the sideline. Belichick did not appreciate Thielen’s attitude and had some choice words of his own.
We’ll leave the lip reading to you, but it appears that Belichick’s sentiment was along the lines of “I don’t care for what you have to say right now.”
After the game, Belichick didn’t have much to say about his words with Thielen.
Question: Prior to the second challenge, when you and Adam Thielen are exchanging words, is that just two competitive guys exchanging holiday greetings.”
Bill Belichick: “Yeah, pretty much.” pic.twitter.com/rMLyrGKxyw
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 3, 2018
Thielen told reporters he was upset because Patriots linebacker Patrick Chung went down with an apparent injury at the end of the run, a play Thielen viewed as the Patriots buying more time to evaluate if they wanted to challenge.
“I just thought the play was cheap,” Thielen said. “I wasn’t directing it toward him. I just thought the play was cheap, but like I said, I let the emotions get the best of me because it’s a smart football play if you are in that situation.
“Why not? It’s not cheating because there’s no rule against it from a guy going down. I don’t know if he was hurt or not. He might have been hurt. That’s fine. It is what it is. But like I said, just interesting timing for a guy to go down when it’s a close play.”
Thielen said he wasn’t offended by Belichick’s response.
Call stands, but Patriots prevail
The challenge was futile, as there was no evidence to overturn the officials’ blatant bad call on the field, so the first down stood. Spots are among the most difficult calls to overturn, even in cases that appear as obvious as this one.
But the football gods saw it right to correct the situation. Three plays later, Thielen made a rare drop on a pass from Kirk Cousins on a drive that ended when the Vikings eventually turned the ball over on downs near midfield.
Costly loss for Vikings
The loss also drops the Vikings behind in the NFC wild-card picture.
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