Once Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a chance to go back and watch the play that resulted in cornerback Aqib Talib's game-ending knee injury, he felt comfortable ripping Broncos receiver Wes Welker for it.
Belichick thought Welker was trying to "take out" Talib on a play that injured New England's best cornerback. Welker was running a crossing route the same time fellow Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas was running a crossing pattern the other way, with Talib in pursuit. Talib and Welker collided and Talib injured his knee.
Don't expect the already frosty relationship between Welker, a former Patriot, and Belichick to thaw anytime soon.
“It is a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib,” Belichick told the media on Monday, according to Pro Football Talk. “No attempt to get open. And 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. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
Welker said Sunday he wasn't trying to hurt Talib.
“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 according to WEEI in Boston.
Talib, after cursing out a reporter, dodged the question after the game by saying he didn't even remember the play.
It does appear Welker had intentions of colliding with Talib, but pick plays in the passing game aren't uncommon in the NFL. Did he try to hurt Talib? Although Belichick never specifically said that, his "worst plays I've seen" seems to indicate he thought there were some bad intentions by Welker. If Welker did want to injure Talib he probably would have gone right at his knee. Even if it was an illegal pick play, Welker did hit Talib high, it just turned out that the cornerback's knee was injured.
The damage was done. Talib didn't play the rest of the game, and his replacement Alfonzo Dennard was beated repeatedly by Broncos Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas in the 26-16 win.
Belichick doesn't say much, but he managed to start quite a fire on Monday morning.
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