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Reactions Mixed On Patriots' Play-Calling


It was the first question reporters asked Joe Gibbs after Sunday's 52-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

"Coach, did you feel like the Patriots were running up the score in the fourth quarter?"

Gibbs quickly put an end to any potential public controversy with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

"No," he said. "I have no problem with anything they did. Nothing. No problems from me."

To be sure, the Redskins were dominated from the outset of Sunday's game, and the Patriots were clearly the better team.

But the questions linger. They stem from two drives in the fourth quarter.

Ahead 38-0, quarterback Tom Brady threw a deep sideline pass to Randy Moss for a 35-yard pickup.

Later in the drive, the Patriots went for it on 4th-and-1 at the Redskins' 7-yard line and converted. They went on to score a touchdown to put them ahead 45-0.

On the Patriots' next odrive, on a 4th-and-2 at the Redskins' 35-yard line, they went for it again and converted. One player later, they scored another touchdown to make it 52-0.

Several Redskins players, including Phillip Daniels and Randall Godfrey, said they were disappointed in the Patriots' play-calling.

"I just hate them going for it on fourth down when the game was already out of hand," Daniels told Redskins Radio. "It just put a damper on feelings a little bit. We'll remember it. Hopefully we'll see them in the Super Bowl."

Godfrey told that he felt the Patriots showed "blatant disrespect."

"Most teams, you get up like that you sit on the ball and try to run the time out," Godfrey told "They're up 30-some points and they're throwing deep."

In his post-game press conference, Belichick was asked about the team's philosophy of going for it on fourth downs while holding a big lead.

"What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?" Belichick replied. "It's 38-0. It's fourth down. We were just out there playing."

Back across Gillette Stadium, several other Redskins players said they took no offense at the Patriots' approach.

"It's our job to keep them off the board," Pierson Prioleau said. "This is football. It's a competitive sport. They are a good team. We just have to do what we need to do to keep them out of the end zone.

Ladell Betts: "I think they were playing football. How [else] would you want to call it? We're on the other end and we didn't stop them. So I don't think it's running it up. It's playing football."

James Thrash: "Just from watching the Patriots on film during the last few weeks, New England has always played from the first quarter through the fourth quarter. That's just their mentality. I don't think it's them trying to rub it in."

Jason Campbell said that when the Redskins have a big lead, the team's approach is to back off.

"That's just what we do," he said. "Their motto might be different. They might have a different approach in the way they do it."

Campbell added: "They were going for it on fourth downs, but that's an NFL team and we have to stop it. We're all here in the NFL and we're all here to make plays."

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