(Reuters) – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick called it a key play in Sunday’s 26-16 loss to the Broncos in Denver and said receiver Wes Welker’s injury-causing hit on cornerback Aqib Talib was one of the “worst he’s ever seen”.
Belichick believed the block by former Patriots receiver Welker that sidelined his top cornerback for the rest of the game with a knee injury was an illegal pick play that should bring discipline from league officials.
“I went back and watched it, which I didn’t have a chance to do yesterday. It is a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib,” Belichick told reporters on Monday.
“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.”
After the game, Belichick labeled the second-quarter collision over the middle as a key play in the AFC title game, as Denver quarterback Peyton Manning picked on Alfonzo Dennard, Talib’s replacement on receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Manning connected with Thomas six times for 105 yards and a touchdown following Talib’s departure after catching one ball when Talib was shadowing him.
“It was very tough (after we lost him),” said Dennard. “Everyone knows Aqib Talib. He’s a very good lock-down cornerback. It really hard to be the next man up and take on the job he did. But they had a lot of weapons, and they executed very well.”
The victory put Denver into the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2 in New Jersey.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Ed Osmond)