Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Butler gets humiliated on 'Monday Night Football' just in time for big Patriots grudge match

Alex Reimer
November 06, 2018 - 11:32 am

We have been having the wrong debate about Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl benching for the last nine months. All of the caterwauling about Belichick’s surprise decision to sit Butler has been predicated on the notion that the Patriots would’ve likely defeated the Eagles if he were in the lineup. But as it turns out, if Butler did play, maybe New England would’ve lost by even more.

While that is a stretch, considering Butler would’ve replaced luminaries such as Johnson Bademosi and Jordan Richards, there’s no arguing Belichick made the right move letting him go this offseason. The Titans inked Butler to a five-year, $61 million contract, and almost certainly regret it. Anybody who watched the first half of Tennessee’s win over the Cowboys Monday night knows why.

Butler, who’s allowed a league-leading five interceptions, was way behind Amari Cooper when Dak Prescott found him for a touchdown in the first quarter. Butler bit on Cooper’s fake slant to the inside, and then couldn’t catch up to him for the rest of the route.

Even worse, Allen Hurns burned Butler for an easy 23-yard touchdown grab late in the second quarter. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett should be fired today for not attacking Butler for the entirety of the night. It’s unlikely Bill Belichick will make the same mistake Sunday.

Due to his putrid play, Butler has already dropped to No. 3 on the Titans’ cornerback depth chart, behind Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson. Per usual, it looks like Bill Belichick got rid of a highly priced veteran at the right time. The same can be said for left tackle Nate Solder, who’s enduring an abysmal year on the Giants’ offensive line.

You think we would’ve all learned our lesson by now. Seemingly every offseason, Belichick lets one of his stalwarts leave for the greener pastures of free agency. He gets killed in the interim, but almost always turns out to be right. There was mass outrage when the Patriots didn’t re-sign Darrelle Revis following their Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks, but right on cue, Revis struggled mightily in his first season back with the Jets. He is now out of football.

Butler ascended to stardom in that game with his championship-saving interception, and now four years later, he’s already playing like a cornerback who’s well past his prime. Belichick the Coach can hang on his five Super Bowl rings to assert his greatness. Belichick the GM, meanwhile, can point to Butler’s latest lowlight. We’ll get a front row seat this week.