David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick goes out of his way to praise Tom Brady: 'I would certainly not second-guess his judgment'

Ryan Hannable
December 18, 2018 - 12:55 pm

It was a generic question about the third-down play in the closing seconds against the Steelers and it turned into Bill Belichick giving Tom Brady perhaps the most praise publicly of the season.

Belichick was asked if there was an option to check down to James White, or if the ball needed to go into the end zone given having no timeouts and there being 26 seconds remaining in the game. He basically said he'll never second-guess Brady's judgment.

"Well, again, Tom’s a very experienced quarterback in our system, very experienced playing against our opponent, Pittsburgh, last week," Belichick said. "He has excellent judgment and decision-making abilities and so, again, when the play is called, the ball is not supposed to go to anybody unless it’s a screen pass or something like that. We’re not trying to throw it to one guy. All the questions about why don’t we throw to this guy – because there’s five guys out on the pattern and we’re going to try to do what’s best on that play. In Tom’s judgment, which I would certainly not second-guess his judgment, which given the game situation and the time and all of the things that went into that play, he made the best decision that he thought he could make at that time and I’m not going to second-guess it. You can second-guess it if you want to, but nobody knows better at that time, with the ball in his hands, where he feels like he’s got the best chance. If we complete a pass and the clock’s running and how much time that’s going to take and what we have left, that’s a split-second decision that he’s got to make. I don’t think anybody will make it better than him.

"You can second-guess it all you want, but that’s the person we have doing that and we have great confidence in him doing that. It’s a tough situation. I don’t know if there’s a great answer when you don’t have much time and you have to throw to the end zone or you maybe marginally have enough time to throw it somewhere else if you can’t get out of bounds. And so, the defense has a big advantage in that situation. They played it well and we weren’t able to get in the end zone."

Brady threw three straight incompletions as the Patriots fell to the Steelers 17-10 and right now are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC with home games against the Bills and Jets over the final two weeks.

Related: Shocking clutch numbers illustrate exactly how Tom Brady has slipped this season

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