Sunday, January 15, 2006

Champ Bailey's Lesson: Run It Out

You hear the phrase in baseball a lot - not as much in other sports, but it's there, and sometimes it's important - "Run it out". It means, keep running hard/fast, don't stop, don't quit, just-because-you-think-you're-there-you-still-should-not-stop-or-even-slow-down. Well, Bailey slowed down - not because he was tired, but because he was being lazy - he didn't "run it out" - and he paid for it, bigtime.

I'd be surprised if a post-game analysis didn't show Bailey with at least a minor concussion.

The play by Ben Watson - chasing Bailey down from 100+ years away (estimate) - was one of the best football plays I've ever seen, and it was completely indicative of Patriots football, which is, in general, excellent.

Here is the backdrop, with Bailey's account:

Champions don't go down easily, though, and tight end Ben Watson wasn't quitting. Watson took an angle, and with Bailey slowing and bringing the ball down to his hip, Watson got there, knocked Bailey down and sent the ball flying out of bounds at the 1.


'I never saw the guy coming, but I was going as hard as I could,' Bailey said of the longest non-scoring interception return in NFL playoff history.

Bailey never saw the guy coming - that much is true, but he 'dogged it' (slowed down precipitously) in the last 10 or so yards, and that's what allowed Watson to level him, and almost turn the game right back around. It was definitely not fatigue that slowed Bailey - it was laziness and/or lack of discipline and/or arrogance. Lesson learned? We'll see.

Not trying to hate - just callin it like I see it. If Denver (Bailey's team) had lost, I'd probably go a lot easier on him. If Denver lost, or if Bailey didn't suffer badly due to his laziness/arrogance/whatever, then I'd probably go a lot easier on him. Just trying to point out the importance of 'doing the little things' right.

I believe excellent franchises like the New England Patriots are able to maintain a level of discipline and seriousness that allows their players to perform well consistently, especially in high-pressure situations. I still can't believe the Pats are out. I'm happy about that, but I have a lot of respect for that team - coach and players.

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