Belichick says "uncle" to his new daddy Posted by Mike Florio on November 30, 2009 11:34 PM ET Six years ago, on a Monday night in October, the Colts trailed the Bucs in Tampa by 21 points with four minutes to play. But Colts coach Tony Dungy didn't throw in the towel. And he was rewarded for showing faith in his team by a comeback for the ages. Led by Peyton Manning, Indy scored three touchdowns to force overtime -- and then won the thing in the extra session. On Monday night in New Orleans, the Patriots regained possession of the ball with 5:22 to play after a missed field goal, trailing the Saints by 21 points, 38-17. So the stage was set for another stunning outcome, right? Wrong. Pats coach Bill Belichick threw in the towel, pulling quarterback Tom Brady and many other starters and conceding the win to Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, and the rest of the Saints. For a head coach known to take plenty risks, why not take a chance on a miracle? It's almost as if he didn't want to give the Saints the satisfaction of squashing an attempt to score one touchdown, much less three of them. And so Belichick opted not to even try to pull off a similar kind of magic that Brady and company worked on Monday night in Week One, against the Bills. Though the Patriots likely will fend off a substandard trio of AFC East rivals to secure a spot in the playoffs, this night to forget will be fresh in their memories when the postseason begins. The only possible consolation for the Pats? If they somehow get hot and find a way to get past teams like the Chargers, Colts, Steelers, and Bengals, a rematch with the Saints would occur in a place other than the Superdome. Maybe when they're losing by 21 points with 5:22 to play then, Belichick will at least try to pull out the unlikely win. Mayo takes blame for Pats defensive failure Posted by Mike Florio on December 1, 2009 7:38 AM ET After giving up nearly as many long plays in one night as the franchise has allowed in entire seasons, the New England Patriots defense is left to sort out exactly what happened. And, to his credit, second-year linebacker Jerod Mayo is taking the blame for a performance that included several busted coverages. "It's all about execution and being on the same page," Mayo said, per the Boston Globe. "Tonight, the defense wasn't on the same page. I take that on my shoulders, not having these guys on the same page and given up big plays against a good offense." But they didn't get it done. Not only did the players know it, but the coaching staff knew it. Indeed, if the decision to roll the dice against the Colts on a fourth-and-two play was viewed as an affront to the defense, last night's decisions amount to a Goldilocks-style invasion of their homes. Belichick went for it three times on fourth down, at one point eschewing a chip-shot field goal, possibly because he knew that, with the way the defense was playing, three points simply wouldn't have been the way to keep pace. "[T]here was no doubt that we needed some points at that point, or at that point of the game," Belichick said after the game. "I thought we needed more than a field goal -- really, the way the game was going -- you needed more than a field goal to get back into the game." Of course, the offense wasn't much better either. Tom Brady had no touchdown passes against two interceptions, due in large part to an offensive line that couldn't fend off pressure long enough for Brady to find open receivers.