Bill Belichick Preached Awareness To Patriots After Eagles-Bears Fumble Gaffe


Jan 7, 2019

Never let sleeping footballs lie.

That’s what Bill Belichick preached to his New England Patriots on Monday after a lack of awareness cost the Eagles a fumble recovery and the Bears a catch in Philadelphia’s wild-card round win over Chicago on Sunday.

The play, which occurred with 26 seconds left the first half, originally was ruled an incomplete pass. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw a deep pass to wide receiver Anthony Miller. The pass was broken up by Eagles cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, and only an official picked up the ball.

Replay showed Miller took multiple steps after hauling in the pass before the ball was knocked loose, meaning it was a catch and fumble. But because no one picked up the ball, the play was ruled an incomplete pass based on an obscure NFL rule.

NBC Sports analyst and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said Belichick always coached his players to pick up loose footballs.

“We hit it again today,” Belichick said. “As Rodney said, we’ve been through it a thousand times but we went through some of those things again today just to make sure everybody understands what we want to do and how important it is to do the right thing in situations like that or other game-type situations.

“Again, there are so many close plays in all these games — fumble, no fumble, score, no score, catch, no catch, did it cross the goal line, did it not cross the goal line. It seemed like there were a dozen of those kind of plays just in this weekend so every inch, every little thing is so important. We’ve emphasized it before and we’ll continue to do that.”

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
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