Mike Vrabel and Bill Belichick gear up for third round as Tennessee Titans head to New England Patriots – Tennessee Titans Blog

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel stood calmly on the sidelines as his team clung to a 14-13 lead in the AFC wildcard game against the Nova Scotia Patriots -England two seasons ago.

With just under six minutes to go, Titans punter Brett Kern took his position to line up the snap, but that didn’t happen as the last few seconds slipped into the game clock. The Titans got caught. a penalty for late match.

The clock then started to run and linebacker Wesley Woodyard was assessed a false start penalty, losing more time. Before the Titans could commit another game delay, the Patriots got out of the game and wasted even more time.

TV cameras have portrayed a visibly irritated Bill Belichick spitting curses at officials. Another minute bled before Kern hit the ball.

Vrabel, who played eight seasons for Belichick with the Patriots, beat his former coach to seal a 20-13 victory, ending New England’s season.

This game was the only time Vrabel faced Belichick other than a 34-10 win for the Titans in 2018.

Vrabel played down any thoughts of him against Belichick when asked about the coaching game.

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“Bill and I will not go head to head to determine this game,” said Vrabel. “This game will be won, as always, by the players.”

Belichick and the Patriots (7-4) will look for their first victory against a Titans (8-3) team led by Vrabel on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

“Mike did a great job in Tennessee,” Belichick said in his weekly WEEI Sports Radio interview. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Mike, and I certainly had a lot of respect for him when he was a post coach and as a head coach of course. It’ll be a big challenge. Tennessee obviously is. a good football team, one of the best teams in the league. Other than when we play it, I support it. But not this week. “

Tennessee were tied for best NFL record and had the best AFC record in last Sunday’s game before falling to the Houston Texans, who had the worst record in the conference. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, the Titans’ loss to the Texans was the last of the season, a team with the worst record in a conference beat the team with the best record in this season. conference. . The most recent took place in Week 7 of the 1979 season when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Five turnovers turned out to be the ultimate equalizer in what was supposed to be an unbalanced clash. Strategist Ryan tannehillThe first of four interceptions occurred in the red zone and was sent to the Titans’ 6-yard line. Chester Rogers had a punt on his foot that was knocked down at the Tennessee 5-yard line. The turnovers gave 10 points.

Although the Patriots forced 13 turnovers in their five-game winning streak – which is now the longest in the NFL following the loss to the Titans – and the Titans’ five turnovers cost them on Sunday, Belichick does not expect not that Vrabel’s Titans are so careless.

“They turned the ball on the Texans which is hard to count on,” Belichick said. “It’s not what they do, so I don’t think we’ll get it. It’s a typical Mike team – they’re tough, they’re physical, they make you beat them, they don’t. a lot of mistakes. They know what they’re doing. They’re solid. They’re a good fundamental team. “

The Titans saw a similar increase in turnovers when they had 11 takeaways during their six-game winning streak that ended in Houston.

The two coaches offered screening reports on each other’s teams on Monday. It is no coincidence that they mentioned similar attributes.

“They are turning the football around,” Vrabel said. “The guys know where to create turnovers and they’re good around the edges. The guys play great technique up front. They run the football and marry that with the action play. The receivers are all blocking, they’re all Selfless, they understand that their efforts will help whatever back they have in the game at the time the football is run. The quarterback is precise. “

“A strong and physical team,” said Belichick. “They attack well. The full backs and receivers run hard with the ball. The quarterback is athletic. They are strong in the kicking game. We’re going to have to play a good game of football in all three phases. “

Returning to New England is special for Vrabel. Of course, he’ll appreciate coming back to Gillette Stadium. But it’ll also be a chance to hang out with his son, Tyler, who plays offensive line for nearby Boston College.

“To train in this league and to be involved in the National Football League is special,” said Vrabel. “The opportunity to coach this football team, to travel to other stadiums, definitely this one, after spending eight years there. Tyler is going to be there since he goes to school there. how cool it will be. “


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