BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots yells at an official following an offensive interference penalty against the Patriots in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't one of these red-faced, arm-waving coaches who uses yelling and screaming to inspire his team and intimidate the officials. It's just that you wouldn't know it after watching Sunday night's loss to the Ravens that was as much about inept officials as it was about two high-scoring offenses.
After Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tuck' field goal pass through the uprights (even that was controversial -- it wasn't clear on replay), Belichick jogged to midfield, presumably to shake hands with Baltimore coach John Harbaugh. On his way, he crossed paths with an official and Belichick grabbed him by the arm to say something. The official didn't stop -- or acknowledge Belichick -- and the Patriots coach was left standing there looking confused and frustrated.
In typical Belichick-ian fashion, he didn't have much to say on the matter afterwards.
"I'm not going to comment about that," he said. "You saw the game. What did we have, 30 penalties called in the game?"
When asked if officiating affected any rhythm his team might have established, Belichick offered this: "It's our job just to go out there and control what we can control." Which, as it turned out wasn't a whole lot. He continued: "You'll have to talk to the officials about the way they called the game, talk to the league about it, I don't know."
Belichick will have a chance to talk to the league, too. He's almost certainly facing a fine for putting his hands on an official, even if he was just trying to get his attention.
The bigger issue -- one that transcends this game: the replacement refs. Sunday night's effort was laughable, perhaps the worst officiated game in a three-week season full of them. At one point during the telecast, color analyst Cris Collinsworth said what anyone half-paying attention has been thinking all month: these guys have no business being out there. It's not their fault -- the league and the regular officials are locked in a labor dispute -- but until the NFL is willing to face the reality of the situation and do something about it, expect things to get worse.