The New England Patriots sent a strong message to the rest of the NFL Monday night, scoring just 17 points in a 21-point blowout loss the Saints that saw them pull their starters with 5:26 remaining in the game.
"I don't know why they would do that," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "Leaving our receivers wide open time after time after time, pulling their starters. People expected a great game, and then they come out and do that. I found it disrespectful. Disrespectful to us and the NFL. No team should perform that way on a football field."
Saints safety Darren Sharper echoed his head coach's sentiments.
"Our defense is much better than it's been in recent years, but still only 17 points?" said Sharper. "And they only went for one on their two touchdowns. As much as people are pinning the blame on Belichick, I think it's on Tom Brady. Did you see his two interceptions? Terrible. Just terrible."
Belichick said it's simple why the Patriots didn't go for two following their touchdowns.
"I was pretty sure we wouldn't be successful. The Saints are a far superior team to us and I was just happy to take the one point and be on our way," he said.
But Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson wasn't buying it.
"Of course that's how Belichick will describe it. But then he's a liar," said Henderson. "They were running down the score on us and they know it. Did you see how wide open I was all night? No team does that unless it's on purpose. It's impossible to leave someone that wide open unless you're trying to. If we meet this team again in the Super Bowl, we won't let this happen a second time, mark my words."
Belichick says that is unlikely and continued with his denials of intentionally running down the score on the Saints.
"I don't see us meeting the Saints in the Super Bowl," he said. "Really. Because we're not a very good football team. At all. You saw how we played. No way we make the Super Bowl. We won't even get close."