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Defending Pats, but not Colclough

October 31, 2007
The Altoona Mirror
The New England Patriots shouldn’t have to apologize for how good they are.

If they can beat a team by 45 points like they did last Sunday against the Washington Redskins, then it’s the Redskins who should be apologizing to their fans for not being able to stop them, not the Patriots.

New England coach Bill Belicheck has gotten his share of criticism lately for his decision to leave starting quarterback Tom Brady late in blowout games. But this is the same coach who watched a big halftime lead evaporate in the AFC Championship game last year.

This is the NFL, and all of the players, coaches, scouts, etc. are being paid good money to be the best they can be — not to mention margin of victory is used as a tiebreaker by the league. If Belicheck is willing to risk an injury to one of his starters, that’s his choice.

“It’s not [the Patriots’] job to keep the score down, it’s their opponent’s job to keep the score down,’’ Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “I know if someone was running the score up on us, I would be concerned about what it is we’re doing and not necessarily what it is they’re doing.’’

Even Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he wasn’t offended by the Patriots’ scoring onslaught. In a way, the blowout could help the Redskins become a better team by humbling the players and revealing weaknesses they need to address.

At the lower levels of football, where no one is being paid and all teams aren’t on equal footing, running up the score is bogus. It’s a sign of poor sportsmanship.

But in the NFL, if you can’t handle a good whipping, either get better or get out.

No. 2 bust

The Steelers released cornerback Ricardo Colclough on Tuesday after four years of waiting and waiting for him to live up to his draft selection. He was the Steelers’ second-round pick after Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, and the Steelers gave up a fourth-rounder to move up and take him.

He never started on defense and will be remembered most for his fumble on a punt return last year that turned a game in the Bengals’ favor in a victory over the Steelers. The play also seemed to send the Steelers’ spiraling toward their 8-8 year.

Veteran Allen Rossum hasn’t been great returning punts this year, but it’s never the adventure it was when Colclough had the job.

Colclough added to a list of recent Steelers second-round busts that included Jeremy Staat, Scott Shields and Alonzo Jackson.

NFL Week No. 9

Game of the week: San Francisco at Atlanta — yeah, right. No need to point out the top game this week.

Upset special: Kansas City (+1 1/2) at home vs. Green Bay.

Fantasy tip: After seven games it’s become pretty obvious. Stay away from all Packers running backs.

Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or

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