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Belichick marches to beat of own drum in blowout of Broncos

One of Bill Belichick's opening comments after the Patriots' 45-10 divisional playoff massacre of the Broncos on Saturday night might have left some people scratching their heads.

"Got to give the players all the credit in the world," Belichick said. "They stepped up and made a lot of big plays throughout the game for 60 minutes."

"For 60 minutes" is the concerning part. The Patriots steam-rolled to a 35-7 halftime lead. They were up 42-10 by the end of the third quarter. There really was no need for New England's starters to be in the game at that point.

But that's Belichick for you. He does things his way.

The problem, though, is that it can come back to bite you. It sort of did when Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez left the game with a head injury after the second play of the fourth quarter -- on a run up the middle, no less. The risk seems to far outweigh the reward, but Belichick might have dodged a bullet, as Hernandez told reporters after the game he was fine.

And then there was Tom Brady's punt out of the shotgun toward the end of the game, which just felt like a case of Belichick getting cute because he could.

"That's the kind of play we work on forever, and you never know when it's going to come up," Belichick said, adding: "We just felt like that was a good time to do it."

The Broncos seemed to take exception, though. Rookie Von Miller got in a cheap shot on Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly at the end of the play, setting off a scuffle on the sideline. Belichick getting under the rookie's skin, you think?

It was classic Hoodie. He can be sinister sometimes. But hey, he's the one headed to the AFC Championship Game, so who is anybody to tell him differently?

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