New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is none too pleased about a hit by Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker that knocked cornerback Aqib Talib out of the AFC Championship on Sunday. Belichick referred to the hit as "one of the worst plays I've ever seen" and alleged that Welker intentionally targeted Talib, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN NFL Nation.
"It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib," a perturbed Belichick said during a Monday morning press conference the day after the Broncos knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs. "No attempt to get open."
The play in question came during the second quarter of the Broncos' 26-16 win. While running a crossing pattern over the middle of the field, Welker barreled into Talib, who was coming from the opposite direction while covering Demaryius Thomas.
Intentional or not, the hit acted as a pick that freed Thomas, though Peyton Manning's pass bounced off his chest for an incompletion. No flag was called on the play.
"It was one of those plays where it's kind of a rough play and I was trying to get him to go over the top," Welker said after the game. "It wasn't a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that. I hope he's OK."
Talib was not OK, at least for the remainder of the game. The Patriots' top cover man left with an injury and did not return. Denver took full advantage of the Pro Bowler's absence, passing for 400 yards and feeding Thomas, who was shadowed by Talib prior to his exit, with seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown.
"I'll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide," a frustrated Belichick said.