FOXBORO - When the Patriots took possession of the ball for the final time Monday night, they had a 27-3 lead over the Chiefs and there was 6:32 remaining in the game. Best case scenario for everyone? The Patriots wind down the clock and are merely taking knees and shaking hands as the seconds tick away. But it's bad form to roll over and Chiefs coach Todd Haley did what he had to do, spending his timeouts one by one until he was out of them with 3:39 remaining. During that span - and after - the Patriots ran the ball nine straight times. But facing third-and-goal from the Chiefs' 1 with 1:14 left, the Patriots threw a quick slant to Aaron Hernandez for a touchdown. In the press box and on Twitter there was cluck-clucking and tsk-tsking. Was the throw in bad form?A penalty wiped out the touchdown and the Patriots soon faced fourth-and-goal from the 4 with 1:06 left. They handed off to rookie Shane Vereen, who scored his first NFL touchdown. More clucking. More tsking. Why not kick a field goal? Or take a knee?In the past, Belichick has explained that kicking field goals in the waning moments of blowouts is more insulting than just running plays on fourth down. At least the defense has a chance to turn the offense away without further scoring, he's explained. Haley is forever looking for slights and breaches of the unwritten rules of football. Last season, he got miffed at Josh McDaniels for some infraction. But there was no postgame agitation between Bill Belichick and Haley. They shook hands and off they went. I asked former Chief and current Patriot Brian Waters if, in general, he had a feeling for end-game blowout etiquette. "Oh boy," he answered. "Well, I think everything's based off of what other people do. It's 60 minutes. We're all paid to play 60 minutes so, hey, you know . . . I know where you're going with this, but hey man, it's the game."A lot of times coaches have a different mentality than players do," Waters explained. "As players, we want to make sure nobody gets hurt, but part of that is making sure you're going full speed and not take anything for granted. You got to do your job. When you start going half speed and other people are going full speed that's when you get hurt. If the play's called, you go full blast. And if they get their feelings hurt, sucks to be them."
When they hit, they don't pitch. When they pitch, they don't hit. And on Friday night, just to check all the boxes, they added poor fielding and sloppy baserunning.