The Patriots' decision to try an onside kick in the final 2 12 minutes Sunday when they were trailing by six -- rather than kicking deep in the confidence would stop the Steelers and force a punt -- told Ty Law and Troy Brown everything they need to know about Bill Belichick's trust in his defense.
"He doesn't trust them at all," said Law, the former Pro Bowl cornerback. "And would you? I wouldn't trust them, to be honest with you."
"That showed it all to me," concurred Brown, a long-time standout wide receiver with the Pats. "You got three timeouts . . . and you got well over two minutes to go in the ballgame and you don't kick it away and try to play defense behind it? No, you don't trust them."
"Just for one stop?" added Law. "You need one stop to get the ball back in Tom Brady's hands? No, you don't trust your defense."
But both felt that while Belichick must shoulder some of the blame for not putting together a defense that can perform at championship levels, the players have to look in the mirror, as well.
"It's up to the players to perform," said Law. "At some point you got to go out there and make a play."