New England Patriots: Malcolm Butler believes he could have changed game

New England Patriots: Malcolm Butler believes he could have changed game

But benching Butler and losing the game in the fashion the Patriots did may cause a few players in his locker room to second-guess his decisions from here on out.

Whatever the reason for that mysterious move by the New England coaching staff, it did not pan out as the Patriots allowed 373 passing yards and three touchdowns to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in his Super Bowl MVP-winning performance.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was no more forthcoming on Monday about his surprise benching of one-time Super Bowl star Malcolm Butler. Browner said Belichick went on a "power trip".

He was replaced on Sunday by Eric Rowe, and Butler watched on feeling helpless as the Eagles ran up 538 yards. Patriots defenders had to adjust (physically and mentally) to playing without a reliable and consistent presence in the secondary without much notice.

Speaking on a conference call the day after the Patriots blew their chance at a sixth National Football League title with a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Belichick said "there are a lot of things that go into that".

"That dude done started every game for that team, you feel me, since he picked the [expletive] ball off", Browner said. "I respect Malcolm's competitiveness, and I'm sure that he felt like he could have helped". "I don't know what it was". He knows how Patriots players feel about Butler's benching. "But u don't play your best cornerback". "I guess I wasn't playing good". Maybe, maybe not. Philadelphia played a almost flawless game and did what it had to do to win, so who knows how they might have responded.

The bigger Rowe had reportedly been practicing during the week as a starting cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but Rowe said after the game that he still expected Butler to get his share of playing time.

"I appreciate the question, but it would be a much longer discussion", Belichick said. "We all want to be out there, we all want to play, so I know Malc, he's super competitive".

Compounding Butler's frustration was that he heads into the off-season as a restricted free agent and thus may have played his last game as a Patriot. He was clearly emotional beforehand and expressed those feelings to ESPN's Mike Reiss afterwards.