By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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New England completed the greatest playoff comeback in franchise history on Saturday, so it comes as no surprise that there were more than a few smiling faces around Gillette Stadium.
But one figure might need some help turning his frown upside down.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was a bit peeved by the Patriots‘ unorthodox, if not questionable substitution tactics. Baltimore found success getting to New England quarterback Tom Brady, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick needed a stop-gap.
In the third quarter, Belichick deployed an unusual group of blockers and combined it with some late eligibility reporting to officials. Harbaugh wasn’t happy, and let reporters know it afterward.
The ever cheeky-in-victory Brady was quick to fire back at the Ravens coach.
“Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” Brady said. “We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays.”
New England outscored Baltimore 21-10 in the second half, with 14 of those points coming in that pivotal third quarter.
Belichick is known for doing anything in his power to gain the slightest advantage, even going as far as meeting with Chip Kelly to discuss offensive principles back when the coach was at the helm of the University of Oregon football program. This latest tweak shouldn’t bewilder anyone.
“It was a real good weapon for us,” Brady said. “Maybe we’ll have something in store next week.”