Mike Vrabel made sure he beat his old mentor Bill Belichick and got aggressive in battering Tom Brady in the process.
If Tom Brady wasn’t yelling at his teammates on the sideline Sunday, it was probably because he was too shell-shocked to think straight. The Patriots quarterback was battered in a bad way by a Titans defense that sacked him three times and knocked him down plenty more.
An aggressive attack is something we probably should have expected. Riding high after a Monday night win over the Cowboys, the Titans were expected to throw everything at the Patriots. It was a home game, Tennessee needed a win to get above .500 and back into a position to win the AFC South, and it was a revenge game of sorts for head coach Mike Vrabel.
Vrabel played for Belichick during much of the 2000s, and came to embody the Patriot Way with his selflessness and dedication to the program. Vrabel played through injury, supported his coach in the locker room and was the perfect Patriot. He was rewarded by being traded without remorse by Belichick in what was deemed a stunning move at the time. For years, Vrabel and Belichick didn’t speak and Sunday was a chance for Vrabel to right the wrongs.
That was felt in full force on the last play before halftime. On a Hail Mary attempt with 0:02 left Vrabel called a blitz and sacked Brady to end the quarter.
That’s a power move straight out of the Bill Belichick playbook. It’s one that oozes bravado that Belichick might not like but has to respect. Vrabel’s tenure in New England ended badly, and it’s taste you could tell he was ready to wash out of his mouth.
Plenty of coordinators have been plucked from the Belichick tree but only a handful have beaten him. Earlier this year Matt Patricia pantsed his former boss on national television, but Vrabel is the first former player to have taken down his mentor.