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As a former defender on that team, I would've cared less about the result of that fourth-down attempt. The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. Bill Belichick sent a message to his defense. He felt that his chances were better to go for it on his own 28-yard line than to punt it away and make Peyton Manning have to drive the majority of the field to win the game.
I would look at this decision as a lack of confidence in our ability as a defensive unit to come up with a big play to win the game. If I'm Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, Brandon Meriweather and Brandon McGowan -- to name a few -- I'm wondering why we weren't given the chance to do what we've been coached to do ever since the first day we practiced.