Sunday, January 16, 2011
Updated: January 17, 12:12 PM ET
Deion Branch: Some Jets 'classless'
ESPN.com news services
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The game was over, but the war of words continued between the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
Following the 28-21 loss Sunday, Patriots receiver Deion Branch said he wasn't embarrassed by his team's effort, but ...
"I'm just frustrated. The embarrassing part came from a few classless guys [on the Jets] after the game," he said. "There were a lot of classless things that went on after the game ended.''
Branch said, according to the Boston Herald, that Jets players taunted the home crowd after the game, with some even giving fans the finger.
"Didn't you see it? You've got to go back and watch it," he said. "Pretty classless stuff.''
Some of New England's players left the field when time ran out rather than shake hands with the Jets players.
When asked if he was one of them Branch said: "I'm a champion. I'm always going to congratulate guys. They beat us today. The ones with class, I shook their hands. And the ones that didn't, I didn't [shake their hands]. You can tell they're not used to being in this position.''
In the week leading up to the game, several Jets players took exception to Tom Brady's exuberance during the Patriots' 45-3 win over New York on Dec. 6. Antonio Cromartie went so far as to call Brady an "ass----," and the Jets weren't apologizing for their behavior Sunday.
"I remember the 45-3 blowout here last time. I remember [those] guys," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said, according to the New York Post. "We made that up, right? So why can't we do it? They did it. So it's fair game. It's fair game."
Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas appeared shocked by Branch's accusations.
"Oh wow. Oh wow. That's a strong statement," he said, according to the Post. "We don't have any classless guys in here. Guys are excited about the win, emotions are high. Guys are excited. I don't know what he meant by that statement."
No player was more excited than fellow Jets linebacker Bart Scott. He was asked how beating the Patriots felt.
"Felt great," Scott shouted to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on the field. "Poetic justice. We knew we were a much better team than we represented ourselves [Dec. 6]. We were pissed off. We wanted to come back, show what type of defense, what type of team this was, what kind of character we have. We take a lot of slack. People gave us no chance, like we barely made the playoffs. We're a good football team."
An obviously fired-up Scott was asked why the team appeared to play with such anger on Sunday.
"For all, you know, non-believers," Scott told him. "Disrespect us, talk crap about the defense -- like we ain't the third-best defense in the league. All we hear is about their defense. They can't stop a nosebleed, 25th in the league, and we the ones that get disrespected."
Heading into this weekend's playoff games, the league had warned teams to cut back on the trash talk.
This came after Patriots receiver Wes Welker made numerous references to feet in a press conference, a not-too-subtle reference to Jets coach Rex Ryan's foot fetish controversy. Scott had responded with some menacing comments on Welker's future, and he didn't back down on Sunday.
"I meant I was going to try to take my helmet and ram it through his chest," Scott said after the Jets' win. "I'm not a dirty player but you can get someone going man-on-man, bone on bone."
In the end, the Jets talked the talk and then walked the walk, straight to the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh.
"It hurts, especially with all the talk leading up to it," Patriots cornerback Darius Butler said, according to the Boston Herald. "But they beat us on the field. That's all that matters."
The Jets didn't seem distracted by all the talk.
"We don't care what people say or whether they like us," cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "We just focus on what we need to do to win games."
Ryan, who had said that the matchup with Pats coach Bill Belichick was personal, felt some vindication.
"We talked because we believe in ourselves," Ryan said, according to the Boston Globe, adding "maybe I'm not wrong about everything I say.
"That was where the talk came from. There's a huge amount of respect that our team has for New England. That's a great football team, but we're not afraid of anybody."
That includes Pittsburgh.
"Can't wait!" Scott barked Sunday.
ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan, ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.