Conspiracies are great, and the best ones are the ones that probably aren't true, but you just can't rule it out. The Oak Island treasure story. The Illuminati. Pretty much everything that's ever been on Ancient Aliens. Elvis and 2Pac still being alive somewhere. And on Sunday, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels just might have given us another one.
In his press conference earlier last week, right before the game, Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher seemed to either have no clue who was running the ball for New England this year, or he was trolling everyone by acting like he didn't.
"Well, they're all different. I have a place in my heart for LeGarrette, because I gave him a start, and I have great respect for him. He's a big back, and he's hard to get down. And as they rotate through, different guys play in different situations, and they do a good job with it. He's knows where the ball's going to go, and the guys are very, very disciplined. I've been impressed with Brandon and what he's done out of the backfield. You've got to deal with him, in addition to Danny. You've got playmakers all around, so we have to play sound defense."
Here's where the delightful conspiracy part comes in - CBS Boston's Michael Hurley, whose "Leftover Patriots Thoughts"column this morning was as predictably excellent as a Five Guys cheeseburger, noticed that on their opening drive, the Patriots just so happened to call plays for all three of their backs (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, and James White) twice in a row:
"Maybe I'm reaching, but was it just a coincidence that the Patriots gave the ball to LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and James White in succession twice on the opening drive? Or was Bill trying to introduce Fisher to the actual running backs on the team?"
Maybe you are, Hurley, maybe you are - but it wouldn't be the first time the Patriots have called plays to ruin someone's day after said someone was running their mouth the week before.
Consider in 2007, when Pittsburgh Steelers safety Anthony Smith made the needle-skipping-off-the-record-player mistake trifecta of guaranteeing a Steelers victory AND saying New England "...got Welker and Moss, but they're not like Cincinnati", and bringing up Spygate. To borrow a phrase from SB Nation's Stephen White...F'ING MISTAKE!
And then, well, here's how Donte Stallworth remembers the Patriots responding:
(Before the Pittsburgh game) Anthony Smith, their safety, went off, talking about Spygate, running his mouth like he was a Hall of Famer. Bill read it off to us. Bill says, "This is the way he feels about you guys." That week, I'm in my locker, and Bill came up to me and said "Hey, do you plan on playing this week?"
"It's not going to matter anyway, according to Smith."
After I got the game plan, I said "We're going after this kid. Not just targeting him. Trying to embarrass him. And we threw like three touchdowns over his head.
So, yeah, running your mouth against the Patriots is more often than not a one-way ticket on the pain train.
And as good as the Patriots running game has been this year, it's entirely possible that the play-calling on Sunday was just a coincidence and wasn't supposed to be tweaking Fisher for his insolence.
But then again, maybe it was...
(X-Files music plays)