If the Patriots can execute on offense like they have so often in the first and fourth quarters for 60 full minutes, look out below. Following a fourth-quarter play on which the Vikings were awarded a first down on a controversial spot, Patriots safety Patrick Chung remained down on the field with an injury.
Belichick was caught telling Thielen to "shut the f*** up" after throwing his challenge flag to contest a fourth-down conversion by Vikings running back Latavius Murray. Belichick didn't take kindly to the commentary from the opponent, and responded with some words that can't be repeated on television.
But the Patriots bounced back, needing just four plays for Brady to cap a 75-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon that put the Patriots back in front 17-10.
"Interesting timing for a guy to go down", Thielen told reporters after the game.
If you don't know, now you know: Trey Flowers is a beast.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty said, "I love when we get engaged like this". If you are in that situation, why not? It's not cheating, because there's no rule against from a guy going down.
"I don't know. I'm not going to save the ball". That's fine. It is what it is.
"I just felt like I was ready", Jackson said.
Thielen did regret the outburst.
Thielen said the loss is a wakeup call for the Vikings. I just give a lot of credit to the offensive line. "I can't lose it like that". "I just moved to DB when I got to college so I am a receiver for real and got receiver hands". That was when Thielen yelled at Belichick. "That's what I'm most excited about", Brady said, seeming a little bemused. "I don't want us to go backwards anymore".
"I'm not trying to go backward", he said. He plays the fade (route) as good as anybody that I've been around.
Outside of the sideline spat, Thielen was a significant story in this game for his lack of production.
The Patriots' offense had success early in the game, with a first-quarter touchdown run by fullback James Develin. "They did a good job of taking away our outside receivers - for a while". Brady took advantage of a depleted Vikings secondary in the second half and finished with 311 yards on 24-of-32 passing.
For his part, Belichick was concise on the topic. Asked if the conversation was just two competitive people exchanging holiday greetings, the coach replied, "Yeah, pretty much".
"That's a good win against a good football team", Belichick said in his typically dour manner at his postgame news conference.