Moss Endures Harsh Criticism

Randy Moss heard about his performance last week from Carolina Panthers players. He also got a healthy dose of criticism from the media. The Patriots weren't about to let Moss take the heat without some rebuttal. Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft came to Moss' defense.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick took a stab at the struggling Carolina Panthers on Monday while defending wide receiver Randy Moss' play.

When asked about critical comments made by Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble and safety Chris Harris after Sunday's 20-10 loss to the Patriots about Moss not giving an all-out effort, Belichick snapped, "My response would be that's a lot of conversation coming from a team that just lost another game."

A few minutes later Belichick added another dig.

"I have a lot of respect for Randy, I think he's one of our best players and I think if you watch other teams defend him and watch other teams play against him, they think the same way -- other than these two guys from Carolina after they lost another game. I guess they don't think that way," Belichick said. "They haven't won a lot of games now."

Belichick's snide remarks came in response to comments Gamble made to a Boston Globe reporter after the game.

"He'd just give up a lot; slow down; he's not going deep; not trying to run a route," Gamble told the newspaper. "You can tell (by) his body language. I know everyone who plays against him, they can sense that. Once you get into him in the beginning of the game, he shuts it down a little bit."

Harris added: "You get physical with him, and I don't want to say he quits, but he kind of doesn't run the routes the way they're supposed to be run. If you get a jam on him, he'll just ease up. He had the one catch, and he fumbled. ... We stayed on top of him. We were not gonna let him catch a deep pass. That's his game. If he can't get it going, he gets out of sync.".

Moss dropped several passes and was held to one catch for 16 yards -- and that resulted in him coughing up the ball on a fumble.

Patriots Insider's Take:

Moss has a lot to prove on Sunday in Buffalo. He has to earn the respect of the other players on the field. He has to earn the praise heaped upon him by his coach, his quarterback and the team owner who all rushed to his defense last week. Moss has to show he can be an impact player in one of the biggest games the team will play this season.

Current playoff scenarios have the Patriots winning the AFC East should they defeat the Bills this Sunday and the Jaguars next week. If New England falters in either game, the Jaguars and Ravens are ready to jump into the mix for the Wild Card, and the Dolphins could assume control in the division if both teams finish tied.

Look for Moss to make his statement on the field Sunday, as Tom Brady will undoubtedly try to get him involved early. In their first game against Buffalo, Moss finished with a season-high 12 receptions for 141 yards. In Moss' last three games he has caught 3, 2 and 1 pass respectively.

Despite leading the AFC two weeks ago, Moss has continued to receive criticism for his effort. Moss undoubtedly takes some plays off, but is that worth condemning his other performances? With his third 1,000 yard season in a row in a Patriots uniform, there's little doubt the support he received this past week was genuine.

Material from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.

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