‘Let’s Not Give More Credit Than We Need To Give Bill Belichick’| Bills Head Coach Not Impressed With Patriots’ Throwback Win

Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills isn’t trying to give New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick too much credit for a 14-10 win. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

When you think of Bill Belichick you notice how his game plans changes from week to week. You never know what he might do in a game.

It’s been times where he’s double-teaming teams’ No.1 receiver while putting his top cover guy on the opponents’ No .2 receiver.

It’s unique how he approaches each opponent and you can never put anything past him. He’s brilliant and willing to try anything in order to win.

Monday night in snowy, and very windy Buffalo, Belichick did the unthinkable and had his rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempt three forward passes the entire night. He instead opted for a heavy dose of “Ground and Pound” with his tailbacks Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Boulden who combined to tote the mail for 222 yards on 38 carries.

But get this. The Patriots ran the football on 32 consecutive plays. I mean in an era of spread offense and high-scoring games, Belichick and the Patriots turned back the clock and went old-school in their win.

Patriots Attempted Three Forward Passes All Night: And Still Won!

With gusty winds and snow in the forecast, Belichick decided not put his rookie quarterback in harm’s way. He leaned almost exclusively on his powerful run game and a physical, fast-flowing defense.

Mac Jones attempted three total passes, completing two for 19 yards. Those three attempts were the fewest in franchise history and tied with the 1968 Chiefs for second-fewest in a games in the Super Bowl Era. The Bills once attempted two passes in a game against the Jets in 1974.

Until last night no team had rushed on 90% of their plays since the New Orleans Saints in 1978.

Weird Stats Led The Way 

The Patriots began the game with 10 straight runs. It’s the most ever in the Belichick era. The Ravens began a game in 2018 with nine consecutive runs.

Running back Damien Harris scored the Patriots only touchdown on a 64-yard scamper. It’s the franchise’s longest-run from scrimmage since Curtis Martin went 70 yards against the Chicago Bears in 1997.

In an era where the pass/run ratio is (58/42) meaning roughly six of every ten plays are passes, the Patriots are still pretty run-heavy. At 52/48 that’s almost a 50/50 split, which is what you can do when your offensive line consists of dominant run-blockers and you want to protect your young QB. Also take into consideration the Patriots use the short-passing game as an extension of their running game.

The Pats have made Orchard Park their home away from home, using that exact formula, going 16-2 there since 2004.

Post Game Comments Show How Vital This Game Was

Bills coach Sean McDermott wasn’t in the mood to give Belichick all the credit for the Patriots odd win. During his postgame presser McDermott said:

“Let’s not give more credit than we need to give Bill Belichick in this one. Whether it was Bill or anyone else they beat us right? But you sit here and you tell me when we start with an average starting field position on the 40-yard line and he starts with the 23-yard line — I’m rounding up in both cases — and we were 1-4 in the red zone and they were 0-1 in the red zone? You give me that ahead of time, I’d say I like my chances, I like my chances.
I don’t think, with all due respect, it’s not a Bill Belichick type-thing. It’s, what you are doing with the opportunities you got? What are you doing with the opportunities you got? We turned the ball over on the 30-plus yard line. Sloppy football. Sloppy football. I’m very interested in that situation.”
McDermott was also asked about making his top-two punt returners inactive prior to kickoff:
“The same reason they turned it over on their punt return team — I didn’t want to to do that. I wanted to put a guy back there that I trusted and was gonna make good decisions with the ball.”
Isaiah McKenzie and Marquez Stevenson have both muffed punts this season, so McDermott opted to have safety Micah Hyde and running back Matt Breida return punts. Breida had already put the ball on the ground as the running back, halting the Bills’ best chance to score early in the game with the wind.

These two teams will meet again in Week 15 in Foxborough. The Patriots have a bye this week, while the Bills travel to face the 9-3 defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.


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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.