Bill Belichick was in a much more talkative mood compared with several previous games following the Patriots’ 29-25 win over the Bills on Sunday.
The victory came at a much needed time, ending a three-game losing streak.
“A good win for us today, good team victory,” said Belichick. “Had a lot of contributions from all three units.”
“Lot of good football,” Belichick continued. “Obviously Buffalo’s a very good team, quality team, very explosive team, so it came down to the last handful of plays, and fortunately this week we were able to make them.”
It was a day when quarterback Mac Jones and the New England offense put together a 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive (culminating with Mike Gesicki’s one-yard score).
“Good offensive drive, good run there by Rhamondre [Stevenson],” Belichick said of the offense’s fourth-quarter moment.
“Mac made a good check on the blitz, got it to the weak side to [DeVante] Parker, and hit [Douglas] down there, and then a good throw for a touchdown,” Belichick said. “A lot of good football pass protection. They were rushing, they were blitzing, we picked it up, we threw it, we caught it. That was good execution.”
Jones finished the day completing 25 of 30 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think it was one of our most consistent offensive performances of the year,” Belichick explained.
“We moved the ball, we scored points, we changed the field position,” he added. “Again, that’s not one person. One person can’t do it. You have to have 11 guys working together. [Bill O’Brien] did a good job all week with the game plan. Team went in there and played with good competitive level, better fundamentals, and better execution. So it’s a good place to start.”
While it was the offense that had to come to rescue late in the game, the Patriots defense also played a significant role in the win. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was limited for much of the day, and he committed an early turnover when Patriots safety Jabrill Peppers picked off his opening pass.
“Pep’s had a good year. Very explosive player, hard tackler,” Belichick noted. “Made a big play with the interception.”
The interception was a callback to a play from a previous Patriots-Bills matchup.
“We got on hit on that play against them last year, and worked on it in practice and [Pep] played it well, did a nice job to go up and high-point the ball,” Belichick said. “Worked a lot on Allen throwing the ball down-field. He had that one in the end zone, seemed like he threw it about 70 yards.”
Given the recent struggles, there has been speculation about Belichick’s future in New England. In addition, there was a pregame update from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reporting that Belichick had agreed to a multi-year contract extension in the previous offseason.
He was asked about the status of his contract beyond the current season.
“Yeah I never talk about my contract,” Belichick replied. “[I] focus on the game. Try to focus on Buffalo, then I’ll focus on Miami. Count on that.”
“Thanks, though,” he added.
Turning to former Patriots quarterback and current 98.5 The Sports Hub radio host and color commentator Scott Zolak, he tried to lighten the atmosphere.
“Could you lob a softball up there for me?” Belichick joked. “I can hit a single. I don’t need to hit it out of the park, just kind of like softball me one?”
Instead, Zolak asked about what was actually a difficult moment for the Patriots: The team elected to use one of its valuable second half timeouts on a moment in the third quarter prior to a 49-yard field goal attempt from kicker Chad Ryland (who eventually made the kick).
Interestingly, Belichick acknowledged that it had been an error.
“That could’ve been costly, obviously,” he said of the timeout usage. “That was a mistake on our part. I’d say normally you probably just think about taking the delay penalty and kick it, but the way the wind was today, those kicks were hard. I mean I know it’s from the 15-yard line but then you back it up. It’s a lot tougher kick.
“So we blew a timeout on that, but thank you, thank you for reminding me of that,” Belichick added, humorously. “Appreciate that. You know bad coaching, bad management.”
But referencing Bills kicker Tyler Bass’s missed field goal from 42 yards, Belichick highlighted the impact of the wind with an unprecedented third press conference joke.
“You saw what happened on Bass’s field goal. I mean it looked like one of my five-irons,” Belichick deadpanned. “Straight to the right, but it was a tough wind out there today, so we decided to take the [timeout] and make it a little bit shorter of a kick.”
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