The Patriots defeated the Bills 14-10 on “Monday Night Football” in Week 13 in what some have referred to as a masterful effort from Bill Belichick. The long-time Patriots coach helped orchestrate a game plan that saw New England throw just three times while dominating on the ground — 46 attempts for 222 yards — to earn the victory.
However, Bills coach Sean McDermott isn’t so sure that Belichick should be praised much for the Patriots’ victory.
“Let’s not give more credit than we need to give credit to Bill Belichick in this one,” McDermott told reporters after the game, per NESN.com. “Whether it’s Bill or anyone else, they beat us.”
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Instead, McDermott blamed his team for wasting several opportunities throughout the night. He thought the Bills played “sloppy football” and consistently squandered great field position with empty red-zone possessions.
“If you give me that ahead of time, I’m saying, ‘I like my chances,’” McDermott said of the Bills’ average starting field position and four red-zone opportunities.
Indeed, McDermott and the Bills do deserve a fair share of the blame for the loss. The team had 10 days between its Thanksgiving game against the Saints and the Monday night contest against the Patriots yet looked completely unprepared for the challenges it met.
McDermott made several questionable coaching decisions throughout the night. That included a couple of burned timeouts in the second half and a decision to kick a field goal into the frenzied wind while down four. He also opted not to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game early and failed to adjust to the Patriots’ run-heavy game plan until well into the second half.
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McDermott acknowledged his mistakes and indicated that his team was responsible for the loss — not Belichick’s unconventional, run-oriented attack.
“I don’t think, with all due respect, it’s a Bill Belichick-type thing,” McDermott said. “It’s what you do with the opportunities you’ve got.”
The Bills may have beaten themselves a bit on Monday night, but the Patriots out-gained the Bills 241 to 230 despite their entirely lacking passing offense. New England also played excellent red-zone defense against Josh Allen and Co., and forced Buffalo into a missed field goal attempt and a turnover on downs during its last two red-zone possessions.
So, as much as McDermott may hate to admit it, Belichick deserves credit for having his team ready for those key situations. The loss wasn’t entirely the fault of the Bills’ incompetence.
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