I feel like enough time has passed for everyone to look at Monday’s Patriots vs Bills game with clear eyes. The (literal) fog of shock should have worn off by now, allowing us all to form an unbiased opinion of what happened that night. But it appears the same old group (the Volin’s, Wright’s, Skip’s, etc. of the world) seem to be hellbent on refusing to acknowledge reality. It’s the same old narratives with the same old moving goal posts you’ve seen all year from the folks. And I have to admit: I’m at my limit with it all.
Instead of typing out 3-4 different articles going at every talking point/incorrect takeaway from this game, I decided to do this. So here are the realistic storylines from the fallout of Monday’s Divisional clash. Some may seem redundant at times, but its necessary.
This Game Had Nothing To Do With ‘Trust’
You’ve seen the headlines by now. “Monday’s game proves Bill Belichick doesn’t trust his rookie QB.” If you find yourself talking sports with someone and hear them say anything resembling that sentence, run. Run as far and as fast as you can so you don’t get sucked into one of the most frustrating, nonsensical debates you’ll be a part of all season. And I recommend you don’t open Twitter either because…well…
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) December 8, 2021
Belichick attempted a 56 yard field goal in horrible weather instead of going for it on 4th & 3 against the Bucs and people think he has full trust in Mac Jones?? https://t.co/gRat4mg4Lo
— Acclaimed Nigga BreitBart Starr (@2PLANES) December 7, 2021
He's having a super solid rookie season. The offensive approach was indicative of how his OC views his throwing ability. Both things can be true. https://t.co/UoU9TYvKWw
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 7, 2021
@getnickwright if Belichick doesn't trust Mac Jones then why did he release Cam Newton before the season????????
— Fact Spitter (@fact_spitter_) December 7, 2021
Mac Jones is nice but Bill Belichick doesn’t trust him. Lol he would let Cam and Brady throw, I bet
— GridironSet (@GridironSet) December 7, 2021
If the Patriots had a quarterback their coaches trusted they’d be the best team in the NFL by a wide margin… unfortunately they don’t so they’re going to end up 5th or 6th seed in the AFC.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) December 7, 2021
Skip Bayless suggests how Bill Belichick was looking at Mac Jones during the Patriots' win over the Bills:https://t.co/NODjj2LZgs
— NESN (@NESN) December 7, 2021
*Bills stuck to their game, and it led to more mistakes
*Pats paid attention to Colts-Bills game
*No faith in Mac in tough conditions
*Great night by Phillips … what’s up with using Harry on PR? … Nick Folk a hero … morehttps://t.co/FmBk3A3RkH
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 7, 2021
Why did Belichick let go of Cam if he didn’t trust Mac? Well, friend, Belichick let go of Newton BECAUSE he trusts Mac. It’s all so silly.
Belichick is touted for switching up his playcalling week to week. In fact, he’s really one of the only coaches left that can do that successfully. One thing that doesn’t go week to week is his trust in Mac Jones. Ever since Bill chose a rookie QB over a former MVP to start the year, trust was established. Throwing 40 times against the Bucs. 32 attempts (for 310 yards) against a great Titans defense. Allowing Mac Jones to audible out of plays at the line. ALL PROVES TRUST.
Another thing I’ve been seeing is people saying “Look at Josh Allen being allowed to throw! Belichick didn’t even let Mac throw a handful of times!” Well, if you know anything about football since Josh Allen has been around, you’d know he’s one of the hardest throwers of the football the game has. So if ANYONE was going to be allowed to throw the ball, it’d be him. Saying he has a stronger arm than Mac Jones isn’t an indictment of the latter or some crazy fact you’ve uncovered. It’s known. Find a new slant.
The Bills Got Bullied
There are no ifs, ands or buts about this one. The Buffalo Bills got bullied like the little brothers they’ve been for 20 years. 32 consecutive rushes initially sounds idiotic for a team to call, but when you look at the box score and see the success? The narrative switches to the defense and how embarrassing it was for them to allow it.
Now, some of that blame is certainly on the players, but the majority has to go on the coaches. Sean McDermott (we’ll get to him later) must not have been watching the same game. How do you not make ANY adjustments whatsoever to force the Patriots to pass? But where I ultimately come down on this point is here: it wouldn’t have mattered. The Patriots are simply a tougher, stronger, grittier team than Buffalo. Even against stacked boxes, the Pats were still ripping off 8 yarders. Brian Baldinger broke down a series of plays and it’s a sight to see.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 7, 2021
The Patriots literally were running the same play, over and over, and the Bills were incapable of stopping it. And this wasn’t the only time the same play was run consecutively either. The Patriots were put together to play this type of football. Smash mouth, old school, “beat your man” football. And Belichick believes they can do it against just about anyone, which is what he proved Monday night.
Points Don’t Always Equal Success
“If Belichick’s gameplan was so great, then why did they only score 14 points!?”
The Patriots gameplan was to run the ball, run the clock and win the game. Correct me if I’m wrong, that’s exactly what happened, right? People can’t come to grips with the fact that Belichick doesn’t subscribe to the new era, “fantasy football” way of viewing the NFL. It’s said all the time, but when everyone else zigs, Belichick zags. Belichick’s gameplan has been and will always be to win. And it worked Monday.
It takes a big man to admit when you’ve been beat. Sean McDermott was not that man Monday night following the game.
Sean McDermott asked about the psychological impact of playing against Bill Belichick: "Let's not give more credit than we need to give Bill Belichick in this one." pic.twitter.com/GAuIBKd6AM
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) December 7, 2021
I still can’t believe a head coach of a football team said this. Basically, by saying there shouldn’t be too much credit given to Belichick, he’s essentially saying he did a bad job. This man is so hesitant to give Belichick the credit he deserves, that he will openly admit that he didn’t coach a good game. Again, like I said before, McDermott was incapable of making any adjustments to win him the game. Whether it was stopping the run or trying new things on offense.
He brings up how he had ‘great’ starting field position and his 1 for 4 in the Red Zone like that somehow validates what he’s saying? He’d ‘take that every time’ huh? So failing in the Red Zone when you have good starting position is something he likes. Got it.
Also, starting at the 43 yard line isn’t ‘great field position’ in a game like this when kicking is essentially non-existent. A face Belichick realized and McDermott didn’t. Saying you are 1/4 in the Red Zone is admitting that Belichick outcoached you and prevented you from scoring. None of it makes sense. These are the words of a man who can’t believe he just got demoralized at the hands of the greatest coach in sports history.
Sean McDermott seemed to view this game as just any other regular game. And that is bafflingly naïve to me.
The more I think about Sean McDermott on Monday, the funnier it gets.
– Got out-coached to an almost comical extent
– Acted like a maniac on the sidelines all game
– Took almost no blame, gave opponent no credit
– Threw half of his own team and coaches under the bus.
— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) December 8, 2021
Bill Belichick Is A Football Genius
Make no mistake about it folks, what Belichick did/pulled off Monday Night was genius level work. Bill, being a student of the game, saw how the Colts ran all over the Bills a couple weeks ago. In fact, Indy ran 24 straight run plays in that game and the Bills were inept then as well. So what does he do? Ups the ante and formulates a gameplan almost specifically designed to run the ball down their throats.
Belichick had the gall to trust in his players and his smarts. He figured he could fun the ball successfully, get ahead, and let his defense do the rest. Which, in case you need reminding, worked out perfectly. We all wanted style points. We all wanted the ONE play action play that would’ve resulted in the easiest TD ever seen in history. But Belichick is steadfast in his ways. Sometimes to his detriment? Sure. No one has a perfect track record. But the ingenuity to come up with this gameplan and the confidence to stick with it is one of the many reasons he is undoubtedly the GOAT.
Lastly, how many coaches do you know of who will call an all out blitz on the last play of the game? And don’t get it twisted, this wasn’t a play call on a whim. He trusted his defense to not only get home, but to cover. And they did.
Hot take: Bill Belichick's wisdom is more important than his intelligence, and while some want to view his decisions as galaxy-brain 4D chess, his real genius is the discipline to consistently and repeatedly do the most important thing, often the simplest and most obvious thing.
— Dave Archibald (@davearchie) December 8, 2021
The Bills Are In Trouble
Ever since Buffalo’s Week 7 Bye, things have been rocky to say the least. They came out of their off week and beat the Dolphins, but looked wildly unimpressive in doing so. But at the end of the day they got the W so any worries were swept under the rug. Then there was the Jaguars game. An inexcusable 9-6 loss. The Bills then wiped out the Jets, only to have the tables turned the next week by getting crushed 41-15 by the Colts. That led to a win over the pitiful Saints and then came this game.
Sure, a rough stretch isn’t unheard of in the NFL. But when that rough stretch has dropped you down to the #7 Seed with games against the Bucs, Patriots and Panthers coming up, there’s cause for concern. The panic button doesn’t need to be pressed yet, but it should certainly be taken out and dusted off. A likely to the Bucs next week would likely drop them out of the playoff picture and force Buffalo to play catchup…going into Foxboro with another battle against the Pats. These are troubling times indeed for the Bills.
The Patriots Are Very Good…At Everything
This may seem like a homer take, but it’s not. The Patriots just showed you that they can run the ball whenever they please. And even when they make it known to the opposing team that they are going to run it, they can still have success. Running teams are dangerous come playoff time because if you can run the clock and control the game, that puts you in position to win every night.
The Patriots can also get pressure on you with rushing only 4. And when they do decide to bring the heat, they can get to you that way as well. But if for some reason they can’t get pressure, their secondary is phenomenal. Defense wins you championships right? Perhaps Belichick took note of that little idiom.
Oh, and if you’re worried about the passing offense, don’t be. Save for Monday’s game, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Mac Jones and his receivers. The rookie QB doesn’t make many mistakes and they’ve been able to pass on almost anyone they want when they need to over the last several weeks. You can dig your head in the dirt and decide to to accept that fact, but it’s true. I’m not even going to get into the Special Teams, by the way. You and I both know how good New England is in that department.
I’ve almost run out of ways to say how dominant the Patriots have been the last 7 weeks. I find myself pulling up the Thesaurus to find synonyms for “demolish” or “demoralize” each week. New England is the #1 Seed in the AFC by a full game. Tell me who expected that going into the year. The Bills are clinging onto the last playoff spot in the Conference and are showing cracks all over the place. This the the reality you/we all must face moving forward.
So you can sit there and say Belichick doesn’t trust Mac Jones or the weather was the only reason the Patriots won or whatever other bizarro debate you want. That’s fine and kind of understandable. The Patriots took a year off and everyone got complacent thinking this was going to be the new norm. The Pats would fade into nothingness and your team, whoever that is, would thrive. Realizing that that could not be further from the truth must be tough. I get it. But the facts are the facts. The Patriots are back.
(Featured Photo Credit www.newsbrig.com)
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Mike Sullivan (@msully5433 on Twitter)