During the fourth quarter of Friday night’s preseason game, television cameras showed New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick reaming out some of his younger players for celebrating a stopped two-point conversion while their team was down by multiple scores.
Belichick was just as unhappy when he walked to the podium for his postgame news conference.
Speaking with reporters after New England’s 25-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Belichick was highly critical of his squad, saying Carolina dominated every phase of the game.
“The Panthers obviously did a good job (Friday night),” Belichick said. “Coach (Ron) Rivera, his staff, their team played well in all three phases of the game and outplayed us across the board for four quarters. So we’ve got a lot of work to do. There really wasn’t any part of the game that was very competitive. So we’ll just have to go back to work and see if we can find a way to do a few things better than we did them tonight. That’s really about all there is to say. They just did a good job.”
Asked if the Patriots could take any positives from the loss, Belichick paused before responding: “I don’t know.”
After lighting up the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Patriots’ first-team offense struggled to produce points against the Panthers, managing just three in the first half despite staging two 14-play drives.
New England’s starting defense also had difficulty keeping quarterback Cam Newton in the pocket and corralling running back Christian McCaffrey, though it surrendered just three field goals.
“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Belichick said. “We weren’t able to accomplish much (Friday night). We didn’t play well in any (of the) three phases of the game. So we’ve just got to go back to work and do a better job than that.”
There were some bright spots Friday, like the play of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who caught four passes from Tom Brady on four targets for 36 yards. It was an encouraging performance for a player who likely will be asked to take on a larger role while fellow wideout Julian Edelman serves his four-game suspension.
Rookie cornerback Keion Crossen also bounced back nicely after his penalty-riddled showing against the Eagles, finishing with two pass breakups.
“I mean, look, we’ve been in camp for a while, three preseason games, so there have been some positive things along the way,” Belichick said. “But tonight, we just weren’t very competitive against a good team. We did a few things, made a few plays in the red area, gained a few yards, but in the end, we really couldn’t do much.”
The Patriots will close out their preseason schedule next Thursday night against the New York Giants.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images