You would’ve had to see it to believe it, but Bill Belichick cracked a little smile on the sideline Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
And of, course, the Patriots head coach’s brief moment of amusement was a product of gamesmanship.
With New England comfortably ahead of New York 33-0 in the fourth quarter, Belichick called on the punt team on a 4th-and-2 from the Jets’ 33-yard line instead of making a push for a first down or attempting a 50-yard field goal. In hopes of giving punter Jake Bailey a bit more room to work with, the Patriots intentionally let the play clock run out for a delay-of-game penalty.
It was a smart move by New England, but unfortunately for the visitors, Adam Gase wasn’t going to bite.
The Jets declined the penalty to keep Bailey’s window tighter. Instead of cutting his losses and moving on, Belichick went back to the well one more time, as Brandon Bolden overtly flinched to produce a false-start infraction. Gase once again declined the penalty, and although Belichick’s strategy ended up not producing the outcome he had hoped for, he was nonetheless entertained, as ESPN cameras captured him holding back a grin.
You can watch the entire scene unfold here.
While it was all laughs and smiles for the Patriots by night’s end in the Meadowlands, it was very much the opposite for the Jets, who turned in a frighteningly poor performance under the lights on their own turf.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images