Bill Belichick Expects NFL To Close Loophole Patriots Exploited Vs. Jets


October 22, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Bill Belichick expects the shenanigans he gleefully pulled late in Monday night’s blowout win over the New York Jets to soon be outlawed.

Early in the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots’ 33-0 romp at MetLife Stadium, Belichick opted to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Jets’ 33-yard line rather than attempt a long field goal or try for a first down.

To drain some extra clock and give punter Jake Bailey a bit more space — dropping a punt near the goal line from that deep in opposing territory isn’t easy — the Patriots intentionally took a delay of game penalty, which would have moved them back 5 yards. Jets coach Adam Gase, however, declined the penalty, choosing to keep the Pats where they were.

An accepted penalty would have stopped the clock with 10:23 to play. But because the Jets opted not to enforce the flag, time continued to run, gifting the Patriots a fresh 35-second play clock.

So, Belichick decided to push his luck. On the next play, he instructed running back Brandon Bolden to intentionally commit a false start as the play clock neared zero. Bolden obliged, smiling as he did so, and Gase again declined the penalty, allowing the game clock to continue to dwindle.

On the third try, Belichick, clearly pleased with himself, finally relented. Bailey booted the ball away with 9:43 remaining in the game, with Braxton Berrios calling for a fair catch at New York’s 14-yard line.

Belichick, who’s never seen a rule book loophole he didn’t try to exploit, explained his strategy during his postgame news conference.

“It was just the way the rules are set up,” Belichick said. “We were able to run quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. That’s probably a loophole that will be closed — and probably should be closed — but right now, it’s open.”

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