Bill Belichick knows the Patriots didn’t put on their best performance Sunday, but he also clearly was pleased after New England’s huge win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Patriots overcame a lot of errors, as well as a borderline bad game from Mac Jones, in picking up their elusive signature victory. Nick Folk kicked four field goals, Adrian Phillips picked off two Justin Herbert passes (returning one for a touchdown) and Damien Harris ran for 80 yards and a score in the 27-24 victory. New England also received great punt returning from Gunner Olszewski and good play from the front seven, especially Matthew Judon and Christian Barmore.
Belichick touched on the all-three-phases performance during his postgame news conference.
Here’s his full opening statement:
“A really good win for our team today. The Chargers are a good football team. Coming here and getting the win is a great feeling. Certainly, there are some things that we could have done better. We left some plays on the field, some penalties and non-penalties. We could have coached better, could have played better. We could have taken advantage of a couple of opportunities that we missed on. Again, all and all, we made the plays that we needed to make in the fourth quarter, which is something that we hadn’t done as well earlier in the year. It’s good to see that. It’s good to come out here and get a win. Looking forward to the big game against Carolina.
“The team had a good week. It’s a big challenge coming here. Two weeks in a row we’ve had fresh teams coming off the bye. The Chargers had a lot of energy. (Chargers head) Coach (Brandon) Staley does a good job. We put the ball down the field. I thought we played better in the second half until the last two-minute drive, defensively. Offensively, we moved the ball. We would just like to come out with a few more points. I thought Nick (Folk) kicked well, like he always does. Gunner had some — the punt return team, not just Gunner — had some good returns to put the offense in good position. Obviously, (Phillips’) two picks were big differences in the game, really counted for 10 points there. That’s pretty much the story.”
Make no mistake: Belichick was his usual, all-business self after the victory.
“We’re just trying to get better every day,” he mumbled toward reporters.
But Belichick also praised his defense for limiting Justin Herbert and his team as a whole for showing resiliency. He also credited Jones for showing toughness in a game that could benefit him in the long run.
“Mac has done a great job,” Belichick said. “He prepares. He works hard. He definitely knows what to do. Some things he needs to see and experience. There’s really no substitute for that other than getting out there and doing it.”
Belichick was especially impressed with Jones and the offense’s long final drive, which put the game away.
“It’s always great to see the offense move the ball and score points,” he said. “I love it.”
At 4-4, the Patriots can’t rest on their laurels after earning a statement win. They’re not good enough to take their foot off the gas.
However, Sunday’s game proved New England not only can compete with some of the NFL’s best teams, but beat them, too.
The Patriots will visit the Carolina Panthers next Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.