You just know Monday night’s victory over the Buffalo Bills was especially enjoyable for Bill Belichick. His New England Patriots overcame gnarly winds at Highmark Stadium, threw the ball just three times and rode defense, special teams and an excellent running game to a 14-10 win.
But the Patriots head coach was his typical, unenthusiastic self after the historically uneventful triumph.
“It’s really good to come in here and win,” a stoic Belichick said after the Patriots moved to 9-4. “Make no mistake about it: Buffalo’s a really good football team. They’re well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players, they play hard and they’re tough. … Really proud of our players. Those guys did a good job in all three units. We played, kind of, the way we felt we needed to play to win. In the end, scored enough points.
“(There) was a lot of situational football that I thought we, for the most part, handled fairly well. And, you know, just gotta give the players a lot of credit for this win. Being tough, being disciplined, being resilient and dealing with a really good football team and conditions that were somewhat challenging.”
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones completed just two of three pass attempts for 19 yards while Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson helped the Patriots rack up 222 yards and a touchdown against one of the NFL’s best run defenses. Obviously, the game plan was heavily influenced by the weather in Buffalo.
But when did Belichick and his coaching staff commit to a strategy that was as comical as it was impressive?
“No (it wasn’t the plan all week),” Belichick said. “We didn’t know what (the weather) was going to be. But, you know, it’s the way it worked out.”
Surely Belichick at times must’ve been tempted to throw the ball more, right?
“I don’t know, just trying to do what we think’s best to help the team win,” he said.
On the wind, Belichick added: “It was swirling, but, yeah, it was basically blowing toward the tunnel. From our bench to their bench … like it does in Gillette (Stadium). … But it was definitely swirling.”
Unprompted, Belichick offered praise for Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown while adding 39 yards on the ground.
“Josh did a good job throwing the ball out there today,” Belichick told reporters. “It’s not easy. I thought he did a pretty good job. Not that he had a career day or anything. It was tough conditions, but he slung it in there pretty good, made some really good throws.”
As for the bizarre decision to send N’Keal Harry out to return a punt, which he muffed, Belichick offered nothing more than a barely audible non-answer.
Unfortunately, Belichick’s press conference took place before that of Bills head coach Sean McDermott, whose comments about Belichick and Harry generated headlines. We’ll to wait have until later this week to see what, if anything, Belichick has to say about McDermott’s controversial remarks.
New England enters its bye week comfortably in first place both in the AFC East and the conference as a whole. The Patriots will return Dec. 18 for a Saturday matchup with the Colts in Indianapolis.