FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick’s postgame message to the New England Patriots on Sunday was about what one would expect.
Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers said the Patriots head coach harped on his team’s slow start and self-inflicted errors after New England lost the Buffalo Bills 33-21 at Gillette Stadium.
“His message was we just didn’t do well enough,” Meyers said. “We didn’t start fast enough, and there was a lot of we left out there on the field. That’s a bad feeling for any athlete, any professional. So we’ve just got to go watch the tape, learn from it and try to be better for the next game coming forward.”
The Patriots gained fewer than 15 yards on four of their five first-half possessions, including a game-opening three-and-out. The Bills scored on their opening drive, never trailed, never punted and moved the ball at will throughout the game, reaching the Patriots’ red zone on all seven of their possessions, excluding kneeldowns at the end of each half.
As was the case in last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, during which the Patriots fell behind 20-0 before rallying late, errors in key spots burned New England.
An ugly N’Keal Harry drop preceded a Mac Jones interception. An encroachment penalty on Christian Barmore on fourth-and-7 led to a successful conversion and an eventual Bills touchdown. Failures in coverage against reserve Bills wideout Isaiah McKenzie (11 catches, 125 yards, one touchdown), extended two late Buffalo scoring drives.
“Well, kind of a little bit like last week,” Belichick said in his brief postgame news conference. “Not a lot to say here. Obviously, Buffalo made more plays than we did today, played better than we did, coached better than we did. We just didn’t perform well enough to really have a good chance to win the game. We have to find a way to do better. Again, they made more plays than we did. Give them credit and set to go back to work here for next week.”
Now riding their first losing streak since early October, the Patriots relinquished control of the AFC East to Buffalo. They still have a favorable path to a wild-card playoff spot but now must hope for the Bills to lose one of their final two games (easily winnable home matchups against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets) in order to have a shot at a division title.
Next up for the 9-6 Patriots is a matchup with the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at Gillette Stadium.