The Patriots provided many head-scratching moments in Sunday’s ugly loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Near the top of the list: whatever it was New England was trying to do on its final possession of the first half.
Trailing 17-7 with 1:11 left in the second quarter, the Patriots sent Mac Jones and the offense onto the field seemingly with the intention of converting a fourth-and-1 at midfield. However, Jones eventually was flagged for a false start after bobbing his head, and New England wound up punting.
It was an ugly sequence. Were the Patriots once again playing too passively? Did Jones screw something up? Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal offered some insight in a column published Tuesday.
“There’s only one good explanation for this entire sequence, and according to sources, the Patriots had good intentions,” Bedard wrote. “The Patriots were intending to take a timeout and then go for the 4th down if Jones didn’t false start. That could just be (cover-your-ass) explanation, but that’s what I was told.”
If that indeed is what happened, then it’s difficult to accept.
New England is good enough on the offensive line and in the running game to simply line up and go for it on fourth-and-short without getting cute. The Patriots probably should’ve put their heavy personnel on the field and just handed the ball to Damien Harris.
If Harris fails and Miami sneaks in a field goal before halftime, so be it. New England would’ve gotten the ball to start the second half trailing by 13 points — not a big deal.
Instead, the Patriots apparently overthought the entire thing and a rookie quarterback made a rookie mistake. New England must clean up those issues — and many others — if it wants to beat the Buffalo Bills in Saturday night’s wild-card matchup.