FOXBORO, Mass. — If you turned off the TV before the final two minutes of Thursday night’s game between the Patriots and the Bills to get a head start on sleep, good on you. You made the right call. Honestly, you would’ve been justified in turning the game off at halftime.
But you also missed a sneaky-interesting thing that happened in the closing moments of New England’s 24-10 loss to Buffalo: Bill Belichick waving the white flag.
The Patriots got a field goal with 1:57 left to make it a 14-point game against the Bills. After Nick Folk tried and failed at an onside kick, Buffalo took over at the Patriots’ 45-yard line with New England holding three timeouts. In theory, the Patriots could’ve gotten the ball back with over a minute left and scored a pair of miraculous touchdowns. Stranger things actually have happened in the NFL.
Instead, Belichick pocketed his timeouts and let Josh Allen call three straight kneeldowns to run out the clock. But why?
Belichick was asked that question during his postgame news conference, and he pointed toward the ankle injury Mac Jones suffered during garbage time in New England’s Week 3 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
“I thought that was the best thing to do for our team,” Belichick said. “We went the other way in the Baltimore game, lost Mac for three weeks. I don’t really think that was worth it.”
Honestly, the Patriots were outclassed in every way Thursday, and there was no sense in sending the offense back out for a few meaningless plays. They were lucky to not lose by 30 points on their home field.