Why Belichick’s late-game decision in Pats-Eagles was ‘non-sensual’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots got a lot right in their close loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. But there’s still room for a lot of doubt, including Bill Belichick’s decision-making.
The Patriots trailed the Eagles 22-14 early in the fourth quarter when Belichick kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-8 attempt at Philly’s 36-yard line. The gamble paid off as Hunter Henry grabbed Mac Jones’ pass attempt with one hand and picked up the first down.
Four plays later, New England faced another fourth-down situation – fourth-and-3 – from the 17-yard line, well within field goal range of rookie kicker Chad Ryland. But instead of taking the points and making it a five-point game with 9:39 left, Belichick opted to go for it. againand the result was an incomplete pass that gave the ball back to the Eagles.
That decision came back to bite Belichick in the final minutes; the Patriots drove to Philly’s 20-yard line but trailed by five instead of two and failed to find the end zone in a 25–20 loss. If they had gotten the points earlier in the game, they might have been able to get Ryland a field goal.
When asked about the decision to go for it on fourth-and-3, Belichick gave his standard company line — “I felt like it was the best decision for the team” — and then became curt with a reporter asking for a continued early: ask.
“We made the best decision we could make at the time,” Belichick said. “I didn’t know we’d be there multiple times. Six minutes to go in the game. I don’t know. If we had kicked it, I’m sure you’d ask why we wouldn’t have gone for it.”
While such a reaction is nothing new for Belichick, NBC Sports Boston Patriots Postgame Live The crew wasn’t here because of Belichick’s decision or his post-game explanation.
“It’s a breakout,” former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said of Belichick’s postgame response, as seen in the video player above. “He just gets away with saying this is what’s best for the team and doesn’t want to answer the question. He should answer that question.”
“I mean, it just doesn’t make sense. I know you have to be aggressive against Philly and maybe take your chances, but not at the end of games in critical situations. … I’m just saying this was the best decision .” for the team, I don’t think that’s an acceptable answer.”
For Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran, Belichick’s failure to pick up the points is even more puzzling in light of his decision to invest a fourth-round pick in Ryland while cutting veteran kicker Nick Folk prior to the season.
“You can’t roll the dice on a kicker in the fourth round and release your veteran and do something that bold and then (try) turtles for a 38-yard field goal to get you within three,” Curran said. ‘I think that’s nonsensical.
“You have to be one or the other. ‘He’s our guy, he’s going to go at it. And I really believe that.’ Or another aspect is, “We like the way our offense moves the ball. We like the way Mac plays. We love the game. Billy O’Brien is calling now. In for a dime, in for a dollar.” We’ve already gone down a quarter and converted that. Let’s do it again and we’ll get seven.” That could also be the mentality.
“But what’s hard for me is that it’s just a cop. It’s not a complicated answer and it doesn’t really put you in danger if you say, ‘We picked it up before and we felt good about picking it up again to take.’ I just didn’t do it.’ What’s the problem?”
Watch the video below for more reactions from Patriots Postgame Live.