3 takeaways from the New England Patriots demoralizing Wild Card loss

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots takeaway No. 3: Coaching staff was unprepared for this game

I think we can safely rule out Bill Belichick as a Coach of the Year contender at this point, correct? Yes, this season was quite an impressive turnaround for New England, but the Patriots just lost four of their final five games, going from the top seed in the AFC to flaming out in the Wild Card round. And it’s safe to say the final game of the season wasn’t exactly a coaching masterpiece from Belichick.

The in-game management, while ultimately irrelevant thanks to Buffalo scoring practically everytime they touched the ball, ensured this game was over before it even started. Belichick opted to punt on 4th & 1 on New England’s second drive despite the fact the Bills had effortlessly scored on both of their first two drives. It was not much of a surprise to watch Buffalo go down and score yet again on their ensuing drive.

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Belichick just simply wasn’t aggressive enough early in this game to make Patriots fans believe they even wanted to win. They punted again on 4th & 8 on their next drive despite finding themselves right around midfield, and Buffalo turned that into yet another touchdown. Belichick finally went for it on 4th & 5 the next time out, but by then the game was effectively over, with the score being 27-0.

The defensive gameplan was also just awful all around. With the secondary depleted, somebody in the coaching staff thought it would be a good idea to challenge Allen with man coverage looks seemingly all night long. Whoever it was should be fired, as Allen torched the Pats secondary all night long. We will take a closer look at that later on however.

New England’s coaching staff wasn’t prepared at all coming into the game, and then promptly exacerbated the issue with poor in-game management as well. The coaching staff had a good season overall, turning the Patriots into an overachieving playoff team, but they did not step up to the plate for this one, and it’s a big reason why this team’s stint in the postseason was so short.