We're officially halfway through the 2023 NFL season, and the New England Patriots are clearly unraveling. They're now 2-7 after back-to-back losses, giving them the worst record in the AFC. Crushing injuries, poor roster construction and an endless series of self-inflicted mistakes are to blame.
And, according to Bill Belichick, so are the referees.
For the second week in a row, Belichick was quick to call out the refs the day after a loss. Last week he had legitimate reason to be mad, as the officiating was objectively terrible and resulted in DeVante Parker suffering a concussion. It wasn't the reason the Patriots lost by 14 points to the Miami Dolphins, of course, but it didn't help.
This week, Belichick was back at it. This time he was upset about an offsides call against Mack Wilson. The penalty came late in the fourth quarter (2:41 to go) when the Washington Commanders were trying to punt the ball away, but instead the call gave the Commanders a fresh set of downs and took precious time off the clock for New England.
By the time the Patriots finally did get the ball back, they were pinned on their own 9-yard line and had only 2:07 left to get into field goal range. They failed when a Mac Jones pass was intercepted after going right through the hands of JuJu Smith-Schuster, sealing New England's 20-17 loss.
That's who Belichick should be blaming here, not the Zebra crew. The refs had nothing to do with Belichick's big free-agent signing choking away the game during the final seconds.
Furthermore, Wilson's penalty was just one of several crippling special teams flags on the day for the Patriots. Their special teams were sloppy all afternoon, and in the end they paid the price for it.
Belichick needs to stop blaming the refs and start taking more accountability for his team's terrible performance. They're making far too many mistakes, and the referees are just doing their jobs by calling them.
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