The Patriots seven-game winning streak ended with a sloppy effort in Indianapolis Saturday night, and after the game Bill Belichick was predictably disappointed in his team's performance. The coach's frustration was clearly evident when he addressed the media following the loss as he consistently kept his answers short and repetitive – "we didn't do anything well enough to win."
On Monday the coach opened his meeting with the media by offering an apology.
"I apologize if it seemed like I was a little short with you after the game," Belichick began. "Obviously it was a frustrating game. Down 20-0, didn't do anything well enough. There really isn't much to say at that point without watching the film. Clearly, we had problems in every area so there was no simple answer. Every play could have been better, every area of coaching could have been better, every area of playing could have been better and any of that would have helped.
"So, not really trying to be short but there wasn't really too much to say. I don't know that there's much more to say now but it's not your fault. It was a frustrating game."
After offering his initial olive branch to start, Belichick was also a bit more expansive with a couple of his answers with regard to his strategy during the game. The most noteworthy call came in the fourth quarter with the Patriots trailing 20-7 and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 7. Instead of going for a touchdown in an effort to make it a one-score game with less than 10 minutes to go, Belichick opted for a field goal.
When asked after the game Belichick said he did what he felt was best for the team. Asked again Monday morning, the coach repeated the same words but when a follow-up ensued and explained his thoughts further.
"It's still a two-possession game and now it's a field goal," Belichick said. "I thought there was enough time left that we would have enough possessions to be able to score 10 points, which we conceivably could have. I didn't feel great about converting fourth-and-goal from the 7.
I didn't think, in that game situation, that would've been the best decision. I thought that would've passed up three points and that would've taken two touchdowns. At the end of the game, especially in the dome, having a chance at a 50-plus yard field goal, I think it's a lot better chance than scoring a touchdown and having a six-point differential as opposed to a three-point differential, relative to the chances of converting a fourth-and-7."
Along those lines, Belichick opted to have Nick Folk kick it deep following the Patriots late touchdown that cut the deficit to 20-17 with 2:21 left. The coach was asked about the execution of Folk's kick, which was short and resulted in a 20-yard Nyheim Hines return out to the Indy 31.
"That was poorly executed on our part," Belichick said of the kickoff. "That wasn't what we were looking for at all. Either you pin them back and play the extra yards of field position – tackle them on the 20 and gain 5 yards of field position – or you touchback it and keep the extra seconds on the clock. We did neither. We didn't get the field position and we wasted five seconds, which at the end of the game is another play. Bad coaching, bad playing, bad execution."
It was a frustrating night for all involved, particularly the head coach. But on Monday, Belichick took a step back and offered some insight into that frustration.