Why the Patriots won by only throwing 3 passes against the Bills on Monday Night Football

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New England Patriots v Buffalo BillsPhoto by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Bill Belichick’s strategy was a changeable of genius.

When it comes to NFL coaches, cipher compares to Bill Belichick successful the strategical department. If this was up for statement anterior to the New England PatriotsMonday Night Football matchup against the Buffalo Bills, it surely isn’t now. Belichick and the Patriots came adjacent to tying an NFL grounds for fewest passing attempts since the NFL/AFL merger (2), throwing conscionable 3 times successful their 14-10 triumph implicit the Bills.

Conceptually the thought was simple: It was truthful windy successful Buffalo that determination were immense concerns astir walk accuracy and shot placement. However, knowing this and executing connected it are 2 precise antithetic things. The NFL is simply a passing league, and everyone knows it. Even the Patriots run connected this ideal. Entering the crippled connected Monday nighttime New England had a pass/rush divided of 394/334 successful 2021, throwing connected 54 percent of their violative snaps. On Monday this shriveled to conscionable 6 percent.

On Monday nighttime determination were changeless winds supra 20 miles per hour, with gusts implicit 40 miles per hour. It was capable to stroke kicks disconnected people and wholly change however the crippled needed to beryllium managed.

The opening kickoff conscionable blew close into the stands lol pic.twitter.com/ViOJDwPAuK

— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) December 7, 2021

Belichick not lone understood that the upwind was going to beryllium a immense origin each crippled long, helium realized the unit helium had.

Mac Jones has been an unthinkable rookie quarterback for New England, but limb spot and zip were 2 large concerns anterior to the draft. Jones simply isn’t the benignant of backmost to firearm successful fastballs that could statesman to chopped done the upwind (especially considering the big-armed Josh Allen was struggling with the upwind for the Bills). There was fundamentally thing bully that could travel from having Jones propulsion the shot 30+ times, arsenic he’d been doing successful caller weeks, truthful Belichick showed eventual religion successful his cadre of moving backs by committee to get the occupation done, arsenic they ran the shot 46 times close down Buffalo’s throat, and dared the Bills to halt them.

They couldn’t.

Of course, this made the full crippled a batch easier. If the Patriots moving backs were lone gaining 2.0 yards per transportation this would person been a disaster. However, Belichick stake connected the spot of his violative enactment and galore alteration of gait backs, each of whom person antithetic moving styles, to support the Bills antiaircraft beforehand connected their backmost feet each game.

Damien Harris, the smaller and shiftier of New England’s backs, ran the shot 10 times for 111 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson, their powerfulness back, carried it 24 times for 78 yards. Brandon Bolden, the elder statesman of the rushers, carried it 4 times for 28 yards. Hell, adjacent wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, arsenic good arsenic choky extremity Jonnu Smith got carries (albeit without overmuch success). The constituent is, the Patriots were capable to replicate a punctuated, alteration of gait attack, and did it each connected the ground.

The champion portion of each this: Belichick mightiness person told everyone it was coming.

Bill Belichick wore a Navy Midshipmen disguise successful his pregame interrogation and promptly ran the shot 46 times pic.twitter.com/euXwnxuiTC

— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 7, 2021

Sure, it’s not similar Belichick to fell easter eggs wrong of his pre-game routine. But gosh, bash I privation this to beryllium his intention. Belichick has familial links to Navy wherever his begetter was an adjunct coach, but determination could person been a small much to this.

Navy played Tulsa connected October 29 successful a crippled wherever backmost Tai Lavatai attempted conscionable 3 passes. Relying wholly connected their varied rushing attack, Navy ran the shot 57 times successful the 20-17 win, showing that it is imaginable to inactive triumph wholly though a crushed game.

It’s pugnacious to ideate that Belichick was inspired by a assemblage program, but the nexus betwixt his overwhelming rushing crippled and his Navy facemask are conscionable excessively bully to ignore. Hell, adjacent Bills players said they were prepared for the Patriots to tally the shot each crippled long, but simply couldn’t halt it.

We thin to deliberation of “genius” arsenic reasoning extracurricular the container and solving problems successful wildly originative ways. This truly wasn’t a lawsuit of that. Instead it was seeing a wide problem, an evident solution, and having the guts to execute connected it anyway. The Patriots person present won 7 games successful a row, and are the apical squad successful the AFC, and it’s due to the fact that of Belichick. The 2021 play mightiness beryllium his coaching magnum opus.

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