Bill Belichick received a lot of credit for the New England's game plan on a blustery night, which included a run-first approach that had the Patriots attempt a piddling three passes in a 14-10 road victory in Buffalo. Bills coach Sean McDermott was not among those heaping praise on Belichick.
"Let's not give more credit than we need to give credit to Bill Belichick in this one," McDermott said after the loss. "Whether it's Bill or anybody else -- they beat us, right? You sit here and you tell me when we start with an average starting field position at the 40-yard line and he starts at the 23-yard line -- and I'm rounding up in both cases -- and we were 1 for 4 in the red zone, and they were 0 for 1 in the red zone? You give me that ahead of time then I like my chances. I like my chances. So, with all due respect, it's not a Bill Belichick-type thing. It's what are you doing with the opportunities you got? What are you doing with the opportunities you got? We turned the ball over at the plus 30-something yard line. It's sloppy football. It's sloppy football. So, I'm very comfortable in that situation."
It's about as terse an answer as you'll find from the normally even-keeled McDermott. The frustration stems not only from the loss but also from the same issues that have plagued his team as they've dropped to 7-5 after a 4-1 start.
The Bills have gotten bullied on the ground before, giving up 264 rushing yards and four ground touchdowns on 46 carries total to the Indianapolis Colts three Sundays ago while allowing 41 points. By that standard, allowing just 222 rushing yards and one TD on 46 carries Monday night was a success.
Buffalo's offensive issues have come in red-zone failures and a lack of toughness in the run game when needed. Even when they were beating the pants off the likes of Houston earlier in the year, the red-zone woes were evident with a cavalcade of chip-shot field goals. Against a good team like the Patriots, those issues came back to bite the Bills big time.
So, McDermott is correct. It wasn't all about Belichick. But the Pats were the latest team to take what ills the Bills and twist them into dry heaving all night. Give Belichick credit. But not all the credit. Buffalo owns some blame for their part.