Sports

Patriots are on to losing, and Bill Belichick has no idea how to do that anymore

Bill Belichick is confused and intimidated by the prospect of not winning. It’s been a while.

Bill Belichick is confused and intimidated by the prospect of not winning. It’s been a while.
Photo: Getty Images

Bill Belichick is very good at winning. It’s essentially all he’s done over the past two decades with the Patriots. Now that Brady has left town and the Patriots aren’t winning, Belichick is in unfamiliar — and uncomfortable — territory.

Bill was not pleased, and rightly so. His coaching staff up in the booth suggested that he challenge what was very clearly a catch by Bills tight end Dawson Knox, costing him a timeout. Still, angry or not, it’s very seldom you see an emotional outburst from the perpetually stoic head coach.

Since 2002, the Patriots have had an unmatched level of dominance. They won 17 of 19 division titles, including 11 in a row from 2008 to 2019.

I’m not sure what Taylor Swift has to do with anything, but the Patriots were the embodiment of excellence over that stretch:

That’s all history now. The Patriots were embarrassed by their former little brother Buffalo on Monday Night Football last night, getting whooped 38-9. It was the first time any team has swept the Patriots in a single season since 2000, when Belichick took over as head coach. Floundering on national television, in a lost season, to a division opponent that has already clinched the division, there appeared to be a glaring lack of organization or direction. I have never once had that thought about a Bill Belichick-led organization, but it is starkly obvious that Belichick doesn’t know what to do now.

Ever since returning from his bout with COVID-19, Cam Newton has looked awful. Maybe it’s mental, maybe it’s a physical toll the virus has taken on his body, maybe it’s something else. Whatever the culprit, he hasn’t been the same. On top of that, he’s a veteran quarterback on a one-year contract, and the Patriots are no longer competing. Why the hell is he out there? Why not give Jarrett Stidham a couple starts to end the year and at least evaluate what you have before going into next season?

I’m not saying Stidham is the answer; when he finally did enter the game in the third quarter, he looked like shit. He was 4/11 for 44 yards. Ew. However, it would be prudent to give him some live game reps to better inform your offseason plans.

In his postgame press conference, Belichick said “we weren’t really able to do much *grumble* in any phase of the game. They outplayed us all the way across the board, they outplayed us, *grumble* outcoached us.”

I guess this is the curse of Belichick’s two decades of unprecedented success — he doesn’t have practice with losing.

When an empire falls, it often falls fast. Now that the train is off the tracks, I’m not sure he knows how to get it back on.

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