Not surprisingly, the defensive-minded Belichick has that aspect of ball to thank for the chance his workforce could have on Sunday.
When the Patriots have wanted a game-changing play this season, typically it’s been their protection that has answered the decision. The most recent instance — Kyle Dugger’s third-quarter, go-ahead interception return for a landing in New England’s 23-21 win over Miami — has set the Patriots up for a one-game showdown with the Buffalo Payments.
Win and they’re again within the playoffs. Lose and their season is sort of definitely over.
“Proper now, the one factor that issues is Buffalo. So, it doesn’t matter what did or didn’t occur another week or sequence of weeks or anything. We’ll see what occurs towards Buffalo,” Belichick mentioned Monday. “We’re in a one-game season and have to play effectively towards one of the crucial explosive offenses and definitely one of many high gamers within the league.”
That participant is, in fact, Josh Allen, who threw for a pair of touchdowns within the Payments’ 24-10 win in Foxborough final month.
Together with the playoffs final season, the Payments have received their final three conferences with New England.
However none of that might be on the Patriots’ minds this week.
“We’re going to go on the market and play collectively, give it our greatest shot for 60 minutes. I feel that’s one thing we will reside with,” security Devin McCourty mentioned. “Anything I feel will crush us as people. I feel that’s why you see this workforce popping out right here subsequent week, observe our butts off, go on the market in Buffalo and attempt to get within the playoffs.”
New England’s protection was spectacular on Sunday even with out key members of the secondary.
The Patriots had been tasked with slowing down Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle regardless of lacking defensive backs Jalen Mills (groin), Jack Jones (positioned on injured reserve with a knee harm) and Marcus Jones (concussion).
Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant began at cornerback, together with observe squad call-up Tae Hayes offering help in sure alignments. To assist them out, the teaching workers caught largely to zone schemes. Hill and Waddle had been focused 12 instances however had been restricted to a mixed seven catches for 107 yards and no touchdowns. Tight finish Mike Gesicki had two catches for 18 yards and a TD.
Pretty much as good a job because the protection did towards the Dolphins — who had to make use of each their backup and third-string quarterbacks — the Patriots might be in a a lot better place towards the Payments in the event that they get again a few of their lacking defensive backs. If not, Allen may have a discipline day.
Dugger. His 39-yard pick-6 was his third defensive TD of the season. He additionally had a 59-yard fumble return for a landing towards Detroit on Oct. 9 and a 16-yard pick-6 at Las Vegas on Dec. 18. The final NFL participant with three defensive TDs in a season was Darius Slay of Philadelphia final 12 months.
Left sort out Trent Brown added to his penalty complete, getting flagged for a false begin within the second quarter. He’s tied for the NFL lead with 13 penalties on the season.
Receiver Jakobi Meyers injured his shoulder on his 1-yard TD catch within the fourth quarter. He mentioned afterward he anticipated to be high quality for this week. Along with the accidents to Mills, Jack Jones and Marcus Jones, vast receiver DeVante Parker and tight finish Jonnu Smith sat out with concussions.
14 — The variety of yards Rhamondre Stevenson wants to succeed in 1,000 speeding yards for the primary time in his profession. It will be the primary 1,000-yard season for a Patriots participant since 2016, when LeGarrette Blount rushed for 1,161 yards.
The Patriots had been handled to an unseasonably heat game-time temperature of 51 levels towards the Dolphins. However the early forecast for his or her Sunday’s street showdown with the Payments requires a temperature of 32 levels.
Observe Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower
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