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Belichick: “Score and situation” was why we didn’t kick field goals in 4th quarter

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on in the second half against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

During the fourth quarter of their loss to the Broncos on Sunday, the Patriots drove into the Broncos red zone on three consecutive drives.

On all three drives, they faced fourth downs and decided to go for it. Rob Gronkowski scored a touchdown on the final drive, but the first two saw a pass to Julian Edelman get blown up behind the line of scrimmage by Chris Harris and the second saw a throw to Gronkowski fall incomplete in the back of the end zone.

The Patriots had all three of their timeouts available on the first two drives, which ended with around six minutes and 2:20 left in the game respectively. Given those timeouts and the fact that the Broncos offense wasn’t moving the ball much in the second half, some wondered why Bill Belichick passed on field goals that would have cut Denver’s lead and put the Patriots in position to win the game with a touchdown. After the game, Belichick said he had no regrets about passing on those kicks while offering a cursory view into his thinking.

Because of the score and situation of the game,” Belichick said in response to a question about passing on the field goal tries.

One can’t know how the game would have played out if the Patriots had taken the three points in those spots anymore than Belichick could have known for sure that his offense would keep getting chances to put the ball in the end zone. Had he made that bet once, we could have a different Super Bowl coming our way in a couple of weeks.

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55 Responses to “Belichick: “Score and situation” was why we didn’t kick field goals in 4th quarter”
  1. floridaraven says: Jan 25, 2016 8:14 AM

    Coulda shoulda woulda.

  2. patriottony says: Jan 25, 2016 8:17 AM

    Die hard fan…but I’m sorry bill that doesn’t hold water!!!!
    If you took those two chip shots for 6 still would have trailed by 2 pts with 1:52 to go and the ball at midfield the 50 exactly..and all you would need is a FG to end the game not a TD….and since you did get the TD___________. I have pondered it all night why pass up 6 pts??

  3. realdealsteel says: Jan 25, 2016 8:26 AM

    I like when my opposing team’s coach doesn’t want to take the points given. Keep it up Bill.🙂

  4. gridironczar says: Jan 25, 2016 8:27 AM

    Hindsight is 2-20 but you DON’T know the turn of events if the Patriots make a FG. The game doesn’t play out the same way. Maybe the Broncos get a good kick return or maybe they fumble…
    When you’re that close you go for the TD because you could always kick a 45 yard FG…

  5. sunset145 says: Jan 25, 2016 8:28 AM

    That’s football. You make decisions and live with them. He’ll have that team back in position to contend again next year. Best of luck to the Broncos and Panthers.

  6. porterhouse12 says: Jan 25, 2016 8:30 AM

    Tom Brady is why you don’t kick field goals. Hats off to Denver D

  7. 700levelvet says: Jan 25, 2016 8:31 AM

    He developed a case of “AndyReid” syndrome…

  8. stealthjunk says: Jan 25, 2016 8:34 AM

    It’s not as simple as simply adding 6 points to the Patriots’ point total. Field position would have changed drastically. The Broncos also wouldn’t have gone as conservative with a 2 point lead as they did with an 8 point lead. There also would have been less time on the clock. Even one more first down from Denver had the game been closer and the TD at the end of the game doesn’t even have time to happen. What ifs are fun to talk about but not quite so simple.

  9. realfootballfan says: Jan 25, 2016 8:36 AM

    Rare time he messed up in situational football. Manning was horrible in the second half, and Kubiak was determined to preserve the clock for you. I said it when he went for the 4th down, what in the world was he doing. At that point how the Bronco offense was going, you legitimately had a shot at 3 more possessions.

  10. hehateme2 says: Jan 25, 2016 8:36 AM

    Smug and arrogant to the end. Also watching the SB from his couch…

  11. willycents says: Jan 25, 2016 8:38 AM

    I agree with Belichek on this. He has the GOAT, He who walks on water, the Creator of all things. Right Pats fans?
    In reality, his offense had not made it to the red zone but once in three quarters. He was NOT willing to gamble that they would make it three times in six minutes. Had he kicked the first field goal, he figured he would possibly not get another shot at another. Had he kicked the first field goal, and his offense had performed like it had the first three quarters, he would have been vilified for not going for it on fourth down He made the correct decisions.

  12. marcuswelby1 says: Jan 25, 2016 8:38 AM

    Easy to say after the fact.

  13. kmo25 says: Jan 25, 2016 8:39 AM

    Sorry BB. Your Ego cost you that game. You were totally out-coached! You’ve relied on your defense the entire season, they hold Manning to a FG in the 2nd half and then when you had a chance to kick a FG and rely on them again, you turned your back on them! Shame on you!

  14. stinkymcmulligan says: Jan 25, 2016 8:43 AM

    Belichick dropped the ball. It’s as simple as that.

  15. luckyarmpit says: Jan 25, 2016 8:49 AM

    While I’m extremely happy the Patriots lost, more satisfying to me was watching Edelman miss that last pass of the game. He’s an arrogant jerk and serves him right.

    Enjoy watching the Superbowl from the comfort of your living room couch, boys.

  16. therealtrenches says: Jan 25, 2016 8:49 AM

    BB’s one of the greatest, but going for it on 4th when that great D had just let you get into the 3 zone — TWICE — with that much game left was just wrong, especially since his own D wasn’t really letting the Broncos offense do much at all.

    Do those decisions to go for it on 4th have Mc Daniels’ fingerprints all over them? Do they indicate the Chip Kelly-fication of BB’s coaching strategy?

  17. zwhateverz says: Jan 25, 2016 8:51 AM

    See you in the second round at the end of April, Bill.

  18. luckyforus says: Jan 25, 2016 8:51 AM

    Going for it on 4th and 1 with the way Denvers defense was playing was a good call. I’m rooting for Denver and I wished NE kicked the FG.

    Surprised by the play call. Similar to 4th and 2 against Indy several years ago. Both time they threw to guys behind the line of scrimmage. Thought they would throw a slant to Edelman or hit Gronk.

  19. seahawksbmx says: Jan 25, 2016 8:51 AM

    Belichick is looked at as a genius when his gambles pay off; for example, by not calling a timeout at the end of last year’s Super Bowl, he “forced” the Seahawks into a disastrous play. But had the Seahawks scored that TD, the Pats would have got the ball back down by 3 with only 20 seconds left. If they didn’t get into FG range to force overtime, he would be forever questioned about not stopping the clock.
    Great decisions and terrible decisions all depend on the outcome.

  20. TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters says: Jan 25, 2016 8:58 AM

    Hindsight is 20/20. I had no problem whatsoever with the gambles. One of them worked, the others didn’t.🙂

    It’s like not calling a timeout last Super Bowl and that paid off too.

    You don’t play wussy conservative ball in the playoffs you play to win.

  21. suhmonster90 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:01 AM

    This debate needs to go away. I know we fans think we know everything, but how can you call yourself a fan of NFL football and second guess the hoodie? He was playing to win and it didn’t work out.

  22. ionsports says: Jan 25, 2016 9:02 AM

    Belichick had a terrible game, McDaniels had a worse game. That game was lost by terrible coaching in all facets but Defense.

  23. cb234 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:02 AM

    While Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, he needs to come under massive fire for some of these decisions. They were just illogical and quite frankly, idiotic.

    In the final 43 minutes of the game, New England’s defense only gave up 125 yards and 6 points.

    In the final 10 minutes of the game, Denver had 3 total yards.

    New England’s defense was outstanding, and yet, Belichick passes up two chances on field goals late in the game that could have been the deciding factor?

    I just don’t get it, the media should take him to the woodshed for those calls.

  24. sportsfan250 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:05 AM

    I’m glad He made those decisions to go for it instead of trying a field goal because I didn’t want a different Super Bowl than the one we have. I’m tired of seeing the Patriots and Brady going to the Super Bowl. Go Denver!!!

  25. philipdebin says: Jan 25, 2016 9:08 AM

    He didn’t learn his lesson when he famously tried going for it on 4th to keep the ball away from Manning instead of punting. He ended up losing that game too. “Fool me twice, shame on me.” But I’m sure this site won’t ever criticize their overlord Patriots. Let’s call it what it was- dumb.

  26. atthemurph says: Jan 25, 2016 9:09 AM

    Sorry but your “score and situation” understanding is flawed.
    Should have listened to Vince Lombardi, the greatest football coach in history. TAKE THE POINTS.

  27. ikeclanton says: Jan 25, 2016 9:10 AM

    You can argue this one either way with success. You could be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s good discussion fodder, but not really an indictment of Belichick’s decision-making at all.

  28. doubleogator says: Jan 25, 2016 9:10 AM

    Not a N.E. fan, but as a longtime football fan I will not second guess Belicheck…

  29. billsfan1 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:13 AM

    Bowl coming our way in a couple of weeks.

    But we don’t..we have Denver and Carolina… So let’s not listen to 2 weeks of what could NE have done.

  30. vikesfan320 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:16 AM

    Absolutely the right call to go for it on those 4th downs. They had 4th & 1 and 4th & 6 on their first two drives. The way the Broncos pass rush was getting after Brady, they had to take their opportunity to tie the game when they had it. They shouldn’t have realistically thought they could get 3 red zone opportunities on their final three drives, so they had to try to tie it.

    You could make a case that they should’ve kicked the field goal on the 2nd trip (the 4th and 6). But that puts you in a position where you’re down 5 with 2:15 to go and the Broncos have the ball on the 20. Granted it’s easy to look at it now and say they got a stop and scored, but if the Broncos get one first down the game is over. A FG means you still need a TD anyway.

  31. sambaughslingers says: Jan 25, 2016 9:18 AM

    Just google Talib not holding Gronkowski on that 4th and 6 and you will see how different the game could have been.

    With that said, Denver defense played great and Brady/Gostkowski both played the worst games of the season. In some cases that was caused by strong play by the Broncos, in others it was poor play, bad reads.

  32. mswravens says: Jan 25, 2016 9:21 AM

    Belicheat & Tom Baby are good at only 2 things: cheating & taking advantage of weak AFC East opponents. Outside of those two massive advantages these two are average at best. Just a couple guys…

  33. tajuara says: Jan 25, 2016 9:22 AM

    The first attempt was bad because Pats D was completely dominating the Broncos O, so worst case scenario kick te first field goal with more than six minutes left, then in the next possesion you are still forced to throw a TD, but this time not for the tide, but for the lead. The second time was kind of forced as Bill knew that his O was being manhandled by the Broncos D.

  34. silvernblacksabbath says: Jan 25, 2016 9:24 AM

    Wow, Bill got outcoached…

  35. 6ball says: Jan 25, 2016 9:29 AM

    The Patriots have been successful in short yardage situations all season. The Edelman play was was a great call, designed to trick an over aggressive Denver defense with misdirection. However, Chris Harris read it like a book and blew it up. On the Gronkowski play, the Broncos sniffed out the call to White out of the backfield and had him blanketed by two linebackers and Brady was forced to take another option.

    There are reasons why the Broncos were successful this year and most of them had very little to do with their offense.

  36. friarjack61 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:30 AM

    I thought the same, about taking a FG; but I’m not the coach; and, who would have know, that Denver could not move the ball, giving it back to the Patriots, for additional chances ?

    Denver was lucky, late, in the fourth quarter. Belichick, was not wrong. No one could have anticipated the inability of Denver to move to ball, and run the clock .

  37. annes22 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:31 AM

    Out thinking himself again, serves them right. That’s not the first time he has done that. Have a nice vacation Bill.

  38. zonedogz says: Jan 25, 2016 9:33 AM

    Paralysis by over analysis.

  39. jason9696 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:42 AM

    I still can’t believe Bill Belichick had the Patriots go for it on 4th and 2 from their own 28 yard line against Peyton Manning and the Colts many, many years ago instead of punting. That was one of the craziest things I have ever seen.

  40. jchipwood says: Jan 25, 2016 9:44 AM

    Don Shula would have kicked it.

  41. solo681 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:52 AM

    From the very beginning of this game there as no CLEAR path to victory by the Patriots coaching staff.

    Horrible coaching as follows:

    1.) Choosing to receive on opening kickoff

    2.) Plain Vanilla offensive scheme

    3.) Brady 100% SCARED

    4.) Failed to make adjustments at half time

    5.) BB deciding to go for it on 4th down instead of kicking a field goal to make it 20 – 15

    6.) BB, again, going for it on 4th down instead of kicking a field goal to make it 20 18

    7.) Had the Pats kicked two field goals for a 20 – 18 score, they then had enough time to try an onside kick. If recovered they could of won the game with a field goal = MOST Likely SMART DECISION to stay in the game.

    8.) Entire responsibility for loss belongs to Coahing Staff and Brady throwing those picks.

    9.) Congratulations to the Broncos Defense that played with DETERMINATION.

  42. restoreintegritytonfl says: Jan 25, 2016 9:59 AM

    So many things to point to…..

    Questionable calls by Belicheat.
    Horrible passing day for Brady.
    Edelman coming up small.
    A missed extra point for Gostkoski.

    Sidenote: Lady has never had to deal with less than excellent special teams, especially in the playoffs.

    What a wonderful day for fans of 31 NFL teams.

  43. filthymcnasty3 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:59 AM

    It wasn’t easy, but he found a way to lose.

  44. jmethane says: Jan 25, 2016 10:15 AM

    But I though Pete Carroll was the only coach that makes terrible decisions in crunchtime on the big stage…

    I guess I was wrong.

  45. quicktaker says: Jan 25, 2016 10:15 AM

    I have a bigger problem with Belichick’s decision not to help his right tackle against Von Miller.

  46. 6superbowls says: Jan 25, 2016 10:20 AM

    Genius? Best coach in football? Not so easy to win when you have to do it without cheating to get an “edge”.

  47. jmethane says: Jan 25, 2016 10:26 AM

    Absolutely the right call to go for it on those 4th downs.

    No, just no.

    Could’ve cut it to 5 pts with 6 minutes left. The Broncos were doing nothing on offense in the second half. Terrible logic from someone who doesn’t know football very well or such a fanboy that BB can do no wrong…as he loses.

  48. rutledge3197 says: Jan 25, 2016 11:36 AM

    I will never bring up the ” cheating ” spy gate / deflate gate I just don’t care it’s pretty silly…… However STOP CALLING BRADY THE G O A T ::::: he’s not ….

  49. iowanderingwonderer says: Jan 25, 2016 11:58 AM

    The full answer would have been:

    “Score, situation and stupidity.”

  50. Rich Frollini says: Jan 25, 2016 12:17 PM

    Belichick is an idiot, plain and simple. Kick the field goal just one time out of the two and your touchdown puts you up by 1 without the PAT.

    Glad to see that the cheaters didn’t make it back to the big game though. Now let’s hope that MAnning doesn’t fold like a taco in the SB and turn it into a boring game.

  51. ampatsisahypocrite says: Jan 25, 2016 12:33 PM

    The sweetest of all words to hear:

    The Pats are out!

  52. davew128 says: Jan 25, 2016 12:53 PM

    jmethane says:
    Jan 25, 2016 10:26 AM

    Absolutely the right call to go for it on those 4th downs.

    No, just no.

    Could’ve cut it to 5 pts with 6 minutes left. The Broncos were doing nothing on offense in the second half.
    Neither were the Patriots…that’s why he made the call he did.

  53. jaronowitzcpa says: Jan 25, 2016 4:36 PM

    Best coach in football and he absolutely made the right calls. These were third and short situations. Had they been third and long, especially the first time, he would have taken the 3.

  54. jmethane says: Jan 25, 2016 4:51 PM

    Neither were the Patriots…that’s why he made the call he did.


    So you’re telling me that because he didn’t kick the field goal he was saying that his team and Tom Brady probably couldn’t get back ther again and the defense probably couldn’t stop the opposition.

    According to you Bill Belichick doesn’t really trust either sides of his team to do the job and I don’t believe that’s the case so I think you’re dead wrong

  55. keifer1751 says: Jan 25, 2016 9:16 PM

    The Patriots and Broncos both have excellent football players. The edge was the coaching and Bill Belichick got out coached.

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