Why did the Patriots do anything other than take a knee?


They say success has 1,000 fathers and failure is an orphan. Well, the NFL’s ultimate late-game failure has one and only one prime mover.

Bill Belichick.

Beyond his failure to properly prepare his players to not attempt a Stanford band play in a tie game with no time on the clock in regulation, Belichick could have avoided all of it with one very simple decision.

Take a knee.

Three seconds remained. The Patriots were 55 yards from paydirt. They had no timeouts. And they ran a draw play.

A draw play!

Under certain circumstances, a draw play in situations where the defense fully expects a pass can be effective. That wasn’t one of those situations; enough players were lined up deep to eventually keep running back Rhamondre Stevenson from getting to the end zone.

The Patriots were never going to score a touchdown in that moment. Only bad things could have happened. Beyond the nuttiest of all nutty outcomes, someone could have gotten injured on a completely meaningless play.

So that’s the real failure. Belichick should have instructed his team to take a knee and play for overtime. Of all NFL coaches, he’d be the least likely to fail to recognize that and act accordingly.

It’s fair to wonder why it happened. It’s even more fair to pin this one directly on Belichick.

All he had to do was instruct quarterback Mac Jones to take a knee. Belichick didn’t, and he’s given the NFL the most embarrassing late-game gaffe since Joe Pisarcik tried to hand the ball off to Larry Csonka, and Herm Edwards picked it up and scored a game-winning touchdown.

43 responses to “Why did the Patriots do anything other than take a knee?

  1. If Stevenson gets his facemask grabbed and its called, then give them 15 yards and Folk is attempting a FG with an untimed down. Simple as that.

  2. I get that the buck stops with the coach, but this reeks of Matty P. I’m no Bill or Patriot Homer, I highly doubt this is what he instructed his offense to do. The o coordinater.. Totally.

  3. Camera close ups of Bill’s face is more of wtf just happened look rather than – oh that play didn’t work kind of pissed off

  4. I’m not gonna fault Bill too much on this one. He’s made some questionable moves but Stevenson does have the gear to take it to the house anytime he gets the ball and he probably wasn’t figuring Meyers would go full Tropic Thunder mode

  5. The draw play has at least a chance of scoring and if a defensive penalty then a field goal try becomes a reality. Better than a knee and your chances in OT.

  6. Exactly! What a curious thing and not a very Darth Hoodie play to call. Something weird going on in New England.

  7. Correct on all points.

    And, if you watch the replay closely, you’ll see Mac Jones waves his hand to Stevenson as to say: “Go down” as he breaks past the line of scrimmage.

    Of course, that begs the question of why he handed it off in the first place – take a knee.

  8. The odds of success were low but not zero. The Raiders made stupid penalties all day. What if they tackled Stevenson at the 30 or 35 with a horsecollar tackle or a facemask? 15 yard penalty and game winning FG. Odds of that happening are low and likely a lot lower than completing a Hail Mary or getting a PI on a Hail Mary. But it’s zero, by taking a knee.

  9. Of all NFL coaches, he’d be the least likely to fail to recognize that and act accordingly.
    Belichick is washed up if he ever had it. Much easier to take the accolades when you have the goat.

  10. I have been a pats fan for a long time (sing Grogan days) but this is the first yeat that I am just shaking my head. Patricia cannot call an offence. In past year he would have been fired. I wonder if coach is stating to go senile!

  11. My guess is that Patricia called the draw play, and what happened next can be attributed to major brain cramps from Stevenson and Meyers. I’m sure that Belichick hates the fact that the Patriots are the laughing stock of the league right now, but he shares in the blame.

  12. This was Karma for all the times BB ran up the score with last second TD’s to pad the score. Truly the only NFL coach who does this on a regular basis. Its total bush league.

  13. You take a knee or throw the hail mary there and hope for a catch or a penalty. If you had a QB with an arm, you’d have tried it without hesitation. Rodgers or Allen or Mahomes are putting that in the endzone.

  14. Conspiracy theory:

    Maybe he owed McDaniels?

    Between the final play and the completely unblocked rusher on the blocked punt, the game was kind of handed to the Raiders.

    The Raiders TD where the replay showed the receiver had their foot out of bounds but they let the play stand was also weird. I don’t get that one.

    The Raiders still may have scored, so that doesn’t matter too much.

  15. Between the goal line clown show in the first half, the inexplicable confusion during the punt that led to a Raiders touchdown, giving up a TD with a minute left and no time outs for the Raiders, the out of bounds toe, and then the Stanford Band play attempt, the Patriots handed the Raiders about 20 points. The Patriots literally should have won the game 24-10. In the past, the Patriots close the vice and squeeze the life out of you in this situation. They probably could have won more games this season were they not this Jeckle and Hyde operation. Very strange indeed.

    We’re on to Cincinnati…..

  16. I hate to say this but it might be time to replace Bill Belichick …. with STEVE BELICHICK!!! GO STEELERS!

  17. I welcome all of you pats fans into the realm of bad coaching. Most of the rest of the league has been suffering with these bone headed calls by awful coaches for years. You’ve had years of success. You’ve been spoiled. Welcome to reality.

  18. As others have said, the play call reeks of Matt Patricia’s offensive creativity. Rather then try a Hail Mary which could be picked, take the conservative approach and run the ball. Dumb play calls often result in dumb outcomes.

  19. Poor BB. Probably can’t wait for this nightmare of a season to end, but realizes after it does — he’ll have to meet with Mr. Kraft.

    Ah to be a fly on that wall…

  20. If enough people tell you that you’re a genius, you’ll eventually start to believe it. After that, you can justify doing just about anything, no matter how illogical.

  21. This is on Belichick, but not for the knee decision. This team is undisciplined. They make countless small mistakes and are not thinking critically on the field. This is because of poor leadership. In the past, Brady was the locker room leader and BB was the scary big guy who focused on strategy and tactics. Now there is now locker room leader other than dour, awkward Belichick who is not inspring his players to focus and unify

  22. Stevenson got to the Raiders 30. They were one defensive penalty away from an easy FG for the win. Then they look like geniuses for not taking the knee.

    There was nothing wrong with the draw play I’ve seen it happen many times before OT.

    The laterals were inexplicable. I have a hard time believing the players acted on their own and it didn’t come from the coaches.

  23. Good thing he had the “Goat” to put up 13 points in a Super Bowl, where the “Goat” was bailed out by his defense

  24. How does Patricia have a job in the NFL at any level?
    The pencil. It opens doors.

  25. Good thing he had the “Goat” to put up 13 points in a Super Bowl, where the “Goat” was bailed out by his defense


    Typical reasoning from fans of Belichick the garbage : unless Brady was 100% perfect in 12 quarters, it was the defense that carried him.

    Have you realized that no other QB would be able to give the 2018 Pats a chance against Chiefs in AFCCG?

  26. How does Patricia have a job in the NFL at any level?


    Stop blaming a coach who didn’t even want the job. Guess why Belichick defends him no matter what? Because without this promise, no one would call plays on offense>

    BTW, why didn’t Belichick call plays? If he was even 30% as good as his fans want to believe, he would be much better than Patricia.

  27. Life long Patriots fan and more so Bill Belichick fan. But what’s happening this year is absolutely mind blowing and unexplainable! It’s a shame really! Shameful the way offense seems to be so unprepared whole year. No game management, gaffes with offense and special teams. Surprised, no one has been fired yet!!! Absolute disgust! These things are known to happen to the opposing teams when playing them and not patriots themselves! 2022 season can’t end fast enough for me.

  28. Belicheat is a joke.

    End of story.

    He’s won ONE playoff game ever with out TB.

    He’s not a savant. He’s not even a good HC.

  29. Life long Patriots fan and more so Bill Belichick fan. But what’s happening this year is absolutely mind blowing and unexplainable!


    It is mind blowing to you because you are a fan of Belichick the garbage.

    Just figure out the difference between 2001 and 2020, the difference between 2003 and 2021, the difference between 2004 and 2021. You will see that he is not HC material.

  30. I still think the Colts Hook and Ladder play was worse. That was an actual play call from the coaches. I think the play call here was fine, but the laterals were improv, and inexplicably stupid. At least Stephenson’s sort of worked but why? Myer’s run, then toss backwards, I can’t even comprehend from a Pro Level Athlete. Not the worst play ever IMO, but certainly in the top 3.

  31. Tom Brady was so jealous of the greatest QB of this era Peyton Manning and the fact football fans love watching him win and what he can do on the field. And fans just can’t stand Tommy’s 2 yard curl routes being called “great”. So Tommy decided to cheat to catch up to the awesome Peyton Manning. Too bad he tainted his legacy forever.

    Not the GOAT. Not even in my top 10. No way.

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