Bill Belichick was clear in his message after the Patriots’ loss on Sunday night: the Texans were just better.
“There’s really not a whole lot to say here, the Texans did a did a good job tonight all the way across the board,” Belichick told reporters. “In every area, they were just better than we were tonight.
“I’m proud of the way our guys fought and competed. We just got to coach better, we got to play better. We just got to do better than we did tonight, just wasn’t good enough in any area. And they were the better team. Pretty much sums it up.”
Seven of the eight Patriots that were listed as questionable due to an illness played Sunday night. The flu that made its way into the Patriots locker room was reportedly so bad that the team took two separate planes to Houston, one for the healthy players and one for the sick players.
Did that have an effect on the Patriots’ play on Sunday?
“I don’t know,” Belichick said when asked that question.
The Patriots’ offense was slow to start, scoring just three points in the first half. Tom Brady was 7 for 19, which matched the lowest completion percentage (36.8 percent) in a first half of his career (minimum 15 attempts), and he finished with 93 yards in the half.
From @ESPNStatsInfo: 7-of-19 (.368) matches the lowest completion % in a 1st half in Tom Brady's career (minimum 15 attempts). He's been exactly 7-of-19 two other times prior to tonight, and the Patriots have rallied from halftime deficits to win both of those games.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 2, 2019
Belichick’s commentary on the Patriots’ first-half performance was as lukewarm as Brady’s passing numbers.
“In the first half, it just wasn’t good enough in any phase of the game,” Belichick said.
When the Patriots reached the end zone for the first time, they originally decided to go for two. However, a delay of game was called and it appeared Brady had no intention of snapping the ball. Belichick said it wasn’t a communication issue.
“We didn’t have a good play,” Belichick said.
Bill Belichick Live Postgame Press Conference: https://t.co/0KyxiX3mGb
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 2, 2019
Kai Forbath, who was signed by the Patriots on Thursday as an emergency replacement for Nick Folk, missed the ensuing extra-point attempt.
As for the defense, the Patriots allowed as many passing touchdown passes on Sunday night (four) as they have all season. Houston reached the red zone three times and scored a touchdown on all of its red zone drives. The other touchdown came on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Kenny Stills.
The Texans’ fourth and final touchdown of the game came on a trick play, where the ball was handed it off twice before wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins legally pitched the ball forward to Watson for a six-yard touchdown pass.
Belichick opened up a bit more in his compliments of the Texans offense.
“They did a good job executing,” Belichick said. “They made quite a few plays on second down. They scored in the red area. [We] couldn’t stop them in the red area. So, that would’ve helped us a lot but we couldn’t do it.”
Belichick and the Patriots will now move onto the Kansas City Chiefs, the team they’ll host in Foxborough next Sunday in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game.