Patriots

Bill Belichick discussed the ‘key play’ in the Patriots’ comeback, praised Mac Jones’s leadership

"I thought that was a big momentum play."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick prior to Patriots-Texans. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

Following the Patriots’ 25-22 win over the Texans on Sunday, Bill Belichick paid tribute to his team’s comeback performance, even if not everything went to script.

“It wasn’t perfect,” Belichick acknowledged, “but we battled and played better situational football than we have in some of the other games.”

The win was achieved despite the Patriots missing four starting offensive lineman.

“Got to give a lot of credit to Josh [McDaniels], offensive coaches, offensive line,” said Belichick. “Those guys did a really good job of hanging in there. I thought they really went about the challenge this week of replacing some good players in that group. I thought they played hard. We got some runs to balance off the game there.”

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After holding the upper hand for most of the first half, the Texans took a 13-point lead in the third quarter on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Davis Mills to Chris Conley.

But after Houston appeared to have stopped New England’s offense on the ensuing possession, the game changed on a bizarre punt play.

After initially lining up to go for it on fourth down, the Texans shifted back to a punt formation. However, Houston punter Cameron Johnston’s attempt deflected off of his own blocker and bounced out of bounds in favorable field position for the Patriots.

“I thought the blocked punt was a key play in the game for us, even though we only got a field goal out of it,” Belichick explained.

“I thought that was a big momentum play,” Belichick said of the punt, adding that he thought New England’s special teams unit as a whole “played well.”

“It looked like they were in some kind of a gadget punt formation,” Belichick said of Houston’s initial alignment. “Trying to get us to check into a safe look and prepare for the fake.”

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones completed 23 of 30 passes on the day for 231 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. After guiding New England’s second half comeback, Belichick praised Jones’s performance.

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“Mac gave it to us all day,” noted Belichick. “He moved the ball. I thought he made a lot of good decisions. There were some checks that he had to make that he made throughout the day.”

“Mac’s been good for us all year in terms of his leadership, his resilience, and kind of counting on him to do the right thing,” added Belichick. “He really does it at a high level, so it’s been impressive.”

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