After the Patriots’ 20-17 loss to the Commanders, Bill Belichick acknowledged the close margins that decided the game in his post-game press conference.
‘Another match in which we had our chances’ Belichick said. “We had our chance at the end, just couldn’t play enough and obviously had plenty of chances along the way that we had to make more of.
“Disappointing result,” he added. “We have to make the plays better when we get the chance to make them. It’s that simple.”
The game was decided by a Mac Jones interception with 32 seconds left on the Patriots at the Washington 41-yard line. The third-year quarterback finished his day completing 24 of 44 passes for 220 yards, one touchdown, but also the costly pick.
“I think that was really the message,” Belichick said about whether Jones should have tried to find wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster over the middle. “I just don’t want to lose the ball there. We’re within field goal range, or it’s a long kick. The ball is tipped in the air and they have made an interception.
New England’s passing game couldn’t keep up with Washington. Commanding quarterback Sam Howell threw for 325 yards, overcoming a 14-10 halftime deficit.
An ongoing problem for the Patriots is wide receiver consistency. Belichick was asked why — after praising Kayshon Boutte’s practice performance during the week — the rookie wasn’t activated for the game.
“We activated the players we thought were the best players for the game,” he said in response.
Another topic was why cornerbacks JC Jackson and Jack Jones did not start the game.
“No,” Belichick responded when asked if they were on the bench to start the game, adding after a follow-up question: “Everyone played. They all played.”
Ultimately, Belichick was asked if Jones had not started for disciplinary reasons.
“We played all the angles,” he said. “We played it all safe. We actually played everyone on defense.”
In regards to Howell, Belichick gave a simple summary of how he felt his defense was playing.
“We kept him in the pocket a lot,” he explained, “but there were times when he got out. That’s not a good thing.”
And as for New England’s poor third-down defense (Washington converted nine of 17 attempts), Belichick shared his thoughts succinctly.
“We didn’t handle it well. That was clear.”
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