Sunday, February 25, 2024

Patriots set wrong kind of record under Bill Belichick during first half of wild card game vs. Bills

New York Jets v New England Patriots
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Bill Belichick’s Patriots did something Saturday night that had not happened during Belichick’s previous 43 playoff games as a head coach. The Patriots’ defense allowed touchdowns on their first four possessions against the Bills, a first for a Belichick-coached playoff team, via ESPN.  

Two touchdowns by tight end Dawson Knox and Devin Singletary gave the Bills a 27-0 lead with 1:53 left in the first half. New England was able to get on the board with a field goal just before halftime. Their 24-point halftime deficit was the largest in franchise history and tied for the largest under Belichick. New England trailed the Broncos by 24 points at halftime in Week 12 of the 2013 season. The Patriots rallied to win that game in overtime. 

The Bills then became the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a TD on each of their first 5 drives of a playoff game.

New England’s biggest playoff loss occurred in Super Bowl XX, when the Bears beat them by 36 points. But New England “only” trailed by 20 points at halftime of that game before suffering what was at that time the biggest blowout loss in Super Bowl history. 

Saturday night’s game continued a downward trend for New England that began following their 14-10 win in Buffalo in Week 13. They won just one of their final four regular season games that included a 33-21 loss to the Bills in Week 16. The Patriots lost any chance at winning the AFC East after falling to the Dolphins in Week 18. 

The Patriots’ last playoff win was the team’s 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. New England lost to the Titans in the 2019 wild card round in what was Tom Brady’s final game as a Patriot. The Patriots failed to make the playoffs in 2020 before making the postseason as a sixth seed this season. Belichick’s team was led by the NFL‘s second-ranked scoring defense and an offense that was led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who completed nearly 68% of his throws while winning 10 of his 17 starts. 

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