New England Patriots

The Patriots played perhaps their worst game of the season against the Dolphins on Monday night in Miami. Their curiously ugly performance prompted a postgame question from a reporter to Bill Belichick that had the head coach shaking his head in disgust.

Is it possible that, with a massive AFC showdown with the Steelers coming on Sunday night, the Patriots were overlooking Miami as an opponent?

“No. Give me a break,” muttered a visibly irritated Belichick.

The press conference was an all-timer in terms of Belichick’s typically surly mood after losses. It’s hard to blame the head coach for being angry about what was a poor all-around night for the Patriots – for both the players and coaches.

Belichick’s usual level of preparation helps the Patriots avoid “trap games” and letdowns, which is why games like Monday night’s loss are so rare – and why he scoffs at the thought of looking past an inferior opponent toward a more important game. But it’s likely that the reporter who asked the question wasn’t the only one thinking that.