New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Having an extra week to prepare for a game has historically been an advantage for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. That wasn’t the case Saturday night, as the Patriots found themselves down 14-0 early in an eventual 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

After the game, there seemed to be recognition among the team of just how uncharacteristic the loss was. Here’s what Bill Belichick and some of the leaders in the locker room had to say after the loss.

  • Head coach Bill Belichick

    Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick adjusts his headset during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

    Opening Statement:

    “First of all, I’d like to extend my sympathy to Ryan (Kelly) and his family. Our hearts go out to him. As far as the game goes, obviously we didn’t do anything well enough to win. We didn’t play well and we didn’t coach well. Too many penalties, fumbles, interceptions, over 200 yards rushing. We played from behind the whole game, so just nothing really good enough. We have to go back to work here, coach and play better next (game). It’s disappointing, but we’ll move on.”

    On what caused the rise in penalties and turnovers:

    “I don’t know. Maybe you know what went wrong. I don’t know. Obviously, we didn’t do anything well enough, I don’t know how else to say it.”

    What happened on the blocked punt?

    “We didn’t block the guy.”

    What he learned about the team from the game:

    “We didn’t play well tonight. I don’t know. We didn’t play well tonight. It is what it is. We didn’t coach well. We didn’t do anything well.”

    Was he pleased with the performance in the fourth quarter?

    “We have to do everything better than we did tonight.”

    Did he get an explanation for Kyle Dugger’s ejection:

    “You should talk to [head referee] Carl [Cheffers]. Don’t we have a pool reporter who goes and talks to him, right? Go talk to him. He’s the one who made the call. Talk to him about it. I’m standing 50 yards away.”

    Did the Colts make any adjustments during the game?

    “They pretty much did what they do. They do enough to keep you off balance and they obviously did it better than we did.”

    Why did the Patriots have a ‘flat’ start?

    “We didn’t play well. We didn’t coach well.”

    On the late game clock management: 

    “Nothing was good enough tonight to win so it wasn’t good enough.”

    What he saw on Jonathan Taylor’s touchdown run:

    “We’ll look at the film.”

    How he felt the defense performed outside of the touchdown run:

    “I’ve said it like five times, I could just say it another five times. We didn’t do anything well enough to win tonight, including giving up 225 yards rushing.”

    Will the team be able to turn the page quickly?

    “We’ll see.”

    Was the crowd atmosphere a factor in tonight’s performance?

    “We’ve played in plenty loud stadiums before.”

    Was the crowd specifically a factor for Mac Jones?

    “I don’t think we coached or played well enough to win tonight across the board, everyone, all of us.”

    On kicking a field goal late in the fourth quarter instead of going for it down 14:

    “I did what I thought was best for the team.”

  • Quarterback Mac Jones

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 18: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots reacts at the line of scrimmage during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    How he would sum up the game:

    “Yeah, I just don’t think it was our best effort. It starts with me just throughout the week. We didn’t have a great practice every day, so it is what it is. You just have to move on and keep your head high and keep working, because no one’s going to feel sorry for ourselves. If you feel that way, then – you just can’t do that, and you just have to move on and work harder. That’s all you can do is just work harder.”

    On the impact of the crowd on the offense:

    “I don’t think so. It wasn’t too loud out there, and it doesn’t even matter if it was. We have to do our job better. We can do a better job just preparing for those situations, and the communication has to happen either way. As long as it gets done, then it’s fine. I can do a better job throughout the week of just doing extra with those guys making sure we’re on the same page. It just starts with me.”

    Why wasn’t it a good week of practice?

    “I just think we, starting with me, the energy was kind of low, maybe like feeling a little sorry for ourselves because we’re coming off the bye and stuff. Not to get into details, but we just didn’t practice well, and that just reflects how we played. And I didn’t practice good, and I know a lot of guys on our team felt the same way. So, we have to come to work every day and just be positive. It’s one game. It’s not the end of the world, but at the same time, we can play with those guys. They played great, but we also just shot ourselves in the foot. So, we just have to move on.”

    Did the bye week hurt the team’s momentum?

    “No. I think, like I said, that was in the past. We were trying to get healthy and stuff, and that’s all you can ask for. And correct the things you feel like you don’t do very well, and we didn’t do very much well. So, we have to look at ourselves, and (it’s a) quick turnaround. Flush this game down the toilet and just roll. And starting tonight, get on the next game and be ready to roll for next week.”

    What happened on the Darius Leonard interception:

    “I just threw it right to him. It was a good play, but unacceptable. You can’t win until you stop from losing. I mean, I handed the ball to the guy. I did that twice, and that hurt us. I thought the defense played pretty well, and I just shot them in the foot myself by giving them the short field and giving them the ball. That’s just my fault and I’ll learn from it, but I’m not going to be gun-shy or anything. (I’ll) just learn from it and move on.”

    On a third down toss play where he made a pre-snap call to the offensive line:

    “That play, we were in the right play. We just didn’t execute it, and sometimes you just have to get the extra yard and we didn’t get it. We worked on that exact look, so there’s no excuse and I don’t really know. I’ll have to look at the film, but we just have to be better. That’s just one example. There’s probably 20 examples of that where we can do a better job creating the holes. Then for me, just throw it to the guy that’s open and don’t force anything down the field.”

  • Safety Devin McCourty

    New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates after an interception Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

    On the Jonathan Taylor touchdown run:

    “We just didn’t make the play. He cut back inside of us, and it was what we call four-minute and everybody down to stop the run so when you got that, guy breaks one tackle, there’s really no depth to the defense kind of selling out on the run and he made a good cut. Me and High [Dont’a Hightower] have to use each other better and make that play.”

    How fast will the team move onto the next game?

    “Yeah, I mean it is what it is. We didn’t play our best football today. We played against a good football team, a team that’s hungry, it’s that time of year, but our season is not over. We have to get ready to go with a division game, a team we just beat a couple weeks ago, that’ll be ready to go because they’re in a must-win situation. We got to control what we can control. We can’t do anything about this game. It’s in the past. We will watch the film. We got an extra day to learn from it fix some of the things, that across the board we are going to see things that happened today we are going to see it again. We are going to see punt rushes; we’re going to see what they did on defense. We are going to see what they did on offense. It’s a copycat league, so we got to be ready to stop the plays we didn’t play particularly well against.”

    Any concerns on how the team will handle a loss after winning seven straight?

    “If we don’t handle it well, it’ll be our season. I mean its competition, it’s the National Football League. Guys in here have all lost games. We started the season off losing games, so we know what we need to do, and we know how we need to practice against a team we know well. Shoot, we were just studying them a few weeks ago, we just have to get ready to go. Put this in the past and keep going and moving forward.”

  • Tight end Hunter Henry

    Dec 18, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) catches a ball for a touchdown during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

    On the crowd in Indianapolis:

    “Yeah, I mean they did a good job, you know, showing up. We let them get into the game a little bit, you know, too early. We came out way too slow, you know, turned the ball over then get a punt blocked and then just stall offensively. I mean, we just never got anything going, so it’s easy for their fans, to I mean, to really get into it. I mean, they did a good job of that.”

    Did the crowd impact the offense?

    “I mean, it was definitely loud, for sure, but we’ve played in some loud places. I mean, we just weren’t on our game today and, you know, we’ll learn and get better from it.”

    What’s the team’s approach after losing its first game in two months?

    “I mean, we just have got to, you know, go and watch it and learn like we did earlier in the season, you know. I mean, they came ready to play, we didn’t come ready to play. I mean, that’s a good football team. This is a very meaningful game in December, and we just didn’t come ready to play. It’s something we’ll learn from and, you know, have to watch the tape and be better next week.”

    Why didn’t the team start fast, coming off a bye week?

    “I don’t know, I mean, I think it was all-around. I don’t know if it was one particular thing. I think it was all groups didn’t show up early on. I mean, kind of clicking on the same path a little bit, but still, I mean, wasn’t good enough.”

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