New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has an encyclopedic football memory and no interest in sugar-coating his team's shortcomings.
Both of which made his comments Monday morning quite surprising.
Ahead of the Patriots' matchup with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Belichick was asked on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" if he's taking this game "personally" after New England failed to force a punt in its last two meetings against its AFC East rival.
How Week 13 game vs. Bills impacts Patriots' playoff chances
Belichick admitted the Bills present a "big challenge" but then made a strange pivot, claiming the Patriots essentially forced a punt in the teams' Week 16 matchup last season.
"I mean, we had them in punt formation on the first series of the game in the second game and gave up a fake punt," Belichick said. "So, I wouldn’t really put that on the defense. But regardless, they moved the ball consistently against us. We certainly didn’t make them punt in the playoff game."
Not only is that a rather feeble defense of a unit that allowed 33 points and 428 yards to Josh Allen and Co. in a blowout loss, it's also inaccurate: The Week 16 game log shows no record of a Bills fake punt during their opening drive, which resulted in a touchdown.
It appears Belichick was confusing that game with the Patriots' Dec. 28, 2020 contest against Buffalo, when the Bills in fact victimize New England on a fake punt.
Again, unless Belichick misunderstood the question, it's odd that he would get his matchups with the Bills confused considering the head coach's incredible attention to detail.
Even if Belichick was right, though, pointing out that the Patriots forced Buffalo into a punt formation one time during an NFL game doesn't exactly vindicate New England's defense.
It also misses the larger point: that the Bills have racked up a combined 80 points on the Patriots in their past two meetings and present a formidable challenge for Belichick's defense Thursday night.