Patriots

Did Belichick hint at Pats' run-heavy attack before Bills game?

Patriots

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots channeled their inner Midshipmen on Monday night.

Belichick, an avid supporter of the U.S. Naval Academy, showed some love for Navy during his interview before the Patriots' game against the Bills in Buffalo.

Belichick grew up in Annapolis, where his father, Steve, worked as a scout on the Navy football team for over three decades, So, it wasn't surprising to see Belichick pay tribute to the Midshipmen ahead of next Saturday's Army-Navy game.

But Belichick and his team apparently continued that tribute into Monday's game, adopting a historically run-heavy offensive approach with 30 mph winds in the forecast at Highmark Stadium.

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New England ran the ball on 94% of its offensive snaps, amassing 222 rushing yards on 46 carries while quarterback Mac Jones attempted just three passes, the fewest in franchise history. The bold plan worked, as the Patriots beat the Bills 14-10 to extend their lead in the AFC East.

The team's strategy also looked quite similar to Navy's offensive attack, which relies almost exclusively on the run game: The Midshipmen have just 599 passing yards to 2,517 rushing yards this season.

And while it's a stretch to say Belichick "tipped his hand" with that Navy facemask (the Bills probably expected the Patriots to run anyway in Monday's conditions), the internet had plenty of fun with that storyline.

Alas, the Patriots are a game-plan offense, so don't expect them to run 94% of the time when they face the Bills in New England in Week 16.

 

"(Me and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) were talking about that last night," Belichick said Tuesday morning on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "We can use our whole passing game. All the pass plays we have, they haven’t seen."

New England is on bye next weekend, and you can expect Belichick to spend his Saturday watching Navy run the offense he and McDaniels deployed Monday night.