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Why the latest loss falls on Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia – Boston Herald

The worst part of the Patriots’ loss to Buffalo on Thursday night?

Not the stagnant, white-bread offense that drew criticism from inside the locker room post-game. Not the defense that still cannot slow or solve Josh Allen. Not even the coaching that bumbled a critical 2-minute drill before halftime.

The agony of last Thursday night starts with the Bills playing the exact game the Patriots coaching staff hoped they would play — and winning anyway.

Defensively, the Pats fielded six defensive backs on 78% of their snaps over Buffalo’s first two series, a clear invitation to run. Starting on their third possession, the Bills obliged. Rushing consistently may have kept the Patriots defense on the field, but it also prevented Allen and Co. from striking quickly and fatally, like they had in the 47-17 Wild Card blowout last January.

Over its final eight possessions, Buffalo scored just 14 points. Early in those eight drives, Allen grew impatient, threw a couple passes that bounced off defenders’ hands and led to the Bills’ first punt in 24 possessions against the Pats. On the next series, Allen scrambled wildly and got strip-sacked inside the 2-minute warning for a critical turnover.

Success. Except the Patriots took that gift, a lost fumble at midfield with 1:20 left in the half, and … squandered it with three runs and two burned timeouts over the next 50 seconds.

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