By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
FOXBORO (CBS) — Two years ago — almost to the day — Bill Belichick wanted nothing to do with looking in the rearview mirror after a poor performance by his Patriots team. He offered an incredulous response when asked if he’d be evaluating his quarterback depth chart, and days later he gave birth to “We’re on to Cincinnati.”
Yet on Sunday, following an ugly 16-0 loss on home turf to the Buffalo Bills, and with his Hall of Fame quarterback set to return on Monday, the head coach’s perspective has changed a bit.
Just minutes after shaking Rex Ryan’s hand at midfield, Belichick was asked how much he’s looking forward to the return of Tom Brady. Belichick was in no mood to look ahead just yet.
“Right now, my thoughts are on the Buffalo game,” Belichick answered.
Clearly, it was a bit of a sore subject — and with good reason. The Patriots looked helpless against a Bills offense that entered Sunday ranked 30th in the NFL in yards per game. Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy led Buffalo to a 378-yard day, which included a 7-for-15 showing on third downs. As a result, Buffalo held the ball for more than 36 minutes and took 73 offensive snaps, compared to the Patriots’ 52.
When the Patriots did have the ball, they did very little with it, gaining just 277 yards and failing to score. That goose egg on the scoreboard wasn’t a result of a failure to get close to scoring, as a fumble in the red zone by Jacoby Brissett and a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski played major factors in keeping the Patriots off the scoreboard.
As a result, the head coach was not happy with any particular part of the Patriots’ game. That was evident during the game, when he spiked a tablet on the sideline, and it was evident postgame.
“I didn’t think anything was good enough,” he stated. “Nothing was good enough at any position, in any phase of the game. It just wasn’t good enough.”
Whenever asked for a particular problematic area for the Patriots, Belichick expanded the issues.
“Tackling was definitely a problem, period. One of many,” he said.
By Wednesday, Belichick will most certainly be “on to Cleveland.” But based on his postgame demeanor on Sunday, it’s safe to assume that he’ll be forcing his players to watch some painful video of this loss to the Bills before officially moving on to Week 5.