By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (CBS) — The Patriots opened their doors to the media on Thursday for the final time before taking the field on Sunday in Super Bowl LII. Nobody can really predict how that game will go, but it stands to reason that no deficit will be too large to overcome for Bill Belichick’s team.
It was in the AFC Championship Game when they trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter. They forced the Jaguars into a three-and-out after a nearly disastrous turnover by Dion Lewis, and they scored 14 points in a matter of nine minutes. They came back so quickly that they left nearly three full minutes on the clock.
And considering it was just a year ago that the Patriots pulled off the ultimate comeback in their climb out of a 28-3 hole against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, those comebacks are becoming a bit of a defining trait of the team.
But according to Belichick, his team isn’t doing anything particularly special.
“Well, it’s a 60-minute game. We all know that. You play for 60 minutes,” Belichick said Thursday. “So whatever the situation is, you play through it. And that’s … we’ve been ahead, we’ve been behind. So have other teams. That’s just what you do. You just keep playing through and you work through all the situations.”
Belichick may downplay it, but really, there’s no other team in the NFL that fights back from a devastating Jermaine Kearse catch at the 5-yard line in the final minutes of a Super Bowl and manages to pull off a miracle comeback from a 28-3 deficit in the biggest game in the world in a span of just three seasons. It’s not a coincidence that it was Belichick’s team pulling off both championship wins, and the coach spoke to how and why his team seems to outperform opponents in critical moments more often than not.
“I think what you have to do as a coach is you have to prepare your team for what to do in those situations. Doesn’t really make any difference if I know what to do or if the quarterback knows what to do or if the defensive signal-caller knows what to do. If everybody else doesn’t know what to do, there’s not enough time to communicate that to everybody,” Belichick explained. “And those situations, usually they happen fast, a lot of them are at the end of the game, a lot of times they’re with the clock running and there’s not even a huddle situation. So, the team needs to know what to do in those situations. When everybody knows what to do, that’s when you’re well-prepared. If everybody doesn’t know what to do, then chances are you’re going to break down in those situations.”
Belichick adamantly made the case that last year’s Super Bowl comeback has nothing to do with this year’s team. But so long as Belichick and his staff have taken that same approach with the players, then the Patriots will be in position on Sunday to never really be out of the game, no matter how steep the climb might be.
“We haven’t played Philadelphia, and that’ll be a completely different challenge against the Eagles, whatever the situations are in that game because we haven’t faced them before,” he said. “So that’ll be all new for us. We’ll see how we do.”