By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Coming out of halftime on Monday night, the Patriots trailed the Bills 24-9. As you might expect, Bill Belichick was running hot.
That frustration boiled over just one play into the second half, when the head coach decided to toss his red challenge flag after Buffalo tight end Dawson Knox made a toe-tapping catch along the right sideline.
Belichick had a front-row view of Knox’s catch, but when a play is made at that speed, it can be difficult to get a read on whether or not the receiver had two feet in the field of play while securing the catch. So, as he always does, Belichick relied on the advice of his coach’s booth. (It’s generally believed to be Ernie Adams that Belichick trusts with such calls, though Belichick tends to keep the fine details of the process under wraps.)
Upon actually seeing one replay for himself, though, Belichick knew that he was going to lose the challenge. And so the coach made a bee-line for the telephone behind the bench, said what he needed to say to whom he felt needed to hear it, and then … went full Hulk Smash on the telephone.
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Obviously, the advice to challenge the play was bad. And Belichick’s smashing of the phone shows that he didn’t quite appreciate it.
“Obviously he made the catch. It was a good catch,” Belichick said when asked about the challenge after the game. “I mean, it was a good call. It was a good catch. And the challenge was obviously not successful, as it shouldn’t have been.”
Ultimately, it didn’t really matter, because whether or not the Patriots won that challenge, the Bills were in the midst of moving the ball with ease down the field.
After the 15-yard completion to Knox, Josh Allen hit Stefon Diggs for 11 yards. Five plays and 31 yards later, Allen hit Diggs for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Bills led 31-9. Then Cam Newton’s offense went three-and-out, with the Patriots punting back to the Bills.
The phone smashing (as far as we know) ended, but the rage no doubt burned on, with the Patriots drowning in another blowout loss on national TV. The Bills eventually won, 38-9.