By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — When the Patriots averaged eight penalties per game in the preseason, it could easily have been written off as just the preseason. Yet when the regular season began on Sunday, the Patriots kept the trend alive, committing eight penalties that cost the team 84 yards.READ MORE: Bogaerts, AL Wild Card-Leading Red Sox Top O's 9-3
For a Bill Belichick-coached team, this is most unusual. The Patriots have always been a team that demands discipline and ball security, two issues that were the major culprits for Sunday’s 17-16 loss to Miami.
“Well, we’ll continue to address it. We haven’t been a highly penalized team. We don’t want that, and hopefully we’ll have fewer of them going forward,” Belichick said Monday morning on a Zoom call with reporters. “Hopefully we can do a better job of coaching it, and players have to make decisions. It’s a fast game and there’s a lot happening there, but hopefully we can certainly eliminate some of the plays that don’t involve that, penalties that don’t involve that, and use good judgement on our playing style and make good decisions.”READ MORE: BC Football Goes To 3-0 With 28-3 Win Over Temple
Some of the penalties that “don’t involve that” were two unnecessary roughness penalties — one by Deatrich Wise after Tua Tagovailoa’s touchdown run, one by Matt Judon to essentially negate a 14-yard punt return by Gunner Olszewski. An illegal blindside block (which looked more like a block in the back) largely negated a 17-yard catch-and-run by Kendrick Bourne. A hold by Justin Herron — a necessary one, to protect Mac Jones — took a 33-yard Bourne reception off the books. An illegal formation penalty wiped out an easy five-yard completion on a first-and-10.
The penalties were varied, but the end result was the Patriots have to work that much harder to compete, based on those mistakes.MORE NEWS: Sale Returns, Red Sox Beat Orioles 7-1
“There’s a lot of different types of penalties that could come up in the game. I think there are different points on each one. But in the end, it’s too many,” Belichick said. “The ones that are easily preventable, we need to prevent. Again, football’s a fast game and sometimes things happen that are close calls and that’s what it is. But as much as we can obviously play within the rules and not commit unforced errors, that’s what we always try to do. I didn’t see a lot of penalties that were caused by mental errors out there, but whatever the cause is, we’ve got to try to commit fewer of them.”