FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick pointed the finger at himself for the team’s uncharacteristic breakdown on the Miami Dolphins‘ game-ending 69-yard touchdown, among other struggles, while explaining his decision to put tight end Rob Gronkowski on the field in place of safety Devin McCourty in the Hail Mary package.
“It starts with me. We have to play better situational football. We’ll work to try to achieve that,” Belichick said Monday in his day-after-game conference call, as he fielded multiple questions on the breakdown.
As for why Gronkowski was on the field, Belichick said, “It would be his ability to play the deep, long throw.”
The Dolphins had the ball at their own 31-yard line on the play.
“It was a little too far to get to the end zone, but certainly a deep pass in that situation is a possibility. I wouldn’t rule that out,” he said.
Belichick added that he never considered putting a regular defensive package on the field instead of the Hail Mary unit.
“I think there were a lot of things that could have been better in the entire game. I think the game was a lot more than that play, but certainly that play wasn’t a good one for us,” he said.
The Patriots had went ahead 33-28 on Stephen Gostkowski‘s 22-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining. Belichick said there was a conversation about possibly going for it in that situation, but “we felt the points to make it a touchdown, instead of a field goal game, that changes the whole thing.”
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