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Patriots Lay An Egg Against Colts And Bill Belichick Is Not Happy

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The New England Patriots had a pretty good thing going before Saturday night’s visit with the Indianapolis Colts, having won seven consecutive games and climbing to the top of their division.

Then this game started.

And the Colts dominated.

And the Patriots flopped.

Indianapolis 27.

New England 17.

“They came ready to play, we didn’t come ready to play,” Patriots tight end Hunter Henry said. “It was a very meaningful game in December and we didn’t come ready to play.”

The Patriots came ready to make mistakes and quarterback Mac Jones threw two interceptions, the club gave up a touchdown on a punt block, jumped offside on a missed field goal which gave the Colts another try that they made.

And Colts running back Jonathan Taylor was ready to play.

He rushed 29 times for 170 yards and delivered the dagger that killed New England’s hopes on a 67-yard touchdown run with 2:01 left to play.

It was the longest and most explosive play of the game. And it gave Taylor his third game with over 150 rushing yards this season.

The performance put Taylor into great historical company because his touchdown marked the 11th consecutive games in which he scored and it was his 31st career touchdown. He turns 23 years old in January.

The only other player in NFL history with more TDs before the age of 23 is Pro Football Hall of Famer Edgerrin James.

The amazing thing about Taylor’s performance is that it came against a Belichick defense. And anyone who’s watched any professional football understands the first thing the Patriots coach does is try to take away what the opposing offense does best.

Running Taylor, the NFL’s leading rusher, is what the Colts offense does best. So stopping Taylor was the assignment for New England.

“You always want to accept the challenge,” Taylor said.

Because the Patriots were unable to fulfill their primary defensive assignment and the entire squad played its worst game in two months, Belichick was quite unhappy afterward.

(More unhappy than usual).

“Obviously we didn’t do anything well enough to win,” the coach told reporters. “Didn’t play well, didn’t coach well, too many penalties, fumbles, interceptions, there were 200 yards rushing, played from behind the whole game.

“So just nothing really good enough. We have to go back to work and coach and play better the next one. Disappointing, but we’ll move on.”

Then the questions began and there was a theme to Belichick’s answers:

Asked about what unforced errors, Belichick said, “I don’t know. Maybe you know what went wrong. I don’t know. Obviously we didn’t do anything well enough. I don’t know how else to say it.”

Asked what happened on the blocked punt, Belichick said, “We didn’t block the guy.”

Asked if this game was an aberration after a long win streak, Belichick said, “We didn’t play well tonight.”

Asked about the fight the team showed in the fourth quarter, Belichick said, “We got to do everything better than we did tonight.”

Asked if the Colts did anything differently than usual, Belichick said, “They pretty much did what they do. They did enough to keep you off balance and they obviously did it better than we did.”

Asked about New England’s flat start in which they trailed 20-0 at halftime, Belichick said, “We didn’t play well, we didn’t coach well.”

Belichick was asked if his team, coming off a bye week, lost momentum during the time off. Belichick said, well, nothing. He muttered something like, “yeah,” under his breath but that wasn’t really his answer.

His answer was no answer.

Going back to being flat, Belichick went back to “We didn’t play well, we didn’t coach well.”

You get the point. The NFL’s winningest active coach was quite unsatisfied with this one and made the point one more time before departing.

“I mean, I’ve said it like five times, I could just say it another five times, we didn’t do anything well enough to win tonight,” he said, “including giving up 225 yards rushing.”

Not a big deal but it was 226 yards rushing. It was done by a Colts team that completed only 5 passes.

It was as if the Colts did to the Patriots what the Patriots did to the Buffalo Bills two weeks earlier when they rushed for 222 yards and passed the ball only three times.

The Patriots play the Bills Dec. 26.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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