Chipper Bill Belichick reflects on how the New England Patriots changed the season – New England Patriots blog

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CHARLOTTE, NC – New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick smiled. He gave flattering compliments, including one to a rookie. And he even made a joke.

As for the post-match press conferences, it was as happy as Belichick has been for some time, and why not? Bolstered by a strong defensive performance that helped overcome a slow offensive start, his Patriots had just defeated the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24-6 at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.

Better yet, the Patriots reversed their season with three straight wins, going from a 2-4 team that seemed to be going in the wrong direction to a 5-4 playoff contender in the wide open AFC.

“I thought it was a good effort from our team – players and coaches; they did a good job joining the trip to california [last week where they beat the Los Angeles Chargers]”Belichick said.” They came out and played with good energy. We’re just going to keep trying to pull together these weeks.

It was a noticeable pivot point in the big picture. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Patriots improved their odds of qualifying for the playoffs to 62% with the win. Their odds would have dropped to 39% with a loss.

Additionally, the Buffalo Bills’ surprising 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday tightened the AFC East standings. The Bills (5-3) remain in the lead, but the Patriots are half a game behind, with the New York Jets (2-6) and Miami Dolphins (2-7) further in the field.

The Patriots have two more games to play against the Bills – a Monday night game on December 6 in Orchard Park, New York, and a home game on December 26.

“We’re not really focused on all of this,” said center and captain David Andrews. “We worked hard every week. I think we have seen the fruits of this work. We just have to keep doing it.

The next challenge is a home game against the Cleveland Browns (5-4) next Sunday, with the Browns claiming an impressive 41-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

There are significant injury issues for the Patriots, with running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson leaving Sunday’s win with head injuries meaning they’re likely in concussion protocol. It could threaten their availability for Sunday’s game against the Browns.

“You never want to see someone get dirty or hurt. We’ll see how they go over the course of the week, ”Andrews said. “They are as hard as nails. They are a great asset to this football team.

But those worries didn’t eclipse a Belichick chipper after the game.

He marveled at the interception of linebacker Jamie Collins in the third quarter.

“I don’t know how many players in the league could make this game, not a lot. It was a great play. Just the catch – he’s 5 yards from the quarterback and he threw it as hard as he could, ”Belichick said with a chuckle.

He joked about cornerback JC Jackson’s two-steal game, which included an 88-yard return for a touchdown – a performance that came after missing two days of practice with strep throat.

“I told him about it. Hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come – to think that we don’t have to practice and go out and be a star of the game, ”Belichick said with a smile.

And then he threw bouquets at rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound second-round pick from Alabama who had two passes and was buzzing all over the field, at one point while flying in. the airs to join a bunch.

“I have to give this kid a lot of credit,” Belichick said, in praise that rarely goes to rookies. “He’s coming early. He’s staying late. That’s a great man. He really applied himself and got better every week.

The same goes for the Belichick team.

Three weeks ago, the Patriots were 2-4 and several players said they thought they were better than the stated record. They have since proven this to be the case.

“It’s a long season,” Collins said. “It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you end. It’s how you go through what you’re going through and come out to the other side. Guys don’t blink here.”


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