New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known for playing chess while others are playing checkers. He is often one step ahead of the opposing players and coaches, and it is rare that any one team or player beats him at his own game.
His reputation and history is what makes what happened in the Patriots' win over the Indianapolis Colts last week so rare. As many pointed out, Belichick included, Indy's defense knew New England's plays ahead of time.
During his press conference, Belichick admitted that the Colts defense knew what was coming before the ball was even snapped.
When asked about Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard calling out plays before the snap, the coach who typically does not give too much away was candid about the issue.
"We definitely want to prevent that," Belichick said, via NBC Sports. "I thought that there were two or three plays for sure that Leonard really got a big jump on and stopped us basically on those plays."
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"Mosley got a couple of those a couple of weeks ago in the Jets game -- it almost looked like he heard the play in the huddle, he was on it so fast," Belichick said. "Leonard had a couple like that, too. So, whether it was something we were giving away or something that he anticipated based on whatever the keys were that he might have picked up, we certainly want to try to prevent that."
Multiple players on the Patriots echoed these thoughts, according to MassLive's Mark Daniels.
The defense having a head start on what quarterback Mac Jones and company were doing did not ruin the Patriots' chances to pull out a win, but it did slow the offense down.
New England's defense and special teams is mostly responsible for the 26-3 victory over the Colts, with a pick-six, nine sacks and a blocked punt that set up an easy offensive touchdown. The Patriots defense stepped up in a big way, hiding any offenses struggles, but that is not a long-term recipe for success.
Belichick knows his offense is not putting up the best numbers and with defenses seemingly having New England's number, it's something that needs fixed.
"Obviously if a player or team is stopping one thing, if you have something complementary to go to, you can offset that," Belichick said. "We've certainly had that situation come up too, where we were able to take advantage of, whether it was a player thinking he knew what the play was or the defense trying to defend a certain play but not another play. So, you have to strike that balance."
The Patriots are 5-4 and in last place in a competitive division. Jones has struggled this season with consistency and decision making and the offense has had question marks surrounding it since the offseason, when long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels left.
The Patriots are 26th in yards per game, averaging only 3.3 yards per offensive play against the Colts and 3.8 yards per play against the Jets. The Patriots offense is tied for the most interceptions thrown (10) and is in the lower half of the league in offensive touchdowns (9).
It is clear to Belichick there is a lot of work to do as the Patriots head into their bye week.