The New England Patriots’ offensive struggles continued for another week, with the unit scoring just just one touchdown in a 24-10 defeat to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. The issues on that side of the ball have led to some visible frustration, but apparently they will not lead to any major changes being made.
Appearing on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday morning, head coach Bill Belichick said that the team is too far along in the process to do that.
“We need to do what we’re doing better,” Belichick said. “I don’t think at this point making a lot of dramatic changes — it’s too hard to do that. If we can just do, consistently, what we’re doing, I think we’ll be all right.”
After Week 13, the Patriots offense is ranked near the bottom of the league in several major categories. Averaging just 18.4 points per game without any defensive or special teams scores added to the equation, the group is ranked just 23rd in the NFL.
The Patriots are also ranked 22nd in turnovers (17), 25th on third downs (36.2%), 26th in expected points added (-0.050), and tied for worst in the league in red zone success rate (37.5%). The group has had its moments but as Belichick pointed out consistently making positive plays and not shooting itself in the foot has been an area of concern.
“We just haven’t been able to have enough consistency and that’s hurt us,” he said. “It’s not one thing. One time it’s one thing, next time it’s something else. We just have to play and coach more consistently.”
Blame for the problems can be distributed across the board, but one popular culprit is offensive play-caller Matt Patricia. In his first year at the job, Patricia has been unable to build on what was a promising rookie season for quarterback Mac Jones; the unit has regressed under his and fellow assistant coach Joe Judge’s leadership.
While that might lead to some sweeping changes during the offseason, it appears none will happen over the final few weeks of the regular season. With five games left, the Patriots just to find a way to figure things out with the personnel and scheme they have in place.