Bill Belichick Takes Blame for Miami Miracle, Decision to Have Gronk in the Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2018

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 09:  Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick accepted the blame for his team's dreadful execution that led toย Kenyan Drake's game-winning 69-yard touchdown reception in the Miami Dolphins' 34-33 victory Sunday.

"It starts with me," Belichick said Monday, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss. "We have to play better situational football. We'll work to try to achieve that."

Belichick also explained why he used tight end Rob Gronkowski as one of New England's last lines of defense: "It would be his ability to play the deep, long throw."

Gronkowski looked to be in a position to stop Drake short of the goal line but took a bad angle that allowed Drake a path to the end zone.


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Many assumedย Gronkowskiย was on the field to defend a Hail Mary attempt. Coaches will often use their best receiver as a deep safety to knock down the ball at the end of a game.

However, the Dolphins had the ball on their 31-yard line. The chances of Ryanย Tannehillย getting a pass to the end zone were slim. The minute Miami opted for a shorter throw,ย Gronkowskiย became an obvious liability.

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Putting Gronk out as a safety just in case a one-legged Tannehill can throw a 75-yards-in-the-air Hail Mary also might be the dumbest moment of the Belichick era.

Belichick has built enough equity to make the occasional strategic gaffe. Andย Gronkowski's involvement in the final play likely would've been forgotten already if it ends in anything other than a touchdown.

Butย Belichick isn't above reproach either, and second-guessing about New England's defending and Gronk's involvement in the final seconds is more than fair.

Losing to the Dolphins could prove costly for the Patriots. They now sit two games behind the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC. Although New England owns the head-to-head tiebreaker against Kansas City, closing a two-game gap in three weeks won't be easy.

The AFC title may run through Arrowhead Stadium in part as a result of the Dolphins' miraculous touchdown.


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