Belichick, Patriots move on to Bills
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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick listens to a reporter's question during a media availability at the NFL football team's facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Lindsey Anderson) Purchase photo reprints »
FOXBOROUGH — Any team that went 13-3 last season, won a division title with ease and advanced to the Super Bowl, is going to create a buzz if it stumbles out of the gate the following season.
Add the fact that it’s the New England Patriots, and it’s that much more magnified.
But Patriots coach Bill Belichick is taking it all in stride. On the same day he was fined by the league for making contact with an official Sunday night, New England’s leader had already moved on by Wednesday.
“I think the most important thing for us is just to focus on this week,” Belichick said. “There isn’t really anything we can do about any other game other than the present. Nothing in the past, nothing in the future. We’re just going to focus on this one.”
This one, though, won’t be easy either. On Sunday, New England (1-2) will take on the resurgent Bills (2-1) in Buffalo, a team that is — gulp! — tied with the Jets atop the AFC East.
“They’re very explosive offensively. They have good players at every position. Their offensive line is solid,” Belichick said of Buffalo. “They have good players at every position and (Bills coach) Chan (Gailey) does an outstanding job game planning and utilizing his personnel and putting pressure on the defense. They’re a very good offensive football team. It’s a big challenge for us.”
After a year to forget on defense, New England has improved on that side of the ball, just not enough to result in wins. The Patriots have allowed 64 points, the fewest in the division.
On offense, quarterback Tom Brady is averaging 295.7 yards passing per game. But he’s been sacked seven times and the offense hasn’t quite sustained drives like it planned on.
“Our team (has) done some good things and we’ve done some things we need to do better,” he said. “Some things we need to do better, we need to coach better, we need to play better, we need to be more consistent and that goes for every phase of our game: offense, defense, special teams, players, coaches and it certainly extends to each individual.”
The Patriots’ road from here is not easy. They don’t have their bye until the first weekend in November, and after the Bills, they must play Denver, Seattle and the Jets in succession.
“There are things that individually we can all do better and need to work on and need to do better. That’s the focus for our whole team,” Belichick said. “We all need to improve and hopefully that will make a difference if we can do that.”
As for the fine, he was docked $50,000 for his conduct toward the replacement officials. Belichick grabbed an official’s arm at the end of Sunday night’s game after the Ravens kicked a winning field goal.
“It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened,” Belichick said in statement released by the team after his press conference with the media. “ I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore.”