- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Bill Belichick is known for being coy with the media.

But before New England’s game against Buffalo on “Monday Night Football,” Belichick may have given a big hint as to what his offensive game plan was.

The longtime Patriots coach wore a Navy face mask while speaking to the press prior to the game that was played in horrid conditions, and then proceeded to pass the ball only three times in the team’s 14-10 win over the Bills. 

The Patriots didn’t operate the Midshipmen’s triple option, but they did run for 222 yards on 46 carries due to the sub-freezing temperatures, 40 mph wind gusts and combination of rain, snow and sleet. New England rookie quarterback Mac Jones totaled 19 yards on 2-of-3 passing.

“We played kind of the way we felt like we needed to play to win,” Belichick said after the game. 

Three pass attempts is the fewest number in Patriots history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. It was also the fewest number of throws by any team since the Bills attempted only two passes in 1974. New England’s previous record for fewest pass attempts in a game was five in the 1982 “Snow Plow” game against Miami.

Whether or not the Navy mask was a clue, Belichick does have ties to the program. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and broke down Navy game film as a kid with his father, who was an assistant coach and scout for the Midshipmen for more than 30 years.

The win over the Bills was New England’s seventh straight. At 9-4, the Patriots enter their bye week as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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