BALTIMORE (AP) — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick can be prickly and standoffish, even after a dominating victory.
Belichick showed a different side Sunday night after the Patriots lost for the first time in 11 months, 37-20 to the Baltimore Ravens.
After watching his defense get shredded by Ravens dual threat Lamar Jackson and unable to will quarterback Tom Brady into another amazing comeback, the usually unflappable Belichick was uncharacteristically soft-spoken, barely registering above a whisper as he tried to explain what happened.
“We competed out there, but it just wasn’t good enough,” Belichick said. “There is really not much to say tonight.”
Virtually every question posed to Belichick during his five-minute postgame availability was met with some variation on that theme.
Belichick acknowledged that Jackson’s speed posed problems for a defense that couldn’t keep up with him. He agreed that the Patriots committed too many self-inflicted mistakes to overcome. A coach who always seems supremely confident of his team and Brady looked shell-shocked and seemed at a loss for words.
“We all have to do a better job, starting with me,” he sighed.
The Patriots (8-1) came in allowing only 7.6 points per game and with a plus-17 turnover differential. None of that seemed to matter to the Ravens, who scored on each of their first three possessions to take a 17-0 lead.
An offside penalty on the initial drive enabled the Ravens to get out of field goal formation and go for a touchdown, which Jackson scored on a frolic around left end.
The Patriots forced two turnovers, made two themselves and never got closer than four points after putting themselves in that early hole. The Patriots’ first giveaway, a fumble by Julian Edelman, was taken 70 yards the opposite way for a Baltimore touchdown.
“He was just trying to get yards,” Brady said of Edelman. “Give them credit. Those types of plays, good defenses make.”
The Patriots’ other turnover, an interception by Brady in the fourth quarter, was following a 14-play drive that sealed the deal.
New England hit hard, but simply didn’t play as well as the Ravens.
“It was a physical game. My neck feels it right now,” Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said. “Give them a lot of credit. They’re very physical, but tonight we made more plays than them.”
Most of them by Jackson, who ran for two scores and threw for another. Belichick said in the days leading up to the game that he didn’t have anyone on his team who could emulate Jackson’s speed and agility, and on Sunday he saw first-hand just how quick the second-year quarterback can be.
At least the Patriots won’t have to face him again — until, perhaps, the playoffs.
“They are not on the schedule, so we don’t have to worry about them,” Belichick said.
The offense was sound, with the exception of the two turnovers. Brady went 30 for 46 for 285 yards and a touchdown , and Edelman and Mohamed Sanu each had 10 catches.
Now comes a bye, and the Patriots will spend some of the time thinking about their first loss of the season and how to improve for the second half.
“Losses always find a way to recalibrate how you see yourself,” Brady said. “We obviously have a lot of work to do. When you get beat by 17 points, that’s now what we’re about.”
Said Edelman: “We can go either of two days from here — we can learn from it and get better or go the other way. I have faith we are going to learn from it and get back to where we need to be.”