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The game came down to a testament of wills, but more important, coaching decisions.
Playing in crazy elements, with gusting winds and blustery freezing temperatures, surely altered the game plans for the Patriots and Bills in this Monday Night Football showdown of AFC East titans.
That’s why the Patriots having Bill Belichick remains a huge advantage.
He identified the way to win in those elements, and stuck with it no matter the down and distance.
He was going to be conservative with his offense, sink or swim.
That plan didn’t include much of Mac Jones.
Belichick ran, ran, and ran some more. Every down, every possession, he had Jones hand the ball off, and it worked to the tune of a hard-fought 14-10 win in Orchard Park.
If the Patriots had lost, there would inevitably be more questions about Belichick’s strategy, but it’s hard to argue with results.
The Patriots now have seven straight wins, and remain atop the AFC East at 9-4, and also stick as the AFC’s top seed.
After the game, Belichick called the conditions “somewhat challenging.” Naturally, he didn’t make a big deal out of only throwing the ball three times.
“We kind of played the way we felt we needed to win,” said Belichick.
Usually, the Hoodie makes opposing teams play left-handed, taking away their best asset.
Against the Bills, he voluntarily played left-handed, taking Jones out of the mix. And the Patriots still ruled.
Talk about taking the starch out of the Bills, who had to be deflated being crushed in the trenches, and losing their grip in the division so soon.
Plus, they have no idea what to make of Jones, still having to face him again down the road.
Maybe some — including the Bills — will feel Belichick’s strategy was an indictment on the rookie quarterback, who passed just once in the first half, and only twice in the second half.
It appeared more a reflection of Belichick sticking with what he felt was the best way to win. Ditto offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Heavy personal, ground and pound. Nonstop. Forty-six running plays, three passes.
“The coaches have been in a lot of games like this,” said Jones. “Coach Belichick, Coach Josh, they’ve been in every type of element there is. They know what it takes to win.
“So I think we knew if we held onto the ball, we’d be OK.”
Jones, who was experiencing those nasty conditions for the first time, doesn’t have the strongest arm, and in those winds, Belichick didn’t want to take a chance.
The elements spoke to the Hoodie, and he and McDaniels didn’t blink with their intentions to pound the rock, and also, rely on the defense to keep Josh Allen at bay.
Even the strong-armed Allen (15-for-30, 145 yards) had some difficulty rifling some balls through the 40 mph winds.
Turnovers loomed large. Ball security and field position was paramount.
Ultimately, Belichick wasn’t trying to earn style points, he was trying to win a significant football game.
And that’s just what he did.
No need to pump the brakes on these Patriots, even playing old style football. They’re for real. They are legitimately going to make noise down the road.
And that just eats away at Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who refused to give Belichick much credit for the win, or simply being out-coached.
“I don’t think, with all due respect, it’s not a Bill Belichick type thing,” said McDermott, “it’s what are you doing with the opportunities you got.”
Well, the Bills certainly didn’t do much. They were 1-for-4 in the red zone, and largely couldn’t run the ball. As it was, Allen was their leading rusher with 39 yards. The Patriots, meanwhile, ran all day.
They’re built to win in December and January in the outdoors. Between their defense and ability to run, they’re going to be a tough out especially against teams like the Bills, whose defense is built more to stop teams with elite passing games, such as the Chiefs.
Having a lighter, quicker front may be good against Patrick Mahomes & Co. but not against mashers and maulers like the Patriots.
The Bills knew the Patriots were going to run, loading the box with seven and eight guys, and they still ran, and did so effectively. At one point, McDaniels called 32 straight running plays.
Damien Harris gained over 100 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson was just as huge, as the Patriots ran down the Bills’ collective throats for 222 yards.
The Patriots were effective running whether they were going into the wind, or had it at their backs.
This was old-school running as McDaniels made good use of traps with great blocking from the line up front, along with fullback Jakob Johnson and N’Keal Harry at times.
The Patriots had a lead, so there was no real need to put the ball up in Belichick’s mind and gamble.
But that plan also called for the defense to stop the less-conservative Bills, with Allen putting the ball up, largely because Buffalo trailed.
Unlike his offense, Belichick didn’t hold back with his defense, sending an all-out blitz against Allen with a fourth-and-14 from the Patriots 18-yard line with 2:00 to play to help preserve the lead, and the win.
Belichick played his cards right, and in the process, demoralized the Bills, and remain a team no one wants to play, especially outdoors in the elements.
Devin McCourty put it all in perspective, talking about finding ways to win, and doing whatever it takes to accomplish the goal.
“That’s why I love playing here. This team isn’t about one person, it isn’t about egos, it isn’t about this is what we do, so we’re going to do it . . . it’s about winning,” said McCourty. “We’re going to adjust and find a way to win . . . I think everyone will look at this game and say, they played good defense. But we ran the ball, we broke out a long run when we needed to run the ball and take the clock down . . . this week our offense morphed into a team that was going to run the football and it worked.”
JEFFERSON CITY – Want to think Summer on a cold Winter day? Then sign up for a Missouri State Highway Patrol boating safety course to get ready for the boating season. Missouri law requires everyone born after January 1, 1984, who operates a vessel on Missouri lakes to have a certified boating safety education card. This includes personal watercraft operators.
You can sign up for a certified course at: https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/WP02Web/app/safetyEdClasses
The courses are free, but registration is required and the boater ID card costs $15.
Don’t see classes in your troop location? Contact your nearest troop headquarters and ask to speak with a marine operations supervisor to check the possibility of additional classes.
Troop Headquarters Contact Information:
Troop A Lee’s Summit- (816) 622-0800
Troop B Macon- (660) 385-2132
Troop C Weldon Spring- (636) 300-2800
Troop D Springfield- (417) 895-6868
Troop E Popular Bluff- (573) 840-9500
Troop F Jefferson City- (573) 751-1000
Troop G Willow Springs- (417) 469-3121
Troop H St. Joseph- (816) 387-2345
Troop I Rolla- (573) 368-2345
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KTVI)– Authorities have charged a woman who is accused of shooting a McDonald’s restaurant employee Wednesday after an argument over a discount on french fries escalated. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office has charged Terika Clay, 30, of St. Louis, with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Normandy Police say Clay came through the drive-thru at the McDonald’s on the 1700 block of South Florissant Road in Cool Valley Wednesday afternoon when she argued with the victim, who was working the drive-thru window, about a discount on french fries. Court documents say Clay threatened to shoot the victim. When the employee left for a break, the confrontation continued, with a probable cause statement saying Clay hit the victim with the weapon before shooting her with it. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras, according to police.
The victim, police say, suffered a superficial wound and has been released from the hospital.
Clay is being held on $150,000 bond. A bond reduction hearing is scheduled for next week. If she’s released, a judge has ordered that she stay out of contact with the victim or other employees at the restaurant location and that she cannot be within 1,000 feet of the victim or the restaurant.
The selling season is officially here in Colorado. Buyers and sellers are hitting the ground running this month rather than waiting for the start of spring when the market typically begins heating up. This sooner-than-normal start to the season means there are exciting new listings entering the market every day that are ready to help the lucky buyers than claim them live the life they love in Colorado.
As Colorado’s leading luxury and lifestyle-focused real estate brokerage, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty (LIV SIR) represents some of the most spectacular homes along the Front Range and beyond. Here is a look at some of the most recent luxury listings to enter the market.
Craftsmanship Near the City
Start your next chapter in the classic Denver home located at 675 N. Humboldt St. Listed by LIV SIR broker, Debra Fagan, for $4,200,000, every inch of this home is exquisitely designed to create a luxury city living experience. Offering five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and ample space for formal and casual entertaining, this Denver residence is a must-have for those looking for a home that can do it all. Originally built in 1908, the house was taken down to the studs before being completely redesigned using the finest finishes and materials. Box beam ceilings, elegant colonnades, custom built-in storage, interior corbels, hand-cuts stair railings, leaded glass windows, mahogany wood floors, Bradbury & Bradbury wall treatments, and more is what you’ll find in this richly designed residence.
Timeless Elegance in Castle Rock
Sophistication and style abound at 918 Dakota Dr., listed by LIV SIR broker, Audrey Will, for $2,950,000. This stunning, spacious home is situated on over an acre of land adjacent to natural, open space in Castle Rock. The moment one enters this five-bedroom, five-bathroom estate, they are greeted by soaring ceilings and an abundance of natural light pouring in from the many oversized windows throughout the home. An entertainer’s dream, this home features incredible spaces for hosting friends and family such as the two-story great room, lower-level recreation room, wet bar, and movie theater. Each room within the home is teeming with luxurious finishes that elevate this already incredible home.
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