Bill Belichick fails on fourth down: If we kick, you’ll ask why we didn’t

Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t second-guessing himself after avoiding two misses on fourth down inside field goal range in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, a game the Patriots ended up losing 25-20.

If the Patriots had made two field goals, they would have won 26-25. But on a first down, fourth-and-3 on the 17-yard line with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter, Belichick decided to go ahead and Mac Jones’ pass fell incomplete. That left Belichick no choice but to go ahead again on fourth-and-11 on the 20-yard line with 27 seconds left. This conversion attempt also failed.

Belichick defended his hit on fourth-and-3 as the team’s correct call at that point in the game.

“We made the best decision we could at the time. I didn’t know we were going to be there that many times,” Belichick said. “If we had kicked, I’m sure you would have asked why we didn’t.”

It’s a valid point from Belichick, that coaches’ decisions are second-guessed when they don’t work out, even if they were the right decision at the time. Analytics models would say Belichick made the right decision at the time. There are things to guess about the Patriots’ loss on Sunday, but the fourth decision wasn’t one of them.

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