With Bill Belichick in charge, it's always Christmastime in Foxboro

Mike Petraglia
December 24, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Bill Belichick walks off the field a winner for the 200th time in the regular season with the Patriots (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO - Bill Belichick is the one who's given Patriots fans gifts in the form of wins that seem unending.

On Saturday, the Patriots wrapped up their 13th win of the season with a 41-3 bow-tied thrashing of the Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Who can ever forget the Sports Illustrated cover of the Patriots head coach photo-shopped in a Santa outfit in December 2007?

That was quintessential Belichick. So too, was his postgame Saturday. Fresh from his 200th regular season win as Patriots head coach, Belichick stepped the podium following the spanking of the Jets, sporting a "VI Rings" sweatshirt he hopes is soon outdated. It had an American flag on the right shoulder.

"Well, that was a real good day for us today," Belichick said. "I thought our players did a real good job. We played good, complementary football. We got contributions from all three phases; offense, defense, special teams. We had some good field position on the turnovers and our offense was able to take advantage of that. Just a real solid week and solid performance here today. I thought our guys did a good job. Everybody contributed. We had a lot of good play from all three areas. It's a good way to go into tomorrow, get a chance to relax here for a little bit and then wind it back up for Miami.

He was naturally asked about another rung climbed on the NFL history ladder. He joined Curly Lambeau, Don Shula, Tom Landry and George Halas as the only coaches with 200 wins with one NFL team.

"I don't know. We've got a good staff," Belichick said. "We've got a lot of good coaches on this staff. They do a great job and we've got a lot of good players. Players win games. I've been fortunate to have coached a lot of good ones."

Devin McCourty had a bit more interesting take.

"For me, I just feel fortunate to come into an organization and play for a head coach starting as a rookie and just learning every day from him," McCourty said in the player's auditorium that doubles as a postgame press conference. "Coming in here in a similar setting like this with all of us in the room sitting there and you just need to listen. You just come in with an open mind and your ears open and hear just the different gems he has for us each week going into the games.

"Overall, whether it be him showing a clip from another game, it might be about the offense but you learn football just sitting here in this meeting room. I'm sure it's a great Christmas gift for him and I think it's quite the accomplishment, but hopefully we can keep adding on to that number."

Bill Belichick is now 200-71-0 in his 18th season with the Patriots. What led to the Patriots' success Saturday? Three Tom Brady touchdown passes, two LeGarrette Blount touchdown runs, two Malcolm Butler interceptions, one Butler fumble recovery and a partridge in a pear tree.

"Yeah, there's nothing that correlates more to winning than turnovers," Belichick said of the four the Patriots forced Saturday. "Number one is points, number two is turnovers. We were able to get them today and we were able to convert them to points. A missed field goal that they had, which isn't a turnover but is kind of like a turnover, and then we were able to convert that as well. So you take those plays and that's a huge chunk of the game."

That didn't mean Belichick couldn't show his Grinch side. 

What went into the decision for defensive tackle Malcom Brown to not enter the game until late in the fourth quarter? 

"All of the decisions are coaching decisions," Belichick said. 

Have you been sending the message to the team to keep a sense of urgency down the stretch here?  

"We try to do that every week, believe it or not. We try to be urgent," Belichick chided. "We try to win every week. We try to do that every single week."

But we digress. The players were what mattered the most Saturday - Belichick's elves hard at work. Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount, Malcolm Butler and Elandon Roberts all played a role in sending Santa's sleigh into the night. 

"The big thing when you get those opportunities is to take advantage of them," Belichick said. "He made two good catches today. It looked like Elandon made the play on the run, knocked the ball loose. Malcolm recovered it which was good, but yeah, when we have opportunities to get the ball we've got to capitalize on them and get them. There was a big fumble recovery last week that Jonathan Jones had. It was kind of a 50-50 ball that he came up with. Plays like that, when we have those chances we've just got to capitalize on them, whether that's catching the ball or recovering it. Yeah, but he had a big day on turnovers today.  

"I mean every week is a new week. It doesn't really matter what we did this week, last week, or some other week. Next week it will be totally different, different team, different situations, probably different plays."

Until then, Patriots fans can savor the best football gift any fan could wish for, another playoff run with Bill Belichick calling the shots.