Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

Bill Belichick: Ryan Tannehill could have thrown ball further on final play, which is why Rob Gronkowski was on field

Ryan Hannable
December 09, 2018 - 5:43 pm

MIAMI -- Bill Belichick has coached a lot of games and it would be hard to find a more stunning loss than Sunday.

With the Patriots leading by five with seven seconds left, the defense allowed a 69-yard touchdown on a short completion from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills followed by several laterals that ended with Kenyon Drake beating Rob Gronkowski near the goal-line to come away with a 34-33 win.

It is worth questioning why Gronkowski was even in the game, as he typically would only be in the game for a Hail Mary play and that would have been a 70-plus throw from Tannehill. Gronkowski replaced Devin McCourty, one of the Patriots' fastest players.

"Yeah, well they could throw it deeper," Belichick said after the game when asked why Gronkowski was in the game. "They could have run the Desperado-type play, which is kind of an in between 20-yard pass, then it turned into a Desperado."

Added Belichick: "Obviously, it's a real disappointing ending for us today. There's a lot of things we could have done better. It came down to one play, but there were a lot of things besides that. In the end, we've just got to do a better job than we did. Miami played hard like they always do, and they just made one more play than we did."

The Patriots left several points on the board over the course of the game.

Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point on the first Patriots touchdown of the game and later missed a 42-yard field goal. Also, at the end of the first half Tom Brady took a sack inside the 10-yard line with no timeouts, so the clock ran out and the Patriots did not get any points. He could have thrown the ball away to stop the clock and get a field goal attempt.

Lastly, the Patriots had first-and-goal at the 6-yard line on their final possession, but settled for a field goal with 21 seconds remaining.

"We missed opportunities. We’ve just got to do a better job," Belichick said.

Even with the loss, because Houston also lost the Patriots are still in line for the No. 2 seed with three games remaining.

Related: Rob Gronkowski explains what happened on final play vs. Dolphins