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Bill Belichick’s decision to onside kick in the third quarter a questionable call

Bill Belichick's decision to onside kick in the third quarter did not work out for the Patriots.
Bill Belichick's decision to onside kick in the third quarter did not work out for the Patriots.John Munson/Associated Press

The Patriots picked an unusual time to attempt an onside kick on Sunday.

After tying the score at 14 in the third quarter, coach Bill Belichick decided to surprise Buffalo with a short kickoff only for the ball to be recovered by Bills linebacker Tyler Matakevich at New England’s 45-yard line.

The failed execution gave Buffalo advantageous field position and resulted in a nine-play touchdown drive. Given the amount of time left in the game, the decision stood out as an unnecessary gamble, one that ended up working against the Patriots.

Asked if he regretted his choice, Belichick didn’t have much to say.

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“We were trying to make a positive play,” he said.

The onside kick wasn’t the only decision that raised some eyebrows.

Trailing 7-3, the Patriots had the ball at Buffalo’s 15-yard line with no timeouts and 12 seconds remaining in the first half. Belichick elected to kick a field goal on third-down rather than take one more shot at the end zone.

Why?

“To ensure the 3 points,” he said.

Kicker Nick Folk knocked down the 33-yard attempt, his second field goal of the day, bringing the Patriots within 1 point at the half.



Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.