The Patriots were up 33-0 and had the ball with 11:13 left in the game. On 3rd and 9, Brandon Bolden carried the ball seven yards to set up 4th and 2 at the Jets 33. It was just far enough out that Belichick elected to punt the ball.
Rather than punt however, the Patriots let the play clock run out for a delay of game. It would have bumped them back five yards and given Patriots punter Jake Bailey a little more room to pin the Jets deep.
Jets head coach Adam Gase declined the penalty and the teams lined up to re-punt. The clock was under 10:25 remaining, but the Patriots got a fresh 25-second play clock. It gave them a chance to punt with under ten minutes remaining and the Jets took over with 9:43 left on the clock. Belichick had managed to sap nearly two minutes off the clock for a punt.
It resulted in the above smirk from Belichick. The Patriots coach was asked about it after the game, and pointed it out as an option within the rules, but one he expects the NFL will close sooner than later.
“No, no. It was just the way the rules are set up,” Belichick said after the Patriots’ 33-0 win over the Jets on Monday night at MetLife Stadium. “We were able to run a quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. It’s a loophole that’ll be closed and probably should be closed. But right now, it’s open.”
Never change, Bill.