The New England Patriots 15-Game Win Streak Over the Jets Could’ve Been 19 if Not for Bill Belichick’s Bizarre Call In 2015

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Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets celebrate.

It was almost as if NFL coaches were trying to outdo each other in the Worst Decision-Making Contest of Week 3. While Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley held the early lead, Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels finished as the week’s winner with a boneheaded decision in the final minutes of his team’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While both were bad, neither compares to what Bill Belichick did eight years ago, the last time his New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets.

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots beat the Jets for the 15th straight time during an ugly Week 3 of NFL action

The NFL hasn’t been overly impressive this season, and Week 3 was no different. While the play on the field has been mediocre at best, coaches stole the spotlight Sunday for all the wrong reasons.

Already in the hottest of seats, Staley nearly gave the game away with 1:51 and his team holding a 28-24 lead on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. Faced with a fourth–and-1 from the Chargers 24, Staley elected to keep his punting unit on the bench and go for it. Running back Joshua Kelly, filling in for the injured Austin Ekeler, failed to get the yard, giving the ball to Minnesota. Kelly finished the game with 12 yards on 11 carries.

Fortunately for the Chargers, the Vikings were unable to capitalize. The Chargers improved to 1-2 in a battle of winless teams that made the playoffs a year ago.

McDaniels outdid Staley in his Sunday night matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Trailing 23-15 with 2:25 remaining, the Raiders faced fourth-and-4 from the Steelers 8-yard line. Vegas still had three timeouts and the two-minute warning. McDaniels inexplicably decided to kick a field goal that cut the deficit to five points.

Even if the Steelers stopped the Raiders, Pittsburgh would be backed up at the 8, and the Raiders could stop the clock four times. Now, the Raiders still need a touchdown and would likely have to drive the length of the field with no timeouts if they even got the ball back. They never did.

Week 3 was interesting but ugly. The Miami Dolphins put up 70 points in a 50-point win over the Denver Broncos. The Arizona Cardinals shocked the world with a 28-16 win over the previously unbeaten Dallas Cowboys. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots found a way to make it 15 straight wins over the Jets with a not-so-pretty 15-10 victory.

The last time the Jets beat the Patriots, Belichick made a bizarre coaching decision that proved costly

Poor coaching decisions aren’t anything new. In fact, if not for one made by Bill Belichick back in 2015, the Patriots win streak over the Jets would stand at 19 games.

Back on Dec. 27, 2015, the 12-2 Patriots visited the 9-5 Jets. New England trailed 17-3 in the third quarter after Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall with a pair of touchdown passes. The Patriots rallied and tied the game at 20-20 when Tom Brady hit running back James White with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left.

The game headed for overtime, and the Patriots won the coin toss. Belichick elected to kick off, even though overtime time rules state that if a team scores a touchdown on the opening possession of overtime, the game is over.

Fitzpatrick and the Jets did just that. The Jets marched right down the field and the game ended when Fitzpatrick hit Eric Decker with a 6-yard touchdown pass. The Patriots, with Tom Brady at quarterback, never got the chance to see the field in the extra session, even though Belichick had the opportunity to send arguably the best QB in history onto the field.

“We thought that was the best thing to do,” Belichick said after the game, per ESPN.

Even New England captain Matthew Slater was a little confused when he had to tell referee Clete Blakeman his team wanted to kick after winning the toss.

“They don’t pay me to manage the games. It’s not my decision,” he said. “When I’m told to do something, that’s what I’m going to do. The captains, when we’re told that we want to kick off, we do it. Obviously in that situation, as a player, maybe you’re thinking, ‘Hey, we want the ball if we win the toss,’ but that’s not what Coach wanted to do.”