With less than two minutes to play in their Week 6 matchup with the Seahawks, the Patriots' defense surrendered a long passing touchdown to Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice, who crept behind the Patriots' secondary for the game-winning score.
It appeared that the Patriots were in a Cover 2 look, and safety Tavon Wilson lost contain on the deep pass, allowing Rice behind him in a situation he could ill-afford to do so.
On Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed the play, citing a need for better execution across the board -- from the players to the coaches.
"On that particular play they -- I'm not saying they max-protected -- but they kept everybody in except for two receivers, then they leak an outlet guy out late, so they kept extra protection in to try to throw the ball deep," he said. "Could the pass rush have been better? It always can. Could the coverage have been better? Definitely. Could we have been in something other than that when the play was called? Of course, that's part of it too. The bottom line of it is that we don't have any defenses that are designed to give up 50-yard touchdowns or any offensive plays that are designed to cause penalties or turn the ball over or do those things."
"We have to always look at the design and always work to improve it. We have to be able to execute whatever it is that we have called," Belichick added. "We don’t know what they are going to run. We have to be able to handle whatever it is that they throw at us, whatever defense we call, whatever play they happen to run. We've got to do a better job of that."
Belichick said that although he felt the defense called set his team up with enough defenders in the deep portion of the field to account for the route combination the Seahawks ran, the blame extended to the sidelines, too.
"I'm not trying to put the blame on the players or anything like that, that's not what it's about," he said. "Is there a different call that we could have made? There always is. I don't think there's anything wrong with the call. I think we could have played it better, which includes coaching it to be played better.
"I think the responsibility on the coaching end is the execution of it, not 'we could have been in something else,'" Belichick continued. "Because we would have had to cover it if we were in something else, too. It comes down to the execution and that's part of the coaching fault as well."
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia echoed Belchick's sentiments.
"I think that the particular play you're talking about, obviously we just have to execute better and coach better the call that we were in," he said. "Obviously, the defense is called to try to stop the different plays that they can throw at us, or run at us. We just have to go out and execute and perform at a higher level. I can't really say that an extra defender or an extra player here or there could have really helped us, just that obviously we just have to do a better job overall coaching and playing just to handle the situation better."