Bill Belichick explains Patriots' clock mismanagement

As the New England Patriots dust away the fog of another playoff loss, fans and players alike will be left shaking their heads at the plethora of follies and missed opportunities.

One that surely will stick in many minds is when the Patriots failed to take a shot at the end zone to end the first half after quarterback Tom Brady slid.

"I thought we could get up there, or we wanted to try to get up there and clock it and have time to run a play and have the timeout to kick the field goal," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after Sunday's AFC Championship Game loss, via Comcast SportsNet New England.

The reasoning is defensible. However, after watching the video a number of times, Brady clearly was prepping to run a play out of the shotgun. Instead of running under center to spike the ball, Brady tried to guide confused teammates -- who seemed to expect a timeout -- before frantically stopping the clock with four seconds left, leading to a field goal and a 13-7 halftime lead.

"No (there was no thought put into calling an immediate timeout), not really," Belichick said. "I guess if we had known that it would take as long as it did to get the ball finally clocked (we would have called a timeout), but then we didn't get a great look on the play."

On NFL Network
NFL Replay will re-air the Baltimore Ravens' 28-13 victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. ET.

A timeout would have left at least 15 seconds on the clock, enough for perhaps two quick shots at the end zone before a field goal.

The potential four points might or might not have made a difference in the outcome, but it underscores the inexplicable miscues from the usually unflappable Brady.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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