Bill Belichick’s coaching future gets murky as Patriots drop to 2-8 with loss to Colts

Bill Belichick’s seat got a little bit warmer on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts downed his New England Patriots on Sunday, 10-6, in Germany. It’s the first international regular-season loss for the Pats.

The Colts only needed one touchdown and a field goal in the win. Running back Jonathan Taylor punched the ball past the goal line on fourth down in the first quarter to go up 7-3. Neither team scored again until the fourth.

The Patriots put some pressure on the Colts with a 24-yard field goal from Chase Ryland. The Colts answered with a 51-yard Matt Gay field goal.

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Mac Jones tried to rally the troops and get into the end zone. Through eight plays, Jones got the Patriots down to the Colts’ 15-yard line. New England definitely needed a score of some kind, preferably a touchdown. But Jones suffered another mistake.

He appeared to be targeting tight end Mike Gesicki in the end zone. The ball didn’t make it. Instead, Justin Blackmon intercepted the ball at the 1-yard line.

A downtrodden Jones walked back to the sideline. He would be benched for the final Patriots’ drive.

Bailey Zappe came in and tried to engineer the game-winning drive. However, he tried to fool the defense with a fake spike. The Colts’ defense wasn’t fooled and Rodney Thomas II jumped the route to pick off Zappe and end the game.

Jones finished 15-of-20 with 170 passing yards, an interception and five sacks. Ezekiel Elliott had a solid game with 54 rushing yards on 13 carries and two catches for 34 yards.

Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II helped Indy get back to .500. He was 18-of-28 with 194 passing yards and an interception. Taylor added 69 yards on the ground. Michael Pittman Jr. had eight catches for 84 yards.

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The Patriots fell to 2-8 on the season and now speculation will swirl even faster over Belichick’s future with the organization. The Boston Globe reported this month that the coach may not finish out the season. He reportedly needed to win against the Colts and last week against the Washington Commanders to potentially save his season. He lost both.

The Athletic reported earlier Sunday that the Patriots may wait until the end of the season before making a decision. The NFL Network reported the Patriots would want some kind of compensation from another team if he coaches elsewhere.

“My understanding is that Robert Kraft, the owner, is not inclined to fire Bill Belichick midseason, which is unbelievable and amazing that we are discussing this,” NFL insider Ian Rapoport said. “But given the record, given last couple of years, at least it’s a topic in New England, on the airwaves, and elsewhere.

“… If Belichick is going to somehow someway coach elsewhere next year, the Patriots have him under contract. They would at least want some sort of compensation to make this happen. If you’re going to fire him, what does that actually do? Does it give you a jump on a process when you may have his successor already in the building in Jerod Mayo? A lot of reasons why it would not make sense to move on from Bill Belichick at least during the season.”

It’s often the Patriots are talked about but rarely when they are playing poorly. There’s a lot to be decided in Foxborough.

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