Patriots' Bill Belichick stands by decision to try 56-yard field goal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick isn't second-guessing his decision to attempt a 56-yard field goal on fourth-and-3 late in the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots' 19-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Nick Folk's attempt in the rain clanged off the left upright with 59 seconds left, but even if it was good, quarterback Tom Brady and Co. -- with two timeouts -- would have had a chance to drive for a game-winning field goal.

How much was that part of Belichick's consideration?

"We converted two third downs in the game," Belichick said Monday morning. "Nick had kicked well. No, that wasn't any consideration."

Belichick's decision was supported by ESPN's win probability model, which forecast the win probability of the field goal attempt at 42.2%, and the win probability of going for it at 34.7%.

ESPN's win probability model, however, doesn't factor in weather conditions.

NFL Next Gen Stats viewed the situation differently. The analytics model, which does consider weather, forecast that going for it was the optimal decision.

NFL Next Gen Stats projected that the Patriots had a 45% chance of making a field goal, and a 52% chance of converting had they gone for it.

With a field goal, the team's win probability would have been 53%, while converting on fourth-and-3 upped the win probability to 65%.

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who finished 31-of-40 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, had been in a nice rhythm previously.

In his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI, Belichick elaborated on the decision to kick, saying Folk had been in a groove.

"He hit that one well. Just missed by a couple inches," he said.

Folk had hit 36 straight field goals going back to the 2020 season before the miss, although his long during the streak was 51 yards. On Sunday night, he was successful from a long of 58 in pregame warmups.

"When I hit it, I thought it was good. Wasn't planning it to go left. That's the nature of the beast," he said. "I hit it just about as best I could. This one's on me."