The New England Patriots fell to the New York Giants in their preseason opener on Thursday. However, it wasn't the loss that irked Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick was clearly frustrated with the amount of pressure the Giants put on rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe. Zappe went 19-for-32 with 205 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a sack.
The Patriots rookie had defenders in his face for most of the night, however. According to Pro Football Focus, via Patriots writer Evan Lazar, the Giants blitzed Zappe on over half of his dropbacks Thursday night.
Belichick conveyed his frustration, telling NESN's Zack Cox “Well, with what the Giants were doing, there's a lot of reasons for some of the things that we did just to try to manage the game. So, just leave it at that.”
Belichick's frustrations with the Giants are within reason. Injuries can always occur, especially with increased pressure. Patriots quarterbacks also faced significantly more pressure on Thursday than in any previous preseason opener in recent memory.
According to Pro Football Focus, via Cox, Patriots quarterbacks faced 21 blitzes in Thursday's opener. New England signal-callers faced less than 10 blitzes in each preseason opener dating back to 2017.
Despite the increased pressure, Zappe enjoyed his first taste of NFL football. He told reporters he felt more and more comfortable on the field as the game went along.
“The more times I come to the sideline, talk to my coaches, talk to my teammates about what they saw, what they’re seeing, and just going back on a drive and just having that next-play mentality,” Zappe said. “That’s kind of what my coaches, my teammates, we all try to communicate to everybody is have that next-play mentality and moving on from what happened prior and moving on to the next one and trying to do our best, do our job.”