FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Coach Bill Belichick is always tight-lipped about injuries to his players, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he wouldn’t discuss his own health Sunday.

Following the New England Patriots’ 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, Belichick had to postpone his postgame press conference approximately one hour while he was being examined by team trainers and doctors.

Belichick apologized, saying it was “nothing serious, just a little thing to look at with the trainers and a doctor” and postponed his press conference because “I didn’t want to hold up everybody’s story and all that.”

Asked to elaborate, Belichick declined to give specifics, as he always does with his players’ ailments.

“It was no big deal,” he said. “I don’t want to get into it. I’ll be all right.”

OF THE seven players listed on the Patriots inactive list, tight end Rob Gronkowski was the only healthy one. It was obvious the Patriots didn’t want him to suffer an injury in a regular-season finale that would have no bearing on their playoff standing, as happened in 2009 when wide receiver Wes Welker blew out his knee in Houston. The Pats lost their first playoff game that year.

Belichick didn’t say Gronkowski’s health was his main concern in keeping the tight end out of the game, only that the game was a chance for other players to get playing time.

“You never know how that’s going to turn out in the games ahead, who we’ll need or when we’ll need them,” said Belichick. “So get them a little game experience and we also obviously competed against a good team.”

AMONG THOSE who saw significant action was rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who played the second half. His stats weren’t great – Garoppolo completed 10 of 17 passes for 90 yards – but at times he displayed the elusiveness that made him so successful in college.

“It was a good experience, getting out there and actually getting in (instead of playing in) a preseason game,” said Garoppolo. “Getting some live reps will only help going forward.”

Garoppolo was sacked three times but escaped several others with some shifty moves. He finished as the team’s second-leading rusher with 16 yards.

“Jimmy works hard and has continued to get better,” said safety Devin McCourty. “The players aren’t surprised by what he did.”

Garoppolo said he has much to learn. “There’s some good things, some bad things,” he said. “And things to learn from. It will only help me.”

THE PATRIOTS are the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the fifth time: 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014. This is the third consecutive year the Patriots finished 12-4 in the regular season and the ninth time the Patriots have won at least 12 games.

The loss snapped a couple of long streaks. New England had won 16 consecutive regular-season home games since losing 41-34 to San Francisco on Dec. 16, 2012.

The loss also snapped a streak of 35 consecutive regular-season home wins against AFC opponents. That mark was the longest in NFL history since the 1970 merger with the AFL. The Patriots’ last home loss to an AFC team in the regular season came Nov. 30, 2008, a 33-10 setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Patriots have suffered three home playoff losses during that stretch, the last coming in the 2012 AFC championship game.

Buffalo hadn’t won a game here since Nov. 5, 2000, a string of 13 consecutive losses. The Bills won that game 16-13 in overtime.

NEW ENGLAND’S 2015 opponents have been determined.

The Patriots will play home games against Buffalo, Miami, the New York Jets, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh.

Their road games will be at Buffalo, Miami, the New York Jets, Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, the New York Giants and Denver.

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