The New England Patriots lost 27-20 to the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, but there was no time to sulk in the middle of their three-game road trip. The Patriots had to go back to work and prepare for another road game, this time against the AFC-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
So how did the Patriots reset their focus so quickly?
“We have to spend a little bit of time on the things that we need to make sure that we correct and address or we'll see them again and they'll be a problem again,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “And also turn the page and move on to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is schematically quite a bit different than Miami, so we can't dwell on the Miami game.
“Pittsburgh is a great team. They have their way of doing things and their schemes that they run and we'll have to start preparing for those, but there could be, as always, some carryover if you show them that you're vulnerable to a certain type of play or problem that if you don't get that fixed you'll see again the following week. We'll have to move quickly on that Wednesday.”
New England needs to make improvements on both sides of the ball, whether looking at the offense’s 0 for 11 day on third down or the defense’s allowance of 193 yards from scrimmage to Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake.
“We have a lot to improve on [...] offensively,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We were not good in any area of what we did. So, obviously, that starts with me, so I’ve got to do a better job of putting us in a good situation, having a good week of preparation and practice and going out there and playing and coaching a lot better than I did.”
Not only does the coaching have to be better- and there was plenty to pick apart after Monday night- but the players need to execute at a higher level, especially considering all of the missed tackles by the defense and how the Steelers players are far more dynamic than those on the Dolphins.
“[Everything in Miami is] behind you,” free safety Devin McCourty said. “You have 16 games in this league that you’re guaranteed, and you have to move on past all of them, whether it’s a win or a loss. You can’t take momentum and how you played from a win and think you just carry it over to the next game, and you can’t take a loss and how you felt after and think that you can just transfer that and that’s going to help you play better.
“The only thing that helps you play better is being ready to go against your next opponent. This opponent happens to be a team that gives us a ton of challenges. We’ve got to drop everything with the Miami week and move forward, or like I said, it won’t be a good Sunday for us.”
McCourty’s leadership will be necessary for the Patriots to turn the page and not dwell on their shortcomings in week 14, and use that to fuel a strong performance against the Steelers and down the final stretch of the season.
“We've got a lot to get ready for,” Belichick said. “We're going to put our foot on the gas here and hit it.”