Going back to the 2018 season, the New England Patriots were undefeated in 13 straight games — including Super Bowl 53 — before falling to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. Their 37-20 defeat was marked by sloppy play and mental errors that allowed an impressively playing opponent to jump to an early 17-0 lead and never look back, leaving New England with plenty of questions to answer over its upcoming bye week.
The Patriots are not hanging their collective head after the loss in Baltimore, however. The defense, for example, is using its worst game of the season as a learning opportunity while the rest of the team is also on a positive mindset heading into the week off — one that will begin on Thursday and run through Sunday. Veteran special teamer and captain Matthew Slater made this clear during a press availability session on Tuesday.
“[We are in] a good mood. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for,” he said (via NESN’s Zack Cox) We’ve been pretty decent — above average, I think — over the course of the season thus far, so there’s no reason for anyone in here to be in the tank. Let’s just take advantage of the opportunity we have to improve this week, try to get healthy, and then hopefully come back against Philly and play a little bit better than we did on Sunday night.”
Recovery — as quarterback Tom Brady also mentioned during a recent radio appearance — is a big part of the bye. For New England, this means getting the eight players listed as questionable on last week’s final injury report back to full strength while also incorporating recently activated N’Keal Harry. This will be the main focus over the next few days before the team starts working on its upcoming opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I think we regroup, get healthy and try to continue to work toward improving,” Slater added when speaking in the locker room on Tuesday. “Obviously, what happened last week is last week, so you’ve got to be able to turn the page. You’ve got to try to learn from your mistakes and realize that we’re still in good position to be competitive down the stretch. But we’re going to have to do a lot of things better, starting tomorrow.”