The New England Patriots fought valiantly while rallying behind their third-string quarterback, Bailey Zappe, but at the end of the day came up just short against the Green Bay Packers. The team ended up losing on a field goal in overtime, with a final score of 27-24.
As far as losses go, this one appears to be as palpable as they come as far as the circumstances are concerned. Not only did the Patriots enter the game as 9.5-point underdogs and hang blow for blow with the Packers at Lambeau Field, they also found a way to adjust on the fly after seeing QB Brian Hoyer go down with a concussion on just the second offensive series.
So this one was, dare we say it, a moral victory? Not according linebacker Matthew Judon.
“I have to tell, there are no moral victories,” Judon said after the game. “We will see what we did well, and then we’re going to see what we need to improve. But be want to win. We don’t want to take something good away from the game. The only good comes with a W.”
Judon was one of the Patriots’ best players on Sunday, but like the rest of the team came up just short. Team captain Devin McCourty echoed that sentiment as well during his own postgame press conference.
“It’s a win-loss league,” he said. “Obviously, there’s always takeaways from every game you play in. I thought some of our young guys really stepped up and played well — Marcus [Jones], Jack [Jones], Zap; thrown in the fire. First time Lambeau, I thought those guys really stepped up and played well.
“We just have to find ways to win these games. Getting to overtime, all of us figuring out a way to be proud of our effort and all of that. But, do it in a winning effort.”
Regardless of a close game or a blowout, the bottom line remains the same. The Patriots have now lost three of their first four games of the regular season, are in sole possession of last place in the AFC East, and already fighting an uphill battle to make it back into the playoff picture.
For as well as they played against Green Bay, a loss, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, is a loss is a loss is a loss.
“No participation trophies,” as center David Andrews called it.
McCourty, who finds himself at 1-3 for the first time in his storied career, agreed.
“We battled and fought on both sides of the ball, especially with a lot going on,” the veteran defender said. “Mac [Jones] out, Hoyer steps up; playing well, Hoyer get knocked out; Zappe’s up — those are things to be proud of. But how can we do those things and win? [That] has to be the mission.”