BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are pretty mad at themselves. Mad that they dropped their regular season finale to the Miami Dolphins — at home. Mad that they let the Dolphins come back with a late fourth-quarter drive. Mad that the loss dropped them to the No. 3 seed in the AFC, and they’ll now have to play on Wild Card weekend instead of sitting at home and enjoying a bye week.
They’re plenty miffed, but that Patriots know they have no one to blame but themselves for their current situation. They weren’t ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. They promise that will not be the case come Wild Card weekend.
“We’ll be ready to play the next time we step on the field,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said on Sunday night’s Sports Final on WBZ-TV. “Simple as that.”
That next time will be Saturday night, when the Patriots host the 9-7 Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. It will be the team’s first appearance on Wild Card weekend since 2009.
As much as the Patriots would love to forget what happened on Sunday, it will be on their minds as they prepare for the Titans this week.
“You have to use it as something. More than anything it’s a lesson,” said Harmon. “It has to be a lesson learned for us to get to where we want to get to. Is it going to be a tough road? Yeah. But we still have the possibilities and the abilities to get to where we want to get to. We have to look at it, look ourselves in the mirror, talk to ourselves and understand what happened in this game. At the end of the day we didn’t do what needed to win a playoff game and we lost. There can’t be any more of that, simple as that.
“If we do enough and play the way we’re capable of playing, we’ll have a chance to win a football game,” he added.
Harmon wouldn’t say that the Patriots overlooked the Dolphins on Sunday, but he admitted the team didn’t play like it was a “playoff game,” as they had termed it all week.
“You can say something over and over again, but your actions speak louder than your words. We obviously didn’t come to play,” said Harmon. “Now it’s ‘you win or you go home.’ We understand that and the feeling we have right now should be enough motivation to continue to want to play better and have a chance to win, a chance to move on. … Everybody we play from now on, or if we get a chance to play from now on, is going to be a playoff team that has won a lot of games.”
While the team’s Super Bowl odds took a pretty big hit with Sunday’s drop in the standings, Harmon still has confidence that the team can compete for another Super Bowl title. New England’s road to Super Bowl LIV got a lot tougher now that they won’t have the luxury of a bye week, but their focus is not on the first weekend in February. It’s squarely on what they have to do Saturday night against the Titans.
“I know what we‘ve been through and the kind of guys we have in this locker room; the experiences we’ve been through, the mental toughness we have, the physical toughness we have. If anyone can do it, we have a chance,” he said. “But we have to take it one game at a time. If we don’t, we might not be able to move on to another game. It’s a tough situation we’re in but nothing is easy. You have to go out and earn what you want.”
Tune in to Saturday’s Patriots-Titans Wild Card showdown on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. and after the game stay tuned for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!