Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Patriots saw Sunday's game vs. Jets as 'must-win'

Ryan Hannable
November 25, 2018 - 6:24 pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It’s not too often the Patriots get blown out past the early part of the season.

That is what happened the last time the Patriots took the field — Week 10 in Tennessee, a 34-10 defeat.

With a whole extra week to dwell on the loss because of their bye, the Patriots entered Sunday’s game against the Jets with something to prove.

“I certainly think we came here a desperate football team with a lot of urgency and we saw this as a huge game for us, a must-win game,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said afterwards. “We were playing with a lot of emotion. I think we needed to do that on the road. We haven’t done a great job of that all year long.”

The extra emotion appeared to pay off, as the Patriots came away with a 27-13 win on the road.

It was also a way to prove the team can win on the road after having all three of their losses this year come away from Gillette Stadium.

“I just think we don’t feel like we’ve played well enough on the road all year long,” Slater said. “We know we have to have urgency now. It is after Thanksgiving. We are coming down the stretch. Every game is so important. So, desperate, urgent, whatever you want to call that, we had that here today.”

The loss against the Titans was the biggest November defeat in the Bill Belichick era.

“We had a bad taste in our mouths, certainly,” Slater said. “It’s not that we lost, it’s how we lost in Tennessee. It was a bad taste in our mouths and Coach [Belichick] certainly challenged us throughout the last couple of weeks to be better and we answered the call here today. We just have to continue to make strides in the right direction.”

Slater wouldn’t say the win showed the team something about who it is, rather it confirmed what it already knew.

“I think we just confirmed what we believe we are and I think we were able to go out there and prove that,” he said. “That is good to mentally affirm that and know that we’re capable of doing it when we’re locked in and focused. I don’t think we learned anything new about ourselves, but it was a big confidence builder certainly.”

The Patriots will now host Minnesota next week at home before two more road games at Miami and at Pittsburgh.

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