FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the last Patriots team that has started off a regular season with consecutive losses. That's roughly two decades and six Super Bowl championships ago. Fast-forward through that dynastic run, however, and this iteration of the club finds itself in that very same spot.
Following the 24-17 loss at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, New England is 0-2 to begin the year and sits at the very bottom of the AFC East. Historically, that type of start is the first nail that gets slammed into the coffin of a team. Dating back to 1990, there have only been 31 teams out of the 270 that have started 0-2 that were able to persevere and still reach the playoffs that season. If you're more into percentages, that means 0-2 teams over that stretch have made the postseason 11.4% of the time. So, that begs the question of whether or not this Patriots team -- like their 2001 version way back when -- is capable of defying the odds and turning the ship around.
Inside New England's locker room postgame, it was as quiet as a library, if not a funeral home. However, Matthew Judon took the podium and, before fielding questions, issued what felt like the opposite of eulogy. Instead, the pass rusher stamped his belief in this club while at the same time acknowledging that they need to correct the issues that have them winless through the first two weeks.
"This is not a bad team," said Judon. "I don't think we're about to hang our hat up here or in that locker room, so when we come back on Monday and we watch this film we're going to get our corrections corrected. Then when we come back together on Wednesday, it's not going to be 'Oh, how are y'all going to put it together?' We already know how."
Judon went on to emphasize the need for his team to get out to better starts. Through two games, New England has begun their matchups on the sluggish side and found themselves facing double-digit deficits. To their credit, they've been able to get within striking distance of fully mounting the comeback in the second half of these two games, but have come up just short on fourth down attempts in consecutive weeks, which has them looking at the loss column.
"We just got to play how we played in the second half from the first play," Judon continued. "When we take the field, it's got to have some type of energy. We've got to have some type of juice. We can't wait until we're down 17. We can't wait until we're down 13 to try and make a comeback. It's too hard in this league. It's too hard in this league, people are too good, schemes are too good. You don't have enough time, so you can't play from behind. You can't come out here and have slow starts and I think that's what we're doing and we have to get it corrected and have a faster start."
Center David Andrews echoed Judon's need for more consistent play, noting that they're getting in their own way.
"We all got to play better," said Andrews. "Appreciate everyone's effort and things like that, but it's not good enough. We all got to be better. We all have to strive for perfection. Perfection is an endless chase and you'll never catch it, but you have to strive for it each week and we're not doing that right now. We're not doing it consistent enough. ... It starts with us. The things we can control, we got to control those and stop beating ourselves."
While losing is, of course, not the preference, some players did acknowledge that a loss can highlight areas of improvement and could make them a better team because of it once corrected.
"I think in the long run, it's going to help us at some point during the season or, you know when we all play together," said quarterback Mac Jones. "So I think, obviously, it sucks. But, really, when you're close, you just have to do more, I think. Weight room, film, practice. Like, everyone just has to do more."
"I don't really get intimidated by losing," said wideout Kendrick Bourne. "I think losing is good for us. It shows us who we need to be and what we need to fix. Looking in the mirror. I think that's the best thing for any team when you're going through it. It's a long season, so not getting so down just cause you're 0-2 just look at things we need to fix."
Both of these losses have occurred at Gillette Stadium and the script will be flipped a bit in Week 3 as the Patriots head down to MetLife Stadium to face the Aaron Rodgers-less Jets and possibly get that elusive first victory.
"We've got a lot of resiliency, a lot of heart," said tight end Mike Gesicki, who came up just short of converting on a fourth down attempt on the final offensive play of the game before lateraling it to guard Cole Strange. "[We have] a lot of hard workers. Everybody in this locker room walked out of there with their head high. Just know that we're going to come back here and get to work tomorrow. We've got a lot of football left. A lot of football."