Difficult as it may be in the immediate aftermath of such a devastating loss, the Patriots are attempting to put their catastrophic performance in Indianapolis behind them.
They have no other choice. With another tough game against division rival New York just six days away, New England must rebound quickly. To begin the wound-licking process, head coach Bill Belichickdecided to give his players a rare Monday off from the usual film review, weight lifting, and day-after-game routine.
"We're disappointed," Belichick said after the game, adding, "We'll move on."
Belichick also acknowledged that many will be tempted to second-guess his consequential decision to attempt a fourth-down pass from his own 28-and-a-half-yard line just prior to the game's two-minute warning.
However, even in the post-game locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium, as the clock ticked from late Sunday night to early Monday morning, many Patriots were already beginning to try to put their 35-34 loss to the Colts in perspective.
"You have to get over it, move on, and be ready for next week," said TE Benjamin Watson.
Easier said than done, though, perhaps.
Running back Kevin Faulk, who caught QB Tom Brady'spass but not far enough up-field to get the first down on the fateful play, was visibly emotional at his locker when reporters approached him.
"Look at my face and tell me if that really matters right now. I'd give it all back for a W," he replied when asked to discuss the many plays that went right for the Patriots last night.
"It's tough," added WR Wes Welkeron the same topic. "You go out there and play really well the whole game … We didn't finish. So, when it comes down to it, all that other stuff doesn't matter."
The fourth-down was as close as a play can get, falling just inches short of the first-down marker. Watching it live and on replays, it appeared that Faulk may have gotten the requisite yardage, but the refs saw it otherwise.
"You always think you have it," Faulk continued. "They're the officials, they made the call. I thought I caught it, but, hey … move on and worry about next week. When you lose a game, you're never excited. You've gotta shake the cobwebs off, move on, look at the mistakes you made, worry about next week."
Unlike New England's shocking loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, this regular season defeat doesn't mean all is lost for the Patriots this season. But that doesn't necessarily make it any easier a pill to swallow.
"We knew it took 60 minutes,. Not 59. Not 59 and a half. Not 58," LB Adalius Thomastold reporters in Lucas Oil's visitors locker room. "Like always, it comes down to the last play. They made enough plays to win. We didn't."
"They ran their plays, they did what they did. Peyton just found some guys and they made plays. We just didn't make enough plays in the second half," CB Leigh Boddenlamented.
"Against this team [the Colts], you have to play 60 minutes and if you don't, you get beat," noted Brady. "Up 13 with four minutes left and you can't close them out … that's going to sit with us for a long time."