Losing two close games to two of the best teams in the league is little consolation when you're 2-4 like the Patriots are. Few expected them to go toe-to-toe with contenders like the Bucs and Cowboys, but in both games the Pats offense had their chances to close out a win but fell just short.
According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots offense ranks 19th in the league late in games when it's close.
"Just finishing better is the main thing," said Kendrick Bourne on Wednesday evening. "We have little mistakes here and there towards the end, I feel like the drive in OT, we could've done a lot of things better after watching the tape. Just can't have little mistakes, can't have a guy beating us off the edge, can't have me getting jammed up or somebody having a missed assignment, whatever it may be, we just can't do it at crucial times."
Bourne was quiet for most of the game against Dallas, but a two-play sequence quickly put him to the forefront of the result, with a late-fourth-quarter pass going off his hands and into Trevon Diggs' for a pick-six. But Bourne quickly bounced back, catching a 75-yard touchdown on the very next offensive play.
On Wednesday, Bourne took ownership on the interception.
"I didn't touch the ball before that play and it came off my fingertips so I looked at the film and I took like a one-step slant and I was supposed to run a three-step slant," said Bourne. "It's things like that that I can't do, it's on me."
To Bourne's credit, he kept the positive attitude that has carried him this far, not getting down and refocusing on making a play to offset the mistake.
"Are you going to go to the sideline and cry, throw your helmet or yell at Mac?" asked Bourne. "But I literally took it all on myself. My mindset was in the right place instead of getting down on myself I just thought about the next opportunity and it was just a crazy play how it happened.."
The entire team will need that kind of resilience if they're to climb out of their slow start to the season. But more of those kinds of clutch plays will give the coaching staff more confidence to lean on them in the biggest moments as aggressiveness has become a buzzword this week.
"The record is the record," said Mac Jones. "All I can control is what I do every day. There's a lot of good quarterbacks in this league. I can play much better than I'm playing. It just comes with reps and experience. I'm not here to compare with anybody. I just have to try to be the best player and teammate I can be. I think we're moving in the right direction, so there's a lot to be done, and there's a lot of work to be put in. I'll just continue to do that, so that's all you can ask."