Patriots captain Matthew Slater spoke with the media on Monday afternoon, ready to move on from a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills. Despite dropping Sunday's contest and falling from atop the division, the Patriots still control their destiny and are still likely headed for the playoffs.
With two games still to go, Slater laid out a reminder that the season is not over and there's still plenty to play for...if the Patriots come together as a team.
"I would say that at this point in time what we have to do is make sure first and foremost that we stick together," said Slater. "I think there's a lot going on obviously when you deal with adversity. You want to make sure that there's no splinter in what you're doing, no splinter in the locker room, no splinter between the players and the coaches. Do you want to keep your head down and stay as positive as you can and just fight through it? We have some choices here. One of the choices is to let this spiral out of control and the other choice is to try to put our feet in the ground, make a stand and fight."
Despite experiencing plenty of success over the course of his career, Slater has seen past Patriots teams have similar stumbles along the way. Now, with their backs against the wall, it's the 2021 Patriots' turn to show how they'll respond to the adversity as they try to put together their best football in January.
"I believe in the character of the men in this locker room," said Slater. "I believe that we will fight no matter the circumstances. Even though we're facing some adversity right now that's the choice we're going to make. We experienced this early on in the season, it's going to require a lot of tough decisions, a lot of tough football and it's going to be hard. That's just the reality of football in the NFL during this time of year."
Now, Slater and the Pats turn their sights to a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a road trip to Miami for a rematch with a streaking Dolphins squad that beat New England in Week 1 and is currently on a hot streak.
"We still have an opportunity to accomplish the things that we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season," confirmed Slater. "But it's not going to be something that just happens, it's not going to be simple for us. I hope and believe that we'll handle it the right way and respond with some toughness and some resolve and we'll see where that gets us at the end of the day."