One play - good or bad - doesn't necessarily determine the outcome of a game. But it sure can feel that way sometimes.
Especially if you're the player involved.
After Sunday night's loss to Pittsburgh, rookie kick returner Matthew Slaterwas taking his mistake - a lost fumble in the Patriots' red zone - quite hard. He spoke with reporters, albeit in a low voice and with his back to them.
"I didn't do my job. No excuse. I've gotta do my job," he said in a near-whisper.
"Yeah, it's frustrating. I cost my team the game. I do feel like I let the team down. You can't give up the ball inside the 10 or 5, whatever it was ..."
The normally sure-handed Randy Moss, who made a spectacular one-handed grab in Miami a week ago, dropped a couple of seemingly easy throws, one of which would have been for a touchdown.
"I am speaking for myself. I am very disappointed in my play," Moss told reporters immediately after the game.
"Bill [Belichick]says time and time again, 'Do your job.' I always say as a wide receiver your job is to get open, catch the ball and score touchdowns. That first half and the whole game, there is nothing to say. We dropped balls. I didn't really have a good game.
"I put a lot of blame on myself because I think this team really looks to me to do my job week in and week out. I don't want to blame it on the weather. The balls were there, they just weren't caught. This is something that will probably bother me until next Sunday. Hopefully this is something that we can rebound from. But, it does hurt. It is a bad taste."
"We all make mistakes in every game," Belichick said Monday during his midday press conference. "We've got to learn from them and move on. That's football … that's life. Goes for everybody."
"Once you drop one ball and you drop another ball I think it does start to affect you mentally," Moss continued. "That is why they call us professionals because we are supposed to let the bad go and get back to playing football. I know, from my standpoint, that I didn't play good [Sunday]. I am not blaming it on the weather. I am not blaming it on the rain. The balls were hitting my hands, and hitting my body. I just couldn't secure the catch. Hopefully, I can come out and have a good week of work and put this all behind me."
*Woozy Welker *
Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who delivered a crushing hit on WR Wes Welkerin the third quarter (from which Welker never returned to the game), was adamant afterwards that he was not trying to do anything illegal or unethical to Welker.
The pass was tipped and Welker had slowed down, a clear indication that the play was over. But Clark followed through on his hit anyway, a helmet-to-helmet blow that upended Welker, leaving him visibly shaken.
"It was not like I was trying to be cheap," Clark told reporters. "Anybody that comes across [the middle] it is my job to tackle them. The ball got tipped, but [the officals] said I should not have left my feet. I do not know how to control that. I talked to Kevin Faulk and apologized. I could not find Welker after the game to tell him I was not trying to be dirty."
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlinwould not comment on the play after the game, nor would Belichick.
On Monday, all Belichick would add was this:
"The officials called a penalty. They called a penalty on the play. Football's a contact sport, and hits that are illegal, that jurisdiction comes under somebody else. I'll let the league handle that and do whatever they're going to do with that. That's the officials' call and the league's call."
*British Invasion *
New England will meet jolly old England next fall.
The NFL announced today that the Patriots will play their previously scheduled road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday, October 25, 2009. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. Eastern and the game will be televised live on CBS.
"We're really excited the league chose us to play in London. We're interested in the globalization of our sport," Patriots owner Robert Krafttold reporters inside the New England locker room Monday afternoon.
"I learned that our team … we've become the number-one team over there. Probably because of our name. We're the New England Patriots. We're going back to the mother country, for some," he joked, before continuing on a serious note.
"We have a UK fan club that's pretty active and they've been coming here for a number of years. It'll be a lot of fun going over there."