A day after their sixth defeat of the 2020 season, the Patriots were back in Foxborough on Monday, taking stock of what went wrong in Houston as they moved to put the disappointing effort in their rearview mirror.
"It's all pretty much about the same for our team," said head coach Bill Belichick in his afternoon Webex meeting with reporters. "We had our moments, we did some good things, we missed some opportunities, and there were some things we could have done better."
Belichick had no update yet on injured players Rex Burkhead and Isaiah Wynn, with Burkhead remaining behind in Houston after sustaining a knee injury that looked like a potential season-ender. It would be a terrible blow to the Patriots as Burkhead was having one of the best seasons of his career with the team and had emerged as a clutch playmaker whose valuable presence would be impossible to replace.
"I've always had a high appreciation and respect for Rex," said Belichick. "Rex is a great teammate, works hard, does whatever he's asked to do, contributes in a lot of different areas and is always prepared, ready to go, gives you his best and has been productive for us in everything we've asked him to do on all four downs."
The injuries were an unfortunate addition to what was a disappointing loss in a challenging season. Captain Matthew Slater remained impressed with how the team has maintained their focus.
"I think this year what I've seen is true character and grit from a lot of guys," said Slater. "Needless to say this year's been a bit of a struggle for us, but guys have stayed committed to the process."
"We have a lot of good leaders on this team and I'm not just talking about the captains," said David Andrews. "I think we've got a lot of resiliency. I don't think that's a "ra-ra" speech or things like that, just coming to work each day, going out there on the practice field, knowing how you practice. We just have to keep building on those things."
Where do the Patriots go from 4-6? It comes down to fundamentals and keeping a week-to-week mentality.
"Fundamentals are the biggest part of winning," said Lawrence Guy. "When you don't have a good fundamentals, something breaks down, when you're not doing your job and you do too much, a lot plays break down. We just overall need to get back to playing football and good fundamentals every single down."
"Just turn the page," said Jonathan Jones. "Anything's still possible as far as our goals, but I think it just starts with this week, going out to practice starting Wednesday when we get out on the field. Just turning the page and understanding our record is what it is right now, we just have to continue to move forward."
Starting quarterback Cam Newton echoed Jones' sentiments on his weekly appearance on WEEI's Greg Hill Show, shunning any questions about his interest in a long-term future in New England with his own short-term focus.
"Man, I have interest in winning the Arizona Cardinals game," said Newton. "How about that? There are so many things that I don't want to even harp or dwell or even think [about].
"There will be talks, whispers and things that will be said throughout the week, but we have to take it one week at a time and if we do that, we'll be fine. If we focus on finishing every week 1-0, it's a start."