The New England Patriots made a valiant effort at a comeback victory in Sunday night's Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks, coming up just a yard short of what would've been the winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots were, at one point, trailing by double digits in the second half, but quarterback Cam Newton led the team on multiple scoring drives and nearly completed another to win the game at the end of regulation.
It was an impressive show of resiliency from the team, but moral victories aren't going to get anyone in New England excited, especially the players. The franchise has enjoyed remarkable success over the last two decades with six Super Bowl titles over that span, so winning games is really the only thing that matters for the Patriots.
"That's the most important statistic in sports," Newton said at his press conference Thursday. "Who cares about QBR, who cares about total tackles, who cares about yards after catch, who cares about catches, who cares about yards thrown, who cares about yards rushed. Who cares how many touchdowns you threw, ran or interceptions you got, or whatever. From youth league, rec ball, to high school to college -- anything that requires you to keep score, the most important statistic is did you win or did you lose.
"(Matthew Slater) is right -- there are no moral victories. What did people expect, honestly, what did you expect? We expect to compete to win, not just to compete, in each and every game. We're coached that way, we practice that way, we attack each day that way. Are people ticked off around here? Absolutely. But Las Vegas, they don't care about that. We just have to stay professional and stay on track to make sure hell or high water come 4 or 5 p.m. on Sunday we're in a better position than we were at midnight this past Sunday."
The loss to the Seahawks dropped the Patriots to 1-1 on the season, and Sunday's Week 3 matchup versus the Las Vegas Raiders will not be an easy one for New England.
The Raiders are 2-0 and coming off an impressive upset victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Las Vegas has scored 34 points in each of its first two games and the team is playing with a ton of confidence.
If the Patriots are going to emerge from Sunday's game with a 2-1 record, they'll need another strong performance from Newton.
And there's plenty of evidence through two games to be optimistic about Newton rising to the challenge. The 31-year-old quarterback is completing 71.4 percent of his pass attempts, while averaging 4.7 yards per carry in the run game.