MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Some players streamed out of the locker room quickly. Others sat silent at their lockers or had quiet conversations with their teammates.

A loss like that has a chance to linger. 

"I think that's human nature," Matthew Slater said, "Emotionally and mentally kind of question what happened. 'This, that and the other.' I think that's human nature.

"But I think we have the type of men in this locker room that have resolve and character to be able to move past this. And we'll certainly find that out. That's one thing you can't do in this league: You can't hide. We'll be out there next week." 


It doesn't get much easier next week with the Patriots heading to Pittsburgh to take on a Steelers team that absorbed an ugly loss at the hands of the Raiders. But they'll do what they do, Tom Brady said. 

Back to the grind.

“We get back to work,” Brady said. “We get back to work. If they didn’t make that play at the end, we’d do the same thing. It’s disappointing when we lose games, and I think we all realize we could have done a lot better job in certain areas. I wish I would have done a lot better job on certain plays, but that’s football.”

To treat this loss like any other would be disingenuous, though. 

The Patriots lost on a play few outside of the Dolphins sideline believed was possible, a hook-and-lateral play where Bill Belichick and his staff opted to leave one of their best run-and-chase players on the sideline. They left three points on the board when Tom Brady forgot the Patriots were out of timeouts. They left four more points on the board thanks to a pair of Stephen Gostkowski missed kicks. 


Weird. All of it. 

But there were other issues outside their seemingly once-in-a-blue-moon miscues. The Patriots allowed 9.0 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per pass attempt. They only averaged 2.6 yards per carry themselves against a defense that came into the game allowing almost twice that number per attempt (5.0). 

Would the Patriots like to flush it and move on? Maybe. But if ever there was a time to look inward, even if some of the mistakes are chalked up as shooting stars, this would be it.

"We have to process it, air out our grievances if anyone has any, and move forward," Slater said. "There’s no magic pill or secret recipe to move past this. It’s mental fortitude. It’s mental toughness. It’s character and professionalism to move forward . . . 

"We’ve got to continue to believe in one another. Believe in our process. Not panic. Not point fingers. I think really lean on the character that I believe the men in this locker room have. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to show that this week . . . We'll see how we handle it."

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