The New England Patriots were well setup to win Sunday's Week 1 showdown versus the Miami Dolphins.
The defense intercepted Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving the offense good field position to march down the field for the go-ahead touchdown or field goal.
The Patriots nearly got into the end zone but running back Damien Harris fumbled at the 9-yard line. The Dolphins recovered and ran out the remaining 3:31 on the clock to seal a 17-16 victory at Gillette Stadium.
It was a difficult moment for Harris, who finished with good stats (100 yards on 23 carries) but made the costly mistake.
When a young player like Harris makes that kind of error, the veterans on the roster usually give advice on how to handle the adversity, learn from it and improve.
As one of the team's leaders and captains, running back James White is well-qualified to take on this responsibility.
“Yeah, I talked to (Harris)," White said in his postgame press conference. "Obviously, one play isn't the reason why we lost the football game. There were many plays that we left out there and that's what I told him.
"He played a very good football game aside from that and he's a great player. He has a lot of talent. He's going to keep competing. I told him it's a long season to go and we're going to need him, so he's got to keep his head up.”
Harris wasn't the only Patriots running back who lost a fumble Sunday. Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson also coughed up the ball in the first quarter. White's message to both players was to move on and not let the mistake negatively impact your focus on the next opponent.
“They've got to move on from it. Obviously, it's a mistake or whatever but everybody's going to make a mistake out there. You've just got to move on from it," White said.
"You can't let it weigh you down because like you said, it's a long football season and we're going to need both of those guys. They are extremely talented, and they'll play a lot of good football for us. Everybody has extreme confidence in them.”
Luckily for the Patriots, they have a great opportunity to bounce-back in Week 2 versus a much-inferior New York Jets team. The Patriots will be aiming to extend their win streak against the Jets to 11 games.