FOXBOROUGH - Even Kevin Faulk, the Patriots’ most-tenured player, was seeing something he hadn’t seen in quite some time Sunday, when New England surrendered a 21-0 second-quarter lead in Buffalo and lost to the Bills for the first time in eight years.
“It’s been a long time, but there have been [breakdowns like that],’’ Faulk said. “There have been wild and crazy games that we’ve played. But that’s what makes this sport so unique, that’s what makes it so spectacular - because whenever you think something is done, something can happen. And we knew [Buffalo] could come back, because they did it the week before.’’
In his 12-plus seasons in New England, all but one of them with Bill Belichick as coach, Faulk has endured defeats. And he knows what the Patriots have to do as they move past the loss to the Bills and look ahead to their matchup against the Raiders Sunday.
“Come back next week. You have to be more focused, and that’s not saying that you weren’t focused the week before, but your mind-set is going to be, ‘OK, obviously something I’ve done last week wasn’t done right to get the job done. Now I’m going to totally, totally focus on the game this week and hopefully that won’t happen again.’
“That’s all you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on.’’
The day-after film session wasn’t your average afternoon at the movies.
“It’s a tough film to watch,’’ safety Josh Barrett said.
Belichick is critical after victories, and after a loss like Sunday’s, there was plenty to point out.
Still, as the coach noted, it wasn’t all bad.
“There are good things in every game and there’re things that aren’t good in every game. Just because you win, doesn’t mean everything’s right and just because you lose, doesn’t mean everything is wrong,’’ Belichick said. “Correct the mistakes that you make and you point out the things that are positive and reinforce those and try to do them again and maybe a little better the next time. That’s what we do every week.’’
Around the locker room, moving on, turning the page, and bouncing back were the prevailing themes. Since 2003, the Patriots have endured just two losing streaks, both of them two games, so they are pretty good at doing that.
“It’s always tough to come off a loss, but hopefully we learned a lot from it and we’re looking forward to the Raiders now,’’ linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “The Raiders have a great team and it’s a great challenge for us and a completely different team than Buffalo, but at the same time their offense has a lot of weapons. So it’s a great challenge for our mental toughness and overall well-being of the team.’’
After the Patriots defense made goal-line stands in each of the first two games, Mayo talked about the mental toughness the unit showed in keeping the Dolphins and Chargers out of the end zone.
But those were plays in games that New England won. Does he believe the mental toughness is there to overcome a game in which the poor plays outnumbered the good?
“I think so,’’ Mayo said. “It’s one game. I’m not about to panic or I don’t think anyone in this locker room is really panicking, we just feel that we have to get better and execute better, down the stretch and on the goal line.’’
Barrett, who again placed the blame for Fred Jackson’s 38-yard catch-and-run to set up the eventual winning field goal on himself (“I should’ve been there to make the tackle,’’ he said), stressed that practice is going to be important this week.
“We’ve got to put it behind us and we’ve got to be ready to go because Oakland is playing really well and we’re going to be at their house,’’ Barrett said.
“You want to be able to set the bar high for yourself, especially in games and in your preparation, so practice is going to be huge this week. We have to do everything we can to make sure what happened on Sunday is in the past.’’Shalise Manza Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.