After the Patriots’ 17-16 loss to the Dolphins in Sunday’s season opener, Bill Belichick added a succinct summary.
“Obviously a disappointing game,” Belichick said in the postgame news conference. “We just didn’t do enough to win. Had our chances, had our opportunities, but really all the way across the board we just have to do a better job.
“Just missed too many opportunities to win.”
Though the Patriots compiled better offensive numbers in virtually every category, they were undone by a pair of costly fumbles and eight penalties for 84 yards.
New England’s normally tight ball security was absent, and running back Damien Harris’s fumble at the Dolphins’ 9-yard line late in the fourth quarter proved to be a decisive mistake.
“Not good enough, [we’ve] got to take care of the ball better,” Belichick said. “Ball security, penalties, too many little missed things, situational football, all of it.”
Patriots fans can take hope in the performance of rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Playing in his first NFL regular-season game, the 23-year-old completed 29 of 39 passing attempts for 281 yards and one touchdown (a 7-yard score to wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the second quarter).
Prior to Harris’s fumble, it appeared Jones was orchestrating a drive to put the Patriots in the lead. Trailing by a point, the rookie completed four passes on the fourth-quarter drive, including a clutch completion to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers on a third and 6 to keep the offense on the field.
But Belichick offered little on the subject of his starting quarterback, even when asked about Jones’s performance.
“I thought we all competed hard,” Belichick said. “We just all have to do a better job. I mean Mac competed hard, but I thought a lot of guys competed hard. We just have to perform better as a team.”