MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — New England Patriots captain Duron Harmon’s fiery third-quarter speech to his defense was effective. But it also was too late.
Harmon laid into his teammates with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter and the Patriots trailing 27-10 in their eventual Week 14 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins didn’t score again in five drives.
So, what was his message?
“Just trying to play with a little more energy, that’s it,” Harmon said. “We wasn’t playing the way we wanted to play. We wasn’t playing consistent. Just everything we talk about doing as far as Patriot defense, we weren’t doing it, and that’s the reason they were able to keep scoring. But hats off to (the Dolphins). They executed, and they executed at a high level today.”
It was mentioned to Harmon that his speech was effective.
“It shouldn’t have to get to that,” Harmon said. “That’s the main thing. We’re all football players, we’re all adults. We all know we have to come to play each and every week. We knew how big of a game this was for them and how big of a game it was for us. It just seemed like they wanted it more than we did.”
Perhaps Harmon should have delivered a similar message to the offense once it came back off the field. New England’s defense gave its offense five chances to get back into the game in the second half, and Tom Brady and Co. managed just 10 points.
The Patriots now are 10-3 on the season and face a must-win game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday that ultimately could decide which team takes the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.