FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon has lost 19 regular-season games in his entire six-year career. Cornerback Jason McCourty lost 16 games last season. It’s safe to say the two players have a slightly different perspective on winning.
That was evident Sunday night in their immediate reactions to the Patriots’ 43-40 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots’ defense let up 446 net yards and 40 points. They know what’s coming in Monday’s film review session.
“I would say it’s bittersweet, and bitter because obviously as a defense, you don’t want to give up 40 points,” Harmon said. “You don’t want to give up as many big plays as we did, but we won. And that’s what it’s all about. We knew that was an explosive offense over there. We knew it was going to be able to make a few plays. Obviously, we wanted to play better, but the main, the goal of today was to get a win, and we were able to do that.”
There’s nothing bittersweet about winning for McCourty, who has never made the playoffs and was 50-94 in his nine seasons with the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns before coming to the Patriots. McCourty, who was all smiles after a tough game in which he let up a 67-yard touchdown to running back Kareem Hunt, didn’t win a single game last season with the Browns.
“Just in this league, period, for guys who have been here, for guys that are new, a win is a win,” McCourty said. “It’s very hard to win in this league. Obviously tonight, up against an undefeated team for a reason, a good football team, defensively, film is going to be rough tomorrow. We felt like we, at times, we executed well with what we talked about going into the week. And then at times, it just wasn’t good enough. Learn from it, we’ve gotta move on. But like I said to these guys, man, I’d always rather learn from my mistakes after a win than after a loss.”
Devin McCourty, Jason’s twin brother, who has won two Super Bowls and made the playoffs in each of his eight seasons, knows from experience that the Patriots have a short time to celebrate.
Devin let up two touchdowns to wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the second half of Sunday’s win.
“It’s good, but it’s a game where we’ll have fun for the next couple hours, but we know defensively, coming back in here tomorrow, there’s a lot of things we need to work on, and the main thing is just big plays,” he said.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore also has done a lot more losing than McCourty and Harmon. The Bills went 36-44 in Gilmore’s five seasons in Buffalo. Winning regularly is still new for the talented cornerback, who was perhaps the Patriots’ best defender Sunday night.
“A win is a win,” Gilmore said. “It’s hard to win football games in this league. It’s a great feeling when you win, so it makes you come back the next day and be more hungry.”
Gilmore allowed just two catches on four targets for 18 yards to $16 million receiver Sammy Watkins.
And even though Harmon wasn’t entirely pleased with how his team performed, he was still happy leaving Gillette Stadium.
“You gotta be pleased that you beat a team who was undefeated,” Harmon said. “We did enough to get a win. I mean, was it the effort and the play we wanted to have? No, not really, but we did enough to get the win. We’ll just do everything we can to get better from the film, learn from it and be a better defense when we go to Chicago next Sunday.”