FOXBORO, Mass. — One hallmark of the New England Patriots’ three defeats this season? A slow start.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans, the Patriots were outscored 34-3 in the first quarter and 58-16 in the first half. All three games were on the road, and all resulted in double-digit losses.
The Patriots opened Sunday’s 34-10 loss to the Titans by giving up a 58-yard kick return to Tennessee’s Darius Jennings, allowing Marcus Mariota’s offense to begin its first drive at New England’s 40-yard line. The Titans scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and got a field goal on their third to take a 17-3 lead less than 13 minutes into the game.
“(When) you start the game off by doing a terrible job on kickoff and the team takes it all the way back to your 40-yard line, it’s just tough to bring energy,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Tuesday. “But if you go out there and you go three-and-out in that situation, now you bring energy to the defense. You bring energy to the offense that’ll take the field after if they have to punt the ball or attempt a long field goal.
“But I think we’ve just got to do a better job of weathering the storm, whether it be at home or away. It’s shown up away. It hasn’t really shown up that much at home because we’ve gotten off to good starts. But I think we have to do a better job of just weathering the storm and giving ourselves a chance to bring energy and get going instead of just letting it snowball.”
New England also had uneven performances in their two road wins. They trailed the Chicago Bears by 10 in the second quarter in Week 7 before rallying to win 38-31, then couldn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter in a 25-6 win over the lowly Buffalo Bills.
“The road is, it’s one of those things where you’ve got to bring your own energy,” defensive end Trey Flowers said. “It’s not kind of an excuse or anything, but one of those things where they’ve got their crowd behind them and they’ve got a lot of energy, so we’ve got to match their energy.
“And you could see it on a lot of the losses we had on the road. We just started slow, dug ourselves in a hole and kind of from there, it gave them energy and we wasn’t allowed to execute the game plan.”
The Patriots, who are off this weekend, will play three of their final six games away from Gillette Stadium: at the New York Jets in Week 12, at the Miami Dolphins in Week 14 and at the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15.