How Patriots’ Damien Harris Is ‘Moving Forward’ After Costly Fumble

'You can't spend time lingering on what happened before'


September 17, 2021

After Sunday’s New England Patriots loss, Damien Harris said he wouldn’t let his costly fourth-quarter fumble define his season.

On Friday, he spoke about the importance of putting that painful play in the past.

“At the end of the day, I think you just have to keep moving forward,” the Patriots running back said on WEEI’s “Merloni & Keefe.” “It’s a long season. There’s a lot of football left to be played — it’s Week 1. It sucked. You never like to lose, obviously, but there’s a lot of football left to play. You can’t spend time lingering on what happened before. All you can do is continue to improve and correct the mistakes. We’re playing a tough (New York Jets) team this Sunday. That’s where our focus is, and that’s where it needs to be.”

Before his fumble — which position coach Ivan Fears said “(gave) the goddamn game away” — Harris rushed for 100 yards on a career-high 23 carries in the Patriots’ 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Carelessness and poor discipline doomed the Patriots in that game, with New England going 1-for-4 in the red zone, committing eight penalties for 84 yards and fumbling four times (losing two).

“I think we all know it was a tough game,” Harris said on WEEI. “It was a very hard-fought game between two great teams, and ultimately, we just didn’t play well enough to win. There were a lot of things and a lot of situations that happened in the game that we could have done better. Obviously, individually there are things I could have done better that would have given us a better chance to win.

“But it’s in the past. That was last Sunday and we have a new challenge this week. We’re playing a great New York Jets team, so we’re just trying to look forward and see what we can learn from last week and just improve. That way when we step onto the field this Sunday we can go out there and put our best football on the field.”

Despite his ball-security gaffe, Harris is expected to be the Patriots’ lead back again this Sunday against the AFC East rival Jets. It’s unclear, though, whether New England will stick with rookie Rhamondre Stevenson as its No. 2 early-down back or give J.J. Taylor a shot in that role.

Stevenson, a preseason standout, endured a miserable regular-season debut, losing a fumble and blowing a pass protection in just five snaps of action. Taylor sat out Week 1 as a healthy scratch.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
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