What went wrong for the Patriots during the bye week? Aside from how to fix the defense, that probably is the top question on New England’s mind entering the offseason.
The Patriots entered the Week 14 bye sitting atop the AFC standings as winners of seven straight. They were in the driver’s seat for the coveted first-round bye, and, as a result, were generating real Super Bowl buzz.
Then, the bottom fell out. New England lost three of its final four regular-season games and got blown out by the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round. Offense, defense and special teams all regressed after the bye.
So, something clearly went awry during and after the bye week. However, Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers on Monday revealed it wasn’t anything the Patriots did; rather, it was what they didn’t do.
“I would say … I feel like our intensity going into the bye was great,” Meyers said. “And I don’t feel like it dropped off. But that’s the problem: It didn’t build up, either. So, I feel like we still tried to ride the wave as far as what we were doing when we got to the No. 1 spot, and we needed to build on that. And we didn’t do it.”
Safety Adrian Phillips was asked whether he agreed with Meyers’ assessment.
“I definitely feel like the intensity was still there, and I feel like people were preparing the way that we did before the bye week because we knew what we had to do,” Phillips said. “At the same time, it was just one of those things. Just an unlucky roll. We just gotta make sure that we stay locked in for however long the season is.”
Phillips also covered his own insight.
“From a defensive side, we weren’t dialed in like we were pre-bye week,” he said. “And it’s up to us to get that figured out. When we come back from the offseason … I’m pretty sure that’ll be a talking point. We’re gonna make sure we don’t let that happen again.”
Unfortunately for the Patriots, they’ll have to wait a long time before being able to prove whether they learned from their late-seasons mistakes.