FOXBOROUGH -- The New England Patriots have picked a bad time for some mediocre performances.
Now they have just one regular-season game left to gain momentum going into the playoffs.
New England got off to a slow start for the second straight week and trailed the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars 10-0 before getting a 23-16 win on Sunday.
That victory followed a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in which the Patriots had an even worse start to the game, falling behind 31-3.
That’s how quickly the Patriots (11-4) went from a dominant team with seven straight wins after a 42-14 rout of the Houston Texans to a disappointed one.
"We always talk about how we throw out the stats and throw out the records because it doesn’t mean anything," defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Monday. "We never really know what we’re going to get or what we’re going to run up into."
They ran into numerous problems on Sunday, some caused by the Jaguars (2-13) and others they brought upon themselves.
Jacksonville had more first downs on its opening possession [six] than New England totaled on its first four [five].
Tom Brady threw interceptions on two of the Patriots first three series. And they punted on their last two, allowing the Jaguars to move to the Patriots 12-yard line before Patrick Chung intercepted Chad Henne’s pass on the final play.
"Certainly, [we] never really got into
The biggest problem was "self-inflicted errors," Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio.
"We’ve got to do a better job," he said. "We’ve got some pretty important weeks of football ahead, and that’s when we really need to play our best."
The first chance to get rolling again comes Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins (7-8).
The Patriots beat the Dolphins 23-16 in Miami one week before rolling over the Texans, who had the NFL’s best record at the time.
"What matters is that we finish out the season the right way and then try to prepare and have a great week of preparation, whomever we play (in the playoffs)," McDaniels said.