After Sunday’s Debacle, the New England Patriots Are On to Cincinnati Again

Eight years ago, the New England Patriots were embarrassed in front of a national television audience. The Kansas City Chiefs crushed the visiting Pats 41-14 on Monday Night Football, leaving head coach Bill Belichick speechless in his postgame press conference. Technically, he wasn’t speechless, but he answered every question by famously saying, ‘We’re on to Cincinnati’ in reference to his team’s next opponent.

On Sunday, the Patriots embarrassed themselves in a much different fashion, literally throwing the game away on the final play against the Las Vegas Raiders. After three days of facing questions about Sunday’s gut-wrenching loss, the Patriots are on to Cincinnati once again.

The New England Patriots are trying to put Sunday’s loss behind them

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots reacts during an NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Michael Owens/Getty Images.

The Patriots have had some crushing losses in their history, but it’s tough to find one where they lost in any more dramatic fashion.

New England had one play left in regulation, having their ball in their own territory with the score tied 20-20. A simple kneel-down sets up overtime. The Raiders had just tied the game with 32 seconds remaining, and New England, not known for its quick-strike offense, appeared ready to run out the clock.

Instead, running back Rhamondre Stevenson broke free into the Las Vegas secondary as time expired. He reached the 31-yard line and lateraled the ball to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Meyers then threw the ball nearly 20 yards backward, hoping to get it back to quarterback Mac Jones, who was back near midfield. Meyers’ throw hung in the air long enough to be picked off by Vegas’ Chandler Jones, who ran it back 48 yards for the game-winning score.

Meyers was peppered with questions after the game and handled it like a pro. He admitted he tried to do too much and said he needed to be smarter with the ball.

“Just trying to do too much. Just trying to be a hero, I guess,” Meyers said, per Zack Cox of NESN.

Since the costly blunder, the Patriots have been bombarded with questions regarding the play. It’s been a tough few days trying to put the painful loss behind them with the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals next up.

The Patriots are on to Cincinnati once again

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Find the video footage from eight years ago and start playing it again. After the Chiefs blew away the Patriots on that Monday night, Belichick refused to look in the rear-view mirror. He dodged question after question, answering five straight questions about the Chiefs game with “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

If there’s any game the Patriots need to move on from, it’s the Vegas one. Against the Chiefs, the Patriots were manhandled. The Chiefs were, by far, the better team that night. That wasn’t the case Sunday.

The Patriots rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to score 21 unanswered points. Vegas scored the game-tying touchdown with 32 seconds remaining before Meyers’ blunder.

Now, it’s on to Cincinnati. The Patriots host the hottest team in the AFC when the Bengals come to town Saturday.

New England’s loss to the Raiders makes Saturday’s game with the Bengals as close to a must-win game if the Patriots have any chance to reach the postseason. The game with Cincinnati begins the final three-game stretch where the Patriots (7-7) will likely be underdogs in all of them.

Cincinnati takes the conference’s longest current win streak (6 games) into Foxboro this weekend and is a 3.5-point favorite. The Patriots will need two win two of their next three games (at home to the Miami Dolphins and at the Buffalo Bills) to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.