Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and teammates prepare to take the field for their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

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Is Patriots’ Locker Room in Trouble After “Miracle in Miami”?

New England lost 34-33 to Miami on a 69-yard, walk-off touchdown by Kenyan Drake.

Leading by five points with seven seconds remaining on the clock, the New England Patriots were in position to win their 10th game of the season and lock up their 10th straight division title.

But it all fell apart thanks to a 69-yard, walk-off touchdown by Miami running back Kenyan Drake.

Following their 34-33 loss to the Dolphins, many Patriots players were outspoken about the game and the potential effect a last-second loss on such an incredible play — which inexplicably featured Rob Gronkowski on the field playing defense — could have on their team and their season.

Special teams ace Matthew Slater, who was not on the field for the final play, said the team needs to “process it, air out our grievances” and move forward.

“You don’t build character when things are going well all the time,” Slater said. “It’s easy. That’s not when you build character. You build character when you face adversity. That’s difficult. You know that. Now’s the time for us to go back to the basics, lean in on one another for strength, not lose faith in who we are and what our process is and focus on the next opponent. It’s as simple as that … There’s no magic pill or secret recipe to move past this. It’s mental fortitude. It’s mental toughness. It’s character and professionalism to move forward.”

Gronkowski also took the high road, and undue responsibility, when talking about the massive mishap.

“Just the way it ended, I mean, it sucked. I mean, I’ve never really been a part of anything like that. I feel like it’s going to test our character big time, how we bounce back from something like that, and I’ve just got to make that tackle,” Gronkowski said. “I just saw the ball going lateral, hook and ladder stuff. I didn’t think it was going to get to me, and then just saw the guy trucking down the field. I mean, it would have been … you saw what happened from there.”

Safety Duron Harmon said the focus can’t be on the past, but on the future.

“We’ve got guys who are mentally tough. Physically tough, too,” Duron said. “This is not something we’re going to let define us. We’re obviously going to learn from it, practice it, get better from it. We know we have a big challenge in front of us next week going to Heinz Field playing the Steelers. It’s something we can’t linger on, but something we’ve got to continue to move on from and get better from.”

Read the full story at The Providence Journal