Duron Harmon did his best to spark the Patriots during Monday night’s loss to the Dolphins with an impassioned speech on the sidelines. It worked relatively well for the defense, which didn’t give up any more points after the third-quarter speech – but it ultimately wasn’t enough to spark a full comeback.
Harmon had a simple explanation for what he told his teammates: he didn’t feel they were playing hard enough.
“We needed to play with more energy. We needed to play harder, and that’s all I was trying to tell the guys. Let’s play harder,” said Harmon, via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe. I know what the score is right now, but let’s continue to fight and see what we’re made of.”
Duron Harmon summing up my feelings about this game so far. pic.twitter.com/lhRv62uXdy— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) December 12, 2017
After helping spur an eight-game win streak for the Patriots, the defense suddenly looked more like the disorganized unit it was in the first four games of the season. The Jay Cutler-led Dolphins made big plays all over the field, but at the same time they beat themselves more often than Patriots fans are used to seeing.
Although it was too little, too late, Harmon’s speech was a way of showing that they still believed they could come back.
“We always thought that we could fight our way back into it,” said Harmon. “We were just saying, ‘We’ve got to make a play.’ Not really make a play, we just got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Giving up big plays, missing tackles. Just felt like a lot of the wounds today were self-inflicted. We’ve just got to go back, watch the film, and get better.”
Malcolm Butler was asked about Harmon’s speech and echoed the safety’s sentiments, while expressing confidence that the defense can bounce back in a tough matchup next Sunday against the Steelers.
“Just trying to get everybody on the same page. Play harder, come out and just fight, fight until the end, which we did, probably a little too late,” said Butler of Harmon. “We have to rebound; we always rebound and respond the right away.”