Rhamondre Stevenson’s late-game fumble costs Patriots in loss

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FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts — Another week, a late-game gaffe that saw the New England Patriots lose the chance to win.

As the Patriots were knocking on the door on Saturday for a possible go-ahead touchdown, running back Ramondre Stevenson lost a fumble at the Cincinnati Bengals’ 8-yard line with 59 seconds remaining. It was the decisive play in another heartbreaking loss a week after the NBA was caught in a fateful lateral play with no time left in the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Bengals won 22-18.

“I was trying to make something happen. I probably did more than I was supposed to. Maybe I should have just gone down,” Stevenson said.

Lack of situational awareness may once have been considered surprising for a team coached by Bill Belichick, but it has become more common in the team’s 7-8 season.

The Patriots aren’t officially out of playoff contention, but a sense of resignation prevailed among some players after Saturday’s game after they drew 22-0 at halftime before charging in the second half. seemed to be doing

“It was just tough because it was at stake,” said New England veteran safety Adrian Phillips. “We blew it.”

As outside linebacker Matthew Judon added, “We’re a resilient group, but things just don’t go the way we want them to. There seems to be

The Patriots will host the Miami Dolphins next Sunday before the regular season finale with the Buffalo Bills in Week 18.

Stevenson’s fumble on Saturday was the first since the opener of his 2021 rookie season. Belichick said the Patriots knew Cincinnati wouldn’t go into timeouts, so they were trying to control the time. – Winning touchdown.

Bengals defensive lineman DJ Reeder got Stevenson to his feet and Stevenson was relegated 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage before safety Bomb Bell pulled the ball away.

Referee Craig Urolstad said in the pool report that declaring Stevenson’s progress stopped was not considered. We took control and basically removed his legs. We felt he still had his legs.

Stevenson was asked if he felt his progress had stalled.

“It doesn’t matter what I think. They called it a fumble. [the Bengals] retrieved the ball. “I was fighting for extra yards,” Stevenson said.

Teammates stood behind Stevenson, the Patriots’ main rusher.

“If you go back and look at the whole season, he was pretty much the best player on the attacking side of the ball,” Phillips said. “Today things didn’t go his way. He’s still a good friend and we love him. No one needs to say anything because he’s already done himself.” Because he’s the type of player who puts it down.”

Even if Stevenson hadn’t fumbled, there was no certainty that the Patriots scored a touchdown. They entered the day as the NFL’s lowest red zone offense, with 37 trips and he recorded his 14 TDs (37.8%).

They scored in their first red zone outing against Cincinnati, but the overall margin of error thinned after a large halftime deficit.

In some ways, this game was the epitome of New England’s season.

“It looks great when we’re focused and locked in, but it’s not when we’re not,” Judong said. I showed you.”

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