FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have a little recent team history on their side when they look to even their record Sunday at Minnesota.
The Patriots have not started a season 0-2 since 2001, which means it hasn’t happened to them since Tom Brady became the starting quarterback. Brady relieved an injured Drew Bledsoe in the second game of the ’01 season and led the team to the first of three Super Bowl wins.
New England started 0-2 in 2000, losing its first four games under Bill Belichick. Also, in 1996, an 0-2 start was followed by another Super Bowl run, where they lost to the Packers.
Since the start of the current NFL playoff system, only 23 of 198 teams (12 percent) that started 0-2 reached the playoffs. The Patriots were two of those teams.
As far as two-game losing streaks at any time during a season, it has happened six times under Brady: twice in 2002, when New England had losing streaks of two and four games, and in 2006, ’09, ’11 and ’12.
Overall, as a starter, Brady is 33-8 following regular-season losses.
“Obviously, it starts at the top,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said Friday. “Coach Belichick . guys have that sense of urgency, instilling that in us to go out there and play well. Hopefully, the product we put on the field on Sunday is a good one.”
The Patriots took a 20-10 halftime lead at Miami last Sunday and then wilted in the South Florida heat. They gave up 23 unanswered points in the second half. And like they do with all games, win or loss, they left it there.
“I think we do a good job of trying to take each week as its own,” said special teams captain Matthew Slater. “Whether we win or lose our focus is to the next game, and we try not to let anything compound. We cleared last week and we’ve gone and focused on the opponent this week and hopefully we can have a good outing.”
Added safety Devin McCourty: “I think sometimes teams get caught up so much of what happened last week. Then you got to realize that you have a different challenge in front of you the next week that you got to focus in on and prepare for. So I think with us Mondays, that’s kind of (when) we put everything to bed, whether a win or loss. And when we come in here Wednesdays for practice it’s a whole new mindset, whether we were disappointed in last week or head over heels the week before and happy we won.”
Asked if it’s easier for the coaches to get the players’ attention in practice after a loss, Slater let out a small laugh and said, “I guess you could say that.”
Mayo wants to get right back in action after a defeat.
“Any time you come off a loss you want to get back on the field and get that sour taste out of your mouth,” he said.
NOTES: LB Jamie Collins, added to the injury report Thursday with a thigh problem, missed his second straight practice and was listed as questionable. … TE Rob Gronkowski, questionable before playing in the opener after knee surgery, is now listed as probable. . DE Chandler Jones, called for two costly head hits on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in last week’s opener, said, “It’s just one thing that I have to work on. When I get a shot at the quarterback I’ll just have to lower my pad level.” . Belichick seeks his 200th regular-season win for the second time Sunday. This is his 306th game, which would be the fourth-fastest coach in NFL history to 200. . Brady again goes for his 149th win, which would break a tie with John Elway for third place on the career list.