Most of Kyle Van Noy’s post-Super Bowl media tour has focused on the dominant performance the New England Patriots’ defense put on against the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month.
But during an interview with Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast that dropped Friday morning, the Patriots linebacker recalled one of the lowest points of New England’s championship season: the Miami Miracle.
Van Noy, who missed a tackle on the 69-yard, multi-lateral touchdown that gave the Dolphins a 34-33 win over the Patriots in Week 14, painted a picture of the scene inside the Pats’ locker room after that play, which temporarily prevented them from securing the AFC East title.
“Crickets,” Van Noy said. “I mean, we felt like we blew it right there. We blew a chance to get the No. 1 seed or a playoff berth. We felt like we let a lot of people down. More importantly, I think it hurt more so because defensively, we played (expletive) that game. (Dolphins coach) Adam Gase had a damn good plan. He schemed us up pretty good. That was impressive on his part.
“I think what hurt us the most was guys coming from 0-16 in Cleveland had a chance to get a hat and T-shirt and didn’t come up for them. Like (Jason) McCourty, Danny Shelton or AC (Adrian Clayborn) from Atlanta trying to get back to the Super Bowl — guys like that who had been working at it and worked with us all year to get that close to a hat and T-shirt like that, it hurt bad.”
The Patriots would go on to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week before finally clinching the division with a Week 16 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Their 11-5 regular-season record was their worst since 2009, breeding an underdog persona the team fed off during its eventual Super Bowl run.
Van Noy admitted, however, that confidence within the team was not sky-high after each of those five losses, which included blowouts in Jacksonville, Detroit and Tennessee.
“I wouldn’t say it’s panic, but those film sessions are brutal,” Van Noy said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever been cussed out from your boss or whatever, … but I would imagine it’s like that. It’s brutal. Bill (Belichick) holds us to a high standard, which I appreciate, because I want to be great myself. So that being said, that’s sick.
“But I dread going after a loss. I don’t want to go in, because you know what time it is. You’re in for a long team meeting of how shitty you played. He’s going to let you know, and he’s going to let everyone know. And I respect that. It’s not just one person. He’s going to go down the line. And then the coaches do a really good job of getting what they want done for that next week and executing that.”
With assistant coaches Brian Flores, Chad O’Shea, Josh Boyer and Jerry Schuplinski all leaving for Miami this offseason, the Patriots will see plenty of familiar faces when they take on the divisional rival Dolphins in 2019.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images