ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Just before entering the dressing room after his team’s 13-0 victory over the Bills in incredibly windy conditions at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Patriots fullback Heath Evans looked at one of the team’s security guards and said, “Let’s go, Jets, right?”
Let’s go, Jets?
That’s something any self-respecting Patriot knows should never come out of his mouth, but Evans couldn’t help himself. He said what was on the mind of all of his teammates, coaches and anyone else connected with the franchise. After beating the Bills to finish their season with an 11-5 record, the Pats now need a Jets victory over the Dolphins to clinch the AFC East. And if that doesn’t work out, they need Baltimore to lose to Jacksonville so that they can secure the last remaining wild-card spot in the AFC.
A sense of awkwardness could be felt throughout the Patriots’ dressing room as everyone braced themselves for the rest of the day, which would be spent waiting for the outcome of the Jets-Dolphins and Ravens-Jags games.
The possibility of missing the postseason for the first time in six years after finishing with one of the best records in the NFL would seem tremendously frustrating. It might be because their fate has yet to be determined, but the Patriots players are handling the prospect of that pretty well.
“You look back on an 11-5 NFL season, and no matter what happens, you’ve got to be proud of this,” Evans said. “We’ve had every excuse in the book to (use), and we’ve worked hard and coaches have coached harder than ever, and we’ve responded. We won four straight in December. What more can you do?”
Cross your fingers? Pray?
— Vic Carucci is reporting live from Ralph Wilson Stadium.