Matthew Slater helped Patriots keep perspective after starting 0-2

Morning Sports Update

“I try to be a football historian, and I’m aware of the situation that we’re in.”

Matthew Slater
Matthew Slater prior to the Patriots-Jets matchup in Week 3. AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Matthew Slater’s message to the Patriots prior to beating the Jets: The Patriots entered Sunday’s matchup with the Jets with an 0-2 record, knowing that another defeat — especially coming against a division opponent who was on a 14-game losing streak to New England — would put any playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.

Longtime special teams captain Matthew Slater made sure to remind his teammates how vital the Week 3 game was, even coming so early in the season.

“I just felt like we were at an important part of the season, even though it’s early in the season,” Slater told Boston Herald Patriots reporter Andrew Callahan after the game. “I try to be a football historian, and I’m aware of the situation that we’re in.

“Teams that have gone 0-and-3 to start the season, it doesn’t bode well,” Slater explained. “So I just wanted to encourage the guys to have a heightened sense of urgency, a heightened sense of pride in what they’re doing.”

The pregame message resonated, as New England fought its way to a crucial 15-10 win.

“Matt’s always got good messages,” Bill Belichick said of Slater in an interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday. “He’s got a lot of them. Every week is a big week in this league, and going on the road down in New York, we knew it was going to be tough.

“Matt’s had a lot of experience doing that,” Belichick added, “more than anybody else, so it’s always good to hear from him.”

Trivia: Matthew Slater is tied for first among active players in Pro Bowl selections with 10. Can you name the two players he’s tied with?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: One is a quarterback drafted 24th in 2005. The other is an offensive tackle who played a decade in Washington before being traded to the 49ers.

Scores and schedules:

The Patriots held on to beat the Jets 15-10 on Sunday, New England’s first win of the season. Next week, the Patriots will be in Dallas for a matchup with the Cowboys.

The Connecticut Sun defeated the New York Liberty 78-63 in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals

Also on Sunday, the Red Sox lost to the White Sox 3-2. Boston will begin a two-game set against the Rays on Tuesday at Fenway Park.

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Highlights from the Sun in Game 1: Unsurprisingly, DeWanna Bonner led the way for Connecticut with 20 points and seven rebounds, but it was the Sun’s defense that set the tone in the series-opener.

Coolest play design of the day: During Sunday’s 70-20 rout of the Broncos, the Dolphins pulled off a stylish touchdown when Tua Tagovailoa made a no-look shovel pass to running back De’Von Achane. The rookie runner still had some work to do, but was able to reach the end zone.

Bill Belichick’s press conference from Monday morning: Belichick was asked about his thoughts on yesterday’s win over the Jets and the Patriots’ upcoming matchup with the Cowboys.

On this day: In 1994, the Patriots overcame two extraordinary touchdown runs from Barry Sanders to defeat the Lions 23-17. Drew Bledsoe threw for 251 yards and a touchdown, and the New England defense picked off Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell twice.

Sanders, however, could not be fully contained. On two occasions — for touchdown runs of 35 and 39 yards — he displayed the mesmerizing ability that made him one of the all-time greats. His second score, coming in the third quarter with the Lions trailing 20-7, has found its way onto his career montage.

Getting the ball at the Patriots’ 39-yard line, he jetted through a hole going to his right. Reaching the second level, Sanders produced an iconic sequence when he changed direction four times in 10 yards, completely turning around Patriots defensive back Harlon Barnett. He proceeded to break another tackle before tiptoeing the sidelines on his way into the end zone. It was a glimmering moment for Sanders, but the Parcells Patriots walked away with the win.

Bill Parcells 1994 Patriots Barry Sanders Lions Boston Globe

Daily highlight: Amid a show-stealing performance, Bruins goal-tender Brandon Bussi made a full-extension save to deny the Rangers in a 3-0 preseason win.

Trivia answer: Aaron Rodgers, Trent Williams