FOXBOROUGH – Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Matthew Judon is ready to flush away Week 1.
New England lost to the Miami Dolphins, 20-7, on Sunday. Not only did they lose by multiple scores, but the Patriots looked sloppy and unprepared throughout the Week 1 loss.
Judon was one of the very few standouts in Sunday's game. He had a sack, five tackles, and four quarterback hits. The Patriots' pass rush didn't do too terribly as a whole, either. New England had three total sacks and seven quarterback hits against Miami and Tua Tagovailoa.
But Judon isn't looking to search for positives when reviewing what the Patriots did in their Week 1 loss.
“Honestly, no disrespect, it don’t matter. You’ve gotta move on,” Judon said. “We’ve gotta play better. We want to win the game. So we don’t really take no moral victories and be like, ‘All right, we did this good. We did this good.’ We didn’t do anything good enough to win, so we’ve gotta step it up and play better.
“As good as we played – as good as we think we played, we’ve got to be better in order for us to win games. That’s really what it’s all about – every week going 1-0, so we’ve just got to play better.”
As the Patriots hit the practice field for the first time since Sunday's loss on Wednesday, Judon said everyone in New England's locker room is feeling good despite the 0-1 record.
“We’re all in good spirits,” Judon said. “We can’t let one week turn into two. Gotta flip the page, turn the page. You watch the film, but you move on. That’s the National Football League. So nobody’s down. We lifted, ran, and got back to work. Feels good to get some pads back on, hit somebody, and we went back to work today.”
Matthew Judon sacks Tua to blow up this Miami drive pic.twitter.com/IZdm6530xM
— Ben Brown 🌻 (@BenBrownPL) September 11, 2022
Week 2 brings a familiar foe for Judon. The Patriots go up against the Steelers, who Judon faced twice per year during the five seasons he played with the Ravens. Judon is very familiar with the Terrible Towel and all the traditions Steelers fans have at their games in Pittsburgh, where Sunday's game will be played.
“We know around the third quarter, going into the fourth quarter that they're playing ‘Renegade,'” Judon said with a smile. “I was in that division. I've been there. That's a very intense place to play – especially for their home opener. There's going to be Terrible Towels. They won't like you, just because they love the Steelers.
“It's actually going to be a good environment to play in. That was one of my favorite stadiums to play in. They bleed yellow and black up there. It's a great environment, but probably a terrible environment to play in.”
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry has been one of the most heated in football in recent years, with the two teams being perennial contenders to win the AFC North and the conference. Judon said that some of his favorite memories came in games against the Steelers, recalling that there was a saying that “You aren't a Raven until you win a game in Pittsburgh.”
The quarterback of those Steelers teams that Judon went up against isn't there anymore though. Ben Roethlisberger retired in the offseason, leading Pittsburgh to sign veteran Mitchell Trubisky to start at quarterback – at least for now.
Trubisky didn't have too special of a showing in his Steelers debut, completing 21 of 38 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown in the overtime win over the Bengals. Judon focused though on what Trubisky can do, which includes making plays with his legs. The quarterback rushed for 195 yards in nine starts in his final season with the Bears while using his mobility to make plays as a passer, too.
Judon gave a glimpse as to how he might play Trubisky.
“With athletic quarterbacks like that, you just don’t want to get outside and get them rolling out,” Judon said. “They buy more time in the scramble drill, and with wide receivers like they have, they might take a five-yard out and turn it up and it turns to a big play. You got to keep athletic quarterbacks in the pocket. It’s obviously easier said than done, but that’s our job.”
Judon and the Patriots successfully did that against the athletic Tagovailoa in Week 1 as he finished with zero rushing yards. But remember, there are no moral victories for Judon. He and the Patriots will look for their first real victory against the Steelers on Sunday.