Patriots

Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears admitted late fumble from Damien Harris ‘stings’

"I mean one thing we usually take pride in is not giving the game away."

Damien Harris
Damien Harris fumbles during the Patriots' final drive against the Dolphins. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Trailing by a single point in the fourth quarter, the Patriots — led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones — were putting together what looked like a scoring drive against the Dolphins on Sunday.

With Jones completing timely passes and the running game bashing its way upfield, New England found itself at the Miami nine-yard line.

But even as a wave of momentum seemed to be building towards the go-ahead points, Patriots running back Damien Harris fumbled, and the Dolphins recovered.

Miami was then able to hold the ball until time ran out, securing a narrow victory.

Days later, Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears couldn’t hide his frustration.

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“The one thing I preach about more than anything in the world is good ball security,” said Fears. “It was the classic thing that you wouldn’t expect to happen, and that was to give the ball away, give the goddamn game away in the last few minutes of the game when we’re in scoring position. That was a hard one.”

“For Damien, that stings, man,” Fears added of Harris, New England’s third year rusher.

But Fears emphasized his confidence in Harris over the long term.

“I’ll tell you, he’s the kind of guy that will come out alright,” said Fears.” He was trying to make a play. And something along the line, you have to realize the situation we were in.”

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Given his role as the position coach in question, Fears acknowledged his own responsibility for the mistake.

“We’d gotten what we needed there. Just going to eat some clock and play the game,” Fears said of the circumstance prior to Harris’s fumble. “I’ll take the hit on that one. We were moving the ball, he was on the field, and I didn’t get a chance to give him any extra help on that one.”

Asked if he was still disappointed, Fears was direct.

“You know it,” Fears responded. “That hurt. It hurt everybody. I mean one thing we usually take pride in is not giving the game away. And we took away our chance to win the game, and we can’t do that.”

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