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Why Patriots Rookie Demario Douglas ‘Wanted’ Fumble, Benching

FOXBORO, Mass. — Demario Douglas believed he might have helped the Patriots as they staged a comeback bid Sunday night time. However he knew why he was caught watching that rally from the sideline.

Douglas, New England’s spectacular rookie slot receiver, misplaced a fumble on the ultimate play of the primary quarter after which didn’t play one other offensive snap over the ultimate three in a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

Whereas head coach Invoice Belichick wouldn’t publicly say Douglas’ removing from the sport plan was associated to his ball-security gaffe, the optics had been clear. The Patriots have an extended historical past of punishing younger gamers who don’t maintain on to the soccer.

“(Ball safety) is the No. 1 factor,” Douglas stated after the sport. “And I already know. That’s why I had the mindset of, I’ve simply received to come back again subsequent week tougher, for certain.”

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Douglas was one of many Patriots’ high performers in coaching camp this summer season, and he seemed like a possible difference-maker in his restricted taking part in time Sunday, catching his first two targets from quarterback Mac Jones for 19 yards.

On the second, he received open over the center on third-and-8, stopped on a dime to evade a trailing cornerback — then had the ball punched out of his hand by edge rusher Bradley Chubb.

The Dolphins scored on the following possession to take a 10-0 lead, then stretched that benefit to 17-3 earlier than halftime.

The sixth-round draft decide admitted he received distracted by the open house he noticed downfield and didn’t understand Chubb was closing in from behind.

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“Once I turned to go to the precise, I noticed the tip zone and form of received excited,” Douglas stated. “I forgot about folks that had been coming from behind. He pulled my arm, and I let the ball go.”

A number of teammates came to visit to encourage Douglas as soon as he reached the sideline. Veteran Ty Montgomery gave him a soccer — which Douglas could possibly be seen holding on NBC’s sport broadcast — as a reminder to guard it. Douglas’ solely snaps from that time on got here as a punt returner, which he took over after a shoulder damage knocked Marcus Jones out of the sport.

Was it arduous for Douglas to sit down and watch the Patriots’ offense, which scored two second-half touchdowns however couldn’t erase the double-digit deficit? “Most positively,” he stated.

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“I imagine I might have made a distinction,” Douglas stated, later including: “It was time for me to simply be on the sideline and lift everyone else up.”

However he accepted his punishment — and even considered it as one thing he “wanted” as a first-year participant adjusting to the velocity of the NFL sport.

“I hate that it occurred within the sport, but it surely’s what I wanted,” he stated. “I do know I’ll be extra conscious now.”

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It’s unclear whether or not the ramifications of Douglas’ fumble will lengthen past this sport. However he’s hoping to make amends when the Patriots go to the New York Jets subsequent Sunday.

“It’ll be one thing to study from,” he stated. “Each time I get again in, I’m going to make it depend, for certain.”



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