Morning Sports Update

Kendrick Bourne offered some blunt commentary about the Patriots’ offense

"If we can't throw it past five yards, it's just going to be a long game."

Kendrick Bourne
Kendrick Bourne prior to Thursday's Bills-Patriots game. Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Patriots were soundly beaten by the Bills 24-10 on Thursday. New England, now back to .500 at 6-6, will return on Dec. 12 to play the Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

The Celtics play tonight at TD Garden, hosting the Heat at 7:30 p.m.

And the Bruins will take on the Avalanche at home on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the United States men’s soccer team will face the Netherlands in the World Cup Round of 16 at 10 a.m. ET.

Kendrick Bourne’s comments: Following the Patriots’ Thursday loss to the Bills, questions proliferated over what had gone wrong with the offense.

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And in a rare show of open frustration — or even acknowledgment of specific issues within the team’s game plan — Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne offered some blunt commentary to reporters.

“We have to get the ball downfield,” Bourne said after the game. “I think Mac needs more time. He’s obviously running around, so it’s hard to get the ball downfield when you don’t really have time to throw. No knock to the line, it’s just what we need to work on. The receivers can’t do anything if the ball can’t get downfield. If we can’t throw it past five yards, it’s just going to be a long game.”

As for specifics, Bourne broached the subject of play-calling.

“We just need to scheme up better,” he said, in what appeared to be a reference to Patriots’ play-caller Matt Patricia. “We need to know what they’re doing. We need to know what they want to do on third down, you know what I mean? We’re kind of sporadic. They call this and we call that and it falls into what they want. We need to have it where they’re falling into what we want. That’s not my job. It’s my job to just run the call.

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“But as we all could see, they had, what, 30 first downs? And we only had eight. So something they were doing against us was working, and something we were doing against them wasn’t working. It’s just about figuring it out each week. We’ve still got life, but we need to hurry up and figure it out.”

Bourne admitted it was “frustrating” to see the offense’s lack of urgency until a no-huddle sequence on what proved to be the team’s final drive of the game.

Assessing the Bills, he took a sharp view in relation to New England’s approach.

“Honestly, compared to last year, they’re a different team,” Bourne explained. “No Von Miller, we’ve got to take advantage of that. No Micah Hyde. Things like that. We’ve just got to take advantage of those things. They’re playing a different scheme. They’re more soft in what they’re doing, so they’re more conservative, and we’ve got to take advantage and not just have 5-yard throws and moving slow. We’ve got to be able to attack and put pressure on the defense.”

Bourne acknowledged that players are also responsible for the offense’s lackluster performance, adding that it’s a “balance” alongside coaching.

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“We’ve got to make the plays,” he said. “We’ve got to make the bigger plays as players. We’ve got to make the tough catches, things like that. We’re not getting wide open, so we’ve got to make the tough catches, we’ve got to make the tight throws and have more plays like Marcus had — using our ability more just to help the coaches out. It’s a balance.”

Trivia: Kendrick Bourne wears No. 84 for the Patriots. Which former Patriots player wore that number in both the 2004 and 2019 seasons?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He didn’t wear it for the entire time in between 2004 and 2019 because he left New England in free agency after the 2009 season. Before returning to the Patriots, he played in Cleveland, New Orleans, and Baltimore.

More from Boston.com:

Reaction to the Patriots’ loss: Analysts turned their attention to New England’s offensive coaching staff.

On this day: In 2001, the Patriots rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Jets, 17-16.

Patriots Jets 2001

Daily highlight: In what was simultaneously a highlight and lowlight, Canadian goalkeeper Borjan’s mistake led to Hakim Ziyech’s perfectly weighted goal for Morocco.

Trivia answer: Ben Watson

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