Chase Winovich's infectious, ebullient enthusiasm stood in stark contrast to the miserable surroundings that both he and the Patriots found themselves in on Sunday night – tasked with stopping the reigning NFL MVP as an unrelenting deluge cascaded down upon them at Gillette Stadium.
No hoodie, poncho, canopy or sideline cape offered any semblance of refuge amid Sunday's torrential downpour — a tempest so miserable it would have cleared out the luxury boxes and sent all but the most faithful fans flocking to their cars or huddled below in the concrete safety of the lower concourses, had prior cataclysms not prompted the need for an empty arena in Foxborough, of course.
But as he returned to the water-logged gridiron in the closing minutes of regulation, Winovich could have cared less about the less-than-desirable conditions around him. Frankly, he was having too much fun to notice.
"I don't know who was on the aux cord. But they were playing some heat," Winovich said of the in-game settings. "I was dancing, I was having fun. At first, you kind of resist the rain in a sense, where it's like, 'Okay, I'm going to try to stay dry,' make sure I can stay dry enough that I can tackle and your shoes don't get soaking wet.
"But after a while, after enough rain, it's just a matter of taking the approach of — 'This is exactly how I want it to go, I want it to pour, I want it to be freezing cold.' And if you take that attitude and your opponent doesn't, that gives you an edge."
For Winovich, just the opportunity to be out on the field for extended stretches during Sunday's primetime matchup against Baltimore was enough to motivate the 25-year-old defensive end. Just two weeks after playing five snaps against the Bills, Winovich was featured heavily against the Ravens (65 defensive snaps), albeit in a different role than what the Michigan product has become accustomed to up in the NFL ranks.