If Brexit means being seen to obey the will of the people, and in the long game winning the next election, the government might as well fight for a clean bill to trigger Article 50. If actually leaving isn't the point, but politics is, then losing against opponents who can be portrayed as "opposing the will of the British people" might just turn into a long-term win. This time, Government 1, Opposition 0.
The people who really want Brexit to mean Leave are those now laughing off the Article 50 vote as nothing more than "firing the starting gun". They've realised that the game can't start until the starting gun is fired. And no doubt that this game can't be stopped once it's started.
I hate it when politics gets interesting. The sky is clearing after a foggy, rainy start, and in the harbour, it looks as though that shallow-water rig might be on the move.