Brady: It was just a sloppy game by us

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Brady: It was just a sloppy game by us

There are all kinds of words that could describe New England's 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night: wild, unpredictable, exciting. But Tom Brady chose another word when he joined WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show Monday morning.

"It was a sloppy game by us," Brady said. "It was a sloppy game by both teams, in some respects. It was just, they weren't quite as sloppy as we were."

The Patriots are usually anything but sloppy. They led the league in turnover differential headed into last night's game at plus-24. Led by Brady, they took care of the ball as well or better than any team in the NFL.

But in the middle of a rainstorm, Brady threw two interceptions and the Patriots lost two fumbles (one lost by running back Stevan Ridley, the other by Shane Vereen) to help San Francisco head home with a win.

San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick threw a pick and the Niners offense fumbled six times, but the Patriots recovered just one.

"It was sloppy on both ends," Brady added. "I think they fumbled three or four times and got them all back. We fumbled and didn't get them back. The interceptions, those were costly mistakes. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. I think the important thing is when you're playing in weather conditions like that, we've got to be more cognizant of taking care of the football. It's always our No. 1 goal every week. We talk about all the things we need to do to win the game, and we just don't do them. I'm sure that's what we're going to talk about today."

Despite New England's mistakes, and despite the fact that the Patriots got down 31-3 in the third quarter, Brady said he never gave up hope that his team still could win the game.

"When we were down 31-3 that was my thought," Brady noted. "I didn't think anything different. I thought we were going to come back and win the game. A lot of our problems on offense were self-inflicted."

"When you dig yourself a hole, you've got to dig yourself out of it," Brady continued. "We almost did, we just didn't do quite enough. There's really no mystery to not scoring points or scoring points for us as an offense. It's not like there's different plays we're calling. We're just doing a better job with the ones that are called when we're scoring points. I would say I'm really proud of the fact that our guys never blinked an eye down 28 points to probably the best defense in the league. We had confidence the whole way and we fought back to get to an even score and we just couldn't get over the hump."

And so they're left with a loss and decidedly bitter taste in their mouths.

"You can't play, whatever, 25 minutes of good football against a good team," he said. "You can't do it."

Here are a few more highlights from Brady's interview:

On playoff seeding
"We don't get too far beyond the next week's opponent. We haven't thought about bye, playoffs -- that's not really in our thought. It was about playing a very good team on Sunday Night Football and the things we needed to do to get that done. Now it's Jacksonville. Our season is not over by any means. We lost to a good team playing very average football. We're whatever, 10-4, and it's certainly not a great record. But it's where we deserve to be. We've got to be able to move on with mental toughness this week and put this loss behind us and go down to Jacksonville and try to win a football game."

On his busy night -- 65 pass attempts
"That's a lot of throws. I don't think that's what we were anticipating, especially in a rainstorm. That's not the kind of game you want to play. But that's the game we ended up playing. We kind of forced ourselves into that by being down 28 points. It just wasn't very good."

On Michael Hoomanawanui's 41-yard catch that helped spark the comeback
"That wasn't the way we drew it up in practice, I'll tell you that. Some of the plays got strung out a little longer than we anticipated yesterday. He did a great job running, making the catch, almost getting to the end zone. That was a big play in the game. There was a lot of excitement on our sideline, being able to find our way back and find our way after being down as many points as we were. It's just equally as frustrating when you go to the locker room after the game and you're not able to pull it out."

On Patriots running backs and their playing time
"That's not my decision to decide who plays. I have a lot of confidence in all those backs, whether it's Shane Vereen or Stevan or Brandon Bolden or Woody Danny Woodhead. They're all very good backs, they've done great things for us over the course of the season, and we're going to need all of them. We all have bad plays in a game. We all have plays that contribute to us winning and losing games. That's part of team football. I think the great part about our team is nobody points fingers. Everyone evaluates what they need to do better. There's not one player that's responsible for this. It's all of us as players that have to do a better job."

Now a reliever, Kelly returns to Red Sox, Hembree sent down

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Now a reliever, Kelly returns to Red Sox, Hembree sent down

The Red Sox have recalled right-hander Joe Kelly from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he had been working out of the bullpen, and optioned right-handed reliever Heath Hembree back to the PawSox.

Kelly, originally in the Red Sox starting rotation this season, was plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness as a starter (8.46 ERA) but has rebounded as a reliever in Pawtucket (no runs allowed in five relief innings with one walk and nine strikeouts).

Hembree (4-0, 2.41) has been hit hard since the All-Star break, including giving up a run on three hits and allowing two inherited runners to score in a five-run seventh inning of an 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night. 

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.