The Patriots are dealing with a smorgasbord of injuries to important players on both sides of the ball, but Tom Brady wasn't making any excuses for New England's 24-20 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.
Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show that though he would have liked to have Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins healthy down in Miami, the Patriots still had plenty of chances to make plays offensively and win the game.
“The truth is we had plenty of chances anyway, so I don’t think any of things really matter yesterday,” Brady said. “Is it great to have everyone healthy? Yeah, of course it is. But that didn’t matter yesterday. We had plenty of chances without those guys on the field. We just have to come up with ways to score more points, because it’s not going to cut it -- 20 points.
"Like I said, we do things well enough at times to move the ball down the field, get ourselves in good position. But then we don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them.”
The Patriots had drives of 15 and 16 plays that eventually stalled in the red zone and led to Stephen Gostkowski field goals. They had a chance to win the game on their final drive, but once again, they couldn't punch one into the end zone. Brady was picked off by Miami's Michael Thomas as the game's final seconds ticked down.
“If we could score more points and make it tougher on the other team, it won’t always have to come down to a last-second play,” Brady said. “We’ve made plenty of them this year, which has been great. Yesterday we were right on the cusp there of doing it there again. We just didn’t quite do enough.”
For the first time in Bill Belichick's career as Patriots head coach, the team did not clinch the AFC East title when it had a chance to do so. After the game, Belichick said he didn't care about playoff seeding, however. On Monday morning, his quarterback agreed with him.
“It doesn’t matter at all," Brady said. "We haven’t even qualified for anything. We’ve got 10 wins, and 10 wins is fine, it’s OK. But it hasn’t gotten us anything. What we need to do is start playing better football. I think that’s the only thing I really care about, is us playing better football and seeing if we can do better on a more consistent basis.
"Everyone up and down the roster has to do a better job, because, like I said, by no means are we running away from any team that we’re playing. We haven’t done it all year. We haven’t played well enough consistently to do that. If you’re going to get in these games every week, then when we have opportunities to do it we’ve got to take advantage. Yesterday we had opportunities to do better and we didn’t take advantage. That’s why we sit here pissed off about losses. It makes for a long week when you give a game away that you really have a great opportunity to win.”
Monday's radio interview was the first opportunity for anyone to hear an extended explanation of Sunday's game from the Patriots quarterback. Brady cut his postgame press conference short after two questions.
Brady told WEEI why he was so frustrated.
“That was really one that we let kind of get away,” Brady said. “We had a lot of great opportunities to win the game and win a division title and just came up short. It’s just frustrating all the way around. We got off to a better start than we got off to the previous, whatever, three or four weeks, and went in at halftime with the lead. It felt like we moved the ball pretty good all day, we just couldn’t get enough points on the board. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get the ball in the end zone.”