Tom Brady was on the Patriots sideline, ready to return to the field in overtime when Nick Folk's kick sailed wide left. When a flag was thrown penalizing New England's Chris Jones for unnecessary roughness, Brady didn't see it, but he quickly found his place on the bench and made no move toward the sideline.
“Yeah, I did know the rule," Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show on Monday morning. "I didn’t obviously see the play or see what they called. I still really haven’t seen the replay. But it really shouldn’t have come down to that. We had plenty of other opportunities in the game to score points and really widen the gap that we had on them at halftime.
"We sputtered in the third quarter and fought back in the fourth quarter and had some chances at the end, got the ball to start overtime. So, there’s nobody to blame but ourselves. It’s a frustrating day. It’s a frustrating day losing. But hopefully we can learn from it and be a lot better this week.”
Brady took his share of the blame for putting the Patriots in that position to begin with.
“It was just one of those plays that was just unfortunate to happen," he said. "Chris has been playing his butt off all year. He never intended for something like that to happen. Look, it shouldn’t even have come down to that. We on offense should have scored a lot more points and played a lot better. If we do that, it doesn’t come down to a play like that.”
At different points during the game, Brady could be seen looking at his throwing hand. Asked if he had an injury, Brady opted not to make excuses for his subpar day.
“I’m like everybody, there’s just bumps and bruises," he said. "It happens over the course of the football season. We’ll just get treatment like always. I’ll be out there and try to go out and execute as well as I can next week. It’s just part of football.”
The Patriots went just 1-for-12 on third downs in the 30-27 loss to the Jets. Brady also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter that shifted momentum in the Jets' favor.
“There’s not really one thing. It’s just a lack of overall execution in the run game and the pass game,” Brady said. “You can’t go through quarters and do that. You have to be consistent, and we have to play consistently throughout the game. Because if you have quarters where you don’t really produce anything on offense, you really leave the defense out to dry.
“With the three-and-outs that we had, and certainly the interception returned for a touchdown, and the three-and-out following that, and the three-and-out following that . . . you really need to be perfect after that. We were trying, we just didn’t make enough plays to overcome what our difficulties were there in the third quarter.”
Brady explained that the difference between converting on third down and not converting often occurs on first and second down.
“We’re not overcoming the negative plays that we’re making,” Brady said. “We’re putting ourselves in too many third-and-longs, and then obviously not doing anything on third down is forcing us to be of the field and not really able to establish a balance in the run game and the pass game.
“We’ve got to be better on third down. We’ve got to be able to complete passes on third down. That’s the name of the game. It’s time of possession. The time of possession was out of control yesterday -- 23 minutes to 46 minutes -- you’re going to have a hard time winning.”
Brady admitted that the play of tight end Rob Gronkowski -- 8 catches, 114 yards in his first game back from forearm and back ailments -- was one of the team's bright spots of the day
“He played his butt off," Brady said. "Being that it was his first game back, it was pretty good for him to go out there and have the effort that he did. It was really a credit to him and all the work that he’s put in over the course of the whole rehab.”
At 5-2, the Patriots lead the AFC East. They face the Dolphins in Week 8, and Brady knows that to maintain atop the division, he and his teammates have plenty of work to do.
“We’re 5-2, we’re in a decent position,” he said. “Our whole season’s ahead of us. What we make of our season is still ahead of us. We’re in these games, we’re in it ’til the end, we’ve got chance to win them. It’s not like we’re getting blown out 40-0. We have plenty of opportunities to win. We’ve just got to do it when the game’s on the line, we’ve got to do more to help our defense out. It’s easier said than done. We’ve got to get to work and we’ve got to start doing a better job.”
And it starts with him.
“I’m working hard to be as consistent as I can be. Certainly, things aren’t perfect out there, and I’ve got to do better. When you’re 5-2 and you struggle on offense, obviously I’m not doing a good enough job. I’m going to try to get it done. I’m going to try to go out there and play the best I can, work harder than I’ve worked all season to go out there and try to do that. Whatever extra I need to do, that’s what I’m prepared to do. Nobody feels worse about the loss than me. Losing sucks, and especially to the Jets. I’m going to go out there and try to have my best week this week.”