Tom Brady felt like the Patriots played competitively for three quarters in their season-opener against the Chiefs. But the fourth quarter bothered him.
That's when the Patriots had a shot to make a stand down one with about nine minutes left, come back, do . . . something, but they couldn't. There was a breezy 60-yard drive that ended in a Chiefs score. There was a Patriots three-and-out. There was a two-play Chiefs scoring drive. Then another Patriots three-and-out. Even with the game seemingly out of reach, the Patriots helped the Chiefs put it away with a too-many-men penalty that made a third down more manageable with 2:33 left.
It irked Brady. He called out his teammates for their attitude and their competitiveness, and he didn't back down from those comments in speaking with WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday.
"I just felt like we needed to be better in a lot of areas," Brady said. "We played pretty competitively for three quarters and it just got away from us in the fourth quarter. Everyone's had a chance to kind of think about the game and think about what they need to do better . . .
"It's execution, it's attitude, it's competitiveness, it's urgency. It's everything."
Brady was asked if perhaps getting an early loss out of the way might benefit the Patriots. In three seasons under Bill Belichick, they've lost their opener. And in those three seasons, they wen't on to win the Super Bowl -- including in 2014 when they had a slow first month, going 2-2 before turning things around.
Brady hesitated to say any loss is a good loss.
"I wouldn't say so. Anytime you lose I don't think it's a great thing," he said. "I think you can learn a lot from every game. There's definitely some losses you learn more from because you're critical in areas where maybe you wouldn't have been critical had you won. [Maybe] the emotion of a game, the emotion of a win wouldn't allow you to critically anaylze something the way you would when you lose."
- Five things we had wrong going into Patriots-Chiefs
- Could Patriots trade Dion Lewis for defensive help?
- Breer: Dont'a Hightower’s body is a 'ticking time bomb'
Even before the Super Bowl LI banner dropped and the Chiefs arrived to New England, there was a great deal said about just how talented this year's Patriots team might be. On paper, it looked like one of the best Belichick had ever had. Had some of the coverage gotten to players, particularly some of the newer ones?
It sounded like Brady wasn't ruling it out.
"It's just one of the challenges of a football season," he said. "Mental toughness is a real thing, and you've gotta be mentally tough enough to put aside the good things people say and the bad things people say. It's a roller coaster of emotions, and if you get involved in that roller coaster it's probably more challenging."
Brady said that the Patriots would meet as a team on Monday and collectively put the Chiefs loss behind them. In other words, they're on to New Orleans.
"It's probably easier [to get over a loss] when you're getting right back to work," Brady said. "It actually kind of sucks having three extra days to think about it, having to re-watch the game . . . I've kind of moved onto the next team, but we haven't really done that formally as a team. We'll do that today. It kind of sits with us a little bit longer. Maybe it's good to sit with us longer. It allows us to evaluate and nit-pick and so forth."
Here are a few more quotes of note from Brady's weekly radio interview with WEEI . . .
On missing Julian Edelman: "We'll feel that all year. He's just one of those types of players. I think Danny [Amendola] was obviously having a great game, then he was out, and Malcolm [Mitchell], worked a lot with him, he was out. I think it's about consistency, dependability. That's the challenge of the football season. You wish you'd be in midseason form, but you got a lot of new people you're working with, and you've gotta develop trust and create this urgency. They have to get to understand me, I have to get to understand them. The backs have to understand the line and vice versa. It's always a little bit of a challenge. That's what we're working hard to get everyone up to speed on."
On Phillip Dorsett's role moving forward: "I'm sure he's obviously gonna play a bigger role. It's just a matter of how much practice time we have and getting up to speed and trusting one another and so forth. It is challenging getting a guy at that final cut because they've been working with another team for four or five months and then they do things differently from the way we do them . . . We're gonna have to work together and spend extra time. If he's gonna play a significant role, I have to have the trust in him and we've gotta go out there and do it together."
On if he's proud his teammates stand for the anthem: "I don't really pay attention to that. Probably a lot of things for me to think about that time. I don't think about that much."
On if he has a good relationship with Colin Kaepernick: "I don't know Colin very well at all. I've never really had a conversation with him."
On if he sees himself in broadcasting after retirement, like Tony Romo: "No. I can be sure of that . . . That's never something I've been that interested in."
On Drew Brees: "He's an incredible player. He loves the game, he loves the sport. He's been so good for a long time. I've got a lot of respect for him. Know a lot of guys who know him, I don't know him that well, but they all say great things about him. He's been so consistent over a long period of time. That's what great players do and he's certainly one of them."