Bill Belichick didn't say much after New England's 24-20 loss to Miami. He still managed to sum things well enough.
"It was a disappointing game," Belichick said. "It was close, competitive. We had our chances and we just weren't able to make enough plays, in any of the three phases, that we needed to make to win. We made some but it just wasn't enough."
The Patriots dug out yardage, they just couldn't do anything with it.
Tom Brady completed 34-of-55 passes for 364 yards. He threw for two touchdowns, but the team overall converted on just 1-of-4 red zone opportunities.
It didn't help Stephen Gostkowski had a rare off-day. The kicker has been clutch for New England, making 30 of 32 field goal opportunities. Sunday, with his team up 10-7, he missed a 48-yarder to give the Dolphins room to breathe. When the Patriots were up 20-17, he shanked the kickoff out of bounds and Miami started its drive on the 40-yard line.
The game-winning touchdown was scored just 9 plays later.
"Nothing was really good enough," Belichick said. "Yeah, there were some good things but nothing was really good enough. I don't think any of it was bad, but it wasn't good enough."
Falling short is a departure from recent results.
The Patriots staged three dramatic comeback wins in each of the last three weeks, against Denver, Houston, and Cleveland.
"I don't think the last three weeks have anything to do with this game," the coach stated.
Well, there was one key difference: No Gronkowski.
New England's red zone numbers really aren't surprising considering Rob Gronkowski's recent removal to injured reserve. The team scored just 9 touchdowns in 22 opportunities during the first six weeks of the season he was sidelined.
Week 15's offensive impotence was a reminder of the season's early struggles -- a sobering prospect when pushing toward the playoffs.
Sunday's game against the Dolphins presented an opportunity to win the AFC East title and take a step closer to a No. 1 overall playoff seed. Now, New England is in danger of slipping to a No. 3 spot.
Belichick claimed he's short-sighted.
"I don't really know or care anything about that. I just try to win the game that we're playing that week. This week it's Baltimore so that's all we're concerned with. I don't really care about the rest of it," he concluded. "There's nothing we can do about it."