It’s probably about time to panic in New England, right? I mean, the Patriots were outgained 427-213, managed just 43 rushing yards and held the ball for just over 20 minutes in Sunday’s 25-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the season must be over. What’s next? Reports that the Patriots were drinking beer out of cups on the sidelines?Tom Brady isn’t listening to any of it. The Patriots quarterback seems to know that there are going to be people out there saying that they “suck” as a team or that certain players “suck” but he’s not focusing on it. Why should he? They are 5-2, and while the schedule isn’t exactly easy over the next month, the month after that is a cinch. There’s nothing to worry about here.
Tom Brady joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to discuss the offensive struggles, what was different from the last time the two teams met, the Steelers setting the tone in the second half, Bill Belichick’s reputation as a coach and the team’s attitude at this point.
The Patriots’ offense looked uncomfortable. Is that how it felt to you?:
“We were never in a rhythm. But that takes running good plays. If we don’t convert on third down — we had three plays in the first quarter of the game. You’re not going to do anything running three plays. That’s our fault for not converting a third down. We had an opportunity to complement our defense and match a score by them, and we didn’t do it. … We were just not playing our style of football. We played against a team that is a very physical team, that’s a tough team that plays well at home. We didn’t do enough to really counter their strengths. We kind of played into their strengths.”
The last time you guys played, you smoked them. What was so different this time?:
“Like I said, I think our execution wasn’t what it needed to be. That’s the difference. Eleven months ago really has no baring on anything that we’re doing now. What the game came down to yesterday was them really playing at a higher level than we played. We’ve got to give them credit for that and we’ve got to understand that we can’t go out there this week and play the same type of way. We have to be balanced. We have to be able run the ball. We have to be able to complete third-down plays. We were 3-of-10 on third down.”
The Steelers seemed to really set the tone to start the second half as well:
“We ran on first down and gained a couple of yards. And then we had an incompletion on second down. Then I think it was third-and-8 and we gained 7 1/2. Those are the type of things that win or lose games — a half-yard here, a half-yard there. We end up punting. … Like I said, we never could really play from ahead. We never played with the balance that we needed. When you play the Steelers, you’ve got to be somewhat balanced. You’ve got to be able to run the ball efficiently. And then when you throw it, you’ve got to throw it on your terms. We were throwing it on their terms all day.”
Would you say Bill Belichick is the best coach even if you weren’t playing for him?:
“Having the opportunity to play for coach Belichick, we’re as well prepared as any team could possibly be. There’s not one situation that we don’t cover. We never come out of the games surprised by what a defense was going to do. We talk every week about the things that we need to do to win. He’s seen it all. When we do the things that he says we need to do, we win. And when we don’t, we lose. So, we have a lot of confidence in him. The entire team has 100 percent confidence in him, that the decisions that he makes are what’s best for the team, the things that we need to do to win.”
On the attitude of the team coming off the loss:
“The thing that we take from it is it’s the seventh game of the year. We have nine important games to go. By no means are we peaking at this point. We’ve got a lot of football to play. Hopefully we learn from this, and it makes us a better football team. This was an important game for us. We lost. We can sit here and worry about it and blame each other and listen to all the crap that’s said about us, how much we suck and how much every player sucks, and then let that affect us next week. But we’re not going to do that. We’re going to say, ‘OK, they played us well. They did things that they needed to do to win. We didn’t.’ But we have an important game this week and we have to be able to turn it around. That’s the attitude that we take. It has served us well over the years. We’re going to try to go out there and do a better job this week.”