Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly Patriots Monday appearance on Dennis & Callahan to recap Sunday's frustrating 20-18 loss to the Cardinals. The Patriots lost the game when Stephen Gostkowski's last-second field goal attempt went wide left, but Brady said the kicker doesn't deserve to shoulder the blame.
"He always makes those," Brady said. "He's been the best kicker, the most accurate kicker in the history of our team. He's a great kicker. Everyone's confident, he was confident, sometimes you just miss them. Sometimes as a quarterback you just miss a throw, sometimes as a linebacker you just miss a tackle or you drop a ball. That's just football. It's never one play. … It's easy now to point a finger at one player or one play. But the reality is it was a lot of plays by a lot of guys where we need to do a better job so that it doesn't come down to a kick at the end of the game."
The offense struggled all day, and there has been speculation that the team could not adjust after tight end Aaron Hernandez left the game in the first quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
"I didn't really feel that way," Brady said. "He's a big part of what we do and he's out there on the field quite a bit. I thought we just pretty much moved on, though, tried to adjust with some different personnel groupings and formations and such. But I don't think we were really shell-shocked that he wasn't in there. I thought we tried to react -- and we didn't have a great first half, by any stretch. But we fought hard in the second half and fought hard to the end.
"It was pretty amazing the defense got that turnover. I never saw that. That was unbelievable for them to make that play at the end of the game to get us the ball back. They played great all day. Those guys played their hearts out.
"It's really, you win as a team, you lose as a team. That's always what we've been about. That's what we always will be about. And all of us will nitpick the things that we need to do better. Because it's a long season, we've got a long way to go. When you lose, it stings, and you really self-reflect. Hopefully we can go and have a much better week this week."
Wes Welker did not start the game and, for the second straight week, had a lighter workload than he traditionally has had during his tenure in New England. Brady tried to play down an issue that has many speculating the receiver is being held back for some undisclosed reason.
"It was just a personnel grouping where he's not in the game," Brady said. "We have a lot of different personnel groupings with him in the game. There's a lot of guys on the roster, and we're trying to utilize every player so that at the end of the year one guys doesn't have 700 plays and another guy has 50 plays. Hopefully everyone can contribute and have opportunity and be fresh and stay healthy. Because we need everybody. It's a long year."
Following the loss, a few Patriots indicated that the practices leading up to the game gave an indication that the team was not in sync.
"Some days you have good days of practice, other days you don't," Brady said. "Over the course of a long week, all your preparation, how you play on Sunday often is a reflection of how you practice over the course of the week. When we're inconsistent in practice, we're inconsistent in games. We've got to find a way to be better in practice."
Added Brady: "It's the second week of the year. It's not like we've got everything figured out as a team yet in practice or in games, obviously. The way we played yesterday is probably pretty much the way we practiced last week; it was just up and down. We make good plays and then we make bad plays, and good plays and bad plays. The problem with that offensively -- or defensively -- is you can't string together drives. That was our problem yesterday."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On if he was surprised by the Cardinals, who came in as big underdogs: "They pretty much did what they did all day and pretty much what they've been doing all preseason, and even going into last year. So, it wasn't a ton that really surprised us. It was just a matter of, really, they have a good team. They have some very, very good players, very disruptive front, good guys in coverage, they disguise things pretty well. But our execution wasn't great, even when we really had them figured out. That's why you get beat, is you have chances to make plays and you just don't make them."
On if the Patriots overlooked the Cardinals: "This is a team, though, that had won eight of their last 10 dating back to last year, so now it's nine of 11. We talked about them all week about being a team that plays hard for 60 minutes, that wins a lot of close games; they were 4-0 in overtime last year. So, you know the principles of what they're built on and what they're capable of. I don't think we took them lightly at all. I thought we prepared hard. Everyone's trying to do the right thing. There's a lot of effort. It's just the execution. That requires more attention to detail and more concentration. And that's what we've got to try to do a better job of. … You can never overlook a team. And we certainly never have done that and we never will do that. I think what happened yesterday is we just didn't play the way that we needed to be able to play for 60 minutes to win a game. Until we do that, they're going to be very competitive, like they were yesterday."
On Welker: "I love Wes. He's like one of my best friends. What he does on a daily basis to prepare himself really motivates everybody else. He's a leader. He's so tough. I've been in so many critical, critical situations with him where he's worked so hard to do the right thing and vein the right place and make the play. He's a phenomenal player."