Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday night's 41-34 loss to the 49ers. New England trailed by 28 points in the third quarter before mounting a furious rally that tied the score at 31, but the Niners regrouped and pulled out the win.
"When you dig yourself a hole, you've got to dig yourself out of it. We almost did, we just didn't do quite enough," Brady said. "There's really no mystery to not scoring points or scoring points for us as an offense. It's not like there's different plays we're calling. We're just doing a better job with the ones that are called when we're scoring points. I would say I'm really proud of the fact that our guys never blinked an eye down 28 points to probably the best defense in the league. We had confidence the whole way and we fought back to get to an even score and we just couldn't get over the hump."
Brady said he never doubted his team's ability to win, even when the Pats trailed by four touchdowns.
"When we were down 31-3 that was my thought. I didn't think anything different. I thought we were going to come back and win the game," Brady said. "A lot of our problems on offense were self-inflicted. I have a lot of respect for that [49ers] defense. They're very good -- they rush, they cover, they're physical, they force turnovers. It was just a sloppy game by us. It was a sloppy game by both teams in some respects. It was just, they weren't quite as sloppy as we were."
Added Brady: "You can't play, whatever, 25 minutes of good football against a good team. You can't do it."
The Patriots have been protective of the football this season, but they committed four costly turnovers Sunday night.
"It was sloppy on both ends. I think they fumbled three or four times and got them all back. We fumbled and didn't get them back," Brady said. "The interceptions, those were costly mistakes. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. I think the important thing is when you're playing in weather conditions like that, we've got to be more cognizant of taking care of the football. It's always our No. 1 goal every week. We talk about all the things we need to do to win the game, and we just don't do them. I'm sure that's what we're going to talk about today."
The Patriots failed on a fourth-and-1 from their 12-yard line with 2:20 remaining, setting up a 49ers field goal that put New England down 10 points. On the play, Brady overthrew running back Danny Woodhead.
"I just didn't put it where I wanted to put it," Brady said. "It would have been a tough catch for him to make. He played a hell of a game. He really found a lot of space in there, ran hard. But the fourth-and-1 play, I wish I would have been able to put it right in his hands."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On the Patriots' playoff standing: "We don't get too far beyond the next week's opponent. We haven't thought about bye, playoffs -- that's not really in our thought. It was about playing a very good team on Sunday Night Football and the things we needed to do to get that done. Now it's Jacksonville. Our season is not over by any means. We lost to a good team playing very average football. We're whatever, 10-4, and it's certainly not a great record. But it's where we deserve to be. We've got to be able to move on with mental toughness this week and put this loss behind us and go down to Jacksonville and try to win a football game."
On Stevan Ridley's benching following his fumble: "That's not my decision to decide who plays. I have a lot of confidence in all those backs, whether it's Shane [Vereen] or Stevan or Brandon [Bolden] or Woody [Danny Woodhead]. They're all very good backs, they've done great things for us over the course of the season, and we're going to need all of them. We all have bad plays in a game. We all have plays that contribute to us winning and losing games. That's part of team football. I think the great part about our team is nobody points fingers. Everyone evaluates what they need to do better. There's not one player that's responsible for this. It's all of us as players that have to do a better job."
On the 41-yard pass to Michael Hoomanawanui late in the third quarter that set up the Patriots' second touchdown: "That wasn't the way we drew it up in practice, I'll tell you that. Some of the plays got strung out a little longer than we anticipated yesterday. He did a great job running, making the catch, almost getting to the end zone. That was a big play in the game. There was a lot of excitement on our sideline, being able to find our way back and find our way after being down as many points as we were. It's just equally as frustrating when you go to the locker room after the game and you're not able to pull it out."
On his 65 pass attempts: "That's a lot of throws. I don't think that's what we were anticipating, especially in a rainstorm. That's not the kind of game you want to play. But that's the game we ended up playing. We kind of forced ourselves into that by being down 28 points. It just wasn't very good."
On the Connecticut school shooting: "Really a tragedy. Who knows why these things happen. You realize exactly what we did last night just pales in comparison to what the families of the victims are feeling this week. Our thoughts are with them. … As a parent, it strikes you -- the most innocent, beautiful children in the work that have so much of their lives ahead of them, and it gets taken away by an incident like this. It's just so tragic. … Let's hope something like that never happens again."