Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, during his weekly Monday morning appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, lamented his team's lack of execution and consistency in Sunday's sloppy 23-16 victory over the Jaguars.
"It wasn't our best game," Brady said. "We've got to do a better job. We've got some pretty important weeks of football ahead, and that's when we really need to play our best. We just came out and got behind early, something you never really want to do on the road, and didn't really do too much to help our cause. That started really from the beginning of the game all the way to the end of the game. I wish we would have played better. We didn't. We're going to try to figure out how we can play better and hopefully go in there and improve this week."
Brady said the team had a good week of practice leading up to the game, making the slow start more frustrating.
"It was probably our best week," he said. "We were really prepared. We went down there, we were excited to play. It's just, our execution wasn't great in the game. Like I said, when you have a poor first quarter like we did -- our first 15 minutes were not very good. A team gains a lot of confidence in that -- the team you're playing. And then it ends up being a dogfight for 60 minutes, which it really was."
Added Brady: "Believe me, I'm happy we won the game. That's the most important thing, no question, is always winning. You could lose, then you really feel bad. But we were able to win the game, which is important. Just, hopefully we can go out and play better next week."
Brady appeared especially frustrated after failing to connect with Brandon Lloyd in the left corner of the end zone on a third-and-goal play in the first quarter.
"I was looking there for him. He kind of got the guy [Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox] turned around, from what I remember," Brady said. "And the guy recovered really nicely and kind of just got in the throwing lane. I thought Brandon was going to be wide open and the guy made a really good play to get up and kind of ran right for where we were trying to connect, which kind of surprised me. I thought that was a good defensive play after what looked like would have been a bad defensive play for them, he made a good play. Cox, he actually played a really good game all the way around."
Cox also had an interception in the first quarter, on a long pass over the middle intended for Lloyd.
"We were trying to get behind the defense," Brady recalled. "It was a play-action pass. Everyone pretty much bit up. Cox was behind Brandon. When I threw it, I actually didn't see the play. I kind of got turned around by one of the defensive linemen. So, I didn't see anything. Actually, when I threw it, I thought we completed it. So, I got up and I was looking downfield, and I saw Cox with the ball. I really didn't get a chance to see it. I'll have to see it on film to kind of see what happened. I knew that Brandon was there. Sometimes you give your receivers a shot to make the play. Cox just made a great play, making a play on the ball."
The Patriots host the Dolphins next Sunday afternoon in a game that was moved to a 4:25 start. The Patriots still have a shot at one of the top two seeds in the AFC, but Brady said he's not getting caught up in looking at the playoff scenarios.
"I don't really care. I [couldn't] care less," Brady said. "I would just like to go out there and play our best football here next week and beyond. I don't care who we play or where we play or when we play or the time or the place or the opponent. It's about us. We've lost four games this year. We were pretty capable of winning all four of those games. If it wasn't for some of our own mistakes that we made, we could have. I'm sure a lot of teams could say that, too. I have a lot confidence in our team and what we're doing. I just hope that our best football is still ahead of us."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On his comments critical of his team's performance in his postgame press conference: "I certainly felt that way. It's an emotional game. It was a hard-fought win. There's certainly a lot of emotions that I have after the game. I was very frustrated by the way we played yesterday. There's really no hiding it for me. I'd love for us to go out there and have our best week this week against Miami, and head into the playoffs feeling really good and confident about what we're trying to accomplish."
On Brandon Lloyd's ability to get open between the numbers and the sideline: "He certainly has a unique ability to create separation out there. His stop-and-start is amazing, his body control, he's got great hands, he's very smart and he makes some tough catches. He's done a great job out there. Especially when they're packing the coverage inside, his ability to go out there and make those plays down the field have been really key for us."
On Danny Woodhead: "He's had a great year. He's really a unique player. He's got so much poise back there. He's really improved since the day he got to our team, both in the run game -- he's always been a great runner, but as a receiver, too. He's very good in blitz pickup. He's a great Patriot. We rely on him heavily. He's really taken to that role and done great job with it."
On how he feels after taking some hard hits Sunday: "Yeah, just the normal bumps and bruises. That's part of football. That's part of playing. There's 19 weeks we've played. You have those little bumps. But I'll be fine."