Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was uncharacteristically brief in his postgame press conference  following Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Dolphins, joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to expound on his frustration about the disappointing loss.
The Patriots had the ball deep in Miami territory in the final seconds but could not get the go-ahead touchdown in the loss that prevented the Patriots from clinching the AFC East title and cost them the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
“That was really one that we let kind of get away,” Brady said. “We had a lot of great opportunities to win the game and win a division title and just came up short. It’s just frustrating all the way around. We got off to a better start than we got off to the previous, whatever, three or four weeks, and went in at halftime with the lead. It felt like we moved the ball pretty good all day, we just couldn’t get enough points on the board. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get the ball in the end zone.”
The Patriots are playing without a number of key offensive weapons — Rob Gronkowski being the latest to go down with his season-ending knee injury last Sunday — but Brady isn’t interested in using that as an excuse for the team’s offensive struggles.
“The truth is we had plenty of chances anyway, so I don’t think any of things really matter yesterday,” Brady said. “Is it great to have everyone healthy? Yeah, of course it is. But that didn’t matter yesterday. We had plenty of chances without those guys on the field. We just have to come up with ways to score more points, because it’s not going to cut it, 20 points.
“Like I said, we do things well enough at times to move the ball down the field, get ourselves in good position. But then we don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them.”
As frustrated as he is with his team’s inability to score on the final possession, Brady said it’s just as important that the Patriots find a way to finish drives earlier in the game.
“If we could score more points and make it tougher on the other team, it won’t always have to come down to a last-second play,” Brady said. “We’ve made plenty of them this year, which has been great. Yesterday we were right on the cusp there of doing it there again. We just didn’t quite do enough.”
Added Brady: “We just all have to do a better job, because our margin of error is very slim. We can’t make any mistakes or give them any opportunities. If we have plays that are there to be made, then I’ve got to throw it and hit it. We’ve got to come up with them.
“We’re not winning by 30 points. Every game comes down to the end. We’ve just got to do a better job when we have opportunities as a team in all three phases to make plays to help us secure wins.”
On Danny Amendola’s near-catch in the end zone on the final drive: “I saw him grab it, and then the guy must have just made a great play knocking it out. That was a great defensive play. Danny fought hard all day. It was one of the best games he’s played. He’s a fighter. He made some big catches there over the course of the whole game, so that was great to see.”
On Michael Hoomanawanui’s one-handed touchdown catch: “It was a great catch. I don’t know if the guy was holding his other arm or what happened. But he made a great catch on that. That was a big touchdown. Those are the kind of plays that we need, because we’re not going to be open by five yards every play. Especially down in the red area, we’ve got to make tough plays in tight windows and come up with tough catches, take some hits — like Julian [Edelman] did last week against Cleveland where he took that big hit in the back of the end zone. That’s football in the red area. We’ve got to be better in the red area. We’ve got to be better overall. It just sucks to lose.”
On Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and his dislike for Brady and the Patriots: “I’m sure he’ll be happy to tell you how he feels about me this week. He’s a great player. I was watching him last night. He’s still the great player that he’s been for a long time. He always sets the tone for that defense. He and [Elvis] Dumervil can really rush. It’s going to be another tough game on the road. We’ve had a bunch of them this year. We’ve come up with a few wins and lost four of them on the road. We’ve got to do a better job winning these games on the road and see if we can be mentally tough enough to come back and fight through it and see what we can make of it. Because we’re still in a decent position. We’ve just got to go out and win some ballgames.”
On playoff seeding: “It doesn’t matter at all. We haven’t even qualified for anything. We’ve got 10 wins, and 10 wins is fine, it’s OK. But it hasn’t gotten us anything. What we need to do is start playing better football. I think that’s the only thing I really care about, is us playing better football and seeing if we can do better on a more consistent basis. … Everyone up and down the roster has to do a better job, because, like I said, by no means are we running away from any team that we’re playing; we haven’t done it all year. We haven’t played well enough consistently to do that. If you’re going to get in these games every week, then when we have opportunities to do it we’ve got to take advantage. Yesterday we had opportunities to do better and we didn’t take advantage. That’s why we sit here pissed off about losses. It makes for a long week when you give a game away that you really have a great opportunity to win.”