For the first 40 minutes or so of Sunday night's game against the 49ers, there weren't many positives to build on. And then, almost out of nowhere, the Patriots remembered how to play football and scored 28 unanswered points to tie the score, 31-31. It wasn't enough, though, and San Francisco went on to win 41-34.
Still, quarterback Tom Brady never lost confidence in his team, probably because he's, you know, Tom Brady. And while he's rarely asked to come back from a four-touchdown deficit, he knows a thing or two about putting points on the board in a hurry.
"When we were down 31-3, that was my thought," Brady said during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI (via ESPNBoston.com). "I didn't think anything different. I thought we were going to come back and win the game, and a lot of our problems on offense were self-inflicted. I have a lot of respect for that defense. They're very good; they rush, they cover, they're physical, they force turnovers. It was just a sloppy game by us."
So why was Brady so sure given that the lopsided state of the scoreboard?
"Because I look around at the quality and character of the guys that we've got, and I have a lot of confidence that we could do it," he said. "It's not that I was worried we couldn't score points. We put together, I don't know, was it four touchdown drives in a row? That's pretty good. You can't play, whatever, 25 minutes of good football against a team; you can't do it."
Ultimately, not even strength of character was enough. It also didn't help that the Patriots struggled to execute, something that rarely happens with a Bill Belichick coached team.
"We turned the ball over early, we had missed opportunities on third down. If you can't really sustain the drives and you keep giving them the ball, you're not going to score points. It's going to look pretty bad. But when you're making the plays that are there, and when you're making big plays, and we made a bunch of them, you score points. And that was the difference. It's not the plays, it's what we do as players to make those plays."
And Belichick pretty much agreed with those sentiments when he spoke to the media Monday morning.
"After watching the film, I don’t feel much differently than I did last night," he said. "We just didn’t do anything very well or certainly well enough with any kind of consistency. There were times when we had our moments but not enough of them, not consistently enough. We just didn’t coach well enough, didn’t play well enough, didn’t execute well enough; too many things we had to overcome in every area. It wasn’t anything that stood out above the rest; it was just too many problems. We all can do a better job than that; it’s just not winning football."
If history is any guide, we're guessing the Pats get back to "winning football" this Sunday.