When Patriots' coach Bill Belichick watches the game tape from Sunday's meeting with the Seahawks, he will undoubtedly be frustrated. Mistakes were a recurring theme in New England's third loss of the season, this one that dropped them to 3-3 (their worst start since 2005) and in a tie -- well, everybody else in the AFC East (the Jets would win the tiebreaker, by the way).
The Seahawks eked out a 24-23 win thanks in part to shutting down the Pats' running game, forcing Tom Brady into two interceptions, denying New England any points in two red-zone trips, and having rookie quarterback Russell Wilson outplay Brady.
Seattle outscored New England 14-3 in the fourth quarter, including two Wilson touchdown passes in the final 7:21 -- the first a 10-yarder to Braylon Edwards, the second, with 1:18 left, a back-breaking 46-yarder to a wide open Sidney Rice.
Brady, meanwhile, attempted 58 passes -- a career high -- and completed 36 for 395 yards. Perfectly Brady-like numbers but the squandered opportunities will haunt this team in the coming days. First, there was the drive at the end of the first half that, at worst, should've led to three points and a 20-10 Pats lead. Instead, Brady was flagged for intentional grounding, which incurred a 10-second runoff and, because there were fewer than 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter, halftime.
Coach Bill Belichick's explanation of what happened there: "We were trying to score."
Then there was the Brady interception in the Seahawks' end zone early in the fourth quarter with the Patriots leading 20-10. New England's defense would force a fumble two plays later so it didn't lead to Seattle points -- but it also meant that the Pats didn't score either. And when you lose 24-23, that's a huge issue.
Part of the problem is that Seattle's defense made New England one-dimensional. Coming off back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances for the first time since the 1970s, the Pats had just 87 yards on the ground on Sunday.
"This is a team that really forces you to throw the ball, based on the schemes that they play," Brady said after the game. "But whatever we do, we have to do it effectively and efficiently, whether it's running it or throwing it. We had some real good run plays in there. We had some good pass plays in there. I just thought that there was more in the running game and more in the passing game that we just didn't have. I thought that's why you come up one point short. …
"I thought we squandered quite a few opportunities today," Brady continued. "Certainly we have to do a better job, and it starts with me. … I just wish I just executed better, to tell you the truth. I don't think about the weather much. I just try to go out there and do my job the best I can, and obviously the throws that were under-thrown, I wish I did a better job putting it where the guy could catch it."
Brady conceded that "we lost to a good football team" before adding "We played some very good football today at times, but obviously it's just not good enough over the course of the game to come out on the winning end."
And no one would argue with that. The good news: New England is 3-3 and tied with the other three teams in the division. And now things really get interesting because the Pats host the Jets next Sunday.