BOSTON (CBS) — For the second straight week, Tom Brady made a very un-Tom-Brady-like play that cost the Patriots points.
Following New England’s second straight loss, this time to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Brady shouldered the blame for his poor decision.
“I just didn’t get the job done,” Brady said after Sunday’s 17-10 loss. “I have to figure out a way to do better.”
The play in question came with the Patriots trying to claw their way back, down 14-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Facing a second-and-4 from the Pittsburgh 16, Brady could feel some heat from the Steelers defense as he backpedaled.
He tried to throw the ball away, lofting it to the right sideline. The ball was supposed to harmlessly soar out of bounds, giving the Patriots another shot at the end zone. But Brady didn’t get enough air under the throw, and it floated right into the arms of the leaping Joe Haden.
The Steelers kicked a field goal on their ensuing possession, some much-needed breathing room for a team that was just hanging on all afternoon. Brady and the Patriots again drove down the field with a shot to tie the game on their final possession, but came up short when Brady’s final bid at the end zone was swatted away before it could get to Edelman.
The loss drops New England to 9-5 on the season, and into third place in the AFC playoff picture. For the second straight weekend, they missed their chance to clinch a playoff berth and the AFC East.
Brady finished the game completing 25 of his 36 pass attempts for 279 yards, a touchdown and that one costly interception.
“Just trying to throw it away and didn’t,” Brady said of the throw after the loss. “I was just trying to flick it out of bounds, didn’t want to take a sack. Just shouldn’t happen.”
Brady rarely misfires on throws like that, especially in such key moments. But paired with forgetting how many timeouts the Patriots had just ahead of halftime last week in Miami, he’s now made two costly mistakes in back-to-back weeks, both losses for the Patriots.
The Patriots played poorly on nearly every front Sunday afternoon. They were flagged for a ridiculous 14 penalties that cost them 106 yards, capped off with a costly holding flag on guard Shaq Mason on their final drive. That penalty pushed the Patriots out of the red zone, and Brady came up short on his three desperation attempts at the end of the game.
“We’re obviously not playing well enough to win and it can come in a lot of different ways,” said the quarterback. “Turnovers, just missed opportunities; I think that’s what it comes down to. Too many plays where we’ve got opportunities to do stuff with it and we don’t.
“That’s football. I wish the outcomes were different, obviously, this week and last week. But we just have to get back to work,” said Brady.
The Patriots close the regular season with home games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.