BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots offense struggled in Buffalo on Sunday, but the team still hung on for a 16-10 victory thanks to their dominating defense. New England is now 4-0 on the young season, but listening to Tom Brady talk about the game on Monday, you’d think the Patriots were 0-4.
Brady had one of his worst games on Sunday, completing just 18 of his 39 passes for 150 yards. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, and threw a terrible interception in the end zone that cost the team points. The New England offense finished with just 224 yards, as they punted nine times on their 12 possessions. They could barely get anything going, going three-and-out seven times in the win.
Joining his pal Jim Gray on Westwood One before Monday Night Football, Brady still sounded pretty bummed about the offense’s performance in Buffalo.
“Listen, the flight home [Sunday] sucked. The night of sleep sucked. And you watch the film and that sucks,” Brady said eloquently. “Then you lick your wounds, you get up and try and do better the next week. We have lost a lot of games playing poorly and sometimes when you don’t play well on offense and you play well defensively you win. We’re not just going to give that game away and say it should have been a loss. Look, our defense has been playing great. Our offense has played pretty well over the course of the season, we just didn’t play well yesterday on the road in Buffalo, which a lot of teams have struggled there over the years. We’ve struggled there over the years even when we’ve had spectacular seasons.”
New England’s vaunted rush attack from last season has disappeared, thanks in large part to the loss of some rather large blockers on the offensive line. Left tackle Trent Brown is in Oakland, and his replacement, Isaiah Wynn, is currently on IR. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired over the offseason, leaving a giant void in the passing game and on the blocking front, and to make matters worse, fullback James Devlin landed on IR last week.
Free agency, retirements and injuries are nothing new in the NFL, and Brady says it’s up to New England’s veterans to pick up the slack on offense.
“That happens in the NFL. You lose players to other teams and lose players to retirement,” said Brady. “The reality of the NFL is other people have to step in and fill the void when you lose great players. The burden is always going to fall on somebody in football, someone always has the tough job. When you are a younger player you shouldn’t be the one everyone is counting on. The veteran players need to do that. Our veteran players need to do a great job, especially the ones on offense who have been around. I think that, from my standpoint, as an offense we’ve got to be able to do. Our veteran leaders on offense have to share more of the burden and then you let the younger guys continue to build and grow in their confidence so that you can somehow work the ball down the field and score some points.”
Brady sounded pretty down despite his team being 4-0, but he reassured everyone that winning is still fun in the NFL.
“Winning is definitely fun, and that is the goal every week,” he said. “At the end of the day we play for one reason and that’s to win. When you win the NFL, especially on the road against a divisional opponent, you feel good. It doesn’t come without a lot of frustration, because you do learn about yourself and things you have to improve on. [Sunday] was a tough day for us offensively and we didn’t play well in any area consistently. That factored into us scoring not many points.”
Brady added that the New England defense is playing the best football he’s ever seen them play, which has certainly helped make up for the offense’s struggles. He also said that the calf injury that has limited him in practice the last few weeks is not a concern, and that he felt great physically after Sunday’s game.
The Patriots look to improve to 5-0 on the season on Sunday when they visit the 0-4 Washington Redskins.