BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots offense showed some signs of life late against the Houston Texans, but by that point it was too late. The hole they dug themselves into was much too deep to get out of, and the Patriots lost for just the second time this season.

But their 28-22 defeat in Houston was a costly one, as New England dropped from the top spot in the AFC standings. Though Tom Brady threw three second-half touchdowns, including a pair to James White in the fourth quarter to make things interesting, the Patriots offense is trying to find their way with just a quarter of the regular season remaining.

“Just execution. We have to do a better job,” Brady said after the loss. “It’s tough to get behind and come back. We put ourselves in a pretty deep hole and you can’t do that on the road.”

The New England offense is still searching for answers at a time of the year when they usually have them all lined up.

“We’re battling, trying as hard as we can and hopefully we can make enough plays, and be the best we can be. It all remains to be seen,” said Brady. “You can make a bunch of predictions but that’s not what its about. It’s about going out and doing it. A lot of guys made some plays, we’ll try to build on it and try to do better next week.

Brady finished 24-of-47 for 326 yards and three touchdowns, but most of that came in the fourth quarter as the Patriots clawed their way back. That showed some promise for an otherwise anemic offense, but Brady said there is no consolation prizes in the NFL.

“We lost the game,” he replied. “We lost, we’ll learn from it and see if we can use things going forward.”

The frustration started early for Brady and company. They got down to the Houston 5-yard line on their first drive, but had to settle for a field goal. On their second possession, Brady threw a bad pick to Bradley Roby that set up Houston’s first touchdown and completely changed the momentum of the contest. Brady didn’t have too much to say about that miscue at the podium.

“I threw it and they got it. Bad result,” said the quarterback.

Brady went looking for N’Keal Harry on that interception, but the rookie slipped and Roby undercut his route. Brady didn’t make a particularly good throw on the play, but he seemed to blame Harry for the miscue. Brady did not throw Harry’s way the rest of the game.

And a few drives later when undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers broke off his route, resulting in another Patriots punt early in the second quarter, Brady had some words for his receiving corps on the bench. He was very animated as he tried to urge them to play faster, quicker and more explosive, but ultimately, those words didn’t mean much. New England hit the locker room down 14-3 at the break, and Brady had just a 28.8 QB rating for the first 30 minutes of the game.

“I think we’re all trying to do a good job out there,” he said of his pep talk. “I’ll give [the Texans] credit, they played well. We didn’t make enough plays and it just wasn’t a great game. … When you don’t play good you don’t win. We didn’t deserve it.”

 

Brady and the offense now have four games to figure it all out, but it won’t get any easier. The 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs will come to Gillette Stadium next weekend, and after a visit to the 1-11 Bengals, the Patriots will welcome the 9-3 Buffalo Bills to town for a game that has a lot more riding on it now that the Patriots have two losses.

Brady’s frustration with the offense continues, but he said his mindset remains the same.

“Just try to do a the best we can do out there. Try to do a better job in all areas,” he said. “We’ll see if we can get into a good place and put ourselves in a good position.”

 

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