FOXBOROUGH – They came back. But Vince Wilfork and the Patriots could not come all the way back in a wild game against a tough San Francisco 49ers team at Gillette Stadium Sunday night.
Wilfork talked about the Patriots ability to get things going after falling behind 31-3 in the third quarter.
“Yeah, we just dug ourselves a hole early and we couldn’t fight out of it,” Wilfork said. “But the way we played, we can’t beat anybody. We had opportunities, but we didn’t make anything happen with some opportunities and we left a lot of plays on the field. You have to give them credit. They came in, they capitalized on our mistakes and that’s what any good football team does. They were a better team tonight. They definitely were.”
For a team that had been playing solid football for the past couple of months, the Patriots looked like they weren’t ready for prime time Sunday night until it was too late.
“We have to be consistent,” Wilfork said. “Over the past few weeks and months, we were playing consistent. We were being consistent and tonight we were inconsistent. We made plays; we didn’t make plays. We played a brutal half and then all of a sudden in one quarter we came out and everything clicked. So we just have to be more consistent. We have to stick together. You know everything — character. It’s a test of character. We knew it was going to be a physically tough game and a mentally tough game. So we took one on the chin; we definitely did. But at the same time, this team showed some fight, but it just wasn’t enough at the end. We basically blew a half off and it cost us big time.”
The 49ers were who the Patriots thought they were, and nothing San Francisco did surprised them.
“They came in and they did what they do,” Wilfork said. “They didn’t change anything. They executed very well and we didn’t. In one quarter you saw us executing and we were on the field and off the field, on the field and off the field. The offense was scoring. I mean, it was like clockwork. But it just wasn’t enough. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t enough. They made a lot more plays than us. They executed at a high level and the gap was just too big.”
While Wilfork said the loss was upsetting, he said the team would learn from the miscues and move forward.
“You’re always upset,” Wilfork said. “Anytime you lose, you’re upset. But that’s a good football team. There are some things that we’re going to watch on film. We shot ourselves in the foot. It wasn’t those guys being great; it was just some of the things were bonehead plays from us and giving up plays we shouldn’t have given up. But, hey, what can you do? You live and you learn. You coach off of mistakes and you move forward. It’s not going to damper anything or any of our goals. We’re taking it one game at a time. So tonight we just weren’t the Patriots. We just didn’t play well.”
Wilfork, like most of Patriots Nation, was encouraged when New England tied the game at 31-31 and seemed to have momentum going in their favor.
“[I] always thought that we were in the game; we just needed to get on a roll,” Wilfork said. “When we’re on a roll, we play very well. But at the end of the day, when you blow off 30 minutes of a football game, it’s going to be tough to come [back] on any type of team, especially a very good team like the ‘9ers were. So we were lucky that we got it that close. But you know, we come in, we watch film, we make the corrections and we move forward. We don’t have time to cry over things and missed opportunities. You have to learn from them, you have to coach from them, you have to play better from them and you have to move forward. So it’s going to be critical for us to move forward — put one foot in front of the other and just keep grinding.”