And the questions keep rolling in for the Patriots in the wake of a crushing loss to the Colts.
In his weekly interview with WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” show, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady answered more questions about Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth down late Sunday night in Indianapolis. Some highlights of the Q&A follow:
Should Bill Belichick have admitted he made a bad decision?
Brady: “I’m not sure that I agree with you guys in that sense. There are 53 guys on the team. We all take part in the wins and the losses. There’s certainly things I could have done better out there to help us win the game. Obviously, it gets a lot of attention because it’s probably not the popular thing. But at the same time, it’s what coach felt was the best thing to do, and I think we’re all supportive of that. It’s just a very obviously easy argument for everybody and it’s a simple decision for everybody when you don’t take into consideration a lot of factors that happen over the course of a season or the course of a game. It’s one of those things where we played so well at times throughout the game, and in the end we didn’t execute when we really needed to execute. That’s what it comes down to.”
Surprised by Belichick’s decision to go for it?
Brady: “I wasn’t surprised. I was running off the field and the punt team was running on the field, and they were waving us back out there, so I was just trying to figure out what we were doing. It wasn’t like I was surprised that we were going for it. I thought this was the best opportunity for us to win the game. It really was. We have a very good offense. We have two downs to pick up two yards. If you’re going to tell me that we’re going to play the Colts, and we have to pick up two yards on two downs to win the game, I’d say I like our chances. So hindsight is always 20/20. And the reality is, coach Belichick made a decision, and the team is fully supportive of the decision. Like I said, I wish we would have made the play. I wish we would have made a bunch of other plays so it wouldn’t have come down to that. And there were still a lot of plays that were made after that and before that that we all as an offense and defense and special teams unit need to do better at. That was a very good game we played in a lot of ways. We just didn’t play for 60 minutes. Similar to the way it was in the AFC championship game a few years ago where we didn’t finish it off the way we could have. So, hopefully we learn from it and move forward and play better down the stretch.”
Why wasn’t the Kevin Faulk play a 3-4 yard out pattern to ensure a first down?
Brady: “Well, he was past the first-down mark, he just got pushed back. And they just didn’t give us the forward progress so… that was just the call the ref made. Tough to tell. I saw it on TV but I couldn’t really tell … I saw Kev’s feet were at the 31 yard line at one point so sometimes you get those calls, sometimes you don’t. We didn’t get it this time around. We’ve got seven games left. It’s really going to be determined what kind of team we are these last seven games.”
Do you agree with Tedy Bruschi that the call sent a bad message to the Patriots defense?
Brady: “I don’t know. I certainly don’t think that’s what Coach Belichick … I’ve known him very well. I’ve been a player under him for 10 years and we’ve been part of a lot of games with the Colts over the years where … they have a very explosive offense guys and it’s one of the best offenses in the league. They’re very productive scoring points. Before that last possession they went down the field in less than two minutes and scored and we lost a couple of our best pass rushers in Tully [Banta-Cain] who was banged up. Same thing happened in an AFC Championship game in 2006. We had a third and 4, we missed it, we punted to them. And they went down the field in less than two minutes to score again. Tedy [Bruschi] was on that field that day, so you can argue it a lot of ways. Had we punted the ball and they return it to the 50-yard-line then what do you say?. . .
“Listen, we lost the game and I understand the blame has to be placed somewhere and everyone always wants to point the finger and say ‘this is the reason, and this is the one reason why we lost,’ and the reality is there’s a lot of reasons why we lost that game. We were 3 of 6 in the red area, we had some real critical turnovers, we had some opportunities to get the ball in the end zone, we had an opportunity to run the clock out at the end of the game and we didn’t. And we as players are responsible for that. Everyone just wants to second-guess the decision, but believe me, I think as a team we don’t buy into that. We understand that’s one of many, many decisions that are made over the course of a game. I believe also when Coach Belichick says, ‘I thought that’s our best chance of winning the game,’ I believe him. And I really thought it was too. And I wish we would have done a better job executing those last couple of plays or else we’d be talking about how great of a win it was.”