After the Patriots’ 17-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh Sunday, Tom Brady was asked what he would tell the folks back home panicking as New England dropped to 9-5.
“We’re still in a decent position,” the quarterback reassured fans. “We’re ahead in our division and we got a lot of football ahead. We just have to look at it as an opportunity to learn from what happened this week and what happened last week and go out there and have a great week.”
Brady went 25 for 36 for 279 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in the Patriots’ second-straight defeat. He noted he wished the outcomes were different, but said New England will learn from the loss, work harder on the practice field this week, and execute better next weekend.
The lone interception for the 41-year-old came in the second quarter, when he heaved a pass in Julian Edelman’s direction on 2nd-and-goal and instead found Steelers cornerback Joe Haden. Haden leaped to catch the pass and touched both feet in bounds along the sideline to complete the turnover.
“Just trying to throw it away and didn’t,” Brady said of the play. “I was just trying to flick it out of bounds. Didn’t want to take a sack. Shouldn’t happen.”
Brady gave the Steelers credit for making important plays when they needed to, adding that the Patriots defense and special teams both played great. That leaves the New England offense, of course, which he said has “just gotta do better offensively. Tough loss.”
Two of the talking points after the game were the Patriots’ penalties (season-high 14 for 106 yards) and the Steelers’ ability to corral tight end Rob Gronkowski (two catches for 21 yards) for much of the evening.
Regarding the penalties — in particular the three pre-snap flags that set them back inside the red zone — Brady said he hadn’t yet seen replays of the calls. However, he did note that “Obviously there’s holding on every play in the NFL. That’s what we do. We hold. It’s just whether you get called or not and if they’re calling it then you just gotta do a little less of it. That’s how you block. You hold.”
As for how Pittsburgh kept Gronkowski quiet, at least until the second-to-last Patriots drive, Brady said, “I’m not sure.”
“I think they were obviously conscious of where he was at. There was some doubles they had on him, some doubles they had on Julian. But Rob made some big plays for us.”
Brady looked for his tight end three straight times on the final New England possession. The first two sailed through the end zone, while the third was batted down as the Steelers turned the Patriots over on downs and kicked off their celebrations.
The Patriots are back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium against the Buffalo Bills.