Tom Brady and the Patriots came up short of the end zone on the final drive against the Steelers on Sunday, resulting in an unexpected loss in Pittsburgh.
On Monday morning, Brady called in for his weekly interview on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan.” He discussed a number of topics relating to the disappointing loss, including Josh Gordon’s role, the piling up of penalties, and the circumstances of the final few plays of the game.
The Patriots started well on offense, with Chris Hogan getting free to catch a 63-yard touchdown. After that, however, things didn’t go as planned for New England.
“It was a good play by Chris,” said Brady. “It was obviously the way we wanted to start. And then too many missed opportunities from there on out, certainly with those drives after and in the first half. [We] came up short on a couple third downs and a few other opportunities in the passing game.”
“Just a frustrating day,” Brady summarized.
The Patriots were penalized 14 times for 106 yards during the game, including at several important moments on offensive drives. Asked if he was frustrated with the officials’ interpretations of holding, Brady noted that he asked for clarification on the calls.
“I think it’s been called pretty consistently over the years and I did ask yesterday a couple times, ‘Are these blatant holdings?'” said Brady. “Because a lot of time, my back’s turned and it’s so hard to tell on the film and so forth. It’s just a tough way to go about the game. And we had some real positive plays and when you just negate those positive plays, it’s tough to overcome.”
The final drive from the Patriots started off well, with Brady and the offense moving downfield quickly. Yet on the threshold of scoring a touchdown, New England fell short.
“We had the pass to Julian [Edelman] and then we had a couple of passes to James [White] and got out of bounds,” said Brady. “I think it was second-and-5 on the 11. That was a great opportunity. They got a little pressure, I threw it away, and unfortunately we got the holding call on that one, which I thought I threw it pretty quick. They got some inside pressure and I was just trying to get rid of it and give ourselves another chance. And then, we got pushed back to the 21.”
And Brady offered his thoughts on the final play.
“Well, you’re fighting a couple things at that point,” Brady explained. “You’re fighting the clock, so it’s hard to really throw the ball in the field of play, because you’re not sure if you’re going to get another play off, even though we could’ve gotten maybe a first down. We didn’t have enough time, so they kind of sensed the goal line. I was just telling guys to try [to] find a place for me to get the ball. Try to put your body in position between the defender. It’s just a tough play any way you cut it. They’ve got a lot of guys looking at the ball. Your eyes are trying to run vertical. They played it well.”
“We just had too many missed opportunities,” Brady concluded.
Asked why his top receiver wasn’t on the field for the final play, Brady gave an unspecific answer.
“I don’t think it was anything in particular,” Brady said. “I mean those guys were running a lot of downfield throws. Josh is kind of our downfield receiver, so maybe they just subbed him at the last minute. I’m not sure.”
Looking ahead to the Patriots’ final two games, Brady highlighted one silver lining.
“The one positive is guys are healthy,” Brady noted. “Anytime you come out of a game healthy, that gives you a pretty good chance the next week. So, we have a lot of football ahead of us.”