There are all kinds of words that could describe New England's 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night: wild, unpredictable, exciting. But Tom Brady chose another word when he joined WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show Monday morning.
"It was a sloppy game by us," Brady said. "It was a sloppy game by both teams, in some respects. It was just, they weren't quite as sloppy as we were."
The Patriots are usually anything but sloppy. They led the league in turnover differential headed into last night's game at plus-24. Led by Brady, they took care of the ball as well or better than any team in the NFL.
But in the middle of a rainstorm, Brady threw two interceptions and the Patriots lost two fumbles (one lost by running back Stevan Ridley, the other by Shane Vereen) to help San Francisco head home with a win.
San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick threw a pick and the Niners offense fumbled six times, but the Patriots recovered just one.
"It was sloppy on both ends," Brady added. "I think they fumbled three or four times and got them all back. We fumbled and didn't get them back. The interceptions, those were costly mistakes. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. I think the important thing is when you're playing in weather conditions like that, we've got to be more cognizant of taking care of the football. It's always our No. 1 goal every week. We talk about all the things we need to do to win the game, and we just don't do them. I'm sure that's what we're going to talk about today."
Despite New England's mistakes, and despite the fact that the Patriots got down 31-3 in the third quarter, Brady said he never gave up hope that his team still could win the game.
"When we were down 31-3 that was my thought," Brady noted. "I didn't think anything different. I thought we were going to come back and win the game. A lot of our problems on offense were self-inflicted."
"When you dig yourself a hole, you've got to dig yourself out of it," Brady continued. "We almost did, we just didn't do quite enough. There's really no mystery to not scoring points or scoring points for us as an offense. It's not like there's different plays we're calling. We're just doing a better job with the ones that are called when we're scoring points. I would say I'm really proud of the fact that our guys never blinked an eye down 28 points to probably the best defense in the league. We had confidence the whole way and we fought back to get to an even score and we just couldn't get over the hump."
And so they're left with a loss and decidedly bitter taste in their mouths.
"You can't play, whatever, 25 minutes of good football against a good team," he said. "You can't do it."
Here are a few more highlights from Brady's interview:
On playoff seeding
"We don't get too far beyond the next week's opponent. We haven't thought about bye, playoffs -- that's not really in our thought. It was about playing a very good team on Sunday Night Football and the things we needed to do to get that done. Now it's Jacksonville. Our season is not over by any means. We lost to a good team playing very average football. We're whatever, 10-4, and it's certainly not a great record. But it's where we deserve to be. We've got to be able to move on with mental toughness this week and put this loss behind us and go down to Jacksonville and try to win a football game."
On his busy night -- 65 pass attempts
"That's a lot of throws. I don't think that's what we were anticipating, especially in a rainstorm. That's not the kind of game you want to play. But that's the game we ended up playing. We kind of forced ourselves into that by being down 28 points. It just wasn't very good."
On Michael Hoomanawanui's 41-yard catch that helped spark the comeback
"That wasn't the way we drew it up in practice, I'll tell you that. Some of the plays got strung out a little longer than we anticipated yesterday. He did a great job running, making the catch, almost getting to the end zone. That was a big play in the game. There was a lot of excitement on our sideline, being able to find our way back and find our way after being down as many points as we were. It's just equally as frustrating when you go to the locker room after the game and you're not able to pull it out."
On Patriots running backs and their playing time
"That's not my decision to decide who plays. I have a lot of confidence in all those backs, whether it's Shane Vereen or Stevan or Brandon Bolden or Woody Danny Woodhead. They're all very good backs, they've done great things for us over the course of the season, and we're going to need all of them. We all have bad plays in a game. We all have plays that contribute to us winning and losing games. That's part of team football. I think the great part about our team is nobody points fingers. Everyone evaluates what they need to do better. There's not one player that's responsible for this. It's all of us as players that have to do a better job."