FOXBORO – Before Sunday night, the Patriots hadn’t lost a game they tried to win since last November 30 in Green Bay. The taste of defeat isn’t sitting pleasantly in Tom Brady’s mouth this week.
“I think we all want to get back out there because it's been a long time since we've lost a meaningful game,” Brady said Wednesday. “It just sucks. It is always hard to win, especially going on the road against good teams and you've got to play really well. And when that game ends, you've got to, as fast as you can, turn the page and move on. So we've got to move on with obviously some different challenges, whether that's personnel-related, whether that's scheme-related. Every week presents different challenges, and I think as a player, you just have to start every week with a fresh slate. You really put everything you can into it, 100 percent of your energy and emotion, and then you go out and you try to do it again.”
Sunday night’s loss was a particularly grueling one. First, it was a game New England had taken full control of – an unlikely development considering the duct-taped offense they were running – and then saw it slowly slip away. There were officiating calls that caused Brady in particular to go from relieved to apoplectic (Rob Gronkowski’s offensive pass interference). There was another injury to a key player (Gronk).
There was an unlikely march to send the game to overtime and then a decisive and anticlimactic (for New England) ending. Then a four-hour flight home.
And at the end of all that, it came time to figure out how to piece it together for this week against the Eagles.
Brady acknowledged that coming up with a plan for Sunday is all-consuming on Mondays and Tuesdays, especially with so many players out of the lineup.
“A lot what the coaches try to do on Mondays and Tuesdays is figure out scheme-wise how we're going to try to move the ball down the field,” said Brady. “It does take on a little bit of a different approach when certain guys are missing because it's just pretty natural for you to do as an offense because different guys have different skillsets. When a certain player is in there, you may do something really well, and then when he goes out, another guy who goes in that position might do something else well and you try to do those things. I think it's just a concerted effort by everybody, the coaches and the players, to try to get to the things that we're good at versus the things that they're not good at, which is obviously a big challenge. That's why it's hard to win every week because every week changes and the availability of players change and schemes change. It's just, it's always very challenging.”
The Patriots are 10-1 and going against a reeling Eagles team that embarrassed itself on Thanksgiving. New England, which rarely fails to close out games it leads after 30 minutes and almost never burps up leads in the fourth, will be driven to finish against Philly.
“Playing for 60 minutes against good opponents, you have to do that,” said Brady. “You can't just play 45 good minutes or 30 good minutes. Some weeks you get away with it and I'd say you get lucky. Most of the time you've got to play to the end and hope that you play with concentration, that you play with all the energy, and focus all the way until the game ends. If you don't, then one play changes games, and that was just one of those situations last week where we didn't play as well as we would've liked to for 60 minutes. We get an opportunity this week to do that. It's a good team that's got a lot of guys coming back. They have their own challenges that they present to us, and we're going to have to do a good job.”