There's a long list of things that went wrong for the Patriots when they played the Eagles on Sunday. Excluded from that list, but clearly just as critical, were the injuries with which New England entered their Week 13 matchup.
No Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman -- both out for indefinite periods with knee and foot injuries, respectively -- meant that the Patriots had to play a clean game offensively to help make up for their losses. After a rare two-interception performance, Tom Brady indicated in an interview with WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show on Monday morning that his performance wasn't clean enough under the circumstances.
"Your margin of error is less," Brady said. "Especially when you make the mistakes that we made yesterday, you’re not giving yourself much of a chance. We as players have to clean that up. Whoever's out there has to do better than what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.
"There’s a fine line between winning football and not winning football. We’ve just been on the other end of it the last two weeks. In some ways it’s very disappointing. In other ways you realize that as bad as we’ve played in the last couple of weeks, we still had an opportunity to win the game. So in some ways you come out and you go, look, if we just play the way we’re capable of, we can beat anybody. We’re as good as anybody when we play the way that we’re capable of playing."
Brady helped the Patriots storm back in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game. His touchdown pass to Scott Chandler and quarterback sneak two-and-a-half minutes later gave his team an opportunity to tie it at the end of the game.
The fact that they fell short, though, rested on Brady's shoulders, he explained. He threw an interception at the goal line that was returned for a touchdown -- good for a 10 or 14-point swing -- and another in the third quarter that led to a 13-play Eagles touchdown drive.
"I think you always learn from the negatives," Brady said. "And then I think you obviously take some positives away from every game also. We do make some really good plays. We just I think in the last couple of weeks have made too many critical errors that really sucked the whole winning spirit out of you when you create some of those critical negative plays that we’ve been making."
Here are a few more quotes of note from Brady's WEEI interview on Monday . . .
On if Bill Belichick ever has ideas -- like the one to drop kick on Sunday -- questioned: "We always have confidence that we as players can make things happen. It’s great when a coach lets you be aggressive. I think we as players have to go out and execute our jobs better. So whether we go for it on fourth down, whether we try some aggressive plays in the kicking game, that’s just part of our job to go out there and execute it as best we can and give ourselves the best chance. I think the players like when coaches make decisions like that, because we know that he trusts us. Our defense was playing great. We thought we could get them off guard. It just ends up being a play that -- ultimately you just don’t go out and execute the way that we thought we were going to."
On if he was hit in the head on a third-and-one sneak for a first down early in the third quarter: "I’m always trying to get some type of call from the ref. I don’t think I’ve got one all year, other than the one on [Broncos linebacker] Von Miller, but I’m always, I would say, lobbying the refs for stuff."
On if he'll see the movie "Concussion," which is out on Christmas Day: "Yeah, of course. iIt’s really a hot topic. The previews and so forth . . . Concussions have been a significant issue for four or five years. It’s always been an issue. I think there’s just a lot more awareness now."
On Brady's 36-yard reception, which came one play before his second pick of the game: "We make a really good play, Danny [Amendola] makes a great throw, it was a great call by Josh [McDaniels]. And then the next play I make a bad decision. That’s part of, you move forward and then you move backwards, and you go forward and backwards. We’ve got to eliminate those types of mistakes where we shoot ourselves in the foot, basically. And I’m the one that’s responsible for making good decisions with the ball. And that was, like I said, just a poor decision."