The usually high-powered offense was neutralized by the Arizona Cardinals defense, and the upstart Cardinals escaped with a 20-18 win.
It was an odd game for the Patriots, with the defense outperforming the offense. New England's offense was never able to find any sort of rhythm, and Tom Brady was uncharacteristically erratic, completing 28 of 46 passes for 316 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"It's the second week of the year," Brady explained during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Morning Show. "It's not like we've got everything figured out as a team yet in practice or in games, obviously. The way we played [Sunday] is probably pretty much the way we practiced last week; it was just up and down.
We make good plays and then we make bad plays, and good plays and bad plays. The problem with that offensively — or defensively — is you can't string together drives. That was our problem [Sunday]."
However, the loss of Aaron Hernandez to an ankle injury didn't make things any easier for the Patriots. The tight end's injury wasn't what slowed the New England offense, at least not according to Brady.
"He's a big part of what we do and he's out there on the field quite a bit," Brady said. "I thought we just pretty much moved on, though, tried to adjust with some different personnel groupings and formations and such. But I don't think we were really shell-shocked that he wasn't in there. I thought we tried to react — and we didn't have a great first half, by any stretch. But we fought hard in the second half and fought hard to the end."
Brady also spoke about Wes Welker, after the receiver was seemingly limited — at least in terms of snaps — for the second consecutive week.
"I love Wes. He's like one of my best friends. What he does on a daily basis to prepare himself really motivates everybody else. He's a leader. He's so tough. I've been in so many critical, critical situations with him where he's worked so hard to do the right thing and vein the right place and make the play. He's a phenomenal player."
It won't be much easier for Brady and the Patriots offense next week, when they host Baltimore on Sunday night.