The Patriots have been adjusting to injuries all season, but Tom Brady isn’t leaning on that as an excuse for the team’s struggles on offense.
With countless players landing on injured reserve this season, the Patriots have been forced to realign their strategy on both sides of the ball on what seems like a weekly basis. Rob Gronkowski‘s season-ending knee injury last week was just the most recent case of one of the Patriots’ core players going down, and his absence was noticeable on Sunday, especially inside the red zone, where New England scored just one touchdown on four trips.
Brady was without three of his primary weapons on Sunday in Miami, with rookies Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) also among those unavailable. That left Brady with a depleted receiving corps and fewer options to complete yet another fourth-quarter comeback. Even so, Brady wasn’t leaning on the injury excuse as a reason for Sunday’s letdown, instead putting the blame squarely on himself and the other guys who were out there.
“The truth is we had plenty of chances anyway, so I don’t think any of [the injuries] really matter yesterday,” Brady said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning. “Is it great to have everyone healthy? Yeah, of course it is. But that didn’t matter yesterday. We had plenty of chances without those guys on the field. We just have to come up with ways to score more points, because it’s not going to cut it, 20 points.”
The Patriots have become known for their late-game heroics this season, winning five games on fourth-quarter comebacks already, including three straight ahead of Sunday’s loss. While resiliency is an encouraging quality for the Patriots with the playoffs looming, Brady is hoping that they won’t need to rely on such comebacks come January.
“If we could score more points and make it tougher on the other team, it won’t always have to come down to a last-second play,” Brady said. “We’ve made plenty of them this year, which has been great. Yesterday we were right on the cusp there of doing it there again. We just didn’t quite do enough.”
The Patriots dropped to 10-4 on the season with Sunday’s loss, but they can still clinch a playoff spot this week, if the Lions beat the Ravens on Monday night. Even if that does happen, the Patriots have plenty left to play for before the postseason, as they are still very much in control of both the AFC East and a first-round bye.
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