FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots earned a hard-fought win over a tough opponent to kick off the 2018 NFL season, but you might not have been able to tell by Tom Brady’s postgame demeanor.
Brady’s three touchdown passes helped lift the Patriots to a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. New England’s offense wasn’t woeful by any stretch, but the veteran quarterback believes the unit left a lot to be desired.
“I don’t think we played anywhere near what are capabilities are,” Brady said. “I think it’s good to win, obviously. But we got to do a lot better than that. Just turning the ball over and not taking advantage of some opportunities that we had out there. All of us probably look at the game and realize we could have done things differently.”
The cohesion of the Patriots’ pass attack was somewhat surprising given the handful of new faces on offense. While the common fan and analyst alike might have had tempered expectations for Brady and Co. heading into the new season, the 41-year-old isn’t going to settle for anything less than the high standard set by the team, regardless of who is on the field.
“That’s the point of playing football,” Brady said. “It’s not, ‘Oh, this guy — this is what his level of expectations is, that’s what we should put the team’s expectation at.’ If you’re playing in the slot, you got to play as well as any slot receiver we’ve ever had. If you play on the perimeter, you’ve got to play as well as any receiver we’ve ever had. Tight end, quarterback, running back. And guys can play up to that, and I think you can’t sit there and coach or communicate and go, ‘Oh, that’s OK, you’re not quite there yet.’ I think you’ve got to coach hard and you got to correct guys and correct yourself and have high expectations for yourself and that’s how you have high expectations for the team.”
The Patriots, of course, must be pleased to open up the campaign with a win, but the belief throughout the locker room was that there’s much to be improved upon heading into next week. That notion likely is even truer given the Patriots’ next opponent, as the Jacksonville Jaguars will be itching to do battle in a 2018 AFC Championship Game rematch on their home turf.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports