Tom Brady Challenges Patriots Veterans To Step Up After Sloppy Win Over Bills

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Tom Brady shared some candid thoughts about Sunday’s rough day for the New England Patriots’ offense Monday during an interview with Jim Gray.

During Westwood One Radio’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show, Gray asked Brady whether he feels like his “hands are kind of tied” after the Patriots lost left tackle Trent Brown in free agency and “basically (didn’t) replace” star tight end Rob Gronkowski following his retirement.

The Patriots have been forced to start veteran journeyman Marshall Newhouse at left tackle after Brown’s promising replacement, Isaiah Wynn, landed on injured reserve two weeks into the season, and tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse have combined for just four catches in four games.

New England’s offense as a whole sagged Sunday in Buffalo, managing just nine points and going three-and-out seven times in a 16-10 victory over the Bills.

“Listen, that happens in the NFL,” Brady told Gray. “You lose players to retirement. You lose players to other teams. I think those guys who are in there are doing the best they can do. They’re new to the team. They’re getting some opportunity. The reality of the NFL is other people have to step in and fill the void when you lose great players.

“The burden is always going to fall on somebody in football. Somebody’s always got the tough job. When you’re a younger player, you shouldn’t be the one that everyone’s counting on. The veteran players need to do that. Our veteran players need to do a great job, especially the ones on offense who have been around.

“I think that’s what, from my standpoint, as an offense, we’ve got to be able to do. Our veteran leaders on offense have to share more of the burden, and then you let the younger guys continue to build and grow in their confidence so that you can somehow work the way down the field to score some points.”

Though running back James White turned in a solid performance with eight catches on 10 targets for 53 yards, most of New England’s prominent offensive pieces struggled against the Bills’ formidable defense.

Wide receivers Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett combined for five catches on 16 targets for 56 yards and often failed to create separation. Running back Sony Michel opened the game with a 15-yard run but averaged an even 3.0 yards per carry thereafter. Wideout Julian Edelman (four catches, 30 yards) and running back Rex Burkhead (one catch, 7 yards; zero carries) clearly were limited with injuries.

And Brady himself had one of the worst performances of his Patriots career, averaging a woeful 3.8 yards per pass attempt and throwing an interception in the end zone.

“The flight home (Sunday) sucked,” the quarterback told Gray. “The night of sleep sucked. You watch the film, and that sucks, and then you lick your wounds, and you get up and you try to do better the next week.”

Though Brady clearly wasn’t pleased with his or his team’s latest showing, New England’s offense looked plenty potent in Weeks 1 through 3. They hung 33 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers, 43 on the Miami Dolphins and 30 on the New York Jets and enter Week 5 ranked fifth in the NFL in points per game (30.5).

Next up for the Patriots is a matchup with a Washington Redskins team that’s allowed more points (29.5 per game) than all but one team this season.

“We’ve lost a lot of games playing poorly, and sometimes, when you don’t play well on offense but you play well defensively, you win,” Brady said. “We’re not just going to give that game away and say it should have been a loss. Look, our defense is playing great. Our offense has played pretty well over the course of the season. We just didn’t play well (Sunday) on the road in Buffalo, which a lot of teams have struggled there over the years.”

Thumbnail photo via Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images

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