One of the defining images of Sunday night’s Patriots loss was that of Tom Brady, seated on the bench as New England punted, imploring his receivers to elevate their game.
This outburst, which NBC cameras captured, came after rookie wideout Jakobi Meyers cut his route short while Brady scrambled out of the pocket on third down. Brady had wanted Meyers to take off downfield — one of several apparent miscommunications between the 42-year-old quarterback and his pass-catchers in a 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans.
During an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One Radio’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show, Brady explained the message he was trying to convey. That message included words like “faster” and “more aggressive,” as well as a few expletives.
“I do that quite a bit in practice,” Brady told Gray. “I know they don’t always pick it up when I do speak, but I speak a lot in meetings, on the practice field and certainly in the games and in the huddle. I’m just trying to communicate what I see. A lot of other guys are doing the same thing.
“t was a tough game (Sunday) night. (The Texans) came out and played really well, and they played very aggressively. When that happens, you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to try to match it. They got off to a great start, and we tried to battle back and just came up short in the end.”
Meyers wasn’t the only Patriots wideout to get his signals crossed Sunday night. Veteran Phillip Dorsett ran a curl when Brady was expecting a deep route, and even the thoroughly trusted Julian Edelman, who led all receivers with 106 yards on six catches in the loss, appeared to read a coverage differently than his quarterback in one instance.
Asked how he balances the ways different players react to constructive criticism, Brady replied: “You just try to do the best you can,”
“You know the players and the personalities as much as you can, and we spend a lot of time together,” he said. “I think everybody is open to being constructive, and I think there’s an element of emotion that we have on the football field. Everybody has it. Different players have it, coaches have it. If you don’t play with emotion, you’re probably going to get beat, and I think everyone was trying to raise their level as we went into the game (Sunday) night.
“We’ve got a lot of hard-working guys. We’ve got a lot of guys that are fighting extremely hard to do a great job, and we’re going to have to really ramp it up — all of us — to achieve our goals. So it’s going to be all about our hard work, our commitment, our determination and our process to be the best we can be that’s going to show what this team is all about and what we can make of this season.”
The loss dropped the Patriots to 10-2 on the season. They no longer control their own destiny in the battle for home-field advantage in the AFC, as the Baltimore Ravens now occupy the conference’s No. 1 spot with four games to play.
The Patriots will host Patrick Mahomes and the 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game.
Thumbnail photo via Thomas B. Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images