Tom Brady gave his receivers an earful on the sideline Sunday during the New England Patriots’ 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans.

It sure seemed like a motivational tactic from the Patriots quarterback, who didn’t appear to be on the same page as his weapons in New England’s defeat, but Jason Whitlock explained Monday on FS1’s “Speak for Yourself” that he believes there was more to Brady’s message.

“I’m not saying this as a negative. I just think this guy’s brilliant. But I think his words to (Julian) Edelman and (Phillip) Dorsett were calculated, just like I think the little postgame press conference a couple of weeks ago when he was all sad and wouldn’t answer questions, it was all calculated,” Whitlock said. “He’s trying to scream to (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft: ‘I need help.’

“Edelman and Dorsett are not going to get any faster, any quicker. That is calculated. This dude knows a camera follows him around, and the way he was speaking he knows it was going to be lip read and everybody can hear what he was saying. This guy knows he needs more help, wanted (Antonio Brown) back and they’re not gonna get AB back. I don’t think in previous years he’d be doing this.”

Whitlock took things a step further, suggesting — like many other pundits have, as well — that the Patriots’ offense would benefit from a reunion with All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, whom New England released back in September after just one game amid some troubling allegations of sexual misconduct, and that Brady’s sideline rant was an attempt to hammer home that point.

“I honestly I think those words are intended for (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft: ‘I need AB,’ ” Whitlock said. “And that’s why, again, I think AB thinks that, too. That’s why he was tweeting about it. And that’s why when the word came out (Sunday), like damn, Brady, it didn’t work. ‘I tried two weeks ago to throw a tantrum at the podium. It didn’t work. This didn’t work.’ Now, AB’s said, ‘OK, I’m not coming back to the Patriots… ‘ ”

Although Whitlock is all over the place in breaking down Brady’s supposed message to the Patriots, the sentiment is clear: He believes Brady would like Brown to rejoin the Patriots, who desperately need an offensive spark after dropping two of their last four games on the heels of an eight-game winning streak to begin the season.

“This is passive aggressive,” Whitlock said of Brady’s heated sideline moment. “It’s brilliant, in my opinion.”

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images