After blowing a 21-point lead in a loss to Buffalo on Sunday, the Patriots find themselves trying to avoid a .500 start instead of making a big run through the early part of their schedule.
New England was still a little stunned Monday. The Patriots often jump out to big leads, but rarely let them slip away -- especially against the Bills. And Tom Brady regularly throws for hundreds of yards and multiple touchdowns, not interceptions.
Brady matched his career worst with four picks on Sunday and the defense couldn't hold the big lead, allowing the Bills 448 yards of offense as Buffalo rallied and won 34-31 on a last-second field goal. The winning kick was set up by a 38-yard pass on one of several defensive breakdowns by New England.
"The game came down to us on the defensive side of the ball and we just didn't make the plays that were needed to win the game," linebacker Jerod Mayo said Monday. "Plays were being made on both sides of the ball. Buffalo just made more."
So instead of playing for a 4-0 start, the Patriots will be trying to avoid opening the season 2-2 when they visit Oakland on Sunday. The surprising Raiders are also 2-1 and could really set back the Patriots before they return home for their first showdown of the season against the rival New York Jets on Oct. 9.
The loss overshadowed a record start for Brady, whose 1,327 yards passing are the most in any three-week span in NFL history. Brady surpassed the 1,257 yards Drew Brees compiled in 2006 and already has 11 touchdowns with five interceptions, four of which came Sunday in the debacle at Buffalo.
"It's like a boxing match. We're going to get hit, and they're going to get hit, and hopefully at the end you connect more times than they do. I thought we had our opportunities," Brady said Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio. "I don't think we come out of the game ... thinking that we're a bad football team. It's just, if we play the way that we played, we're not going to be very good."
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