BOSTON (CBS) – Despite being down 31-3 early in the third quarter, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was confident his team had a comeback in them.
He was right, but in the end the Patriots made too many mistakes to pull out a victory against the San Francisco 49ers.
“I had a feeling we’d be able to come back. We hung in there, we battled back from a 28-point deficit, but we just made too many mistakes when we needed to make the plays,” Brady said following New England’s 41-34 loss to San Francisco. “It’s a tough loss, but we’ve got to try to get some things corrected.”
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The Patriots scored 31 points in the second half, including 24 in the fourth quarter. But turnovers put them in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. Fumbles by running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen and a pair of Brady interceptions allowed the 49ers to jump out to a 31-3 lead early in the third quarter.
“We just didn’t even give ourselves a chance,” said Brady. “I mean, they’re a very good team and a very good defense and they play hard. We just spotted them 28 points. We fought hard, but you can’t play poorly against a good team and expect to win.”
The loss drops the Patriots to third place in the AFC, and with both Denver and Houston winning on Sunday it’s unlikely New England will be able to secure one of the top two spots in the playoffs and have a first-round bye. They would need to win both of their upcoming games — in Jacksonville and home against Miami — and hope the Broncos lose one of their final two games.
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But that was the furthest thing from the Patriots’ minds following the loss. They are more concerned about taking care of business on their end.
“What’s in our control is winning football games. Certainly that was the goal tonight. It wasn’t the outcome, but that’s what we were trying to do,” said Brady.
“We hung in there at times and there were times we didn’t. It’s unfortunate, but it’s OK,” he added. “We’ve got two games left and certainly this game is very important to the outcome of our season, next week in Jacksonville.”