As Bill Belichick put it, "We had our moments."
At that particular time, he was talking about his team's sporadic pass rush, but he really could've applied the same phrase to the entire afternoon Sunday, as the Patriots dropped a 20-17 heartbreaker to the Broncos in overtime.
Just when it appeared the Patriots had turned the corner both offensively and defensively, they took steps in the wrong direction on both sides of the ball against the unbeaten Broncos.
Among the issues were Tom Brady's perplexing inconsistency and a pair of 90-plus-yard scoring drives allowed by the defense despite the return -- and subsequent impact -- of second-year linebacker Jerod Mayo.
"We had our chances (and we) didn't take advantage of them," Belichick said Monday. "Denver made more plays in critical situations in key times than we did. That was, of course, reflected in the final score. We've just got to do a better job.
"We've got to be more productive. We've got to make more plays, got to make them at the right time, and we have got to make them in critical situations. We're just going to have to work our way through it."
As he did in the beginning of the season when he was still getting his timing back, Brady missed open receivers throughout Sunday's game, yet he still threw two touchdown passes to give the Patriots a 17-7 lead at halftime.
The puzzling part is trying to figure out how the offense completely went numb in the second half while the Broncos, who were relatively ineffective in the opening half, suddenly came to life.
Denver scored on drives of 90 and 98 yards and won it in overtime on its first possession courtesy of a Matt Prater 41-yard field goal.
The key issue is developing consistency. How they get there is anyone's guess. A visit from the winless Titans might do the trick next weekend, but this is a long-term goal the Patriots need to work on, otherwise they'll be dealing with more days like this down the road.
"You try to be consistent from day one, from the first day you walk out there on the field, and keep building on it, try to keep improving it," Belichick said. "That's why we meet, and practice, and work for. That's what we are here for is to play good football, be consistent, do it as much as possible, do it at the highest percentage as we possibly can.
"That's what we've always done, that's what we're going to keep doing."
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