Q: In the second half, Tom Brady broke the record for most yards all-time in the regular season and postseason combined. As a quarterback, can you talk about your appreciation for what kind of an achievement that is?
AR: If you play long enough and you have the sustained greatness that Tom has had, there’s going to be a lot of records that go down. He’s had an incredible career, been the gold standard at quarterback for the better part of two decades and he’s a great player.
Q: What was the Patriots defense able to do to contain you guys?
AR: They just adjusted really well. We got some things going and then they adjusted. We had some momentum there in the third quarter and the fourth and then obviously the unfortunate fumble and then we just didn’t – I missed a couple opportunities there in the fourth quarter to get the ball to ‘Te [Davante Adams], probably would have given us a better chance.
Q: Do you think anything’s missing with the offense right now?
AR: Yes, the consistency. We’re not hitting on all cylinders, we’re hurting ourselves with negative yardage plays and missed throws and turnovers at the wrong time, not being on the same page too many times. Whether I’m missing a throw or we’re not in the spot I think we’re going to be at, it’s happening in the worst times. When we have to play our best in those crunch times, we haven’t been playing our best.
Q: Frustrations like Equanimeous St. Brown not in the right spot, you have to take a timeout – those types of things bothering you?
AR: Well, that’s a little thing. We’ve got to be better on the sideline there, let him know exactly what the personnel is so there’s not any questions for him. I’m not pissed about the lineman calling timeout. He’s a great kid and he’s done some nice things for us, I’m not upset about that. I’m upset that I haven’t been as consistent and we haven’t been clicking the way we expect to click.
Q: What happened on the delay on the first possession inside the 10 and was the quarterback keeper the call or something that you did?
AR: Yes, that was just an adjustment that I made based on – the other end was crashing pretty hard a bunch, [Adrian] Clayborn kind of stayed home on that one. So that was just a poor decision by myself. The delay, I thought we had time. There was a lot of communication after the motion on who we were going to up front, it was a run play and they were trying to sort things out and we were trying to speed that up and get it in and we didn’t get it in.
Q: What do you think the difference is going to be to get things going more consistently? You came out in the second half and looked like you were rolling a little bit.
AR: Yes, we had a couple of good drives there. I need to keep feeding Davante [Adams] in those clutch situations, that’s what I’m most disappointed in myself about is having him a couple times. The one time I threw it to EQ [Equanimeous St. Brown] because he’s coming open right now, little quicker than I thought he would, maybe hold on to that and try to hit Davante down the field. He’s a tough cover and I’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the football.
Q: What’s the frustration like when you’ve played two of the best teams in the league in the Rams and the Patriots the last two weeks and in both games, it looked like you had a chance to win but didn’t?
AR: Yes, it’s frustrating. 27-26 against the Rams, we had a chance to go down the field again and put the game away. And 17-17 switching ends there inside their 40, already in field goal range to take the lead – and you know Jonesy’s [Aaron Jones] had a really nice year for us so that one play obviously doesn’t lose the game but it’s plays like that, by all of us, myself included, that have just hindered us from finishing games out. I say it all the time, every year you have to learn how to win again and we have to learn how to win on the road. We’ve lost four road games. We haven’t lost at home, you know, we’ve tied, but we haven’t lost at home. We’ve played two great teams who could be considered – although the Rams lost today – two of the top teams in the NFL in their respective conferences and we had a chance to win both games.
Q: Is the flip side to your frustration the fact that you were so close and a few plays away from winning?
AR: Yes, 100 percent. It’s very frustrating because there’s plays in every game that would put us in a better situation if we can get that play off and maybe we get seven instead of three early in the game and it sets a different tone. If we don’t fumble the ball there, if I hit Davante [Adams] down 24-17 on second down there, who knows? We made some good plays, Marquez [Valdes-Scantling] had three nice catches for us, Jimmy [Graham] made some plays. But we’ve all got to play better, myself included.
Q: What do you think of all the stuff the Patriots do on offense – the flea-flicker, the Julian Edelman pass, the super-fast tempo that they use?
AR: Yes, I mean it seemed to work pretty good for them.
Q: You mentioned Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Do you feel like that’s a relationship that’s continuing to build and becoming something great for you?
AR: Yes, I mean he made two great catches back-to-back plays. An adjustment on the third-and-1 to take it down the sidelines and when the ball left my hand, I thought it was not a great throw and he came down with it, both feet in-bounds, fantastic, moving to the number two spot on the left side. And he made a fingertip catch in tight coverage the next play. So those are plays that you love and you know, he dropped one early. But I told him at halftime, ‘I’m going to come back to you.’ And sure enough, on that first drive, they brought empty pressure, we picked it up and hit him for a big play that kind of got us back in the game, went on to score a touchdown. But again, to your point, the frustrating thing is that it’s like great drive, sputter, spin our wheels, great drive, three-and-out. No consistency.
Q: Are you guys too reliant on you and Davante Adams having to play off-the-charts to be successful?
AR: Well, I mean, we need to. We expect to. Davante’s a tough cover and I expect to play great every week. We’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball and got to keep moving him around. We did a good job at night at moving him around outside, number two, number three. But I’ve got to keep looking his way.