Minutes after coaching his Patriots to a second consecutive double-digit defeat, this one to his former protege on national television, Bill Belichick was less than enthused.
"I've said this multiple times. I'll say it again. We need to do everything better," Belichick grumbled to reporters after New England's 26-10 loss to the Lions. "Play better, coach better, execute better in all three phases of the game. So whatever one you want to bring up, the answer is all the same. None of it's been good enough."
The Patriots looked atypically average on Sunday evening, compiling just 209 total yards and 12 first downs while losing the time of possession by nearly 20 minutes. New England was poor on third down and committed uncharacteristic penalties, including a particular 12 men on the field foul in the second quarter that drew Belichick's ire.
"It was a mistake," the coach said bluntly when asked why it occurred. "Did you think it was planned?"
Belichick's Pats have been here before. The NFL's blue-blood franchise split its first four games last season before marching to the Super Bowl. During its title season in 2014, New England started 2-2 after memorably losing to Kansas City by 27 points on Monday Night Football.
But this felt different. Sunday night was the first time the Patriots have lost back-to-back games by double digits since 2002.
Belichick attempted to put the loss and New England's slow start in perspective.
"I don't think anybody clinched a playoff spot today," Belichick added. "I don't think anyone was eliminated today."
That's accurate, though another letdown from New England next week against the undefeated Miami Dolphins would prove costly to its division-title and postseason hopes. If the Patriots lose at home to Miami, they will enter Week 5 three games behind in the division.