Brady won't blame officials, tweets 'on to Cincinnati'

Five years ago, the New England Patriots rebounded from an incredibly disappointing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs by dominating the Cincinnati Bengals the following week.

The phrase Patriots coach Bill Belichick rode from the Week 4 loss into the Week 5 triumph: "We're on to Cincinnati."

Fast-forward five years, and we've found ourselves in the same situation. New England is again coming off a disheartening loss to the Chiefs, falling short offensively in a game that was much closer than their 2014 meeting, but just as discouraging at a much later point in the season. The Patriots are again led by Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, each of whom are five years older and wiser.

That wisdom doesn't require a new slogan, it seems.

Brady explained Monday that while attention will be on referee Jerome Boger's explanation for why an apparent touchdown was not ruled as such in Sunday's loss, he's not wasting time on it. He know he's received his own fair share of lucky breaks.

"I don't ever make any excuses, and I certainly never blame the referees," Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show."

"When you play sports long enough, I think sometimes you're the recipient of things that go your way. And you're on the other side of it, too. For me, I don't think too much about it.

"I wish it would go our way. Unfortunately they didn't. It doesn't take away from, when you watch the game, all the different things we had in our control that I wish we could have done a little bit better. We were just trying to keep grinding them out, and just put ourselves in a position there at the end with four plays in the red area, and just didn't produce well enough to get the job done."

Sunday's outcome was the latest, and if history tells us anything, perhaps it will be the capper to a stretch of offensive ineptitude in New England. The Patriots have been stuck in the mud with the football for the last month, scoring less than 20 points in three of their last four contests. The only time they broke 20, in a Week 13 loss to Houston, it took until the final minutes of garbage time to do so.

Brady has received plenty of attention for his sideline speech to his younger teammates during that loss. Those receiving targets from Brady have endured intense scrutiny from critics, who have mentioned their lack of experience, lack of receptions and lack of cohesion with the detail-obsessed Brady. There's trouble in paradise atop the iron throne, they'd lead you to believe.

Back in 2014, the Patriots ended up going on a run all the way to Super Bowl XLIX, which they won when Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson on the goal line. New England closed that 12-4 regular season with wins over three divisional opponents: Miami, New York and Buffalo.

This time around, the 10-3 Patriots will close with a three-game slate of familiar opponents: Cincinnati, Buffalo and Miami. Only one of those is of playoff caliber. No better time than the present to work out the offensive kinks, starting with Cincinnati.

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