PHILADELPHIA - Tom Brady's temporary home at Lincoln Financial Field was on the far wall of the visitor's locker room, last spot on the left.
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When we media slithered into the locker room at about 7:58 p.m., there was a travel bag perched on the folding chair in front of his locker but no Brady. Not terribly unusual. Sometimes he's there, sometimes he's not. Eventually, though, he'll wander through, pluck his stuff and head for the interview room.
Except, this time he didn't. In the 20 minutes we were wandered around collecting insights from his teammates, there was no sign of him.
When Brady stepped to the podium at 8:29 p.m., he barely had any expression on his face at all. Eyebrows slanted down, mouth set, eyes slowly surveying the room to field questions he answered in a voice barely above a murmur after the Patriots 17-10 win.
Despondent Tom and the Otherwise Happy 52. Brady answered questions without elaboration. There were no, "Good to be 9-1…" "Tough to win on the road…" platitudes. He wasn't looking to put a dollop of whipped cream on an offensive performance that he likely felt looked like crap.
This is the transcript of Brady's media session provided by the Eagles media relations crew.
Q: On struggles in the red zone:
TB: "Yeah, yeah. I don't have anymore. I don't know."
Q: On whether there is a way to remedy it or if it's just about practicing and execution:
TB: "Yeah, I think that's right. Practice and execution."
Q: On the offense at this point of the year:
TB: "Up and down. That's what it looks like to me. We could probably do everything better."
Q: On how he would describe their defense:
TB: "They are doing a great job. Keeping us in every game."
Q: On whether he is discouraged:
TB: "Well, we just played for three hours. So I think everyone is a little tired."
Q: On battling and games like this late in the season:
TB: "Yeah, it's good to win. It's good to win. Go on the road and win is always tough. They all count the same. But anytime you go on the road and beat a good team is a good feeling."
Q: On whether he is concerned about the offense or if it'll work its way out:
TB: "I don't think it matters what I think, it matters what we do."
Q: On how much WR Julian Edelman reminds him of his [Edelman's] passer rating:
TB: "Not much. It was a good throw. So thank you guys."
The Patriots were 5 for 16 on third down, 1 for 3 in the red zone and punted eight times. Brady threw 47 times for 216 yards. That's 4.6 yards per attempt. He's only been under 5 YPA three times since the start of 2014, and it's happened twice this year - at Buffalo and at Philly.
A would-be touchdown pass was dropped by Julian Edelman. A couple of would-be picks were dropped by Eagles defenders including one where Brady airmailed James White on a screen pass.
For the third time this season, Brady completed less than 56 percent of his passes. He hasn't had more than three games with a completion percentage lower than 56 percent since 2006. He's got six games to go with an offense that's spinning its wheels when it tries to run and has to work way too hard to get anything done through the air.
The last time Brady went against an Eagles defense he threw for 505. Five. Oh. Five. Seems like a long, long time ago.
The Patriots won this game thanks to defense, special teams, field position and their ability to avoid penalties and turnovers.
Brady's bound to come in for a pile of criticism this week for being bummed out after a win. On one level, that makes sense. A whole lot of his teammates played great and the team's most important player looks like his dog got run over.
On the other side of it, after 20 seasons, Brady knows what good offensive football looks like. The Patriots aren't playing it now and barely have all season. There are no signs that they are about to become potent. Brady knows that games when an opponent is going to be full strength and capable of hanging 30 on his defense are inevitable. Can he help them keep pace? He's said in the past he's at the stage where he now feels he has the answers to the test. Only problem is, with this offense, he's taking the test without a pencil.
They're running sprintout passes to the right to keep Brady away from blindside pressure from the left. They averaged 3.4 yards per carry on the ground (22 carries, 74 yards). It's the ninth time in 11 games they averaged 3.5 yards per carry or less. Brady completed 10 passes that were at or behind the line of scrimmage. He completed 13 that were between one and 10 yards past the line of scrimmage.
As the Patriots left the field, Bill Belichick called to Brady to "laud him for doing a good job" and clapped Brady on the chest, according to Mike Giardi of NFL Media.
As Brady left the interview room, he pulled up the hood on his sweatshirt. He walked past rubbernecking security and stadium personnel. He never broke stride as people called his name. Head down, he silently marched straight toward the Patriots bus and out of Philadelphia.
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