Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/5/14

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after Laurence Maroney scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The Patriots at least had an excuse for last week’s letdown. This week, though? There’s really no good reason for their performance. Tom Brady approached the postgame podium with a piercing look of anger and frustration strewn across his face, as if to let everyone know the displeasure he felt. He was short in his responses and didn’t last more than a few minutes before closing down the media session. Simply put, he was pissed. The way Brady and his teammates carried themselves after the game, you would have assumed that they had just lost another heartbreaker, but they seemed more upset about an ugly win over the Jaguars this week than about the loss they suffered last week. “We played pretty terribly out there,” Brady said. “It came down to the wire, our defense made some plays, but that was a bad 60 minutes of football. We got out-competed out there, out-fought. We were lucky to win.” Luck usually isn’t a characteristic used to describe these Patriots. More often than not that designation only applies to teams that beat the Patriots, not the Patriots themselves. The Cardinals were lucky. The Seahawks were lucky. Even the Ravens were lucky. The 49ers? Well, they were good, but that’s something of an anomaly. This week, though, the Jaguars made the Patriots look like the lucky ones — a reality Brady reluctantly accepted after the game. “We started slow. [We] couldn’t do anything offensively, couldn’t make any plays,” Brady said. “They made plenty of plays. [We were] lucky to be in it at halftime, didn’t really do anything in the second half in the run game or the pass game. Just a poor effort overall.” Brady’s frustrations didn’t stem from throwing multiple interceptions for a second straight game (third time this season) — although that surely that didn’t help — or from the nine hits he endured from Jaguars defenders. Brady was irritated because the Patriots played nothing like a team with Super Bowl aspirations on Sunday. The Patriots didn’t just play poorly in Jacksonville, but they were outplayed, and handilyd, by a two-win Jaguars team. That’s as discouraging a reality as they come. When the 49ers visited Gillette Stadium last Sunday night, at least the Patriots knew that they were going up against the NFC West leader and a Super Bowl favorite. So, while frustrating, the 41-34 loss to the 49ers was at least understandable.  This week’s performance was just unfathomable. If the Patriots have any expectations of a return trip to the Super Bowl this season, then Sunday’s game must serve as a reminder. The Patriots may have pulled off the win against the Jags, but any legitimate contender would have put them away with ease if they play like that again. Granted there were a few key pieces missing from the field, including Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Alfonzo Dennard, but even that is not a reasonable justification for the underwhelming effort. The Patriots simply weren’t prepared well enough for their game with the Jaguars. Instead, they were likely caught peeking ahead on the schedule to their finale against the Dolphins — a big faux pas, especially when fighting for playoff seeding. Bill Belichick knows the Patriots are talented and focused enough to get to New Orleans come February. Brady knows his offense is good enough, and Vince Wilfork knows his defense can be good enough to get there. The only question that remains is whether the Patriots will play up to that level come playoff time, because right now there are too many red flags surrounding this team to feel comfortable. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doug Baldwin bringing 'sunblock' to Revis Island

Will the first-round running back return in 2015?

Robert Kraft: Richard Sherman is a 'marketing whiz'

Rob Gronkowski's party bus headed to Super Bowl

Matt Barnes not happy with NBA for $25,000 fine

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Browner: 'No hard feelings' with Sherman, Thomas

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

Joe Biden blows off Olivia Munn to talk to Aaron Rodgers

James Shields need to adjust his contract expectations

Kurt Warner wonders about Patriots cheating in Super Bowl

4-star QB recruit decommits from Michigan

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Pacquiao, Mayweather meet at halftime of Heat game

One of Tom Brady's ‘treats’ is avocado ice cream

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Re-ranking the Top 25: exposing the biggest flaws

Tiger on wearing mask: ‘Not a lot of brown dudes at ski races’

Putting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pieces together

Brodeur to retire immediately and join Blues front office

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Doug Baldwin ready for Revis Island

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

Barnes unhappy with NBA over fine

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Re-ranking the Top 25: exposing the biggest flaws

Putting the Cavs’ pieces together

Super Bowl XLIX: Key people to know

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

Bill Simmons fires a shot at Ray Lewis

NFL pushing CFP to change schedule

Can Yanks not pay A-Rod his bonuses?

Petition started to remove Pats from SB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.