Some sparkle is gone

QB Brady’s effort, like that of his team’s, is a bit drab

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / December 7, 2009

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Glitz, glamour, and celebrity are all elements embraced at Land Shark Stadium. It might seem a player such as Tom Brady would fit right in among the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. After all, the Patriots quarterback has graced magazine covers and gained a lot of attention on his trip to London for wearing a stylish suit on the team bus while his teammates sported sweat suits.

But yesterday, Brady didn’t look glamorous. He ditched the suit for a casual look as he fielded questions about another loss. With a career that has included three Super Bowl titles and record-setting performances, maybe this is what reality feels like.

After yesterday’s 22-21 loss, Brady was asked why New England struggles to score points, convert third downs, and finish games. They are difficult questions because nobody seems to have the answers.

“I think we’ve played pretty inconsistent,’’ Brady said. “We have some good drives and then we have bad drives and everyone is trying to put their finger on it and really figure it out. It’s frustrating for all of us.

“We certainly think when we go out there we have a lot of confidence that we can get the ball in the end zone. We had some chances inside the 5-yard line, inside the 10-yard line, and we get no points and that’s the frustrating part for all of us.’’

Before yesterday’s game, Brady’s finger generated much buzz as reports surfaced about an apparent injury. The Patriots routinely list Brady on the injury reports with a right shoulder ailment, but on Friday, his finger was listed, too. All eyes were on Brady during his warm-ups. He didn’t seem to be bothered early on as he completed his first seven passes for 104 yards.

Any uncertainty about his health was put to rest after he fired a 58-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss on the opening drive. As Moss took off for the end zone, Brady was smashed from both sides and hit the ground. He made his way off the field and jogged to the locker room. The Patriots would announce he had an arm injury, but Brady was back in time for the next drive.

So what’s with the finger?

“A lot of guys are banged up this time of year so you’ve got to get the job done and if you’re out there on the field, you’re expected to go out there and play great and at times we did that and other times we didn’t,’’ said Brady, who became the 31st player in NFL history to reach 30,000 passing yards. He has 30,084 in his career.

Twice the Patriots were unable to come away with any points after visits to the red zone. In the second quarter, the Patriots were on the Miami 6-yard line facing a fourth and inches. Sammy Morris took the handoff but was stopped for no gain. In the fourth quarter, another chance was squandered when Brady’s pass was swiped by Miami cornerback Vontae Davis in the end zone.

It was the second time Brady has thrown an interception in the red zone this season, something he didn’t do a single time from 2006-2008.

“That probably tells the story, you know,’’ Brady said. “When you’re down there in the red zone and you don’t score touchdowns, you give the other team too many opportunities and you’re not going to win very often if you score 21 points, so it’s frustrating but we’ve got to fight back and go out there and do a better job next time.’’

Brady completed 19 of 29 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 167 yards, while Moss was held to two catches for 66 yards.

Third-down conversions continue to be a struggle as the Patriots converted just four of 10. Brady threw two interceptions, including one with 35 seconds left in the game that helped Miami seal the victory. The Patriots were held to 7 points in the second half.

“We certainly had our opportunities and we didn’t make them,’’ Brady said.

Monique Walker can be reached at

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