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September 26, 2013

Brady blames himself for Patriots' red-zone woes

FOXBOROUGH (AP) — Tom Brady bent forward and put his hands on his knees in frustration. Then he stood up, slapped both sides of his helmet and jogged off the field.

He had just thrown an interception in the end zone, his third straight bad pass with the ball at the 6-yard line.

No, rookie receivers aren’t the only players responsible for the New England Patriots’ problems in the red zone.

“Just poor execution,” Brady said Wednesday. “I’ve been one of the main culprits.”

The Patriots may be 3-0 but it’s not because of what they’ve done inside the 20. They’re third in the NFL with 13 trips there but have just four touchdowns, a 30.8 success rate that is the worst in the league.

That’s hard to believe with one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history.

In his 14th season, Brady has to get used to rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson as his primary wide receivers while Danny Amendola is sidelined. And he did throw two touchdowns to Thompkins and seven completions to Dobson in last Sunday’s 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But he failed to connect with them about five minutes into the third quarter when the Patriots had a first-and-goal at the 6.

On the first play, Dobson was wide open in the middle of the end zone, but Brady threw the ball low and in front of him.

On the second play, Thompkins was lined up to the left, but Brady’s hard throw at the line of scrimmage was inaccurate.

Then came the costliest flub.

Brady fired the ball toward the end zone where rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld was just over the goal line, and Dobson, the intended receiver, was behind him at the end line. Neither was open, but Brady threw anyway — right into the hands of safety Mark Barron next to Sudfeld.

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