FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Tom Brady answered questions for more than 15 minutes Wednesday two days after spending less than 30 seconds behind a post-game podium then fleeing in frustration.

The Patriots quarterback has moved on from the brief session that followed New England’s 40-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, and coach Bill Belichick encouraged all his players to do the same.

“Coach put it well this morning to us. “It’s over. Let’s not make this loss any more damaging than it’s already been,’ ” by dwelling on it, Brady said.

But as the mistakes piled up against the Colts, who scored on seven of their nine possessions, the usually composed Brady flung a container with liquid inside it on the sideline.

“I was frustrated with the way the game was going,” he said. “As a captain of the team … it’s like, “man, I’m leading this? I’m leading this stuff out there?’ “

After the game, Belichick held a very short, uninformative news conference, then Brady followed his boss’s lead.

“It was 1 in the morning,” Brady said. “I didn’t want to waste everybody’s time. I just don’t think that I had a whole lot of good things to say. I think everybody was frustrated by the loss and, to sit up there and tell you how bad we are, I don’t think anyone wants to hear that.”

He was much more upbeat and analytical Wednesday when he pointed out that even though the two-time defending Super Bowl champs are 4-4, they’ll still be playing for first place Sunday at Miami (3-5). Buffalo also is 3-5 and the New York Jets are 2-6 in the weak AFC East.

The Patriots are off to a poorer start than in the last two seasons when they were 6-2 and 7-1 at the midpoint and won two Super Bowls. But they also won the Super Bowl after the 2001 season and they were only 4-4 through their first eight games then.

“We’ve had some great years around here,” Brady said, “but to sit here and compare this year to last year … We’re 4-4. It doesn’t mean the season’s over”

With one of the NFL’s worst running games, Brady has had a strong season. He’s the NFL’s fifth-rated quarterback and is tied with Carson Palmer of Cincinnati for most yards passing in the AFC. He doesn’t have much of a defense to help him, either.

That unit has been battered by injuries and has allowed more yards than every team but San Francisco. Without criticizing the defense, Brady said the offense must improve to make up for the Patriots’ troubles stopping opponents.

“Our offense has to be better than it’s ever been,” he said. “The defense is making changes and they’re trying hard to improve and, in the meantime, we’ve got to do everything we can to pick it up.

“We’ve got to score points. There’s no doubt about that. And our defense, I’m confident, they’re going to turn it around and they’re going to start playing Patriot-style football.”

One trait of the Patriots hasn’t changed. They still don’t point fingers at each other when things go wrong.

“It’s easy to unravel and it’s easy to say, “well, it’s this guy or that guy,’ ” linebacker Mike Vrabel said. “We put ourselves in this position collectively and, collectively, we’ve got to get out of it.”

On Wednesday, Brady pointed the finger at himself, even though he threw three touchdown passes against Indianapolis. He said the offense needs to be better on third downs and inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and he puts pressure on himself to produce points no matter how the defense is playing.

“You can’t let losses discourage you,” he said. “Your goals aren’t lost because we lost last week’s game. I think we still have our goals ahead of us, so this team needs to focus on those and focus on the target. Instead of looking back, look forward.

“Boy, it would be great if we could turn this thing around. It would make for a great year, and it really starts this week.”

AP-ES-11-09-05 2001EST

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