FOXBORO — Tom Brady wasn’t the only Patriots captain who visibly stewed over the season-opening loss to the Chiefs while the wounds were still fresh.
But of course, when the franchise quarterback calls out his teammates’ attitude, everything else becomes background noise.
Safety Devin McCourty, a seven-time captain, also had a tough time stomaching the performance, particularly the lack of finish in the fourth quarter when the Chiefs ripped off 21 consecutive points to claim a win with minimal resistance on Super Bowl banner night.
McCourty couldn’t fathom how they could give up a two-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that not only iced the game but only yielded a single dose of contact on the Chiefs’ pair of easy runs.
McCourty admitted the feeling was different — maybe even stronger — than other losses because it was opening night, but he found a way to look forward to Week 2 on the late-night drive home. He has always been an esteemed leader, but the 10-day window between the opener and tomorrow’s Saints game presented a different type of opportunity for their core of captains.
“Once I left here, that was it for me,” McCourty said. “I think the opener, you spend a lot of time (preparing) before the game, so I think that had more to do with it. We were preparing for that game, and I know we really lock in the week of the game. Still, the opener is in your vision from the day you start training camp. I think that’s the biggest thing as a team for us, the letdown of not finishing the game, the way we played in the fourth quarter of opening day. I think that was the worst part for us. I think it’s different.
“What we’ve hung our hat on is being able to play 60 minutes, and we didn’t do that.”
McCourty has seen the Patriots come back from far more dire situations than an eight-point deficit with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. So for the defense to rob Brady and the offense of one more chance, that was inexcusable.
Heck, the Patriots pulled off the greatest miracle in NFL history the last time they were in uniform in Super Bowl LI, and McCourty cited their two-touchdown comeback in the final 61 seconds of a 2013 victory against the Browns as another example.
“That wasn’t about X’s and O’s,” McCourty said of the Super Bowl comeback. “That’s just a will to compete for as long as you’re able to compete on that field. That’s something, as leaders, that you talk about, but the biggest thing we can do…