FOXBOROUGH — A missed field goal in the final seconds against Arizona. A game-winning kick by the Ravens as the clock ran out. And now a 46-yard touchdown pass that gave the Seahawks the lead in the final minutes.
The Patriots are 3-3 after losing 24-23 to Seattle on Sunday, leaving the defending conference champions and favorites to repeat locked in a four-way tie in the AFC East. In all three losses, New England had a second-half lead — twice leading by two scores in the fourth quarter.
“When we really needed it, we weren’t able to make the plays we needed to make,” coach Bill Belichick said in a conference call with reporters yesterday. “It’s just disappointing. We’ve come up short in three games — not by very much but it’s been enough.
“We have to find a way to perform better, both throughout the game and certainly in the critical game-changing situations at the end.”
The Patriots were on their way to a win that would have given them the lead in the division, leading Seattle 23-10 in the fourth after Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal. But Russell Wilson hit Braylon Edwards on a 10-yard touchdown pass midway through the quarter and then connected with Sidney Rice for 46 yards to give Seattle a one-point lead with 78 seconds to play.
Having wasted two timeouts early in the half, the Patriots had none remaining by their final drive. Tom Brady was unable to lead them to a first down, and the Seahawks kneeled down for the victory.
“The end of the game is the most critical part of the game, and we need to do better,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said yesterday. “I need to do better. We can prepare better and we can play better in those situations to try to finish the games out. ... We’ve been in it a few times and we need to be able to close out the games when we get that opportunity.”