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Dropped passes galore for Patriots as Brandon LaFell grades himself 'F'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell didn't sugarcoat his words.

"If I had to give myself a grade, it would be 'F'," he said after the team's 30-23 win over the New York Jets. "I let the ball get out of my hands too many times. Tom [Brady] threw some good balls and I should have caught them. But overall, man, we got the win. I just have to get back into it. We have a short week [playing Miami on Thursday at home], dust the cobwebs out, and come back out and play a better game."

LaFell had three of the Patriots' six dropped passes, according to ESPN's Stats & Information, which defines a drop as a play in which the receiver should have caught the pass with ordinary effort (and are only "credited" if the receiver is 100 percent at fault and no one else can be blamed for the incompletion).

The drops were one of the notable storylines from the game, as receiver Julian Edelman also had a would-be touchdown pass slip through his hands in the third quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also had a drop over the middle.

As for LaFell, who finished with two catches for 25 yards, his struggles were partially a result of this being his first game of the season after opening the year on the physically unable to perform list. He didn't practice in training camp, and only had three practices this week before being thrown into the fire, playing 30 of 32 offensive snaps in the first half. Overall, he was on the field for 48 of 68 snaps (including penalties), but he wouldn't use rustiness as an excuse.

"First game, last game, it doesn't matter. I expect more out of myself and my teammates expect more from me," he said. "I'm just real down on myself right now, but I'm happy for the other guys around me stepped their level of play up and held their own, making plays when we needed them and I wasn't.

"I was just trying to forget about the play before and try to keep moving forward. After the first one, I felt [frustrated], kind of got down on myself, but Tom kept telling me he was going to come back to me, coaches kept telling me to keep making plays. I just wasn't making them.

"No excuses. I just let the ball get out of my hands too much."