FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As painful as it was for his team to lose on a 69-yard play with no time remaining, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't believe Sunday's last-second, stunning setback to the Miami Dolphins will crush the team.
"We've had a lot of tough losses over the years. We lost pretty important games," he said Monday during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI. "What's the difference between losing by 14 down there, losing by 50, or losing by 1? They all count the same.
"Mental toughness is mental toughness. You realize that a lot of things had to go right for them to win, and they did. You know, give them credit. They made some important plays."
Brady and his teammates were scheduled to be at the team facility Monday afternoon for meetings, where they would go over the Dolphins game before looking ahead to Sunday's road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"We still have a lot of football to play. There was a lot of positives from yesterday's game that we have to kind of use going forward, that we will use going forward. Our whole season is ahead of us, so let's make the most of it," Brady said on WEEI.
The Pittsburgh game will give the Patriots a chance to even their road record at 4-4. Playing well away from home is often viewed as a key ingredient for championship teams, as only one of the 52 Super Bowl champions finished the regular season under .500 on the road (2010 Packers).
Of the Patriots' struggles on the road, Brady broke down the four losses into three categories. He said Week 2 at Jacksonville and Week 3 in Detroit were defined by slow starts, while Week 10 in Tennessee was a situation in which the Patriots "just got really physically outplayed."
As for the Miami loss, he said, "We had every opportunity to win that game."
"So it's not [that] I don't think we can win on the road. We've won on the road, played well on the road. We just have to close the deal," Brady said on WEEI.
That was similar to what other players said in the wake of Sunday's loss.
"That's human nature, emotionally and mentally, to kind of question what happened. But I think we have the type of men in this locker room that have resolve and character to be able to move past this," fellow captain Matthew Slater said. "We'll certainly find out. That's one thing you can't do in this league. You can't hide."
Slater, now in his 11th season with the team, has been part of similar devastating losses.
"I think everyone is trying to process how the game ended. Certainly we're all disappointed. We thought we played well enough to win, but tip the hat to them -- they made a great play at the end of the game," he said. "We have to be able to process it, air out our grievances if anyone has any, and move forward. There's no magic pill or recipe to move past this. It's mental fortitude, it's character, and professionalism."
Tight end Rob Gronkowski echoed those remarks.
"It's going to test our character. It's going to test our mental toughness," he said. "I feel like I've been going through that all year, and now to get to this point, we've just got to keep grinding, keep focusing and just come together as a team more."
Starting center David Andrews, one of the team's captains, added, "You learn a lot about your team in these moments."
Receiver Josh Gordon, among others, struck an optimistic note.
"It just doesn't seem like that's the end result for us, that's not the end of the story," he said. "We know we've got more to prove and more to offer. So going into next week, we hope we can get it done, and I think we will."
Veteran safety Devin McCourty, a longtime team captain, added, "I think we have the type of guys that have character and will show up to work ready to go."
"We have guys that are mentally tough, physically tough, too," safety Duron Harmon said. "It's not something we're going to let define us."