Tom Brady stood on the podium after the Patriots loss to the Jets Sunday at the Meadowlands and summed up the play of his team in succinct fashion.
"We just sucked. That's what it comes down to."
The Pats played a horrible second half against the Jets en route to a 28-14 defeat at the hands of their hated rivals.
Brady and Belichick have plenty of kinks to iron out when New England meets Buffalo Sunday in Foxborough.
Despite a young defense and no running game to speak of, there's no reason to panic in New England just yet.
Here's a look at 10 things the Patriots need to do to erase the bitter taste of the Jets loss.
Bill Bellichick certainly loves players from the University of Florida, so it was no surprise when he selected Aaron Hernandez to fill the void at tight end.
Hernandez gives the Patriots something they desperately need—the potential for big plays.
The rookie finished with six catches for 101 yards against the Jets and showed the ability to run after the catch, something New England desperately needs as it looks for more playmakers.
Hernandez has the ability to line up all over the field and should continue to make an impact throughout the season.
The Pats would be wise to call his number early and often next week against the Bills, who struggled to keep track of Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley in Sunday's loss.
After Darrelle Revis came up lame with a hamstring injury, the Patriots should have been able to take advantage of his absence by attacking the Jets' secondary.
It didn't really work out that way.
Brady did look to Randy Moss after Revis went down, but overall the Pats netted just 80 yards of offense in the second half.
The Patriots won't have a big margin for error this season, at least not until they find a way to mask some deficiencies.
The Patriots made numerous mistakes Sunday against the Jets.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 37-yard field goal attempt after the Patriots were hit with a delay of game penalty, moving the kick back five yards.
New England was called for fair-catch interference, and young cornerback Darius Butler picked up two costly pass interference penalties.
In Week 1 against the Bengals, the Patriots bolted to a huge lead before allowing Cincinnati to at least make the final score respectable as Carson Palmer just kept on throwing.
In Sunday's loss to the Jets, New England played well enough in the first half to take a 14-10 lead to the break.
And then, things quickly began to fall apart.
Thanks to an anemic running game, the Patriots have difficulty holding leads.
Tom Brady will likely need to keep throwing the ball to put points on the board this season if the Pats hope to take the AFC East crown.
The fate of the Patriots rests largely on the improvement of the young, patchwork defensive unit that has struggled early in the season.
New England's youth movement has brought more speed but also a tremendous amount of inexperience.
Sunday's second half effort was indicative of the growing pains the unit is likely to experience all season long.
The Jets accumulated 196 yards of total offense in the second half and protected Mark Sanchez against the Pats' rush.
New England failed to force the turnover-happy Jets to commit a single miscue, and allowed Mark Sanchez to have by far the best game of his young career.
The Patriots need to get better results from the defense to contend this season.
The Patriots cornerback tandem of Devin McCourty and Darius Butler has been nothing short of a disaster so far this season.
Both players were attacked Sunday by the Jets, with Butler playing the worst of the two.
McCourty's fragile build has led to concerns he might not be able to make it through an entire season, and the Patriots don't have any other options with Leigh Bodden sidelined for the year.
If nothing else, New England should hope the youngsters can make a few plays here and there to compensate for their shortcomings.
The Patriots simply need playmakers, on both sides of the ball.
The Patriots need to find a way to run the ball inside the red zone.
Fred Taylor is the best option, but the aging back has been dealing with a toe injury and cannot be counted on at this point in his career.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis has the best speed of any of the Patriots' backs, but his inexperience limits his touches in the red zone.
New England needs to at least try to run the ball inside the 20's to make life easier for Tom Brady in the play-action game.
Maybe the Pats should have thought twice before shipping Laurence Maroney out of town.
The Patriots have always preferred to pass the ball under Bill Belichick, but this might be the year they need to run the ball.
Now the question becomes can they actually do it?
Barring a miracle return to form by Fred Taylor or rapid development by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the answer appears to be a resounding no.
The absence of Logan Mankins certainly isn't helping matters.
After Sunday's easy home game against the Bills, things get very difficult for the Patriots.
New England travels to face the 2-0 Dolphins in Week 4 before entering the bye week.
The Patriots meet the Ravens at home, then travel to San Diego and meet Minnesota at home before what appears to be a very winnable game at Cleveland on November 7.
New England's challenging schedule makes winning at least two of the next four games essential before the trip to Cleveland.
In the end, the fortunes of the Patriots will come down to what Tom Brady will or won't be able to do.
Brady's performance in the second half against the Jets was uncharacteristically awful. He committed three turnovers and appeared to be pressing with nothing else working for the Patriots.
Without a steady defense or a reliable running game, New England needs Brady to play flawlessly this season to have any hope of winning the loaded AFC East.