Ninkovich sees some positives

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Hours after leaving Gillette Stadium late Sunday night, the New England Patriots were back at work on Monday afternoon, unable to enjoy a "Victory Monday" day off as they have in recent weeks.

The locker room was quiet while reporters were present. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who returned to practice last Friday, briefly walked through but declined to comment. He was not wearing any cast on his left forearm, which he broke a month ago.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich summed up what seemed to be the mood around the team on Monday.

"I'll be mad today," Ninkovich said. "(But) I'll come in tomorrow and work out, get my two days of workout in, and get ready for Wednesday."

After watching the film from last night's game, Ninkovich found a silver lining in the Patriots' effort to erase a 28-point deficit.

"I love the way that we fought the whole game," he said. "Again, you can't put yourself in a hole like we did early in the game and expect to win those games. (But) I think we played tough."

The Patriots' loss to the San Francisco 49ers dealt a blow to their hopes of securing a first-round bye in the playoffs. With two games to play, New England will need at least one loss from the Denver Broncos, or two losses from the Houston Texans, in order to have a chance at one of the top two seeds in the AFC.

With that said, don't count Ninkovich among those looking past this week, when the Patriots travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Not even thinking about the playoffs right now," he said. "Just focusing in on the next two games here."