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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Players know they can be better

By Mike Rodak

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If there was a common theme expressed by New England Patriots players following their nail-biting 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, it was that they are not playing up to their capability.

Even with a 6-3 record, and their losses all coming by two points or less, few would dispute that there is a lot of room for improvement.

"It's frustrating when we don't play as well as we're capable of," quarterback Tom Brady said.

"We're a lot better than we what we put out on the football field today," wide receiver Deion Branch added.

The Patriots statistically have the NFL's best offense, even with tight end Aaron Hernandez missing most of the first half of the season with an ankle injury. An offense loaded with talent is putting up points, but the team as a whole is allowing its opponents to stay in games until the end.

"It was a weird game. It's not a good feeling," Branch said. "Buffalo is a great team, but at the same time, we didn't put our best game on the field."

Next week, the Patriots will host the Indianapolis Colts, who are a surprising 6-3, tied with the Patriots as Thanksgiving approaches. Unlike a few months ago, it's doubtful you'll find anyone willing to chalk that up as an easy win for the Patriots, as Sunday's game against Buffalo reinforced.

"We have a lot of work to do if we want to be the team that we know we can," Branch said.