Tom Brady blamed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ narrow loss to the Chicago Bears on poor execution, including on a late play that led to confusion over whether the quarterback realised it was fourth down.

The Bears prevailed 20-19 on Thursday to move to 4-1 for the season, though only after their defense stopped a potential game-winning drive for the Bucs in the closing stages.

After Cairo Santos’ second field goal edged Chicago ahead with just over a minute to play, Brady was unable to move his team into range for kicker Ryan Succop to respond.

The 43-year-old seemingly signalled to the officials he had one more play after Chicago’s DeAndre Houston-Carson broke up a fourth-down pass, holding up four fingers before heading to the sideline following the turnover in possession.

Brady was asked to clarify what happened in his post-match media conference, replying: “I knew we needed a chunk and I was thinking about more yardage. It was bad execution as we had a great opportunity there – we didn’t execute when we needed to.”

The six-time Super Bowl champion pinpointed too many penalties as an issue for Tampa Bay, calling on his team to “tighten up” after they let slip a 13-0 lead to fall to 3-2 on the season.

“Penalties stop drives, we had so many third-and-longs that we just couldn’t get in any rhythm in the second half. It’s just poor execution,” Brady said.

“If you don’t execute well on first and second down, you have third-and-forevers, those are tough to convert time after time.

“We’ve got to tighten that up and, you know, play a bit more consistent type of football. We obviously have a lot of work to do.”

When asked by the media if Brady realised it was fourth down on the team’s final drive, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said: “Yeah, he knew.”

Arians felt he was outcoached by opposite number Matt Nagy, who made sure the Bears bounced back to winning ways following a Week 4 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts.

“We’ll take the break and get back to work for the next one,” Arians said. “But I feel like we left this stadium with a fourth-quarter lead and didn’t maintain it.

“We’ll see who we are next week. This is one game that I feel like we got out-coached and out-played, so we’ll find out next week.”