BOSTON – “Fire away,” Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein told reporters at the start of his season-ending news conference. And then, because he’s seen how things go in Boston when a team misses expectations, he added, “Not literally.”

A day after the Red Sox completed an unprecedented September collapse, Epstein said the entire organization shared the blame.

“The bottom line is we failed. Our owners deserve better, the fans deserve better, and we have to fix it,” Epstein said. “We’re going look in the mirror and see if we’re the ones to fix it.”

Boston went 7-20 in September to miss the playoffs.

“A very quiet day in Boston after a terrible, terrible month for the fans. Night after night they came, they tuned in. Rain, quiet streets,” Red Sox owner John Henry wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations to the entire Tampa Bay organization on a miraculous, but well-earned passport to the postseason.”

Henry didn’t answer a request for comment, and co-owner Tom Werner said he was “still absorbing last night’s collapse.”

“A lot of things went wrong and a lot of things had to go wrong for us to blow the lead, and they did. But I don’t think they were completely unforeseen,” Epstein said. “We didn’t find a way to stop the slide.”

Francona said he called a team meeting earlier in the month in Toronto. He didn’t specify what he saw but said “normally, as a season progresses, there’s events that make you care about each other.”

“With this team, it didn’t happen as much as I wanted it to. I was frustrated about that,” he said. “You don’t need a team that wants to go out to dinner together. But you need a team that wants to protect each other on the field and be fiercely loyal to each other on the field.”

Epstein said he wouldn’t make a scapegoat of Francona. The Red Sox reportedly have 10 days to pick up the manager’s two-year option. Francona said he and Epstein have talked.