|Their work done and the win long ago secured, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick share a subdued handshake on the sideline. (BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF)|
Brady tosses 3 TDs, praise
FOXBOROUGH - Tom Brady gave a commanding performance in the Patriots' 38-14 win over the San Diego Chargers last night. Then, Brady paid tribute to Bill Belichick during a postgame news conference in which he called the Patriots' coach "probably the best" in NFL history.
Brady began the news conference talking about how the Patriots handled preparations last week during "Videogate".
"I'm proud of the way our guys prepared this week," Brady said. "I think over the years we've had a lot of distractions from week to week and this team and our coaches have always done a great job of keeping us focused and tried to make sure that the most important thing that we're doing in terms of preparation is what we're taking care of.
"If you handle your preparation and your work ethic and your attitude, and then you come out here and you try to play the best that you can - you'd hate to have to be distracted during the week and then come out and not play so well, and I think this team did a nice job the last few weeks of putting some distractions behind us and realizing the most important thing is coming out and trying to win games."
Brady credited Belichick with keeping the team focused.
"It's funny," Brady said, "because after the first Super Bowl everyone was like, 'Oh, yeah, this is great!' And then after the second Super Bowl it's like, 'Yeah, all right, you guys are pretty good.' And then the third Super Bowl and it was like, 'Oh, we're sick of you guys.'
"We know that, but we still have a lot of fun coming in and playing and playing for Coach Belichick, who - I've said this so many times - I think we're all lucky to play for him because he's the best. There's no question. I haven't played for a lot of other coaches but I couldn't imagine anyone else being as disciplined as he is in getting us prepared to play.
"I hope our fans realize how lucky they have it, because there's not a lot of teams in the NFL that are like this. And I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I just mean it that we go out and I think this is about a team."
Brady responded to a week's worth of increased scrutiny on the Patriots with a passionate defense of the team's accomplishments, fully crediting Belichick, and also expressing his ability to focus on playing, and making a veiled retaliation against Eric Mangini, the New York Jets coach who exposed the Patriots' video tactics.
"He's probably the best coach in the history of the NFL," Brady said of Belichick. "And that says a lot, but it's fun for us to sit on that side [opposite the podium], looking up at him and knowing what he's all about. He doesn't give away a lot of information and doesn't talk about injuries, but that's for us. He protects us because he wants us to have the best advantage every single week.
"We understand the psyche of the opponent. He gave us a a great talk about the Chargers. He says, 'This is what we have to do to win.' We respect that. It's not rah-rah and show movies and stuff like that [referring to Mangini]. He comes in and says, 'This is what we need to do to win and if you do it we're going to win and, if you don't we're going to lose.' "
Brady said he is "happy with the way we're headed."
"I know the truth and I know what I believe, and that's all that's really important. We've been proving to people for seven years and it's been the same thing," Brady said. "We're not changing what we do. We're going out there and we're trying to execute the best we can.
"I am just concerned with my own attitude and what I can control, just as my teammates do and my coach does. That's why we come out and we're well-prepared. I just don't feel like I ever need to respond to what people say or think because they're going to think that way, anyway. It's just not something that's worth the energy. I don't care what people think about our hard work. I know I can count on my teammates to work hard. I know I show up and prepare as hard as I can."
Brady again teamed up well with Randy Moss, who has now caught three of Brady's six touchdown passes in two games. In a 38-14 win over the New York Jets, Brady threw 183 yards worth of passes to Moss and 114 yards to everyone else. This time, Brady (25 for 31, 279 yards) spread his passes around more, Moss catching eight for 105 yards.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.