Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in his paid weekly appearance on WEEI this morning, discussed several topics pertaining to Sunday's 36-7 victory -- in snowy conditions -- over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Although the victory improved the Patriots's record to 11-2 and helped them clinch a playoff berth for the seventh time in the last eight seasons, Brady was insistent the team had not yet accomplished a thing.
Here's an excerpt of his comments:
On whether Bill Belichick will find something to critique about the Patriots' performance:
Tom Brady: "It was a great win for us and I think he was very excited after the game, as everybody was, to play, it seems like, another team in first place in their division, on the road, in those kind of weather conditions, I think that's a win we're all going to remember for a long time. There's plenty of plays in that game that kind of skew the outcome. A play like Gary Guyton's [fumble] return right before the half, if we don't have those, it's a different game. We made those plays, which are obviously very important, but you can't expect to make those plays all the time."
On whether the Patriots are starting to disprove that defense wins championships after scoring 120 points on the Steelers, Jets, and Bears, all pretty good defensive teams, in a row?
Tom Brady: "The reason we scored those points is that we're getting turnovers and we're not giving it up. The games would be much closer if we weren't getting those turnovers by our defense. Our defense is making some great plays on the ball, we're intercepting passes and we got to be up there somewhere in turnover margin in the league. We've been good on offense, and we've been taking care of the ball, we got lucky yesterday and we've been getting lucky quite a bit the last seven or eight weeks with some tipped balls and some balls they got their hands on. That's what really skews the game is those turnovers, because they're not getting points and we're converting those into points and it doesn't end up being very close."
What drives this team?
Tom Brady: "It's pretty simple; it's to win. There's guys on the team that feel they're part of something much more important than being 11-2. Look, as [Matt] Light likes to say, `This isn't my first rodeo.' So he's referring to the fact that we've been in a lot of big games over the years -- division title games, the conference title games, and I think our goal is to keep getting better every week. Like last week, we were playing the Jets, but it really wasn't the Super Bowl. It was an important game for the division lead and we played pretty good football. This was another important game in what we're trying to accomplish to become a division champ. But we haven't done anything. We really haven't. I know everyone gets carried away at times, but it's our jobs as players not to ride the roller coaster, the emotions of a long season. It's our job to show up every day, to work, to practice and to prepare to play a good game every weekend. This team, for a young team, has been pretty focused and mature in doing that.''
Does this feel similar to '07?
Tom Brady: "It's an entirely different team and entirely different in what we're trying to do with the football. We were much more of a spread offense -- 3 and 4 receiver sets, throw the ball for as many yards as we can every week. That was just the style of the game back then. The thing I think that's great this year is that we're much more balanced. We're running the ball very well, our play-action passes has been very good, our drop-back passes -- it's been OK. There's different ways to get the job done out there and I think this year we've found some different ways using the skill set of the guys we have our team. That was a very prolific team in '07, different work habits, different personality. I'd say that there's a lot of really great guys on our team and that's what makes it enjoyable, the effort and toughness that the guys are showing every week. It's a younger team and we practice quite a bit more than we did in '07 and the practices are longer and we're going over situational stuff every week, the way we watch film is different as a team, there's just some things we're doing different."
On whether he disobeyed an order to take a knee before halftime
Tom Brady: [Chuckling] "I don't know about all that. I listen to my coaches all the time, just ask Billy [O'Brien, the Patriots' quarterbacks coach]. I may be the biggest pain in the you-know-what to Billy. Billy didn't realize when he got the job as quarterbacks coach a few years ago, how big of a pain in the butt I am. I love Billy he's just does an incredible job. He's a great coach, a great motivator and he's got a great presence about him. He's a local guy and he's got very much of this Massachusetts personality to him; he's tough and he's hard-nosed and he's relentless and all the players' really appreciate it."
On what he saw at the line of scrimmage that prompted him to throw to Deion Branch
Tom Brady: "We didn't have much to lose, the clock was running out. I figured it was tough for the safeties to move in those [snowy] conditions. We kept talking before the game if we had an opportunity and they were in a Cover 2 look, we wanted to try to get Gronk [tight end Rob Gronkowski] up the seam and then the outside receiver up the sideline. I looked at the safety and he was backing right up; he wasn't widening at all. I looked at him and gave him a little pump, just to hold him and to hold the corner a little bit, and Deion raced by 'em. I threw it out there and Deion made a hell of a catch-and-run. I was almost laughing, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it, because it was a very exciting play. I don't think those happen very often and when you get them you have to be very thankful."