|01.20.14 at 11:15 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his final appearance of the season on WEEI’s Patriots Monday with Dennis & Callahan and discussed the team’s disappointing performance in Sunday’s AFC championship game. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“They played a lot better than we did yesterday,” Belichick said. “We certainly didn’t make enough plays to win. There’s a lot of plays that impact the outcome of the game. We didn’t make enough good plays to impact the outcome in a positive way for us. It’s unfortunate for our season to come to an end like this. But I would say Denver earned it. They played a lot better than we did yesterday.”
Added Brady: “It’s a very abrupt end,” Brady said. “And it’s that for 30 teams, really. It comes to really an abrupt end for all the guys that don’t make it to the playoffs. Then you have the wild card round and the divisional round and then the championship, and there’s only two teams left. Those two teams really earned it. They’ve played good over the course of the whole season.
“One or two breaks that we get, maybe we’re playing that championship game at home, and maybe that has a difference. That’s why Denver really kept the pedal to the metal all season. They scored a lot of points. They overcame some adversity, too. When you look at a team like that, they certainly earned it. I tip my cap to them, because I understand the challenge it is to do that. They have a lot of mentally tough guys. That’s why they’re going to represent the AFC.”
Brady acknowledged that the game might have had a different feel had it been played in Foxboro rather than Denver.
“Yeah, of course it would have been different,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of things that play into these types of games. You’re right, you look at those games, you look back at the Cincy game and the Jet game, those games that we lost, and all of them mean something. It means something in September, they mean something in December. The good teams play well over the course of four months. And we played good, we played good enough to get the second seed. We didn’t play good enough to get the first seed. Then we would have needed to play a lot better than we played yesterday.
“It was more of how we played and not where we played yesterday. It’s a tough environment to play in when you go on the road. But look, we’ve won games on the road in tough environments. We got to a game yesterday where we needed to play really well, and we just didn’t play well enough. And Denver played a really good game. They were pretty flawless. They didn’t have any penalties, they didn’t turn the ball over. They played pretty good on third down on both sides of the ball. We just couldn’t force them into making many bad plays on either side of the ball.
“Special teams were really a nonfactor for both teams with the balls that were kicked into the end zone; there wasn’t much in the punt game. So it came down to offense and defense, and they got the best of us in both of those phases, and that’s why they advanced.”
|01.20.14 at 10:55 am ET|
FOXBORO — Like a being on a treadmill, the Patriots season was going and going but then came to a sudden stop Sunday afternoon in Denver with their 26-16 loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship game.
Coach Bill Belichick now shifts his focus to the 2014 season. Belichick spoke of what that entails at his season-ending press conference Monday at Gillette Stadium, noting decisions regarding the makeup of next year’s team will come in the next two months.
“I would say in the neighborhood of 6-8 weeks. Free agency starts a little less than two months from now so we definitely need to be ready by then,” Belichick said. “There will be some other transactions along the way before then relative to tenders and those types of things. There are a few situations that will precede that, but I would say somewhere in the 4-8 weeks category, some sooner than others. Trying to compile all the information on players and situations as well as things like responsibilities on our staff, looking at scheme and maybe a player could fit a little bit better into a scheme, or maybe not as well into a different scheme if we are planning on making some changes along those lines. That’s all part of it, too.
“Some decisions need to be made sooner than others, other decisions honestly may wait. We’ve re-signed players in April, May, June and we’ve also released players in that range. I don’t think there is a specific timetable, but I would say somewhere in that 6-8 week range is probably when most of the decisions need to be made or at least, even if they are delayed, you’ve made that decision to delay.”
Of those decisions to be made, some of them surround the team’s free agents: Aqib Talib, Julian Edelman, Brandon Spikes and LeGarrette Blount. Belichick said he will speak to each of them as well as other players on the roster in the coming days and weeks.
“We have a number of players whose contracts are going to expire that I am going to talk to one way or another,” Belichick said. “I’m not saying there’s any decision to made, but there is certainly a conversation to be had. A lot of guys on the team that I have and will talk to personally about their situation and appreciation for what they’ve done, whatever it happens to be.”
|01.20.14 at 9:34 am ET|
FOXBORO — Less than 18 hours after the Patriots’ season-ending loss to the Broncos, Bill Belichick had a chance to re-watch some of the game, including the play in which Denver wide receiver Wes Welker hit Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on an apparent pick play across the middle of the field. The hit knocked Talib out of the game early in the second quarter.
Belichick didn’t have much to say on the hit during his press conference after the game, but he did come Monday morning in the opening statement of his end of the year press conference at Gillette Stadium.
“I feel badly for Aqib, the way the play turned out,” Belichick said. “I went back and watched it, which I didn’t get a chance to do yesterday. It was a deliberate play to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that. It’s not for me to decide, but it’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. And that’s all I am going to say about that.”
After the game, Welker said there was no intent to run into Talib.
“It was one of those plays where it’s kind of a rough play, and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,” Welker said. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that.
“I hope he’s OK — he’s a great player and a big part of their defense.”
The Patriots announced Talib suffered a knee injury on the play and his return was questionable, but he never returned to the game.
|01.20.14 at 9:31 am ET|
Eight Omaha-based businesses donated to Manning’s Peyback Foundation after it became clear that the quarterback’s call was free advertising for the city, according to ESPN.com. The foundation’s mission is to promote success among disadvantaged youth.
“This has been terrific for us,” said Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce president and CEO David G. Brown. “Before Friday, we had calculated that news coverage of Omaha had generated the equivalent of about $10 million in advertising.”
The chamber made a video last week that combined the city’s attractions with Manning’s “Omaha” call in the background.
Omaha Steaks, Mutual of Omaha, FNB Omaha, CenturyLink, ConAgra Foods, Union Pacific, DJ’s Dugout and Cox Communications committed to donate a combined $800 every time the word was said at the line of scrimmage.
“This is really great for Omaha as a community and for the businesses that are embedded here,” said Omaha Steaks senior vice president Todd Simon. “Who knows whether any of this will translate to the bottom line, if ever, but it can’t hurt.”
Manning, who said “Omaha” 31 times during Sunday’s tilt with the Patriots, explained his use of the word Wednesday.
“I know a lot of people ask what Omaha means,” Manning said. “Omaha is a run play, but it could be a pass play or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things: which way we’re going, the quarter, and the jerseys that we’re wearing. It varies, really, from play to play.”
According to Brown, the city assumed Manning and his foundation would accept the donation, but they did not have contact with the quarterback or his representatives. Front Row Analytics, a sponsorship evaluation firm, said the city made the equivalent of $150,000 in advertising for each verbal mention of the city.
|01.19.14 at 10:57 pm ET|
|01.19.14 at 10:05 pm ET|
After helping his team beat the 49ers in the NFC championship game, 23-17, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman used his postgame interview with Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews to verbally attack San Francisco wideout Michael Crabtree.
For a complete recap of the game, click here.
|01.19.14 at 9:17 pm ET|
DENVER — This was not Tom Brady‘s finest hour.
He knows more than anyone that when you don’t put points up early on the road in a playoff game, you’re in big trouble.
Sunday it was the difference as the Patriots fell behind 10-0 and 13-3 at the half and could never recover as New England fell, 26-16.
Several times in the first half Brady missed open receivers, twice to Julian Edelman and once to Shane Vereen out of the backfield. Brady had Aaron Dobson deep over the middle in the third quarter but couldn’t connect for what would’ve been a momentum-changing touchdown. Instead, Brady lofted it out of the end zone from midfield.
Brady threw his first touchdown pass of the playoffs in the fourth quarter to Edelman and ran in another. But it wasn’t enough.
“Certainly, I wish I could’ve done more to help us out,” said Brady, who finished 24-of-38 for 277 yards and one touchdown pass.
“We executed a little bit better,” Brady said of the two fourth-quarter touchdowns. “I just found some spots and made some throws and catches. We found a little space in there. I just wish we could’ve done it for four quarters.”
In the first three quarters, Brady was just 13-of-22 for 142 yards. He was victimized by a drop by Danny Amendola and the Patriots had just 39 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
“I think when you play good teams, the margin of error is pretty slim all day,” Brady said. “We dug ourselves a pretty big hole there. We just couldn’t do enough. They have a good team and made a lot of plays. I give them a lot of credit.
“It’s the same it’s always been. Certainly, for the New England Patriots, we want to win every time we take the field. We did a decent job to get ourselves to this position. There are two teams that were playing and one gets to advance, and that is the team that played better today.
“They played good and have a lot of good players. I thought they made plays offensively and defensively that really helped them win.”
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