Antonio Cromartie: My feelings for Tom Brady ‘haven’t changed’
|01.16.11 at 11:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Antonio Cromartie stood at the podium in a plain white t-shirt. He was triumphant but reserved in his comments. There were no “I told you so’s” coming out of out his mouth after his Jets eliminated the Patriots, 28-21, before a stunned Gillette Stadium crowd. For once, he just let his actions speak on the field.
And did they ever. He shadowed Deion Branch for most of the game, making a key 4th down stop on 4th and 13 at the Jets 34 as Tom Brady looked for Branch on the left sideline. Branch was targeted 10 times but caught just five balls for 59 yards and nothing deep.
“Our whole thing was just going out and doing the things that we needed to do,” Cromartie said in a very calm, relaxed tone. “I think we had success this game and got Brady all frustrated. [We] got him moving outside the pocket. We felt like once he moved outside the pocket that he wasn’t as accurate as a passer. We just did the things that we needed to do, and we went out and scored points. We caused turnovers and things like that, and that’s what you have to do.”
What Cromartie and the Jets caused Sunday was chaos, sacking Brady five times, knocking into him several other times and picking him off for the first time since mid-October.
Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards but was hardly comfortable all game. As a matter of fact, it was the collective effort of Cromartie and Darrelle Revis on Branch and Wes Welker that gave Brady no open receivers for most of the afternoon.
Before the last game, the Jets were hit by the loss of safety Jim Leonhard. Cromartie said that hurt them then but not on Sunday.
“We were flat,” Cromartie said. “That week there are really no excuses, but when you lose a guy like Jim Leonhard during an important weekend like that, it takes a toll on guys because the communication wasn’t there [and] we had to put guys in to fill his spot. And coming into this weekend, we had guys to the point that we could go out and communicate. We have five weeks with those guys, and we’re all playing on a very high level. We had a great game plan. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff put a great game plan together.”
But the questions about he and Brady continued afterward. Did Brady have anything to say to him during the course of the game?
“No, nothing was said,” he answered simply.
Was it extra special for Cromartie to have made those comments and back them up?
“It’s nothing about making a comment,” Cromartie said. “Those were my thoughts. The game is over. We’ve moved on. We’re getting ready for Pittsburgh now. That’s how I feel about the whole situation. And we came in got a victory in a tough place, in a very hostile place, and only thing we’ve got to do now is get ready and prepare for the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh.
Did Cromartie and the Jets get inside the Patriots’ heads?
“No, I don’t think we did,” Cromartie said. “I think Coach [Bill] Belichick does a great job with his guys, getting his guys ready for a big game like this. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff did a great job of getting us ready for this whole entire weekend. Our whole thing was just to go out and prove to everyone that we feel we are the team to beat in the playoffs.
Bart Scott said coach Rex Ryan pulled out the stat sheet of Brady’s last three playoff games and showed the defense that the quarterback had a rating in the 60s, giving the Jets the confidence that they could handle Brady.
“We just went out and did the things that we knew we always do well, and we did the things that we knew we can add pressure to give him a different look. We ended up getting six sacks. Everybody said that he was unstoppable, but our whole thing was just to go out and do the things we needed to do and like I said, at the end of the day, play like a Jet.”
After calling Brady an “ass—-” and adding, “—- him”, Cromartie was asked if he regretted or changed his feelings on Brady.
“My feelings haven’t changed, but that’s behind me, and I’m getting ready for Pittsburgh.”
And now the next quarterback in their crosshairs is Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. How does Cromartie feel about him?
“I love Ben, man. Ben’s a competitor, man,” Cromartie said.
Sounds like the Jets are in trouble.
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