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Tom Brady says he’ll ‘never be’ in Joe Montana’s category

10.02.11 at 9:26 pm ET
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It was very ironic yet appropriate that Tom Brady passed Joe Montana as he moved up the all-time touchdown passing list on Sunday in the Bay Area.

It was just like a game the hero Brady grew up cheering would’ve been proud of, taking care of the ball, completing 16-of-30 passes in unspectacular fashion. But one week after one of his worst games in terms of taking care of the ball, Brady threw for just 226 yards and two touchdowns but no interceptions in a 31-19 win over the Raiders.

And the pass that moved Brady past Montana into ninth place all time with 274 touchdowns was a classic Montana throw – a short, accurate strike over the middle for four yards to Deion Branch to stretch the Patriots lead to 31-13.

“I didn’t know that happened,” Brady said. “I’ll never be in Joe’s category. We throw the ball a lot more than they threw it back then. It’s much more of a passing league now than it’s ever been. It was a good game for us. Every one of those touchdowns was important today. It was fun. It was fun to be out there after last week.”

Last week. That was when Brady threw four interceptions and helped the Bills come back from 21-0 down and shock the Pats, 34-31 at the final gun. But the quarterback headed for Canton wasn’t about to let one bad game discourage him from going out and throwing the ball again.

“Just play my game. I don’t think you ever approach it with, ‘I can’t go out there and throw it.’ Look, if you’re going to throw passes, you’re going to throw interceptions. That’s part of playing quarterback and you try to make good reads, good, accurate throws, good fundamentals, good technique and all week in practice you work on those things, being balanced and accurate and playing smart and playing fast.

“If it happens, it happens, you have to bounce back from them, that game, the following week. It’s just part of the game. I think we did a much better job of taking care of the football today, which I think was a big reason why we won.”

One thing that Brady had no control over was getting just three chances to drive the ball in the first half, as the Patriots were held off the field by Darren McFadden and the Raiders.

“We didn’t have the ball much in the first half. We only had three possessions. We had the ball for like 10 minutes in the first half and then the second half was a little better. We still have to do a better job executing. I don’t think that was our best day out there executing, especially late in the game. We had a comfortable lead. I think we were just trying to protect the lead and get out of here with a win.”

For the first time this year, the Patriots ran the ball as much as than they threw it, with Stevan Ridley rushing nine times for 97 yards and BenJarvus Green-Ellis adding 16 carries for 75 yards. The Pats ran the ball 30 times and passed it 30 times. They were outgained 504-409 but they’ll take Sunday’s running game any day of the week.

“It was a huge,” Brady said. “Being able to be balanced, more balanced than we’ve been. We had some big runs. When you see us run the ball in from the [33-yard line] was huge. BenJarvus ran great. Stevan ran great. That’s important. It sets up a lot of things. If you can’t stop the run, you’re just going to keep running it and control the whole tempo of the game. If they can stop the run, it’s the passing game and it’s not where you want to play offense.”

Brady had to endure being thrown to the ground by old friend Richard Seymour on the opening drive but Brady was hardly fazed.

“I hate seeing him over there,” Brady said. “He’s an awesome player. I was thinking about him all week and his ability to disrupt the pass game and run game. He’s physical. He’s a great leader for them. I hate seeing him in that Raider uniform.

“He put me down kind of gently. I don’t think it should’ve been a foul but I’m glad we got the call.”

A 15-yard roughing-the-passer call that eventually led to Brady’s first TD pass of the game in the first quarter. Just like Montana, Brady can be honest after a game. And more often than not, after a win. Now, if he can just get one more ring to match Montana, then maybe Brady can finally put himself in his hero’s class.

Read More: Deion Branch, Joe Montana, New England Patriots, nfl
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