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Tom Brady on D&C: Win over Ravens ‘great test of character for us as a team’

12.23.13 at 10:55 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday’s surprising 41-7 rout of the Ravens in Baltimore. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“It was a great win,” Brady said. “To go on the road against a team that we’ve struggled with the last bunch of times we’ve played them, really a huge win for our season. Yeah, it was satisfying. We talked about it all week, we had a pretty tough loss in Miami, and I think fought back through a long week. We put a lot into the week. There was a lot of preparation. I don’t think there were many people that thought we could go in and beat those guys. That was really a great test of character for us as a team.”

Brady didn’t deny using the Patriots’ underdog status as a motivator for Sunday, but he insisted the players try to avoid getting caught up in what the media says about the team.

“This week everyone will be picking us,” Brady said. “Across the board, everyone’s going to think, oh, Patriots over the Bills, like it’s going to be some easy win, which is so far from the case in the NFL. I just think you have to ignore all the noise because it’s all a bunch of hot air, it’s all a bunch of B.S. You just don’t want to listen to it. You want to try to focus on what you need to focus on.

“Every team presents different challenges. We went into the game feeling like we could match up against these guys. We played great defensively, we played great on special teams against one of the best special teams units in the league. And offensively we got off to a decent start. It was a good win. Now this game that’s coming up is the one that’s the most important one of the year.”

The Patriots relied more on their running game Sunday than they have in a while, rushing the ball 34 times compared to 26 passes.

“Well, we wanted to stay balanced; we always want to stay balanced,” Brady said. “It just turned out that our execution in the run game was really good all day, and our execution in the pass game probably wasn’t as good as what it’s been. As the game evolved, we got out to a lead and then tried to just play smart and play aggressive — try to play aggressive but for the most part try to force them to defend our running game, and our running game really set the tone there the whole second half. In the first half, too, we were really efficient running the ball. Our backs did a great job finding the holes. The line did a great job against a really good defensive front.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On if he ever questioned the direction of the team in the offseason: “I don’t think I ever have a doubt about where the direction of the team is. Our direction is always the same, and that’s to try to figure out ways to win games. It’s never about PR moves, it’s never about the short-term interests. It’s always the long-term best interests of the team and the organization so that we can go out there and put ourselves in a position to be competitive every single season. We’ve been able to do that. I think our team has a great work ethic. It obviously starts with Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and coach [Bill] Belichick, what they’re able to bring to the table. They set the precedent for us, and we as players show up every day just trying to do our job. We try to do it the best we can.”

On why he won’t complain about not having enough offensive weapons: “I don’t know what benefit that gives us. I don’t know if that helps; I certainly don’t think it does. There’s no solution to going out there to bitch and complain about all the things you wish you could have or don’t have. So. you try to do the best you can do based on the circumstances that are dealt. There’s a lot of things that have happened over the course of the season that we never anticipated. But you know what? Deal with it, and move on. Try to go out there bring your competitiveness and your energy to every game, to every week. Try to be a good leader and be a good example.

“Like, I had all these great leaders and examples before me. My first year that I got a chance to play in 2001, when Drew [Bledsoe] got hurt, there was no one that complained about the situation. That was a great example for me. Someone else got an opportunity to go in there and play, and that happened to me be. And I tried to take advantage of the opportunity to do the best I could for the team. It ultimately resulted in a championship. But you can’t tell me that going into that season everyone thought if Drew got hurt that we’d have a chance to win. But that’s just the way it goes in the NFL.”

On Peyton Manning breaking Brady’s single-season record for touchdown passes in a season: “It’s an incredible feat. To throw 50 like we did in 2007 was incredible. [Dan] Marino threw 48, then Peyton threw 49, then I was lucky enough to be on the team to throw 50. Fifty-one is unbelievable through 15 games. They’ve been throwing the ball at an incredible rate. What they’ve done offensively and certainly the passing game has been incredible. It’s really a credit to those guys and what they’ve been able to accomplish. There’s no doubt they have one of the best offenses in the history of the league. That’s not easy to do. …

“It’s a lot of touchdown passes. It’s hard to throw one in a game. To throw four or five or six, like what he’s done over this year ‘€¦ I remember in 2007 we were throwing them and it was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ You play all these years where you have not a lot of touchdown passes and all of a sudden you’re just throwing four a game. It’s pretty incredible. Like I said, it’s a credit to that offense. And certainly, Peyton is one of the greatest every to play the game. And you see what he’s capable of. They’ve just done a great job offensively.”

On if he talked to Patriots antagonist Terrell Suggs after the game: “I didn’t really look for him or communicate to him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s an incredible player. I didn’t really see him after the game. He’s one of the best in the league. He played really well yesterday. He’s a really good player; he’s a great player, probably a Hall of Famer. I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s able to do every week, too.”

On the officials, who came under criticism for throwing a lot of flags (16 penalties between the two teams were accepted): “We always talk about the referees and their crew and what they do. This was actually a crew that didn’t call a lot of penalties, and they ended up calling quite a few in the game. We always you do business as business is being done. Once you get out there and you see how they’re calling it — typically when you get to the playoffs they don’t call much. ‘€¦ You just try to go out there and play and be disciplined.”

On the Patriots going to see the movie “Lone Survivor” on Friday and if it motivated the team: “Do I think it helped us win a game? No. I think it was a great message. But I think what helps us win is what we go out and do on Sunday and our level of execution. I think it was a great message for our team to hear. And I think we’ll talk about that and continue to communicate that, about when you face adverse situations — I’m not going to ruin the movie for you — but there’s a lot of correlation between what these guys do in the military and their training and preparation. Believe me, the guys in the military who [are] serving our country and fight for our freedom, those are the real heroes, and those are the guys that we look up to and admire. They give the ultimate sacrifice. The little lessons that we can take from them about their preparation, their training, their mental toughness, their discipline, the way they fight for each other is a great message. That’s a great message for all of us to hear. When they make a mistake, it’s often times fatal. Ours is just a game. But I think you understand that when you make mistakes, you’re letting other people down. That’s what sports are about, and that’s what competitiveness is about. That message really resonated well with our team. So, it was a good thing for us to go out and be able to do.”

On being stood up for a high-five at the end of the game: “I know, some of the guys showed me. I said, ‘Where were all my guys?’ They were all running on the field. [Julian Edelman] said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to find you next time.’ I don’t know, it’s been all year. I don’t know, I can’t get anyone to get in there with me.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dan Marino, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning
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