How Did The New England Patriots React To Clinching The AFC East?

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Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady

Q: How can you look so bad in the first half and come out and look so good in the second half? How do you flip the switch?

TB: That’s a great question. I wish I knew the answer because we would have started that way then. We tried to start fast and got the ball down the field and then the ball got tipped and intercepted. It just didn’t quite go the way we wanted it to in the first half, but we did a good job responding, so it was a good win – great win.

Q: Your 17-yard run seemed to set a fire under guys. Was that a message you were trying to send on that run out of bounds?

TB: Yeah, well, I think it was a play that we needed to make so it was good to make it at that time. I was going to slide but I was pretty pissed off that time so I figured I wouldn’t slide. I wish I wouldn’t have gotten knocked down, but that’s the way it goes.

Q: Did you think getting that hit lit the guys up a bit?

TB: I think the touchdown did more so on the next play. That was a great run. It’s just whatever it takes. I think that’s what matters. I think all our guys responded the way we wanted to and it was good to go in there and finish them off like we did.

Q: You said you were pretty pissed off. Looking back at maybe the Cincinnati game as well after a week of scrutiny where you came out and had a tremendous drive. You play well pissed off it seems. Does it filter down to the rest of the offense when you’re playing less than optimal? And do you feed off that?

TB: Yeah, and I think you’re going to have times where you play less that optimal, because if you played optimal all the time you’d score 75 points a game which is impossible. So you’re going to have stretches where you get stopped on third down or you don’t convert plays you should have and then I just think it’s always good to kind of reassess where we’re at. I know we were all pretty pissed off at halftime – it just wasn’t the way we – 25 plays on offense and terrible time of possession, terrible on third down, just didn’t do anything to help our team win. I thought we did a better job of coming out that in the second half, aided by some turnovers by our defense. Our defense has just been playing incredible, which is what we’re going to need. I’m glad we started to earn our paycheck there in the second half. It was good to be able to do that. It was a good feeling. We still left some opportunity out there.

Q: On the seam throw to Rob Gronkowksi that you’re always able to make, is that just a bread and butter play for you guys?

TB: Yeah, I wish I’d make the other throws look like that too. He’s a big target and he makes it easy for me. He’s just awesome.

Q: Back to the 17-yard run, did you choose not to slide? I figured you just ran out of room.

TB: No, I could have slid, but I wasn’t in the best mood that time. If he was a bigger guy I would have thought really hard about sliding, but once I was in the secondary… things happen pretty quick for me out there. I’m not the fastest guy out there so things close down pretty quick.

Q: Did anybody on the sideline say, ‘Slide next time’? Or will that come up tomorrow?

TB: Probably tomorrow, yeah, probably tomorrow. It was a big third down and I think it was at that time of the game where we need to make some big third downs and the guys gave me great protection. They tried – what they’ve done to us a few times is rush three and double cover some guys and I think I was pretty keyed in on that today and tried to take advantage of it when they did it. I think we did a better job than we’ve done the last few times we played them.

Q: In a game where you’re struggling on offense, how big was it for the defense to come up big, get a couple turnovers and really sort of turn defense into offense for you guys?

TB: It was huge. It was what really kept us in the game because we weren’t doing much offensively. They really did that last week too. We’ve got a really good defense, so it’s good to see. It’s good to see. There’s pressure to score every time we get the ball and that’s what we’re trying to do. But it’s also a good feeling knowing that if you have to punt, you’ve got a defense that’s not going to give up points too easily.

Q: You have dominated this division throughout your career. What are your thoughts on winning the division as often as you can and do you think fans have gotten a little spoiled or take it for granted?

TB: Well, I think every year is a different year for us and every year we have a great opportunity to try to accomplish something. It doesn’t start this morning; it started back in March. It’s a lot of hard work that goes into it. I don’t think you ever take winning for granted; I certainly don’t because I know how hard it is to win. I think we appreciate it. I also know that we have big goals every year for our team, so this is the one that is the first one to get. It was great to be able to do it against a team that we lost to earlier in the year. We had a great opportunity to go out there and play a lot better than we did the last time. It’s great to win. It’s a great feeling. That’s why we play. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of an organization where that’s what matters the most and to play with some really great players over the years. I think wining and experiencing it with the players and coaches and Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan and his family. It’s pretty awesome.