Q: How satisfying was this win for you guys?
TB: It was a great win. Took everything we’ve got, so a lot of guys played hard, a lot of guys have been fighting through some stuff. So it’s pretty special to get back to another AFC Championship Game.
Q: How nice was it to have Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman back out there? It seemed like the offense gelled more.
TB: I thought we did a better job today than what we’ve been doing, but I think we can still do a lot better.
Q: Did you have a feeling of uncertainty coming into the game, or were you pretty confident?
TB: I thought we had a good plan. I thought we worked hard, studied this team, watched a lot of film, so I think the preparation was good. We had a good week of practice. I think we had plenty of plays out there that we left on the field, things that we can definitely do better, and I think we can be sharper next week. So that’s what we’re going to try to be. We’re going to need it. Whoever we play, they’re going to be a great team.
Q: How did you think Edelman played in this game?
TB: I think he’s worked his tail off. He’s always been one of the hardest workers, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with, one of the most determined young men that’s on this team. And he’s got as much heart as anybody. It’s a serious injury to come back from, and to play the way that he did today was great. And all the receivers played great. Gronk played great. The backs played good. So it was a great team win.
Q: How does Gonkowski benefit your offense when you use him in space?
TB: I mean he’s a tough matchup for everybody. He’s got size and speed, so he’s a tough match-up. He definitely made some big plays today. The touchdowns were big. It was a good defense. They were giving up 11 points a game in the last however many weeks, so we knew it was a challenge. They had a lot of good players, and I thought we just made a few more plays than they did.
Q: How important was it to set the tempo on the first drive?
TB: It was good to get off to a fast start. We talked about that, and you don’t want to play this team from behind. And they hung in there. They’re a very mentally tough team. They certainly don’t quit out there. They play hard right to the end, and it took a lot to beat them. So like I said, it was a great win for our team.
Q: It’s hard to win a single game in this league. What’s it like to make it to the AFC Championship for the fifth-straight season?
TB: It’s pretty cool. It’s hard to do. You’ve got to grind throughout the entire year. There are only four teams playing next week, and we’re one of them. And that game means a lot, so we’ve got to try to get as healthy as we can and see if we can put together our best game of the year.
Q: What were you thinking when you tried to get the ball to Gronkowski and then ran on the 2nd-and-goal from the 11-yard line?
TB: Yeah, it’s a slow takeoff. They were kind of, you know, they had some coverage back there that was pretty focused on the receivers. Julian and Gronk were on the same side, and I thought I could try to make it. And we were close. Not close enough, but I was glad to get it in on the next play.
Q: You got pretty good hits from both of those guys, right?
TB: Yeah, but it’s football season, so you’re used to it. There are bumps and bruises, but you’ve just got to keep fighting through it.
Q: On the [play before the] rushing touchdown it liked like you exchanged some words with Josh McDaniels on the sideline. What went into that?
TB: It’s just football, so there are a lot of emotions, especially in this game. He’s done the best job. He’s an incredible coach, and I’m lucky to have him. It was great to get it in there, and we laughed about it about three minutes later.
Q: How much are you rooting for Pittsburgh tomorrow so you can get the home-field advantage?
TB: I won’t root. You’re not rooting too hard. I think whatever happens, happens. Whether we play here or whether we play there, you’re going to have to play really well. I think that’s what it comes down to. So they’re two great football teams. We’ve played them both this year already, and I know it’s going to take our best effort to beat them whoever it is.
Q: What exactly was the exchange between you and McDaniels on the sideline?
TB: I don’t remember exactly. I wanted us to challenge it because we were going to call a timeout, so even if we challenge it we still get the time out. He said, ‘Well that’s what we were doing.’ I said, ‘Why didn’t you let me know?’ So it was just a little miscommunication.
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