Brady: We were lucky to win

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Brady: We were lucky to win

It's not unusual for Tom Brady to appear upset after an ugly win.

His demeanor fit that bill Sunday evening after the Patriots narrowly escaped Jacksonville, 23-16.

"I mean, we played pretty terrible out there," he said. "It came down to the wire and our defense made some plays but that was a bad 60 minutes of football. We got out-competed out there, out-fought.

"We were lucky to win."

New England's execution was unimpressive from the start.

Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne went a perfect 6-for-6 passing on the team's first drive. The nine-play, 78-yard effort got Jacksonville on the board and ate up almost six minutes of clock.

New England's offense was equally impotent and the team went down 10-3 after the first quarter.

"We started slow -- couldnt do anything offensively, couldnt make any plays," Brady said. "They made plenty of plays. We were lucky to be in it at halftime, didnt really do anything in the second half in the run game or the passing game, so its just a poor effort overall."

Henne contributed 343 to the team's overall 436 yards of offense.

When the Patriots 'D' did step up, killing a Jacksonville drive that got down to New England's 1-yard line, the offense couldn't answer. With a seven-point lead to protect and three minutes of remaining regulation to burn, Brady and company gained just 13 yards before punting.

Patriots-Jaguars truly came down to the wire.

In his press conference last Wednesday, Brady gave 2-12 Jacksonville what seemed like undue respect. When the quarterback went on about how the Jaguars always fight to the last bell, it went even beyond the typical NFL diplomacy.

Those words turned out to be disconcertingly prophetic.

"They didnt give us anything," Brady said Sunday. "I mean, we had to fight for it and they made plenty of plays on us. It just wasnt a very good performance."

There was no, 'A win is a win' shrug to punctuate the presser's end.

The quarterback just saw too many mistakes, with too little time to correct them, before the postseason.

You get very concerned when you dont play well. Thats very evident by the way we performed," Brady said. "We better have a good week of practice or its going to be just as tough against Miami.

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

WALTHAM -- From one media station to the next, Al Horford effortlessly moved about during Boston Celtics Media Day.
 
In between stations, I jokingly asked the nine-year veteran, "Been through a few of these before?"
 
"A couple," he quipped.
 
But Monday was different. And every other Monday going forward this season will be different, too, for the longtime Atlanta Hawks forward, who is now a member of the Boston Celtics after they signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract this summer.
 
With that significant increase in salary comes -- from those outside the Celtics program at least -- a higher level of expectations.
 
"We’re not asking Al to be anything more than him," said coach Brad Stevens.  "He’s a good fit for how we play on offense. He’s a good fit for how we play on defense. He’s a professional. He has a routine. He works hard at his craft. He’s a guy that guys can follow by example."
 
However, Horford joins a Celtics team that -- since the rebuild began in 2013 -- has yet to win 50 games in a single season or get past the first round of the playoffs.
 
And while it will certainly be a collective team effort for Boston to achieve those goals, make no mistake about it: Horford is expected to be the man leading the way.
 
"We need to start building good habits from Day One," Horford said.

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, is a big fan of Horford’s character and versatility, which has been on display throughout his career.
 
"As much as anything he’s been very consistent over his career," Ainge said. "Shooting the ball, playing multiple positions. He’s a guy that fits in with our system with big guys handling the ball a lot."
 
Horford’s new teammate echoed similar sentiments about the four-time All-Star.
 
And when you listen to his new Celtics teammates talk about him and what he’ll bring to a roster that’s loaded with returnees, there are a couple of common themes that seem to develop.
 
"He brings leadership; hard work," said Avery Bradley.
 
Bradley had a chance to spend some time around Jeff Teague, one of Horford’s former teammates in Atlanta.
 
"He just told me I’m really going to enjoy having him on this team," Bradley said. "He’s going to open the floor for everybody. He’s a great player on the offensive end, defensive end. He knows how to play the game of basketball. To have him be a part of this team, I’m just happy about it."
 
So is Amir Johnson, who will likely start with Horford in the frontcourt for Boston.
 
Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man. With the addition of Horford, Johnson won’t be relied on as heavily to be Boston’s last line of defense, which makes his life easier and, more importantly, makes the Celtics a better team defensively.
 
"[Horford] has so many skills he can contribute to the game," Johnson said. "He can run the floor, block shots, shoot the 3-ball, which is big now. He can do it all. It’ll be a big piece to carry us over the top. We just have to put it all together."