FOXBORO When it all started Saturday night, and the Tebow hype was noise lost on the swirling wind, and the presence of Josh McDaniels was an afterthought, it was all down to Tom Brady.
Because, really, thats what the games always are about. The players. And this offensive performance by the Patriots Saturday night was about Tom Brady. The Patriots put their offense in his hands, went no-huddle and told him to go.
Three hours or so later, the final score was 45-10. Brady needed just 32 minutes of game time to throw six touchdown passes. Another chapter in the book of the greatest quarterback of his era.
The no-huddle offense the fuel injection the Patriots often summon when things bog down was put into effect early. The results were impossible to argue with.
I think it was certainly something that helped us when we played them out there, Bill Belichick said of the decision to go no-huddle early. We had a couple no-huddle series there at the end of the second quarter, start of the third quarter in Denver and we felt like that gave them a little trouble. And then today, it looked they lost a couple safeties and Im sure that didnt help the communication and we were able to press it a bit. It seemed like we had an advantage so we tried to, like I said, continue to try to take advantage of it and try to press it a little bit.
Broncos coach John Fox lamented the loss of his safeties. But were Ryan Clark available for the Steelers last week, the Broncos may not have been in Foxboro. Such is life.
Aside from that, Brady gave a not-to-be-denied vibe all week. Chad Ochocinco alluded to Bradys intensity during the week.
Hes very emotional . . . passionate guy, said Deion Branch.
Everyone was up this week, though, said Branch.
I think the vibe was in the building all week, not just Tom, said Branch. "Everything starts right with Coach Belichick, from the moment he walked in last week when we knew we were in the playoffs. Our playoffs started last week in practice. So, we had two weeks of preparation to get prepared to play this one game. I think we did a pretty good job.
I think the energy was there, I will say that, Branch added. Guys were running a little relaxed. Everybody was relaxed; nobody was pressing. But we knew what was at stake. We knew we wanted to go out there and take care of business.
"Im not saying we didnt want to do that last year, when we lost to the Jets in the same divisional round. Last year is what it is. This year, our biggest thing was we were going to go out here and play mistake free football, and we almost did that.
Almost: Brady threw a pick on the third Patriots' possession. Other than that, pretty seamless.
When it was over, Brady had gone 26-for-34 for 363 yards and the six touchdowns.
Records, what about the records, Mr. Brady?
I have no idea what records and stuff like that, Brady said in his postgame press conference. We try to go out and execute well. I thought offensively we took advantage of some opportunities . . . Anytime you score points and you score 45, obviously with the help of our defense and special teams played great. Hopefully we can go out next week and play even better.
So seven touchdown passes and no picks? No trouble.