FOXBORO -- They got the No. 1 seed and got out of the game healthy. The Patriots won't play again until January 14 at the earliest. Perhaps between now and then they'll be able to figure out the slow-start phenomenon that's been plaguing them. It reared its head again on Sunday as the Bills put a 21-0 hammering on the Patriots in the first quarter. That, combined with the 34-31 win over New England in Week 3 in which the Bills erased a 21-0 lead meant they'd outscored the Patriots 55-10 over a 47-minute span. But in the end, the explosiveness of the Patriots' offense, the sloppiness of the Bills offense and some solid playmaking by the maligned Patriots defense brought New England a 49-21 win.
During his weekly interview with WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show, Tom Brady highlighted the thought process that has helped make the Patriots such a successful team under Bill Belichick, and in the process of complimenting his boss, Brady also may have taken a little inadvertent shot at the Steelers. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin noted immediately after the Divisional Round that the Patriots had an advantage in preparing for the AFC title game because they had more time to rest.
"I would say in general on our team we have a sign on our wall that says, ‘Doing the right thing for the team when it might not be the right thing for you.’ That’s just putting everything aside," Brady said. "Ignoring the noise, the positive things people may be saying about you, or the negative things people may say about you. Just believing in yourself and not making excuses.
"There’s always an excuse you can build into why you lose a game. 'We’re only playing on six days rest, we have this person hurt, or we didn’t get that call.' There are a million of them, and they’re all built in and you can pick them all off before the game. I think our coach does a great job of never buying into the B.S. He never makes it about one player. He never makes it about one play. He never makes it about one call, or one situation. It’s all about all of us collectively trying to do the best thing we can for the team to try and help us win. He never lets his foot off the gas pedal so when it comes to our team, you’re brainwashed. That’s just the way it goes."
The numbers support Belichick's approach: He'll be coaching in a 10th Super Bowl, and seven of those have come as the head coach of the Patriots. Both are NFL records.
Boomer Esiason talks with Toucher and Rich about Tom Brady and the Patriots "dancing around" the issue of winning this season following the suspension, and he would love to see a book in the future