Kubiak on laments: 'We weren't fine, we got our tails kicked'

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Kubiak on laments: 'We weren't fine, we got our tails kicked'

FOXBORO -- There were moments early in the first meeting between the Texans and Patriots that, if they had gone differently, could have made the game . . . competitive.

An end-zone pick thrown by Matt Schaub on the Texans' second possession prevented Houston from drawing within at least 7-3. Two fourth-down dice rolls from the Patriots' 33 and 38-yard line in the second quarter didn't come in.

On a Wednesday morning conference call, I asked Kubiak if he needs to remind his team to steer clear of laments and not realize that they earned that 42-14 loss.

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"You're making a huge mistake if you start saying, 'If we'd have done this, if we'd have done that, we'd have been fine,' " said Kubiak. "We weren't fine. We got our tails kicked. They were very, very explosive and look at what they've done to some teams in their building this year. They're sitting there, got us down 28-7 in the third. They had Denver down 31-7 late in the third. They had Indy down, golly, I think it was 49-17. They've really gotten after some teams."

The aggression Houston showed in going for it on fourth down early when trailing 21-0 shows they understood the need to keep pace and that field goals weren't going to cut it.

"A game can get away from you there if you miss opportunities or make mistakes and we're gonna have to come in there and play a 60-minute football game, but we're gonna have to step to the plate and make some plays," said Kubiak.

The head coach added that it can't necessarily be relying upon the usual suspects to make the plays, either.

"We all got our strengths, I think everybody has people they want to touch the ball and they have people they want to take away, that's a part of this league," Kubiak said. "But one of the things that stands out to me in all my years in this league being a part of some great football games and a lot of playoff games is that at this time of year, successful teams get plays from everywhere. I don't think you can go into a game and say, 'This guy's gotta carry the load,' or 'This guy's gotta make every play,' I think everybody's gotta step up and be accountable and usually when a lot of new faces are making plays, you continue to move on. It's gotta be spread around."

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.