Brady: We were lucky to win

968659.jpg

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.

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”