FOXBORO -- Tom Brady may be having a hell of a year, but he's not feeling pressure to throw the Patriots on his shoulders -- his right shoulder, specifically -- for the postseason gauntlet.
Unless they need him to.
"Everything's on the line, so whatever we need to do to win -- and if it's handing off 70 times -- then that's what we've got to do," Brady said Wednesday. "If they're having a problem stopping it, then we've got to be good enough to take advantage of that. And vice versa if it's throwing the ball. Whatever they're having a tough time defending, that's what you've got to be able to get to. It's important not to be one dimensional in these games.
"It's going to be a matter of what they're doing a good job of defending and what we feel we're doing a good job of executing. And then there's a little spot in there you're doing well, but they're not doing well, then you try to get to it and you try to make your adjustments over the course of the game."
It's no surprise balanced offenses are successful.
In their four losses, the Patriots ran the ball on 31 percent of their offensive plays. They ran the ball 45.4 percent of plays in their 12 victories. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. New England rushed just 21 times in 77 plays against Cleveland, and 31 times on 84 plays against Denver.
Brady was particularly pleased with how the team played in Weeks 16 and 17. Brady completed just 14 of 24 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown in the regular season finale, but running back LeGarrette Blount went off and set a career-high with 189 yards and two touchdowns.
"Last week we just did a great job of running the ball," the quarterback gushed. "The line played so physical and it was awesome to watch. To end the game like that, to rush the way we did, to rush the way we ended the game against Baltimore was just awesome. I haven't been part of that in a long time because we just had a very physical offensive line and backs that run really hard. And that's really hard to defend, especially over the course of a game. Hopefully you can wear the other team out by making them tackle you, making them stop you, making them figure it out, make them want to come up and hit you in the face.
"I think our team's done a good job of that. Our offensive line has done a great job of that. Our backs are really feeding off that and that's been a big strength for us. It needs to continue to be a strength and hopefully that opens up other areas of our offense that, once you're doing something really well and they have to focus on that, maybe you can do some other things really well off of that."
The important thing is, if New England needs to run the ball, it can. An offense can only stick to the plan so much.
"Anything can happen in these games. I've been part of a lot of them and you never know what's going to happen or how the game's going to play out."