After leading the Patriots to a last-minute, 20-16 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday, quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly conversation as part of WEEI's Patriots Monday.
While the Patriots failed to score 30 points for the first time in 14 games, the defense kept it a close game and Brady was able to engineer another winning drive. Brady said it was a good example of the type of complementary football the team likes to see.
Said Brady: "Coach [Bill] Belichick has really been stressing that, that when the offense turns it over, not to allow points. And when the defense gets a turnover, for us to get the ball in the end zone. That is complementary football, and that's a team really working together, understanding the situation, and then going out there and capitalizing. Offensively, I don't think we necessarily did that this past game. We've got plenty of things we've got to work on. But to turn it over four times and still win, that hardly ever happens. I think we're pretty fortunate there."
The Patriots now have a bye week, giving them a chance to rest up before an Oct. 30 game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
"The bye week always comes at a good time, no matter what part of the season," Brady said. "All the guys need it to kind of get those little bumps and bruises healed up and be ready for the long push when we start against Pittsburgh in a few weeks. We're always trying to improve things. I don't think we come out of a game thinking we've got everything figured out. Especially a game like yesterday where we're all pretty proud of the way we pulled it out. It was a great team win. The defense really stepped it up when we needed them to, and I think offensively we did some things when we needed to as well.
"When you play a good football team like that, you've got to win those games. We had a chance, we had an opportunity to do it and we took advantage of it."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On the game-winning drive: "At that point you've got a pretty good feel for what you're doing. You've got a pretty good feel for your matchups, the coverages you're seeing. Obviously, it wasn't our best offensive performance yesterday. But if the score is 44-41, you've still got to go down and score points. I think the situation was we had two minutes there and we had a chance to win the game. All of our offensive guys, as I said after the game, we work on that every week. Every single week we have two-minute drives in practice, against the defense, against our scout team. And we're expected to go out there and execute. I don't think there was a guy on that offense that didn't think we could go down and score points. Ultimately, once we got into position, we were going for the win.
"Every single guy on our offense really executed at a high level. That's really what it took. Because we didn't really didn't execute at a high level all day. And that's why I think we came out of the game with not scoring as many points as we would have hoped."
On the Cowboys' three-and-out possession that set up the Patriots' winning drive: "We practice that situation as well. We call it our four-minute offense, when you're ahead and you've got to try to run the clock out. I think the first down was a run, and then they got a penalty at one point, right? That always hurts you. Then on the third-and-long, the chances of picking up a third-and-long are probably 15-20 percent anyway.
"They're banking on the fact that we can't go down and score if they kick it to us. They made it tough on us. They made it tough on us all day. There weren't a lot of easy throws out there yesterday. They really made us earn it. And that's really the hallmark of that team, especially a Rob Ryan-coached team, who's a damn good coach, damn good coordinator. He was here and helped us win some Super Bowls, so we know how kind of he has those guys playing, and they played a great game on defense."
On Chad Ochocinco, who saw limited action Sunday: "Look, he's working hard at it. We're all working hard at it. I'd say there's definitely a lot of improvement that we've made and that we're going to continue to make. I have a lot of trust and confidence in him. I don't lack for that at all. He didn't get a lot of opportunities yesterday. I think that's the reality of that game. There were a lot of other guys that were in there. Aaron [Hernandez] was in there a lot, [Rob Gronkowski] was in there a lot, obviously, Wes [Welker] and Deion [Branch] have been out there. That was just primarily the way it turned out yesterday. How it turns out when we play Pittsburgh, I have no idea. It will probably be pretty different there, too. Every single person that's on the team is expected to contribute. Like I said, I have tons of confidence in Chad."
On the possibility of acquiring a wide receiver at this point of the season: "We got Deion [Branch] last year at the trade [deadline] and he came in and did pretty well. Whatever position -- kicker's probably the easiest. You don't have to do much. There's only one formation. A lot of guys switch teams at this time of year. It's just part of the process of the league. I think the players, we just have to do our job. That's what we need to do, and we all need to do a better job of that as we go forward."
On the most clutch player he's ever played with: "Oh, God, we've had so many guys over the years. The guys I played with on those championship teams were pretty clutch. David Patten, think of all the critical touchdowns he's had in his career. Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Randy [Moss]. Kevin Faulk, without a doubt. Kevin Faulk is probably the most clutch player I've ever played with. He is a remarkable player and he's made so many big plays in big games for us. We've had so many. The offensive line, Matt Light, he's a clutch player. He plays his best in the biggest games against the best opponents. He's as tough as they come also.
On Faulk's possible return: "I think so. He's on the team. I know he's on PUP. This is the week where guys can start coming off PUP. I don't know what coach Belichick's going to do this coming week. But it's nice that he'll be out there and ready to be a part of the team. I know he's itching, every time when I see him I keep saying there's a countdown for him. I'll love seeing him out there, his 33 jersey on the practice field. I hope that comes very soon."
For a transcript of the entire conversation, check the It Is What It Is blog. To hear the interview, check the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
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