Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, as he begins preparation for his fifth Super Bowl. Brady admittedly was not at his best in Sunday's 23-20 victory over the Ravens, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns, but the Patriots defense helped propel New England to the AFC title.
"The interceptions hurt," Brady said. "It's hard to be productive on offense when you turn the ball over. You go into these games with a plan, with a game plan. They're a very good defense. There are four Hall of Famers on that defense. Every yard, we had to earn. I was driving home yesterday and I said, God, there's some games where you feel like, man, guys are open, bam, you're hitting them. You're moving the ball down the field and you're getting the ball in the end zone, kind of like we did against Denver. And there's other weeks where you're battling for every half a yard. You look at that goal-line situation we had where it's second and a half-yard. You sneak and you think you're in. Then we hand it off on third and you think you're in. Then we got the sneak on fourth down. That's the way it was all day. That's why the Ravens are as good as they are, because they consistently play well on defense.
"I thought we really did move the ball well at times. We didn't do a great job in the red area. And I wish I wouldn't have had the interceptions. But other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job out there. We could have scored more points, but that's every week for us. But it's great to win the game."
The Patriots won the game when Billy Cundiff's 32-yard field goal attempt hooked left with just seconds remaining.
"I couldn't believe it," Brady said. "You sit on the sideline and you're wracking your brain, how you're going to pull this game out. They hit that long play to [Anquan] Boldin and you thought, 'Oh, man.' Then they got to the 11-yard line with plenty of time left, and I though, 'Oh, I hope they don't score here.' Our defense, Sterling [Moore] made a couple of huge plays there, unbelievable plays. Then they come out for the kick and you're kind of getting ready for, 'All right, what are we going to do in overtime?' You look up and the ball doesn't go in. I looked at Billy [O'Brien], and Billy ran over to me. We gave each other a hug. It was a pretty cool feeling. It was a very special night. We'll never forget that game."
Asked if he felt the Patriots have been lucky, Brady said every team has to take advantage of its good fortune.
"Honestly, I don't think you get to this point in the season without a certain degree of luck," he said. "We've been in a lot of tough games all year. Some balls have bounced our way. You see the same thing from the Giants. They barely got into the postseason, and now look at them. They're playing their best football. It's just the way it is. Five, six weeks ago everyone was talking about really two teams, the Packers and the Saints. It was really just a commitment by a lot of guys to be more mentally tough than their opponents.
"To win 10 straight like we have, they certainly haven't all been pretty. The offense has played really well at times. The defense certainly has played really well at times. Special teams, we got huge plays from special teams. It's really been a special season. Now we just have to finish it the way we all want to."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On what effect the Nov. 6 game against the Giants will have on the Super Bowl: "We'll certainly look at that game, several times. You see matchups. You see how your guys match up against their guys -- route-running and blocking and so forth. It will have absolutely zero impact on the game, but at the same time, hopefully we can learn some lessons from that game.
"We really lost the turnover battle in that game, which really hurt us. It was a great game. Eli [Manning] drove the team down and they scored with just a few seconds left. It was a great game. it sets up for a great rematch between two teams who have earned the right to represent their conferences in the Super Bowl."
On if he has extra motivation after not playing well Sunday: "There's plenty of motivation there. Just as the Denver game had no impact on yesterday's game, this game will have no impact on the game two weeks from now. I'm going to work as hard as I can these next two weeks to be prepared and to hopefully go out there and play my best game, hopefully the best game I've ever played. That's what I'm expecting, that's what I expect to do. And I know that's what my teammates expect of me."
On the Patriots' Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants: "I still can't watch highlights from that game. I think that's just the way it is. You get to the end and we had a great opportunity there and really squandered it, because we didn't play our very best."
On defensive standout Vince Wilfork: "He's a phenomenal player. His agility, his quickness, his power, his toughness -- any great adjective you want to describe Vince, you can. He's a great teammate, he's a great leader, a captain. The whole team rallies around him. He's done an incredible job, not only yesterday but all season. Everyone relies on him for that leadership and he certainly provides it, he brings every week."
On honoring the late Myra Kraft: "She's with us every step of the way. We wear those patches on our jersey, and the painting that was commissioned by our team as a present to Mr. Kraft sits in the locker room on game days. I'm sure it will be there on Super Bowl Sunday, too. It's a reminder for us what a special season this is for the owner of our team and his family and all the people who loved Mrs. Kraft so much. There's plenty of spirituality in our locker room, and to have that patch on our jersey. Hopefully we'll go out and represent her well."
For a transcript of the conversation, check the It Is What It Is blog. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
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