Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, recapping Sunday's 23-16 victory over the Dolphins that clinched the AFC East title for New England.
"They gave us everything we could handle yesterday," Brady said. "I have a lot of respect for the Dolphins, they have some very good players on their team. I thought we did a good job there down at the end closing it out when we needed to. That was most important. That's why it was satisfying. Certainly not an ugly win. I don't buy that one bit. I thought that was a great win for our team."
The Patriots had a season-low 321 yards of offense. Brady completed 24-of-40 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, with one interception.
"I don't think it was our best day of production on offense," Brady said. "I thought Miami's defense played really well. But our defense got us the ball in some short fields, played great in some really tough situations for them -- coming off a turnover, we got backed up on our own goal line and had to punt it out, didn't give up much. Our defense really saved the day.
"And obviously what our backs have been able to do not only yesterday but all season has been a huge reason why we've been on a six-game winning streak."
Patriots running backs had just 11 yards on seven carries in the first half but then helped orchestrate a 16-play, 77-yard drive that chewed up 7:18 of the fourth quarter and ended with a field goal that made it a two-possession game with 1:10 remaining. Stevan Ridley had 10 carries for 46 yards on the drive.
Asked what sparked the turnaround in the ground game, Brady said he wasn't sure.
"That's a good question. I don't know. I haven't watched the film yet," he said. "It usually comes down to execution, just executing a little bit better. I think the good part was to do that down in Miami in the warm weather, where we really haven't played in the warm weather in a long time. I thought that was really a great effort by our guys, in a situation where you've already played 52 minutes and you're able to play your best football when you need it the most and when you're the most tired. That's what it's got to be when you're playing for a division title. They're not going to be easy, you've got to go out and earn them. And I thought we did a good job of that yesterday."
The Pats have been stung by injuries, especially on the offensive line, but had no letdown against arguably the second-best team in the division.
"It's not like we're the healthiest team in the league right now," Brady said. "There's a lot of teams dealing with injuries. Your depth is really tested, your mental toughness is tested. I think we have the best coaches in the league. They get us prepared better than any other team in the league. All those little things become big things at the end of the day.
"It was fun to go down to Miami, knowing what was at stake. Really, that was a chance to put our whole division behind us, to go 5-0 in our division at this point, which is pretty good, and we were able to do it. It was a very satisfying feeling on the way home."
Brady was sacked four times Sunday and took some hard hits, but he said there were no lasting impacts.
"I actually feel pretty good today," Brady said. "I think over the course of the season your body gets calloused a little bit to those plays and those sacks. But I feel pretty good today. [Cameron Wake] got a good hit, there's no question. I'm glad I came out of it OK."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On what it means to be the only QB in NFL history to win 10 division titles: "I didn't know that. It means I'm playing with a great group of guys, I'll tell you that, with a great group of coaches, and everyone that's really committed themselves to winning and doing what's in the best interests of the team. I think that's been the mark of what our team's been all about since the day I got here. Patriot football is being selfless and committing yourself to winning, even when it doesn't mean the ball is always going in your direction or the blitzes aren't always called for you or you're not always the focal point of the play. It's a lot of guys who make an effort every week to go out and play their best.
"That was pretty cool yesterday to win in a place where we've lost the last three times in December. That was what it took and that's what we accomplished."
On Wes Welker, who had 12 catches for 103 yards Sunday: "I said after the game the kind of respect I have for him. Nobody works harder than Wes. He's a great competitor. What he does in practice every day and his ability to -- for a guy who's whatever, 185 pounds, to play every single play and take hits over the middle from those guys that are twice as big as him, get up, come back to the huddle, look me in the eye, be ready for the next play, to be in that type of condition, his mental and physical toughness is unlike anything you've ever seen. He's what our team's all about. He's the mark of a Patriot football player. So, no, I never take him for granted. Every day, I'm lucky to have a guy like that on my team and as a teammate."
On receiver Brandon Lloyd, who was targeted just once Sunday: "That's what I've got to do a better job of. You can't come out of the game targeting him one time. That's on myself. I've got to do a better job distributing the ball to him. It's not that he's not open. Because believe me, he's open. Every time I watch the film I look after the game and go, 'God, I should have thrown to Brandon on that play.' He's a very integral part of what we do. He's worked really hard over the course of the season. I've got to a better job of getting him the ball. I don't think there's any question about that."
On the tragedy in Kansas City, where Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and them himself: "That was I'm sure shocking for everybody. It was shocking to our own locker room. We're very close to that organization, with a lot of our friends there. It's just very tragic. It's pretty remarkable for them to come out and win yesterday. That says a lot about the character of that team."
Patriots LB, Jerod Mayo, talks about the high praise he's been receiving from coach Belichick, trying to forget about last year, and what the team hopes from the defense.
Patriots WR, Danny Amendola, joined the show for a bit to talk about his health, the evolution of the playbook, and the heated battles between the offense and defense.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Wednesday's Patriots practice, which featured Brandon Browner getting into it with Kenbrell Thompkins and a couple others.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Mike Hazen joined the show to discuss how all the Sox deals came together.
Rob and Alex talk with John Farrell about all the moves the Red Sox made at the deadline, what they gave up and what they gained.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are in and talking about all the moves made by the Red Sox at the trade deadline, because the most fun thing about the day is talking about the moves of the day. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held a press conference talking about the Red Sox moves, and Rob and Alex talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell about the moves made at the deadline.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
Mike Hazen joined the show to discuss how all the Sox deals came together.
The top stories of the day as recounted by John Dennis.
Chris Russo joined the show and discussed the crazy MLB trade deadline.
8 players were traded away from the Red Sox (starting with Jake Peavy) and the team has a completely different look. MFB look at the acquisitions and fight over whether Cherington and the Sox front office improved the team.
Lou goes through the 5 stages of grief, then John Lackey gets traded to the Cardinals.
Lou, Christian, and Tim react to the news that Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes have been traded to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. Lou hates the deal the move, especially because Cespedes is not arbitration eligible.
Biggest trade deadline day in recent memory for the Boston Red Sox... and not in a good way. We discuss it all as the news happens and take your reactions.
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As news looms about a possible Jon Lester trade, we sit down with the skipper of your Sox live from Fenway park.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
Sam and Zach discuss changing the format of the Podcast, the Chris Archer-David Ortiz debacle, and LeBron James being a super genius
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
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