Tom Brady and the Patriots escaped Antonio Smith and the Texans on Sunday, but Smith questioned how New England figured out how to come back in the second half. (AP)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, joining Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning for his weekly conversation, dismissed the insinuation by Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith that the Patriots somehow cheated in over to gain an advantage in Sunday’s 34-31 comeback victory in Houston.
The Patriots trailed by 10 points at halftime but turned things around in the second half. Smith questioned how New England could have figured out what the Texans were doing defensively and made the necessary adjustments so quickly and seamlessly.
Brady said the players learned of Smith’s comments after their plane landed back home Sunday night.
“Truthfully, we just played a little bit better in the second half,” Brady said. “We’ve kind of been through a lot of this before, so I don’t really think much of it, truthfully. I just kind of have moved on. I’ve already started work on the Browns and trying to figure out a way to play those guys better and get off to a better start.
“Houston was a really good team and they played well. We certainly didn’t play well in the first half to get us in that deficit. They’ve got a good defense, they’ve got good cover guys. With [J.J.] Watt and Antonio Smith they can really rush the quarterback. It was a tough game, but we found a way to win on the road, which was something that we talked about all week.”
Brady explained that the Patriots did not make major adjustments until halftime, but he said the turnaround had more to do with performance than strategy.
“If you have a bad first drive, you don’t really come over to the sideline and go, ‘All right, guys, we’ve got to change everything. Let’s scrap all the crap we’ve been practicing all week and just start making stuff up on the fly.’ But I think by halftime you have really a good enough sample size to figure out how the game’s being played, the matchups that go in our favor and the matchups that don’t go in our favor, maybe there’s some new things that they’ve done that we’ve got to adjust to,” he said.
“But ultimately, after halftime when you get a chance to kind of evaluate and say, ‘OK, well, how did that half play out?,’ you’ve got to be able to say, ‘Well, let’s stick with it and stick with what we’re doing,’ kind of what we did against Denver, or last week we said, ‘OK, these are some of the things that we’re going to get to and these are some of the matchups that we like, and we’ve got to start making the plays that we’re capable of making.’ You can call the perfect play against the perfect defense, but if I make a crappy throw, it doesn’t matter. It’s a nonproductive play. I know it’s boring, but execution is the name of the game.
“I thought we did a good job there in the second half of trying to figure out — they had a few new things that they had implemented for our game, and they definitely did some different things than we were expecting, but nothing that really blew our mind. It just was different, and we had to adjust. Then the execution ultimately was better in the second half than it was in the first half, obviously. I think that was the major difference.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. 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.
On the Patriots again not playing a complete game: “Ultimately, the game is 60 minutes and you’ve got to play it all out. There’s games where we really haven’t started well, most recently the last few weeks, then there’s games where we haven’t really played well to start the second half. Ultimately we’re going to have to play 60 minutes to beat the best teams. We’ve got four huge games here coming down the stretch. This is really the time of year when we’ve got to start putting it all together.
“We’ve got to get the job down when it counts, and we found a way to do it yesterday. But we also realize it ain’t perfect and there’s plenty of things we’ve got to to better and more consistently. That’s just the way it is.”
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