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Patriots notebook

Brady airs a grievance

He criticizes some ex-mates’ comments

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / September 20, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - Patriots quarterback Tom Brady yesterday had some harsh words for his former teammates who took to the airwaves last week to criticize his current teammate, receiver Chad Ochocinco.

Tedy Bruschi led the charge against Ochocinco, who tweeted that he was impressed by the Patriots’ offensive explosion in Miami. Brady essentially said Bruschi should mind his business.

“We all just are trying to do our jobs,’’ Brady said during his weekly paid appearance on WEEI radio. “That’s the thing about it. As a quarterback, that’s why it’s so fun playing for the Patriots. Because all I have to do is play quarterback. I don’t have to worry about coaching. I don’t have to worry about personnel. I don’t have to worry about the running backs. I just have to play quarterback. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

“And I will say this about all those guys, whether it’s Tedy making a comment - and I love Tedy, he’s one of my great friends, and all those guys that have played for us - but honestly, none of those guys have any clue what they’re talking about. They’re outside of the locker room. They don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish. So, with all due respect to all of them and what they’ve accomplished . . . they don’t know.

“Everybody can really think what they want to think and say what they want to say, whether that’s about a receiver, a quarterback, a coach, but nobody knows. The only people that it really matters to is the guys that are inside the locker room. And we support each other. Because we rely on each other. And we count each other. And every single player that’s on the team is counted on to help us win. And anybody who was watching that game knew that - Chad, for example, he helped us win yesterday. He made two huge plays in the game, led the scoring drive.’’

Ochocinco had a 15-yard gain on third and 5 in the first quarter, a catch that led to the Patriots’ first touchdown of their 35-21 win over the Chargers Sunday.

As for his comment last week telling Patriots fans to start drinking early and to be rowdy, Brady sounded surprised that it generated the reaction it did, and he vowed not to make that mistake again.

“I hope there was nobody that was drinking irresponsibly,’’ he said. “I was trying to just make a very subtle joke. But for a guy that doesn’t even drink - me - it gets a lot of attention. I think that I won’t joke like that anymore. That wasn’t the best thing for me to say. I won’t ever say that again.’’

Praise for play While pictures of big Vince Wilfork rumbling up the sideline cradling the football after his first career interception were making the rounds on Twitter and the Internet, coach Bill Belichick praised the play by the veteran defensive tackle.

Belichick said Wilfork created the play on his own, whether by reading Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’s eyes, or by sensing that a screen pass was coming.

“He kind of pulled off on it and was able to get in the throwing lane,’’ said Belichick. “Look, the defensive linemen are trying to rush the passer, that’s what they’re in there for. But good defensive linemen will have an awareness of the backs - backs run screens, backs run in wide flare patterns, sometimes backs are checking through the middle - that indicates a potential passing lane to that guy.

“It was a really instinctive play on his part. That wasn’t really something that we had designed or he was specifically coached to do. I think he just saw it and reacted like a football player and did what he thought was right and it was definitely the right thing on that play.’’

Gates locked down The Patriots held Chargers tight end Antonio Gates without a catch. Gates is usually a handful for most teams, but in five previous games against New England, he had 21 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think looking at the final stat sheet says a lot,’’ safety Josh Barrett said. “Guys really did a good job, especially on the back end, with the linebackers and even the defensive ends getting hands on him early and just keeping him somewhat contained. It was a great team effort doing that.

“We put an onus on it, and coach made sure that we had a scheme that was going to be able to kind of lock down what we had to do with him.’’

Belichick said the Patriots did “nothing revolutionary’’ in containing Gates, but the players did a good job. The one time Rivers targeted Gates, Sergio Brown intercepted the pass.

Brace a blessing The scariest moment of Sunday’s game for the Patriots came early in the third quarter, when defensive tackle Antonio Garay swiped at Brady’s left, plant leg, and the quarterback’s knee twisted awkwardly as he fell. Brady said he was glad he was wearing a knee brace, as he’s done since returning from ACL surgery. “The brace took the brunt of the force,’’ he said. “Why every quarterback doesn’t wear one on their left knee, I have no idea. It’s just so unprotected.’’ . . . There was no explanation as to why the game officials reviewed the point-after on the Chargers’ final touchdown. The decision to look at it over again was up to the officials, and they didn’t tell either coach why.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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