Be careful what you wish for Bills fans.
In the closing moments of Buffalo’s 27-14 upset win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, confident fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium began chanting “WE WANT BRA-DY!’’ in anticipation of the Patriots coming to Orchard Park for Sunday’s showdown between 1-0 teams.
"We want Brady" being chanted in Buffalo. "Ouch my butt hurts" will be next weeks chant. pic.twitter.com/PuonYDpXY7— Fake Rob Gronkowski (@Faux_Gronkowski) September 14, 2015
During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan’’ show Monday morning, Brady responded when told of the anticipation in Buffalo.
“Well, we’ll be there,’’ a chuckling Brady said. “Sunday at 1 o’clock is going to be a pretty exciting game. They obviously have a lot of confidence. Coach Ryan, Rex has brought that to a lot of places he’s [coached]. We’ll be ready to go. They’re not an easy team to prepare for, but we’ll be ready to go when the ball’s kicked off. If you love football, Sunday at 1:00 in Orchard Park will be a great place to be.’’
Ryan went 4-9 against the Patriots during his six seasons as head coach of the New York Jets. And no matter how many reincarnations the Bills have gone through over the years, the Patriots have dominated their AFC East “rivals,’’ going 21-2 in their last 23 games against the Bills and 8-2-1 against the spread in their last 10 visits to Buffalo including last season’s 37-22 win at Orchard Park where Tom Brady threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns. The Bills did manage to pick up a meaningless win in the final regular season game at Gillette Stadium against a bevy of Patriots backups.
“They’re a tough team,’’ Brady said of the upstart Bills. “They’ve had a good defense and they play really well at home so we know it’s going to be a tough test this week because it’s always tough against them. I know we’ve had a pretty good record against them over the years, but it’s always tight games, certainly playing in Buffalo. It’s a very, very loud stadium. It’s an old stadium, but it’s surprisingly very, very loud. It’s a great environment for football and we’ll be tested, there’s no doubt. They got a real good football team.’’
Brady did some early scouting — as best he could — watching the Bills-Colts game on television like many fans did on Sunday.
“I was watching the Buffalo-Colts game yesterday, I guess as much scouting as you can possibly do, which is a little tough if you don’t get the overall view on the cameras from the television that we normally get,’’ Brady said. “And then kind of flipping back and forth between that Red Zone channel that gives you like every important play in the league. It’s fun. We don’t really ever get any opportunity to do that. So yesterday was kind of unique and it was fun to have it on the opening weekend.’’
Sunday will also be a homecoming of sorts for Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler. Gronk grew up in the Buffalo area, while Chandler will be returning to face the team he played with for the last five seasons.
Gronkowski caught seven passes for 94 yards in his last trip to Buffalo and picked up a game ball for his three-touchdown performance against the Steelers Thursday night.
“I was very happy for Gronk getting the ball. He deserved it,’’ Brady said. “That was an incredible performance. I’ve had plenty of game balls in my day, too. I was very happy for him. No one’s happier than me. He deserves it. He’s worked his ass off. He’s just a force out there and nobody works harder than him, and overcome what he’s overcome. He’s a great player for our team. He sets the tone. His attitude, his work ethic, his enthusiasm. I love being out there with him. He’s just an incredible player, incredible teammate. Nobody’s happier for him than me.’’
The Steelers were caught out of position on several occasions in their attempts to cover Gronk, and Brady said they hope to find ways to get him open again on Sunday.
“Every week we go in there and we go, ‘OK, well, they’re going to do this Gronk, and they’re going to do this, and you’re going to have all these calls.’ … Yeah, for them to leave him uncovered a couple of times — it happens. And I think that’s what we try to do also as an offense. Look, we’re trying to put pressure on them. We’re trying to get them to screw things up. We’re not trying to just make it easy for them: ‘This is where he’s going to line up on every play, and this is all you have to do to defend him.’ You’ve got to figure out [a] multitude of ways to get him open.
“One of the plays [was] the long pass down the seam where he ran for the 50-yard gain, and we started him in the backfield. The first touchdown, we started him on the perimeter, like he’s at wide receiver. It’s easy to say he lines up in the traditional tight end spot, yeah, these are all the things we’re going to do to him. But I think part of our offense has always been able to move guys around, put them in positions where they don’t expect and then see if they can figure it out on defense. They’re trying to make calls and they’re trying to get their defense situated and they’re remembering all the coaching points they got all week and, ‘This is how we’re going to defend him.’’’
Brady said he’s been able to tune out the anti-Patriots media reports that surfaced last week as well as the ensuing headset controversy that came up during Thurday night’s game.
“I hear it and then I just kind of ignore it,’’ Brady said. “I said last week it’s kind of just, at this point in the season there’s only one thing for me to focus on. Anything else is a waste of my time. So, stuff like that’s really a waste of my time. I think football’s such a great sport. There’s so many players that work so hard, and so many players I’ve played with that I respect and played against that put so much in and sacrificed their bodies, their minds for the sport that I think it’s just a disservice to talk about anything other than that. This game of football is great for a lot of reasons, certainly for the coaches and the players that put so much into it.’’
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