Tom Brady had better things to say about the Patriots’ passing game a week after criticizing his own role in the team’s offense.
“We just had better execution,” Brady noted in his weekly interview on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan.” “Yesterday I thought they were really intent on stopping us trying to run the ball, and we did a little better job in the passing game.”
Now looking ahead to the playoffs, Brady sees the formula that makes the Patriots a potentially tough opponent, especially at Gillette Stadium.
“For the defense to play as well as they did, and they’re playing so great, especially at home, it’s just a huge reality check for where we’re at,” said Brady. “And if we do things well, and perform well on offense, play as well as we have on defense, the kicking game was great yesterday against another great unit, I mean that’s great complementary football and it’s tough to beat us when we’re playing like that.”
New England will host a divisional round playoff game on Jan. 13 at 1:05 p.m.
It’s the ninth consecutive year that the Patriots will have a playoff bye. For Brady, it’s nice to skip the wild card round, but still not a guarantee of success down the line.
“Winning in the playoffs is very difficult, so if you’re able to basically win in the first round without playing, I think it’s a huge benefit,” Brady explained. “But at the same time, you have to take advantage of it. There are plenty of teams that have gone to the Super Bowl, won the Super Bowl playing in the first round of the playoffs. It’s really about how well you play.”
In postseason football, Brady – who hasn’t missed the playoffs in a decade – knows that simply avoiding mistakes can be pivotal.
“It’s intensity and urgency, you can’t hold anything back,” said the 41-year-old quarterback. “You’ve got basically 60-65 plays of offense that you have left. You can’t afford to have one play that’s just less than – you can’t throw interception returns for touchdowns, and you can’t have bad football, fumbling handoffs, anything like that – you have to make the opponent beat you.”
While Brady prefaced by explaining that the “margin of error is much thinner” in the playoffs, he also added that, “No team is undefeated. Every team has been beaten this year, so it’s not like any team is unbeatable. It’s just a matter of who plays well on that particular day.”
On improving red zone efficiency, Brady was blunt.
“We can talk about it all we want, but we have to go do it.”
The focus remains on the looming playoff game for Brady, though he couldn’t escape a question about his future.
“I love football, and I’m going to keep playing, everyone knows that,” said Brady. “But this is very short term focused and this week is extremely important to us. So that’s where my mind is at.”
One change of pace question came on the topic of Brady’s alma mater: Michigan. The football team that Brady once played for staggered to the end of the 2018 season, surrendering 103 combined points in its final two games (both losses).
Brady was asked about his opinion of the job being done by Jim Harbaugh.
“We all want them to win the big games, but coach Harbaugh’s a great coach, and he’s done great things for the program,” Brady reasoned. “They’ll get it figured out. I’m not worried about them. They’ve got great talent, it’s a great school. We all want them to win, we want them to be in those championship games. They just haven’t done it, but next year is going to be a great year for the Wolverines.”
While the Patriots don’t know their opponent for the Jan. 13 game, it will be determined next weekend. Brady will be around his television like everyone else.
“Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be watching a lot of football.”