Tom Brady on the AFC East, Stephon Gilmore’s place in history, and his reaction to the videotaping controversy

Brady called Gilmore "one of the great corners that'll go down to play this game."

Tom Brady during the Patriots' win over the Bengals on Sunday.
Tom Brady during the Patriots' win over the Bengals on Sunday. –AP Photo/Frank Victores

With the Patriots back in the win column, Tom Brady was upbeat during his weekly interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

Brady, who threw a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s 34-13 win over the Bengals, praised the defense and the running game.

“It was good to go on the road and get a win,” said Brady. “We were coming off of two tough losses, and anytime you go on the road you have to expect the opponent’s best. They have some real talented players on defense and it was kind of a grind out there in the first half. Then got some great turnovers from our defense and won the turnover margin. We did a great job of running ball, so it was just a good win. That’s what we needed.”

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Here are a few other topics Brady discussed:

The race for AFC East

New England clinched its 11th straight playoff appearance with the win over the Bengals, yet the AFC East remains up for grabs. The Patriots (11-3) are one game ahead of the Bills (10-4). On Saturday, the Patriots meet the Bills at Gillette Stadium (4:30 p.m.)

Brady had a quick response to the notion that the Patriots might take the division wins for granted.

“Heck no, no way,” Brady said. “Man, this is so hard to do. I think if anything you appreciate it more because it’s so hard. This is a level playing field. It’s not like we ever get top-5 picks, you know? It’s not like we play the easiest schedules. The whole league is meant to bring everyone back to 8-8 every year. So the fact that we’ve qualified for the playoffs 11 straight years, these things are hard to do. We put the hard work in every day and we don’t take our foot off the gas pedal. It’s a grind and it’s a great challenge, and I think when you accomplish something as a team, it’s a great feeling and no one can ever take those things away from you. This year has had its challenges, its adversities, like every other year, and if we win, that’s great accomplishment”

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Looking at the 2019 season, Brady also sees the threat of Buffalo.

“It’s going to be an incredibly tough game, because this is one of the best teams in the NFL. They went into Pittsburgh, they were right there to beat Baltimore. This [Bills] team is an incredibly difficult team.”

Stephon Gilmore’s place in history

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tallied two more interceptions on Sunday, including his second one returned for a touchdown of the season.

Gilmore has been discussed as a possible Defensive Player of the Year, and Brady echoed those sentiments.

“He’s doing such a great job, and he’s covering the best players and consistently making plays on the ball, scoring,” Brady noted. “He’s done everything that you’d ask a defensive player to do. His impacts on the game are just huge. You can’t say enough good things about Steph, and not just what you guys see in the games, but how he performs in practice. And I think the attitude that he takes in practice, his leadership, his toughness, not only does he play the pass, but he’s great in the run game too.”

“He’s one of the great corners that’ll go down to play this game,” Brady added, “and we’ve had quite of few of those here and I’ve had the privilege for me to play with a lot of those guys, but Steph is just playing as well as anyone who’s ever played the position. It’s just incredible to watch.”

The locker room response to the videotaping controversy

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Brady was also asked about what effect the videotaping controversy has had on the Patriots’ locker room. Footage of the incident was shown on Fox’s NFL Sunday broadcast.

“I don’t think any player gave it one second of thought,” said Brady. “[It’s] not something that registered. You just move on. There are a lot of distractions out there. You can lose focus on your job and that’s really a waste of your time. There are a lot of people out there that can create distractions for us, but we just want to go out there and focus on what we can do and what our job is and try to go out there and play as best as we possibly can.”