The New England Patriots made winning in the playoffs look pretty easy on Saturday, blitzing the Denver Broncos 45-10 by scoring early and often and shutting down Tim Tebow. Even coach Bill Belichick can admit his team played pretty well, but that doesn’t mean he and the Pats are entering the AFC Championship thinking a game against the Baltimore Ravens will be just as easy.
Despite critics who say the Ravens’ defense is getting old and its offense nearly completely hinges around running back Ray Rice, Belichick says that the defense, statistically, is still among the best, and the Ravens have plenty of offensive weapons.
Bill Belichick joined WEEI in Boston with The Big Show to discuss showing confidence against Denver, if the Ravens look much different than they have in the past, the play of Ed Reed, comparing the Ravens’ defense this year to year’s past, a diverse Ravens offense, if the Patriots played their best 60 minutes off football against the Broncos and working with two great tight ends.
Did the way your defense played against Denver the final three quarters the first time you played them give that group confidence on Saturday?:
“I think we’re always confident. We think we can win. We go into the game and we think we can win. That’s what confidence is. The players had a good understanding after playing them the first time of some of the things that they did offensively with their option game and Tebow’s movement ability and those kind of things. We played them better the second time around.”
Are the Baltimore Ravens essentially doing the same things they’ve been doing the past couple years or do you see big differences?:
“I wouldn’t say major, but they’ve modified some things. They’ve got good players and some of those guys have been there for a long time and some not so long. They have a good, solid team in all three phases. They’re very well-coached, they’re disciplined, play good technique. You’ve got to go out there and earn it.”
What is it that makes Ed Reed so great?:
“He’s got great instincts. It’s like he’s a magnet to the ball. His guy might be open but they’re not throwing it to him. When they’re throwing it to his guy, he’s right there where he should be just like he was on the interception against Houston at the end of the game. Then there are other plays where the quarterback’s throwing the ball to the other side of the field and he’s 20 yards from his guy, but he’s close to the ball. He’s got great vision and anticipation, very fast, has good quickness, but I’d say the big thing with him is his instincts.”
Is this Ravens’ defense as good as it’s been in previous years?:
“They’re pretty good. Statistically, they’re right at the top of the league in just about everything and they’ve been there for a long time. Certainly, their rushing stats are as good as anybody’s in the league. They do what they need to win, and that’s the bottom line.”
On the Ravens’ offense:
“They can run it, they can throw it, they’ve gotten good production from their tight ends, receivers. Smith down the field, Boldin can make big plays and of course Rice is their leading receiver. It’s no one-man show. … Rice is a key guy, no question about it, but the other guys can beat you, too.”
Was that the best 60 minutes of football for this team last week?:
“I thought we played a pretty solid game Saturday night, but I know every week in the playoffs the next game you play you’re playing against a better team, because they won and moved on like you have.”
On being able to do multiple things when you’ve got two great tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez:
“On every play, you have to wait and see how they’re going to play them. Nobody plays them the same way every snap, time after time. You see the way that the team plays it against a certain formation. Sometimes they’re on the same side, sometime they’re on opposite sides, sometimes they’re close together, sometimes they’re far apart, sometimes one of them is in the backfield. There’s not one thing that you can do. … It’s part of what our offense is about, giving different looks.”