Yesterday’s game between Baltimore and New England was a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. Many things were the same — the game was at the same location, it was at the same time, the pads were popping as vicious hits were handed out on both sides and the same two teams were fighting for a trip to the Super Bowl.
The result was entirely different, though. This time, instead of the Ravens leaving Foxboro with their heads down, it was Tom Brady and the New England Patriots that were suffering the heartbreak as Baltimore celebrated a trip to the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady joined WEEI in Boston with Dennis and Callahan to talk about the realization that the season came to an end Sunday, what he thinks went wrong against the Ravens, if he wishes he would’ve done things different at the end of the first half, whether he will tell Patriots management that he would like to have Wes Welker back, if he thinks the Patriots will be back in position to win another Super Bowl and whether the Patriots felt good about the way they played in the first half.
On the realization that the season came to an end Sunday:
“Yeah, that’s kind of the way the NFL season is. Coach said it after the game, there is really no soft landing. It’s just a crash, so to speak. Just a bad night for us and certainly did not play anywhere to the level that we are capable of playing, and you play good teams, and like I said after the game … we let things get away from us there in the second half.”
What he thinks went wrong against the Ravens:
“It’s not like some games where you point to one or two plays. It was just all around. Third-down conversions, red areas, turnovers always play a factor, and all those things weren’t really in our favor so when they’re not, you can’t point to, ‘Wow it was just that one play.’ There’s a lot of plays. That’s why we lose by 15. I thought after the game, I don’t remember the last time we lost by 15 points; it’s been a while.”
If he wishes he would’ve done things different at the end of the first half, like call timeout earlier:
“When I slid? Yeah, I think that’s definitely what I would’ve done. (Host: And you think that would’ve given you two shots at the end zone?) Yeah, well we talk about sometimes saving the last timeout for the field goal. With one timeout left I think that was the thought, but I think sometimes when you’re in the heat of the moment you don’t realize how the clock is ticked off as you’ve run that previous play. By the time I looked up there was not as many seconds as you would’ve thought because my mind is focused on the play. Of course, looking back on it, I wish as soon as I slid I would have called the timeout. Then maybe we have another opportunity to get the ball in the end zone.”
Whether he will tell Patriots management that he would like to have Wes Welker back:
Whether he thinks the team will be back in position to win another Super Bowl:
“I sure hope so. That’s why we’re playing, is to win the biggest games of the year and we’ve had disappointing losses. Every playoff loss is disappointing. [In] ’05 we lost to Denver and that was a heartbreaking loss; ’06 AFC Championship, that was heartbreaking. Super Bowl in ’07 was heartbreaking. In ’09, to tell you the truth, we didn’t have a great team that year. Two thousand ten was heartbreaking to the Jets. Last year was heartbreaking to the Giants. And this one is just as tough. There’s only one team that wins it; there’s only one team out of 32 that is happy at the end of the year. Two teams that were celebrating yesterday, one of them is going to be equally deflated here in a couple of weeks. We’ve been on that end, too, so it’s hard to win these games, it’s hard to win the Super Bowl and you have to be at your best when it matters most. The two teams that advanced yesterday were the best teams when it mattered most. Now who wins it in two weeks, that will be the best team and there’s only one team that gets a chance to do it. Unfortunately for us, because we have had a lot of success, nothing means anything unless you win the last game of the year. That’s just how we all feel. It’s a disappointing outcome.”
Whether it is specific plays that keep him up late at night or just a general feeling of disappointment:
If he felt good about where the Patriots were when the first half ended:
“Not really. I think we didn’t play very well in the first half. We felt a lot worse in the second half. You don’t convert third downs, turnovers and it’s hard to get points. You gotta keep together a lot of good drives and when you play a team where we didn’t play great in the red area and they’re a very good red-area defense — and they always have been — and we knew the challenge we were facing going down there, and we didn’t do enough to get the ball into the end zone when we needed to.”