TB: It feels good. They don't always go like that. That was a fun day. It was good execution. I think for the most part, that was our best day of execution. You don’t wake up in the morning and think they’re going to be like that. That was pretty sweet.
Q: You’ve said many times that it's not just one thing; it's a combination of a bunch of things. Did those all fall into place today?
TB: I think there were some elements of our game that we’re starting to show. When Gronk [
Q: What specifically do you mean by when ‘Gronk can play like that’? What specifically does he bring?
TB: When he’s healthy and on the field, he’s tough to stop. He’s a great run blocker and what he does for us in the passing game, it’s tough to match up. And if the attention goes to Gronk with extra coverage, it opens it up for all the other guys. He’s a big presence on our team and when he's out there for every snap it’s going to be even better.
Q: Could you tell this week that your offense was ready to take more than just a baby step?
TB: I think guys have been gradually kind of getting back into [it]. Danny was out for a while and he's getting to the point where he’s full speed. Gronk is getting better. I think the team overall just keeps making improvements and that’s the most important thing. We talked about that all the way back in September. Even though you go through those games and they don’t look great, hopefully you string some practices together. It hasn't all been pretty, but the wins are the most important thing. Being 7-2 and getting a chance to regroup and study ourselves a little bit and get healthy, hopefully get some guys back and then we’ll see where we're at.
Q: You talked about playing your best football this time of year and building to that point and putting some separation between you and the rest of the field. Is it safe to say you took a step in the right direction today?
TB: Yeah, but I mean, it’s one game…you play once a week and it was a good week of practice and it showed in the game. We have a bye week and then we play Carolina. So this really doesn’t matter much going forward, or the score. I think the improvement of our team and the confidence, that’s the most important thing.
Q: Every week you’re up there and you have to answer questions about third down, or young guys, or one guy’s back, whatever your record is. Your ultimate message is that you’re 7-2 going into the bye.
TB: Yeah. That’s all that matters at this point. All the stats and percentages, you can throw them all out the door now because hopefully we’re going into Carolina playing our best. It’s a week-by-week league and you really get out of it what you put into it. It was a fun week. Games like this, you’ll always remember them. We played a great team that’s had a great defense for so many years. They were scoring on offense and we just kept scoring on our offense and it was a great way to twin the game.
Q: Can you talk about the 81-yard bomb you threw to
TB: The safeties were getting low and we took a shot. Josh [McDaniels] made a great call and AD [Aaron Dobson] slipped behind him. We were talking about that play all week and giving him a chance to get behind the defense. He's done it a few times this year and when you connect like that it’s a pretty sweet way to end the game in the fourth quarter.
Q: He changed the route?
TB: Yeah, he’s got a little choice, so that’s a good signal for me when he’s ready for it.
Q: Randy Moss used to do it a lot. For a rookie, that’s pretty good recognition.
TB: Sure. That’s his thing and what we talk about. He's got that ability with that speed. Like I said, once he gets behind a defense it's hard to catch him because he runs really well. We got production from him and Danny and Gronk, the running backs; Julian [Edelman] on punt returns was awesome. It was just a great team win. That's what it takes. This is when you really start to see what football teams are all about. Hopefully, like I said, our best football is ahead of us.
Q: Can you talk about
TB: It was great. He runs so hard. You give it to him and you have so much confidence that we’re going to gain yards on those plays. He runs hard. He has a great spirit and energy about him and what he brings our offense in emotion. When he's confident, it helps our team immeasurably.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Red Sox players coming in today?
TB: Yeah, that was a surprise to all of us. I don’t know if anyone knew. Us players did not know. It’s been a great week in Boston. Hopefully our sports fans are enjoying it. It was fun to see the players out there. They earned it. That's why you play: to win those when it matters to get that trophy. That was a really cool day.
Q: How’s your hand?
TB: It's great.
Q: You mentioned pretty much everyone but yourself today. How would you assess your play? It seemed like you had better velocity on the ball today.
TB: I think it’s… I don’t know. We’ll have to see. It was a good day by everybody. The quarterback – you're the one that – I have the ball in my hands and I’m trying to spread it around to the guys that are open and they’re making plays, so that was the best thing. You throw it and they catch it and run with it. It makes for a good day for the quarterback.
Q: I’m almost positive that was the most points ever given up by the Pittsburgh Steelers. What does that mean to you?
TB: Yeah. They’ve been playing football for a long time and they have some of the best players that have ever played in this league. I respect that program and the organization. They’ve been doing it for a long time. They have a great offense and quarterback and guys like Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor, who we've had some great battles against. They fight hard; they fight to the end as you see. I think that was just a good day of execution by us and it needed to be because they're not going to make it easy. They came out there and tied it up there in the third quarter. We showed a little bit of resiliency and mental toughness to fight back and gain control of the game.
Q: You seemed very comfortable on your reads today. Did you feel more comfortable at the line of scrimmage reading what the Steelers’ intentions were?
TB: That’s a good defense. We just played well. We hit throws. If you throw it, you catch it and you run with it, good things happen. We haven’t been the best at execution this year. When it’s good like that, it’s tough. It’s tough on defenses. But that's what we have to do going forward. That's how you put a lot of pressure on these defenses: to go out and execute like that.