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Belichick confirms Brady injured in Miami game

Despite reports to the contrary, Bill Belichick confirmed that Tom Brady suffered his shoulder injury in the season finale against Miami.

Despite recent published reports that indicated quarterback Tom Brady injured his right shoulder during a 24-7 loss at Tennessee late in the season, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said he had no prior knowledge of any such ailment before the Miami game in Week 17.

Brady, who separated his right (throwing) shoulder during the third quarter of the Dolphins game, struggled at times late in the season, particularly against the Titans on Dec. 16 and again the following week at home against the Jets in a 30-17 defeat. That led to speculation that perhaps Brady was playing at less than 100 percent during the stretch.

According to Belichick, that was not the case.

"I'm sure he was tired at the end of the year just like everybody else was but I don't think it was a very big factor," Belichick said during an interview with Patriots Football Weekly on Jan. 17 (for more on that check out the next issue of Patriots Football Weekly due on newsstands Feb. 5). "[There was no injury] that I was aware of. He got banged up a little bit in the Miami game but was able to finish the game and never came out."

Brady's performance tailed off dramatically in the final month, leading some to believe there was a problem. He failed to complete 60 percent of his throws in the final four games and tossed just two touchdowns against three interceptions over the last three. His passer ratings for the final three weeks were 47.2, 57.6 and 68.5 – all well below his season total of 85.7.

"I think the season wears on everyone physically but I think he wore down more last year than he did this year," Belichick added. "I think he was able to pace himself much better this year."

In light of Brady's performance down the stretch, the theory that he was injured before the Miami game doesn't seem to make much sense. If there was a physical problem that stemmed from the Tennessee game, why would Belichick have sat idly by and stuck with a less than 100 percent quarterback who was clearly off his game the way Brady was?

Assuming the injury did take place in Tennessee, even if Belichick and the Patriots medical staff determined Brady was fit enough to start against the Jets, wouldn't the coach have seen pass after pass fall short of their intended receivers and opt for Damon Huard, an experienced backup who is more than capable of filling in?

And with the season on the line and trailing by 11 points late in the Dolphins game, Belichick still stuck with Brady, further evidence that any injury suffered came in that game.

Despite the injury, Brady was able to rally the team to a stirring overtime win that temporarily kept the Patriots in the postseason hunt until the Jets routed Green Bay later that afternoon to officially end New England's season.

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