BB: Those kids just left it out on the field tonight. I cannot say enough about those guys. They just will not quit.
This game was like the San Diego game where we were down by ten, came back, made a big play on third down on defense, had a big punt return there and just great, great team effort. You know, had a great drive there, had a tremendous kick by Adam at the end of the game, of course. And then had a good drive there in the overtime. You know, just had a lot of big plays, big throws, big runs, big blocks and I'm just so happy for our football team and those guys. They just keep fighting. They don't know any other way to do it, and just glad it paid off for them today.
Oakland is a good football team, obviously. They are obviously a good football team and gave us all we wanted and more. That Polish guy made a couple big kicks, it was tough, and he hit them, but it can't get much closer than that. We are just very, very fortunate obviously and thankful that we made enough plays to win and we are able to come out on top on this one.
Q: In the fourth quarter, before Brady had that play, before the fumble was overturned, were you in your mind saying it was over, that it was a fumble?
BB: His arm was going forward, but, you know that play is out of our hands. It is under two minutes.
Q: Did you have any misgivings at all when Adam lined up for that 45-yarder with?
BB: We didn't have any choice. Sure, it was a tough quick. Can't get any tougher than that kick, in four inches of snow, and the conditions and the pressure of the play, but we didn't have any choice. It was our only shot and so we had to take it. We were in range, and, you know, we had a lot of confidence in him and he came through.
You know, I think, also, just on that note, too, you've got to really give a lot of credit to Lonie and Kenny and that whole operation, as well as the protection. But snapping and holding and kicking in those conditions is not easy, and they did a great job of it, and it could not come at a bigger time.
Q: With ten minutes left in overtime where you've got basically the same kick going the other way and you took the timeout, were you contemplating a field goal or what were you discussing there?
BB: Yeah, yeah, we were thinking about -- we were making the decision there whether to go for it on fourth down or whether to try the kick, which would have been -- I think the ball was on about the 28; so it would have been a 45 -, 46-yarder. Had he missed it there then obviously they would have gotten the ball at the spot of the kick for another seven or eight yards.
So we felt we had a shot to pick it up on 4th and 3, 4th and 4, whatever it was and we would not lose the field position on the kick. But, yeah, there's a close call. You know, 46-yarder in those conditions, it's one thing on the last play of the game when you've got to have it; it's another thing when you're in overtime and you're going to keep playing.
So, could have gone either way, but I think in the end, we felt the percentages were a little bit higher to try to pick it up on fourth down.
Q: Was that as good a half as you've seen a quarterback play?
BB: Tom did a nice job of running the no-huddle offense there in the end. We struggled quite a bit in the game to move the ball consistently. We had that one good drive and could not get it in the end zone and had to settle for a field goal.
But Tom did a good job in those conditions. I thought the receivers made some good catches, and, you know, those are tough conditions, but, you know when you get to this time of year and so much is at stake, you've just got to be at your highest in terms of concentration and alertness and they were in terms of the ball handling. All of the shotgun snaps that Mike did were good. We were a little concerned about that, but he came through there. It's tough, but Tom did a good job.
Q: Did it force you to go to the pass, the coverage left you no choice?
BB: Well, I think the outside receivers, they were really trying to pack the middle, which we did, too. It was a good strategy in those conditions. They were having their two linebackers and safety all drop down inside, and, so it did make it a little tight there and to get the ball outside was -- there was just a little more space, that's right.
Q: Are you to the point where nothing really surprises you anymore?
BB: Well, the way our team plays does not surprise me. I mean those guys, they are going to fight till their last breath. That 3rd down stop, that 3rd and 1 stop was a huge play, and to be able to score ten points there in the fourth quarter against a team, a real good football team like Oakland was -- you know, it took a lot. But our guys have played like that all year and they don't know any other way. I'm telling you, that's a tough group of guys in that locker room over there.
Q: Come out of nowhere --
BB: He made some big catches. I think he made it a little harder than they needed to be. He did the same thing for us last year in Buffalo.
One of the things we did last night before the game was we sat and watched the Buffalo game from last year. Even though it was a different scheme and all that, the conditions appeared like they were going to be similar. So we really went back and put in kind of on the fly a couple of the plays that we used in the Buffalo game last year that were successful for us. And if you remember, Jermaine had a couple of big catches -- I can't remember if it was the fourth quarter over the overtime, but made some big catches and runs similar to the way he did today. He's kind of a snowplow for us.
Q: Snow or no snow, for you to be able run to the ball on them, but with the snow, more so that was not the case. Why were they so strong --
BB: They good a good job. That's a good football team now. That's a good football team. We had a couple of decent runs on them but they -- they hit us a few times, too. So luckily we were able to punch it through a few there in the last drive to get it down for the field goal, but they played a lot of eight-man front. Like I said, they tackled the middle of the formation with the safeties, linebackers, blitzing up the middle, which is good strategy based on the conditions. Nobody was hitting sideline routes. Those were tough throws. The play Gannon had for a touchdown, that was a great throw in the corner in those conditions. You've got to make them hit that and Gannon is good enough; he hit it.
But you've got to take stuff away on the inside and that's what they did, and we could not get the toss game going, and they just outnumbered us inside and they did a good job on the running game.
Q: In the first quarter you went for the 4th down on the 35 -, 36-yard line, just before the half with a minute to go, you opted to punt in the same situation. What's the thought process there?
BB: We were going to get the ball to start the 3rd quarter. So we knew we had another possession coming, and I didn't want to give them an opportunity because, you know Janikowski, you know, I didn't really want to give him an opportunity to try to get any extra momentum there at the half.
So I thought if we could just keep the game where it was, and, you know as much as I would like to have gotten a little more out of that drive, I just felt like it would be taking a little bit too much of a chance to lose some momentum and lose points there at the end of the half; we were going to get the ball. So start and I thought we could regroup and maybe get things going. There was a lot of football left at that point.
You know the first half it was -- we thought about the long field goal same kind of situation, I figured even if you miss it, you end up throwing another eight yards back in field position. So we just tried to go for it on 4th down and they made the play.
Q: When will you start thinking about next week?
BB: Well, tomorrow -- well, tomorrow. Yeah, we'll start working on Pittsburgh and Baltimore tomorrow, and probably split the staffs up so that, you know, we cover both of them as far as we can. Put a couple of guys on each side of the ball: Put a couple of guys on one team. Put a couple of guys on another team; and once it's decided, at least somebody will have a little about the of a head start.
But, you know, they are both great football teams and real good defensive football teams, as well, so -- but we are happy to be able to play whoever we get a chance to play.
BB: Well, I think the conditions, obviously, were tough. It really was hard to throw the ball outside. I think the throwing game outside the numbers was tough. But running game outside was tough because the player starts -- the running back will start laterally and then have to cut it up, and it was just hard to get real good, consistent footing to get those cuts. You know, the best plays are the downhill plays. I know Garner hit a couple outside that he was able to hit them downhill. We didn't do a real good job on the force a couple times. Garner, he's a terrific runner, and he was able to get out there and outflank us. That part of it was tough. Yeah, it took that away.
I think the rest of the game was, you know, I mean it was harder to execute, but we still called what we practiced. I said other than some of -- a couple of those routes we worked on and put in similar to what we did last year in the Buffalo game.
Q: How would you characterize the play of Brady for a young man in his first playoff game?
BB: Well, I think Tom and the whole offensive team struggled a little bit early. We had a decent first drive and then we had I think maybe one first down until the drive right before the half. So, we were struggling to get into a good rhythm and get it going, but when we got in the second half, we moved the ball better, and then of course in the fourth quarter, we went to the no-huddle; and so that's where we had most of our success and Tom did a real good job of that.
I think you've really got to commend him for the poise he showed under pressure in this situation, handling those tough conditions and just hanging in there because, you know, that's what he does. He might have, you know, a bad play here or there. He certainly had a couple today, but he battled right through them and just hung in there and started making some good ones