TB: Short and sweet, huh?
Q: How were the conditions, first of all?
TB: They were, they were very Foxborough-like and middle of January. It was cold out. It was probably the coldest game I ever played in, but it wasn't too windy. So, if it was windy it would have been really tough. But we were practicing in this stuff and we are practicing in the cold, we are living in it so I think we get used to it.
Q: Tom, you hooked up with Bethel Johnson a couple times, but the best play you made was probably the block you made for him.
TB: Yes. I was just trying to get in the way of that one. Bethel made a great play. I got to him quick. And it was starting about eight or nine, something like that. I caught the ball, ran across the field, I saw him coming back my way. I said, 'Oh, God, what am I going to do now?' So I saw I think it was [Lance] Shulters come around, and I just dove out and I think I got a piece of him so it was a good play.
Q: Tom, do you think that fourth down pass to Troy Brown was the biggest play of the game?
TB: Yes, I think there were several. I mean I think we left a few plays out on that field, unfortunately. But you come away with a win and you beat a team like Tennessee, who is as talented as they are, it was just a good win. So we are going to have to learn from some of the things that went on today. It is a different type of situation. It is the playoffs. There is not a lot of room for error because the talent on the other side of the ball is so good. The teams are that much better and there is really not a lot of room to make mistakes. So that was a big play to Troy. Of course, in the biggest situations I always find Troy.
Q: Tom, can you talk a little bit about the point with Bethel early on, what did you see, was everybody leaving the middle of the field open a little bit?
TB: Well, I think it was a blitz. I am just reading Bethel and Bethel had Shulters running with him. And it is tough to run with Bethel. I don't care if you are Carl Lewis, it is tough to run with Bethel. So I just laid it out there for Bethel and he ran and made a really nice catch and, obviously, the big touchdown that started the game. One thing we have done a good job, I think, the last four weeks we scored on opening drives. And with our defense, we can jump out on the lead and I think it forces that opposing offense to be in a tough spot.
Q: Tom, how much of this win was the foundation built during the season, building up a tough mystery ride, not making mistakes at key times as you see the ability to win close games.
TB: Yes, we will. I think over the course of 17 games that we have played, including the preseason, there is a lot of things that happen that don't turn out the way you would like them and there are some that do turn out the way you like them. But I think this team has done a good job of learning from the bad plays and the bad situations, turning the ball over and committing -- I don't think we had any penalties on offense tonight or special teams. I mean we have done a good job with that, something we were really bad at earlier in the year, turning the ball over at the critical points, not converting meaningful third downs. Those are some of the things we are better at. I mean we are not really going out there and producing as much as I would like to see, but I still think in the critical times we are doing a good job in making those plays.
**Q: And in the playoffs, you want to advance. Can you talk about advancing to the conference championship?TB. It just kind of sets in. We have been on this road so long, it almost looks like just another game, just another game. I was just in the shower and I was sitting there going, 'God, man, we have come a long way, we have come a long way from that first week.' It is just fun to be a part of this team. It is just a great group of guys and a great group of coaches. And we just really enjoy being with one another and playing, and I think you see it on the field. And I think we really persevere. Over the course of 60 minutes, this team figures out how to get the job done. And like I said, those critical times, it didn't look good with like a minute and 45 left and then Rodney [Harrison] runs through a lineman, forces them into the intentional grounding, the holding on the next play, just really stepping up. And that is what a guy like Rodney and Tedy [Bruschi], the unbelievable player that those guys are.
Q: Has it hit you yet that you are one win away from the Super Bowl?
TB: Yes, I mean it is -- no. No, it doesn't. It just feels like we are still playing. I mean we are just kind of rolling along. So we know whoever we play, whether it be K.C. or Indy, I mean it is a team that could obviously score a lot of points. You know, we are going to have to play our best game of the year and beat one of those two teams.
Q: Who would you rather face?
TB: Obviously, I don't care. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me.
Q: Can you say enough about the fans? They seem to step up when you guys needed that little extra ummph. How big a role did the fans play today?
TB: They were loud. They were a real force. I am sure they were out there tailgating earlier with the late game. But I mean come out with zero degrees and cheer as loud as they did, and even the club section was out in full force which you don't see very much. But it was pretty neat to listen to them yell and it really helps. I mean it is so much of a help. And that is really when the home field advantage comes into play. Communication is so tough on the other side of the ball and, you know, they just make every yard tough to gain.
Q: Tom, are you confident you got Adam [Vinatieri] close enough, right about on the range going in there?
TB: Yes. 46, 47 yards, you know, he made a great kick there. And I think just watching the other guys, it doesn't seem like that ball gets up very high. So whenever you -- you know, you are kicking those long ones, they have such a great chance to block one. And Adam steps up at the most critical time and nails a 46, 47-yard line in the most pressurized situation, you know, he has faced in a couple years. And just that is Adam Vinatieri. I mean he does it over and over again. He never ceases to amaze us.
Q: It is just like kicking a rock. We talked to him a little while ago and he said it's just like kicking a rock. How is it to throw the ball around the yard, did you feel anything different about it or was it just business as usual?
TB: It was like throwing a rock too. You know, you are up there just trying to -- the ball is hard. The leather is cold. The laces are hard. Just trying to grip it and let it go and try to find an open guy.
Q: Can you speak about how good it felt to lay that block on Lance Shulters?
TB: It is something that doesn't come up very much and ended up being a nice first down for us and kind of getting that drive going. We made some critical third downs today. We probably weren't as good as we would like, but first and third downs we made and that was just one that we, you know, we just -- Roman tells me I am as slow as cold syrup, so I think me just trying to dive in there and knock somebody off, you know, I think just kind of do whatever you can.
Q: Tom, you were kind of spreading the wealth tonight big time.
TB: To a bunch of different guys?
TB: Did a bunch of different guys have catches tonight?
Q: I think ten guys or something.
TB: I am just trying to find an open guy. That is a credit to all the guys that are in there. They can all catch. The guy, they know, they can all be a factor. If they get open, I am going to try to find those guys. As an offense, I think we have done that all year. Different guys know their role.
Q: You had a couple big plays with your legs too, a couple big first downs.
TB: Yes. I think that was an apparition. You don't see that very much, thank God, but I would like to get it to Antowain [Smith] and let him run.
Q: How about that big fourth and three play to Troy?
TB: Yes, that was a big play. I mean Troy ran a nice route. It is a tough run for him to run. Gain for yards, he did it, he makes a great catch and great run. Just a big play.
Q: Any difference in the field tonight?
TB: It was grass. I think our playing surface was mud the last 12 weeks after that Giants game so it has been nice, nice to have some good footing out there and I think the D lines appreciate it being so plush. That is what I don't like. I like the mud. Big fat D-line just runs through it all day.
Q: You guys take care of business, what are you like, all right, great, now it is time to look ahead, move on.
TB: Well, you know, Tennessee has been making fourth downs all year. That is kind of their highlight, McNair completing a fourth and 15 or fourth and ten. When he laid that ball there, they had a chance to get it. So when it went, you know, incomplete, there was a lot of cheering. So thanks, guys.