New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, September 14, 2009.
Q: That was a squeaker but you were able to pull it out.
TB: Yeah we did. That was as close as it gets. There were a lot of situational plays that we needed at the end that we made, and had we not made them, we probably would not have won. But we put ourselves in that position. There were plenty of things we're going to need to improve on and learn from, come in and watch the film and get started – after an emotional game – get started on the Jets.
Q: You threw two touchdown passes in 1:10. Did doubt ever creep into your mind?
TB: Not for me. Not at all. I just felt… you know, we had three timeouts with 5:34 left or whatever it was and I was thinking if we can get down the field before that two minute warning, it's going to put a lot of pressure on them. There were some great plays the receivers made. We threw it so much tonight. The O-line protected great. But we just made enough plays in the end. We're going to learn from it and we're excited we won. We played a good opponent, a very tough opponent that we always play very tough, but it was great to get the win.
Q: Did something just click in the second half that made you feel more in rhythm?
TB: Well, I felt good all night. We were just off in the first half. The plays that we needed to make – we had a couple fourth downs we missed, we had a third down we missed, two chances in the red area that we were 0-for-2 in the red area, the interception – those things really get you behind the eight ball, but we recovered with just a couple seconds left. Sometimes it goes like that and I'm glad we came back and won, and being down 11 with five and a half minutes left, it's a pretty special victory.
Q: Was Benjamin Watson your primary on those two touchdown passes?
TB: Yeah, just the coverage they played really dictated [it]. He ran two really great routes. The first one was an incredible route – great protection – and the second one was an incredible catch. It was the same play and it was the same coverage and the safety really squeezed him on the second one because he recognized it. I tried to throw it high on his back shoulder and he just went up and made a phenomenal catch, so I told him it was the best catch I've ever seen him make. Hopefully there're a lot more of those in store.
Q: Was it difficult for you to maintain that check down and underneath stuff during that first drive, knowing that you were down enough you were going to need the ball back?
TB: Sure. You know, two-minute drives are always fun for a quarterback because you're spread out, the pass rush starts getting a little bit tired, you start getting a really good feel for the coverages. You just have to be patient and every once in a while you get one that breaks. It was a three-and-a-half-minute drive, so we had probably more time than if it were under two minutes, so we took probably a little more time than usual, but we made the plays. Guys made some incredible catches.
Q: How do you feel about the first game back?
TB: I'm glad it's over. I'm glad it's over. I'm glad we're moving on and I'm glad we got a win. You know, we'll take it. We'll learn from it and we've got to go get ready for a Jets team that played really well this past weekend.
Q: What were you thinking when you found out they recovered the fumble?
TB: I was looking for my helmet.
Q: Previous to that, were you looking at tape or were you watching the big screen?
TB: I'm not sure. I wasn't paying attention. I saw we stopped them and then I heard the crowd and then I stood up and looked. Both teams were pointing, so I didn't know. I grabbed my helmet and ran on there and saw Meat [Steve Gostkowksi] had the ball. That was…what a great play.
Q: Did you see the hit that Brandon Meriweather made?
TB: He's been doing it all training camp, so Brandon's really a key player for us. He brings such a great energy to the defense and excitement. I get to compete against him all the time. I did for two years before he was really in there, and then now that he's really in there, it's fun to see him out there playing.
Q: Did you feel as comfortable as if you hadn't missed all of last year, or did it take you a while to get comfortable?
TB: Well I think that we didn't play very well in the first half. We missed some pretty good opportunities. You know, the interception – that was a really bad play. You can't do that, but you learn from them and you get focused and you concentrate on what you have to do, and you go out there and try to perform better.
Q: Because of the layoff, does that necessitate a building process for you?
TB: I think it is, not only for me, but for all of us. We've all got to improve; we've all got to make better plays. You can't leave it up to chance like that. There are just way too many things that if, had we not made them, we would have lost. We've got to find ways to play better situationally. It starts with me and taking better care of the ball and making the throws when I have guys open, making better and more efficient reads, and making more accurate throws. So we'll put some work on that this week and hopefully we'll go out and player better next week.
Q: What fuels your competitive fire?
TB: Well, you know, we have a real competitive locker room and we have a real competitive team. We've competed all training camp against defense, we've competed against Brandon [Meriweather], and that's where you really learn how to do it – out on the practice fields. When you're in a situation like we were with 5:30 left and you've got to make the plays. It takes every guy on the field to really step it up. We've played pretty good situational football here for a long time, so hopefully we continue to do that and continue to make improvements and not leave it up to those end of the game situations like we did.