Q: That was quite a win and quite a performance by LeGarrette Blount.
TB: We were pretty excited. That was a great performance by him, by the offensive line. It was just an amazing day.
Q: You've handed the ball to a bunch of different backs over the course of your career. What's Blount's style when you hand it to him and you see him run?
TB: Well, he's big and when he gets going downhill, he's just a big guy – bigger than anybody that's trying to tackle him. So he can just put his head on the pile and the offensive line knows that if they've got a hat on a hat, we're going to make some yards. He did that today. Rid [Stevan Ridley] had a great game, I thought, too. Shane [Vereen] contributed. The backs were huge. The receivers really contributed. The line played great. Defense played great. Special teams, Steve [Gostkowski] kicked the ball great. I mean, pretty amazing day.
Q: Let's talk about kicking the ball and your punt on third-and-a-mile.
TB: Yeah, it wasn't a very good one.
Q: It was a 32-yard punt.
TB: Yeah, it could have been a lot better. [Jim] Leonhard is a punt returner, so he fair caught it and he made a smart play, but it wasn't a very good punt.
Q: You've talked about mental toughness being established in the run game and you have to be able to stop the run defensively and be able to run it when you want to offensively. Heading into the playoffs, is that important to know that your team has that attribute to a fair extent?
TB: Yeah and I think we've shown that we can win different ways too. We've had some pretty – you know, the weather conditions have been interesting this year.
TB: Yeah, I'd say adverse, but we've found ways to overcome it. Today was a great job. I mean, to score 34 points in a downpour is pretty good football. That was just a great all-around performance. That's what we needed.
Q: How important is the bye week for the number of guys that are dinged up and to have the opportunity to fully prepare and get yourselves ready?
TB: Yeah, I mean, there are no games bigger than the ones we have coming up, so this is really a week to get a jump on it and prepare for it. It's good to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Who knows who we're going to play, but we're going to have to play good and that's the important thing.
Q: It seems like there are a lot of guys in that locker room that are legitimately excited for LeGarrette Blount. What kind of impact has he had on you guys this year? And he's a veteran who's going to the playoffs for the first time. What does that mean?
TB: We have a lot of guys like that on our team that haven't been to the postseason. Look, we advanced, it's great, we put together a great season, but it doesn't mean much now. We're seeded; we've got to go out there and play great football. No matter what the conditions are and no matter what team we play, we're going to have to play a 60-minute game, play good in all three phases. I think we've worked hard to put ourselves in this position, we've earned it; 12-4 is a good record. We'll really see what we're made of here in a few weeks.
Q: You've played in a lot of different conditions throughout your career – was this about as bad as you've played in?
TB: Yeah I haven't played in one like this. The water on the field at the end – it was just puddles. I've never seen that on our field before. Both teams are playing in it, so you just deal with it as best you can. We made some big plays. They didn't turn the ball over at all. They turned it over on downs. We had the one turnover and the ball was out a few times. I think we've got to do a better job protecting it and certainly whatever the conditions are in a few weeks, we've got to do a great job. I'm sure it's going to be cold.
Q: How much does the bye week mean to you?
TB: I mean, if we're playing, we're playing; if we're not, we're not. We'll still figure out a way to get better and try to make improvements and I'm sure there's a lot we can do better. We've got a long season to evaluate where we're at and what we're doing well. Different guys have contributed at different times, so it will be our best stuff come next whatever [day] it is.
Q: You guys have been shuffling around a lot of guys up front, so what's going through your head when Logan Mankins is getting helped off the field? We know his toughness and Brandon Spikes is playing through stuff. There's a lot of that.
TB: Yeah, there are a lot of tough guys and that's what it's all about. That's what the football season is all about: guys playing through injuries and giving everything they've got. There's nobody tougher than Logan Mankins, so you know when he's getting helped up, you know he's not feeling good, but he fought through it. There's nobody that I've every played with that is as tough as him. He's right up there – Matt Light was so tough, [Joe] Andruzzi, but Logan is second to none.
Q: As your career goes on, how do you value these opportunities to be in the playoffs and compete for a championship and how do you impart that urgency to the rest of the team?
TB: Well, I don't take anything for granted. I don't take for granted a practice or the opportunity to go out and do something I love with teammates I love to do it with. I'm just proud of this team and what we've been able to accomplish. We've faced a lot of adversity. A lot of guys have stepped into some different roles and been very flexible. There are some guys who have really become dependable, consistent players for our team. As you see the strength of our team, the offensive line, and what a great job they did tonight against one of the best defensive lines in the league, the way they did in the run game was incredible. That's a big strength and we're going to need it here in a couple weeks.
Q: I've heard you say before that this is what you play for all year long – right now, this opportunity that you've earned.
TB: Yeah, I mean, you play hard to put yourself in a position and we're here now in this position. It's a good spot to be in, but we've got to go out there and take advantage of it. Anything can happen if you don't go out there and give it your best. We're going to try to be our best in a few weeks.