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FOXBORO (CBS) – Tom Brady did not have his best game in a Patriots uniform against the Ravens in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots won 23-20 to advance to Super Bowl 46 in two weeks, but Brady played a lesser role in the victory than usual.
After the game, he gave himself an honest assessment when presented with the conference title after the game.
“I sucked pretty bad today, but our defense saved us,” Brady told CBS’ Jim Nance after the win. “I’m going to try to go out and do a better job in a couple of weeks.”
Brady may not have liked his human-like performance, but the rest of the Patriots’ organization didn’t seem to mind.
“Who cares, we won,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said of his quarterback’s performance after the game.
“There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. He’s the best,” head coach Bill Belichick said after the game. “He does so much for us in so many ways on so many different levels. I’m very fortunate that he’s our quarterback and what he’s able to do for this team. It’s good to win with him and all the rest of our players. If that’s more than somebody else did, I don’t really care about that.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft had the same feelings as well.
“Well here’s what he said to me. He said to me, ‘I promise you I’m going to play a lot better in two weeks.’ He’s still pretty good in my book,” said Kraft. “I’ll take him over any quarterback. I’ve been watching the NFL for a long time and there’s no quarterback I’d rather have.”
“Tom’s very hard on himself. That’s why he’s the best player in the NFL,” said receiver Deion Branch. “He takes a lot of stuff to heart and he expects to go out and do everything perfectly and then we expect that from him as well but at the same time like I said, nobody did anything great on the offensive side of the ball tonight. Nobody. So for him to sit in and say that we except that but overall nobody did anything perfect.”
Brady finished 22 of 36, passing for 239 yards and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 57.5. He did rush for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, though.
“You want to hit the open guys, you want to capitalize when you have open receivers; I wish I had done a better job of that today,” said Brady after the game. “I’m glad we won, I’m glad we’re moving on. Hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks. I think offensively, we can do better and that’s what it’s going to take.”
Stephen Gostkowski kicked three field goals, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis also rushed for a touchdown. The defense, meanwhile, held Baltimore running back Ray Rice to just 67 yards and forced a Joe Flacco interception.
“I’m proud of my teammates. You fans were unbelievable today – the 12th man. We needed it. We’re going to try to go out and kick some butt in a couple weeks,” Brady said at the podium after the game.
In the end, Brady advances to his fifth Super Bowl, tying John Elway for the most appearances in the big game. Should Brady win, he would tie Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl victories with four.
“It’s incredible. You watch this game as a kid growing up, I was a 49ers fan so I got to watch a lot of Super Bowls. You pinch yourself. To get this opportunity, I’m privileged to be a part of an incredible organization, to play with a great group of teammates. It’s really a privilege to play quarterback on this team,” Brady said.