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BOSTON (CBS) – Following the Patriots 49-19 trouncing of the Jets on Thanksgiving night, Tom Brady had a few days before he had to start preparing for following week’s match-up with the Miami Dolphins.
So the New England quarterback took that time to do a little advanced scouting on the San Francisco 49ers. Sure, the Patriots had two games before their clash with the NFC powerhouse, but the 49ers are a team they don’t see too much of, so any extra work couldn’t hurt.
And so far, it’s paid off. Following Monday night’s win over the Houston Texans, Brady didn’t have much more work to do in order to catch up on San Francisco.
“I put a couple of days in there and actually after the game on Monday night, I felt like I just had to watch their most recent game and I was caught up,” Brady told reporters on Wednesday prior to the Patriots walk-through at Gillette. “So, you try to take advantage of a little extra time, a little planning. [I] probably wouldn’t have done that 10 years ago.”
So now that he is all caught up, what did Brady learn about the 49ers defense that will likely wreak some havoc on the Patriots offense come Sunday night?
“Well, it’s speed, they play well together, they’re physical, they stop the run, they rush the passer, they can cover, they create turnovers, they play well in long yardage situations, they’re good in the red area. They do everything well,” Brady replied. “They were in the NFC Championship last year and had a great season. They’re off to a great start. They won some really tough road games – at New Orleans is tough, they won that one; at Green Bay is as tough as it gets, they won that one. So they can win on the road. They’re a very good team.”
The 49ers currently rank second in the NFL against both the run, allowing just 90.8 yards per game, and the pass, giving up 184.7 yards per game through the air. No team has put up more than 26 points on the scoreboard against them this year, and they have some of the hardest hitting players in the NFL — especially in the secondary.
“I’d say the whole defense is that way. It’s a very physical defense, certainly at the safety position,” said Brady. “We’ve played Donte Whitner quite a few times and he’s as physical as there is. Dashon Goldson, I’m really impressed by his ability – we haven’t played them and I’ve never played against him, but he’s really an impressive player. The linebackers they’ve got are all good, they sack the quarterback and that guy Aldon Smith is on an incredible pace and what a start to a career.”
While Aldon Smith leads the NFL with 19.5 sacks, there is also another Smith that Brady and the Patriots offensive line has to worry about: defensive tackle Justin Smith.
“Justin Smith is a great player. He’s got a great motor, he’s big, powerful, takes up two guys and allows those other guys some one-on-one matchups. He’s in there every play,” Brady said. “He plays hard, he plays to the end of the play. He’s a great player and they’ve got a great front. There’s no real weakness on this defense and they do everything well. “
So even with the head start, Brady still has plenty of work ahead of him this week.
“It’s a lot of challenges and we’re going to have to play our best game,” said Brady. “I know all of the guys have been preparing hard the last 24 hours, so we’re going to have to continue all the way through Sunday night.”
Tune in to Patriots-49ers Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub! Pregame coverage begins at 5pm with Patriots Preview, with three hours of coverage following the game. WBZ-TV’s coverage kicks off with Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, with Patriots 5th Quarter after the game.