By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady took the podium at MetLife Stadium after setting an all-time NFL record and expressed regret that he didn’t play better during the Patriots’ 24-17 win.
Knowing the way Brady typically handles such career accomplishments, this was no surprise.
Brady passed Peyton Manning and Brett Favre for the most regular-season wins by a quarterback in NFL history. Brady was asked for his reaction to the achievement.
“I wish we would’ve done better,” Brady said. “But we won, so … probably a lot to learn from it. Wish we could’ve played better offensively. But we battled, we got down early ad then fought back, good series before half, and then hung in there at the end.”
Brady himself didn’t have an all-time great game, completing 20 of his 38 passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. That performance, combined with the fact that Brady already set the record for most combined regular season and postseason wins last year, led to an expectedly muted response.
“We just didn’t execute as well as we needed to,” he said. “Just execution. We’ll keep at it. It’s only the sixth game of the year so we have a lot to figure out.”
Head coach Bill Belichick — the only professional head coach Brady’s ever known — offered a similarly subdued reaction to the accomplishment.
“Great, that’s what we’re all here for, is to win games,” Belichick said. “So, yeah. Been very fortunate to have Tom at the helm on a lot of those wins. That’s what we’re all in it for, is to win.”
The 40-year-old quarterback was informed of the broken collarbone suffered by Aaron Rodgers, who along with Brady is considered one of the best two active quarterbacks. Brady said that news “sucks,” and was asked if his own durability is what has been his greatest trait over his 18 years in the NFL.
“I think that’s a great thing for any player. The only way to improve is to stay out there,” Brady said. “I think a team can only really count on you if you’re practicing and playing. I try to — ever since I started playing sports, I always felt like I had to be out there for my team. I work pretty hard at it. I wish I could’ve played a little better today, but it was at least nice to be out there.”
The quarterback’s other undeniably exceptional trait is his extreme competitiveness — something that was on display when CBS cameras caught him expressing some frustration late in the first half.
“I think I’m always a little edgy out there for one reason or another,” Brady said when asked what might have been bothering him in that moment. “It’s just an emotional game. I don’t know what it was today. I think it was just frustration from the way things were going, our execution and so forth. Just blows over a little bit.”
It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, and the Patriots caught a break or two along the way to earn the win. But when you earn 186 of those in your regular-season career, you make it fairly clear that stacking up so many victories is no coincidence.