"The interception was a really bad play. You can't do that. You learn from them, get focused and concentrate on what you have to do."
--Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback, discussing his resiliency and ability to bounce back after throwing a interception to defensive end Aaron Schobel was rambling 26 yards with an interception for a first-half TD by the Buffalo Bills.
How do the Patriots do it? How do they keep winning in the NFL?
Composure and Resilience
Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:06 as New England beat the Buffalo Bills 25-24. The Patriots have not lost a regular-season game with Brady at quarterback since Dec. 10, 2006. Brady had a great game statistically. He completed 39 of 53 passes for 378 yards. He still has great receivers: Randy Moss (12 catches, 141 yards), Wes Welker (12, 93) and tight end Benjamin Watson (6, 77, two TDs).
“Get your hats on. We’re gonna score before the two-minute warning, get the ball back, then we’re gonna score again and win this thing!”
--Tom Brady, in the huddle at the end of the gam.
"You see Tom coming off the sideline and he comes into the huddle, talking about 'We're going to win this game,' " Moss said. "And when you have guys like that saying positive things and then going out there and making it happen, you have to have your hopes high and really think positive."
Competitiveness and Hard Work
"We have a real competitive locker room, a real competitive team," Brady said. "When you're in a situation like we were, it's when you really have to step it up. It takes every guy on the field to step it up. Hopefully, we will continue to do that."
"It's a great feeling to have that rhythm and that aspect of the game back," offensive tackle Matt Light said. "Not that we didn't have it last year, but (Brady) was out there making all the right plays and delivering the ball downfield, and those guys were making huge catches."
"A lot of composure. A lot of great throws," Watson said. "A lot of confidence, and he would say we as an offense have a lot to work on. ... In six years, I've seen him do it plenty of times."
"I know he had to be nervous, but you can never tell with this guy. Nothing he does is ever a shocker," new Buffalo Bills cornerback Shawn Springs said. "When they say 'hard work pays off,' he symbolizes that. There are no coincidences with Tom Brady."
Sharing the Credit
"He ran two great routes," Brady said of tight end Watson. "The first was an incredible route, great protection. And the second one was an incredible catch. It was the same play. Same coverage, and the safety really squeezed him on that one, but he recognized it. I told him it was the best catch I'd ever seen him make."
On the final two drives, Brady finished 12-for-14 for 112 yards and two touchdowns. This was Brady's 29th winning fourth quarter drive of his career.
"Two-minute drives always are fun for a quarterback," Brady said. "Spread it out, the pass rush gets a little tired, you get a feel for the coverage, you just have to be patient.
Continuous Improvement Mentality
Still, there is much room for improvement.
"I'm glad it's over, glad we are moving on, got a win, and we'll learn from it. We've all got to improve, we've all got to make better plays," Brady said. "You can't just leave it to chance."
"We made a lot of mistakes, but we'll just look at the film, make the corrections, and move on," Adalius Thomas, New England linebacker said.
Excerpts from ESPN.com, Associated Press, The New York Times and MetroWest Daily News, September 15, 2009.
For more on Peak Performance, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.
For more on the New England Patriots, click on the New England Patriots Peak Performance Case Study.