Earlier this week, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he was up all Sunday night prepping for the Chargers.
On Wednesday, Brady went more in-depth, discussing how much of a challenge the Bolts will be for his team this weekend.
“We played them last year and they gave us everything we could handle,” Brady said. “It’s a great matchup. They went on the road to Baltimore (and) won a playoff game. That says a lot about them. I think (it) speaks to their mental toughness and character, and it’s going to be a tough game. So we’ve got to put everything into it and hopefully we can make enough plays to win.”
While he won’t go up against him directly, Brady couldn’t help but heap praise on the other marquee quarterback taking the field Sunday in Philip Rivers.
“I think he’s an incredible player and has been since he came in the league,” he said. “I don’t know him that well. I’ve known a lot of guys that’ve played with him, and they all say great things. He’s a great leader, he’s a great passer of the football, he’s incredibly tough and has just been a prolific passer. He’s kind of like me. He wants the ball out of his hands. He kind of wants to be able to anticipate coverages. He's got really a great group of skill players — backs, tight ends, receivers. They're playing as well as any offense that's played all season. He's had an incredible year.”
Their last postseason meeting came in the 2007 AFC Championship Game where Rivers played on a torn ACL. Brady commended Rivers for that gritty performance and is once again looking forward to going against number 17 and his team this week.
“The fact that he played was unbelievable,” Brady recalled. “They played a good game. We made a couple more plays, we got a couple turnovers from them. It ended up being a tough game. It was a hard-fought win. There’s a reason why both teams here are playing this weekend, because we’ve earned it and put ourselves in a position for a great opportunity. Both our teams want to win and it’s going to be a tough game regardless of the outcome.”
But make no mistake, come kickoff, it won’t be Brady vs. Rivers.
Instead, the Patriots quarterback must match wits with the Chargers’ defense, stressing they’ll be a tough test. The Bolts had an impressive showing last week against the Ravens, ultimately beating Baltimore to clinch a spot in the AFC Divisional Round.
Last season, in the Week 8 loss to New England, the Chargers got to Brady three times. Last week, they had seven sacks on Lamar Jackson tying a postseason single-game record.
The film Brady saw last week didn’t lie, so he’s expecting another top-notch outing from Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Derwin James and the rest of the defense.
“They’re so disciplined,” he admitted. “It’s pretty tough. Obviously Baltimore, I watched that game on TV and they had like zero yards passing through the three quarters. It was just unbelievable pass defense. I think they get home quickly. The quarterback’s always under pressure because they’ve got a great rush, and I think the secondary knows you can’t hold the ball long and they’re ready to jump a bunch of routes. They play tough in coverage.”
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