Sunday, December 11, 2011
Updated: December 12, 3:30 PM ET
Tom Brady: I deserved to be yelled at
By Mike Reiss
LANDOVER, Md. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had to be separated from offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the team's 34-27 victory over the Washington Redskins. The two had a heated argument after a Brady miscue.
"I threw a pretty bad interception and he wasn't happy about it," Brady said. "There are probably a long line of coaches and players that were pretty pissed at me after that, but Billy got to me first. He let me have it and I deserved it."
Brady's interception came with 6:30 remaining and the Patriots leading by 7. The offense had advanced to the Redskins' 4-yard line when Brady's pass to receiver Tiquan Underwood in the back of the end zone, under the goalposts, was intercepted by Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson.
As Brady returned to the sideline, the two had to be separated from each other by other players and coaches, including backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and coach Bill Belichick. At one point O'Brien ripped off his headset as the two went back and forth.
"We're both pretty emotional guys," Brady said. "That's what I deserve. You make a bad throw, you're supposed to get yelled at by your coaches. It's certainly not the first time and it probably won't be the last. You can't do it in that situation. It was just a stupid play by me."
The play gave the Redskins a chance to mount a comeback that was thwarted by linebacker Jerod Mayo's interception at the 5-yard line with 20 seconds remaining.
Brady was asked if he took issue with the play call from O'Brien, the fifth-year Patriots assistant who has called the offensive plays the last three years but wasn't officially given the coordinator title until this year.
"No, I made a terrible play," he responded. "He just wanted to let me know I made a terrible play. It's football, man. It's emotion. That's athletics."
Brady and O'Brien later hugged on the sideline after Mayo's interception sealed the victory.
On Monday morning, Brady expounded on the flap and his relationship with O'Brien.
"We're both very emotional people and believe me, when things don't go well, everyone gets frustrated," Brady said in his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "There are different ways that we express our frustration and when I make a play like that at the end of the game, it's not what he expects, or any coach expects. That's just part of the game.
"He and I have a great relationship. I love that he feels that he can coach me. I think that's something as a veteran player, you maybe don't get a lot from coaches. Because you're a veteran, you think 'Man, I can't be yelled out.' But yeah, you can. And you should. We're all held accountable. I'm glad our defense really made the play to win the game at the end, because I would have been feeling pretty crappy if we would have somehow not pulled that game out with that interception there at the end."
Patriots assistant coaches are not made available to reporters after games. When Belichick was asked about it, he responded, "A lot of things go on during the game, but the big thing is we did enough to win. ... I think this is a real competitive game and we have a lot of competitive players on this team."
When asked if it bothered him that the two had such a heated exchange, Belichick responded, "We're happy to be 10-3. We have a lot of work to do."
Running back Kevin Faulk, the longest tenured player on the team, hasn't seen too many of those type of arguments in his 12 years with the club. He also doesn't think it's a big deal.
"That's the way it is. You're going to have that with two guys that want to win and the passion just takes over," Faulk said. "It's the game we play. People are going to get intense. People are going to get heated."
Faulk then pointed out how Brady and O'Brien were sitting side by side minutes later.
"Everybody is going to talk about what happened at that moment, but is anyone going to talk about what happened three minutes later?" Faulk asked. "They were sitting beside each other, talking about what they had to do the next series. That's the name of the game. That's what you have to do."
Added offensive lineman Logan Mankins: "It's going to happen. It's competitive. Everyone wants to do good and wants things done a certain way."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.