Brady, McDaniels weigh in on game plan vs. 'Hawks


NFL Media's Gil Brandt on Monday offered up an intriguing nugget on Tom Brady's on-field heroics from Super Bowl XLIX:

While none of Brady's Super Bowl-record 37 completions went for more than 23 yards against Seattle's stingy defense, nobody in New England is complaining. Especially not play-caller Josh McDaniels, who told The MMQB's Peter King that Brady patiently followed his game plan from beginning to end:

"I watched a lot of (Seahawks tape), obviously," McDaniels said. "And when you saw people have success against them, you saw teams stringing eight or 10 normal successful football plays together. Not explosive plays. ... The word that kept coming to my mind, and I must have said it to our offensive players 25 times in two weeks of prep, was 'patience.' I told them, 'Maybe we can come out of the game with one or two big plays. Maybe. But just trust the process. Be patient.'"

McDaniels said he preached "never running horizontally after the catch," putting his skill players through a flurry of catch-and-run drills in the lead-up to the Super Bowl.

"Vertical, vertical, vertical," McDaniels said. "For Tom, the key was: Do not hold the ball for four seconds, or bad things are gonna happen."

McDaniels and Brady came out against the 'Hawks with a flood of short and intermediate strikes, while using running back Shane Vereen as an option out of the backfield. Vereen wound up catching 11 passes for 64 yards, highlighting a dink-and-dunk arsenal that doubled for stretches as New England's ground game.

"They'd allowed the fewest big plays of any team all season, and you saw pretty early why you don't want to go into the Super Bowl throwing up a bunch of posts, a bunch of 'nine' ('go') routes," Brady told King. "Richard Sherman picks off the go route every time you throw it.

"The plan was to exploit other parts of the field -- but short parts of the field. Michael Bennett rushes from everywhere. Cliff Avril kills people. They believe in what they do. We countered that by saying, 'Okay, here's what we're pretty good at: Space the field, find the soft spots, be satisfied with the four-yard gain, be happy with the four-yard gain. We were gonna be happy with a two-yard gain."

It worked.

Brady's fourth-quarter touchdown throws to Danny Amendola (4 yards) and Julian Edelman (3 yards) both capped nine-plus-play marches on a day that saw the Patriots successfully employ a counter-cultural approach to make history against the best defense in the NFL.

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