"Let me say first, I have a lot of respect for (Harbaugh) as a coach, and obviously that team is one of the toughest teams we face. It's always a tough matchup," Brady said, per ESPN.com. "It was a play that we liked and we thought would work. We had a couple versions of it. It's kind of an alert play for our team, and we made them figure out what to do. I think that's what it looked like to me. We had to execute it, we had to make the appropriate calls and block it and make the plays, and I was proud of us. That was a good weapon for us.
"That's part of football. You have to prepare for everything."
On Monday, Bill Belichick, as he is wont to do, was much more succinct in his response when asked if he had any reaction to Harbaugh's initial complaints, who called it a "deceptive" tactic.
"No," Belichick said during a conference call with reporters Monday.
The Patriots coach said having a receiver report as ineligible isn't new, as players do it on special teams all the time. He also added that he snagged the idea while watching another NFL team play.
"You know, it was a play, just a situation that I saw another team, like use, kinda, and then we talked about it," he said. "Thought about ways, maybe, to put some pressure on the defense with that type of concept of having four receivers on the field were actually eligible, make them ineligible instead of making the ineligible guys eligible, instead of the other way around, so we came up with a few ideas."
Whether it's a scheme New England will use the rest of the playoffs remains to be seen, but Belichick has put in one more wrinkle that defenses must prepare for, just in case.