New England Patriots Links 12/20/11 - Belichick: Players 'Showed a lot of Mental Toughness'

Tiquan Underwood's hair has a higher calling.

Bill Belichick likes the way the Patriots hung in there in Denver after a tough first quarter.

Like I said yesterday after the game, it feels good to go out there and win in Denver. Real good football team; Denver has obviously done a lot of things well the last few weeks, playing well in all three phases of the game. I thought our players really did a good job. It wasn't perfect, but they showed a lot of mental toughness on the road against a good football team - fell behind early, hung in there, finished the game [with] pretty good style. I think a lot of credit, really all the credit, needs to go to those guys for stepping in there and doing a good job in a tough environment against a good football team. We made enough plays to win. It was a good trip home.

Rob Ninkovich recaps the game on the Mut & Merloni show.

"You go into each week preparing for what that team has done in the previous few weeks, Ninkovich said. "Every team’s going to come in and do something different to you. Denver, you’ve got to give them credit for coming in and having a good, solid game plan that we had to adjust to."

"The first couple of drives, we didn’t have everything all together as far as our communication and all that stuff. We had to settle down a little bit and all come together and just say, hey, we can’t let this go on or else it’s not going to be a good game for us. We just had to stop the run, and those turnovers were huge for us."

"It’s the bend-but-don’t-break mentality," he said. "There’s always frustration when there’s big runs being broken out. You’ve just got to be calm and collected and talk to each other and make sure that we’re all on the same page. You can’t panic. As the year has gone on, yeah, we’ve let up some yardage. But when the game’s over, we’re still winning, so that’s all that matters."

Wes Welker talks to Mut & Merloni following Sunday's 41-23 victory over the Broncos in which nine Patriots caught passes from Tom Brady in another example of the team’s balance.

"I think that’s a key for us, is to make sure we’re spreading it around and make it where they can’t really focus on one guy, and everybody getting touches," Welker said. "It becomes a team game then. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s how you win football games. I think that’s the way we’ve got to play it."

On if he thinks about his contract expiring after this season. "I try to put it out of my mind," Welker said. "We’re having such a good year this year. We’re in such a great spot. To cause any sort of distraction to pull away from what we’re trying to achieve and what we’re trying to do as a team, it wouldn’t be in the best interest of what we’re trying to do. Do I think about it? I’m human. It’s hard not to. But at the same time, you’re professional, and you understand that. And you want to go out there and do your job to the best of your ability."

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