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Patriots-Titans press conferences: Tom Brady is looking forward to playing in his seventh-straight AFC Championship Game

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Also, quotes from Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, and Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-14 to punch their ticket to the AFC Championship Game. This is what they were saying after the game.

FS Devin McCourty

Q: After the Titans first touchdown drive, what turned things around for your defense and allowed you to sack Marcus Mariota eight times?

“I thought that was huge – just our pass rush played really well tonight. Obviously, we had a big emphasis on trying to keep [Marcus] Mariota in the pocket and not allow him to escape and be able to make big plays running or throwing. But I thought that was a big difference – obviously, playing well on first down, in the run game and trying to force them into some third-and-longers – and we did that. And then when we did it, the pass rush, they just did a great job – some of those with three-man rushes – just I think we executed the game plan really well up front.”

QB Tom Brady

Q: With all of the negativity in the press lately, was it nice for you personally to come out and sort of silence the critics?

“You know what, no. I’ve been around long enough; 18 years. There’s been so many nice things said about me. That just goes with the territory. I just try to be consistent, show up and do the best I can do every week for the team and regardless of whether I’m the worst quarterback in the league or the best quarterback in the league or somewhere in-between, it’s just my job is to do the best I can do for us every week. It was a good team win today. We’re going to need another one next week. Whoever we play is going to be a great team. I’m looking forward to playing in the championship game.”

TE Rob Gronkowski

Q: Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards on 13 targets tonight. Can you describe the impact that he makes on this offense and how it affects what you can do when he’s available, especially in the postseason?

“Yeah, it’s huge. He’s a great player. He works his tail off and he’s just Danny ‘Playoff’ Amendola. For real. Every time the playoffs come, big games, he’s always there. He’s always stepping up his game. He’s a great player, great teammate, great dude so it’s great to see that.”

Head Coach Bill Belichick

Q: Can you talk about the nature of the throwing the ball 50 times in a game that you predominantly held a lead, and does it say something about the team that you’re able to execute like that given the wind and these conditions tonight?

“Well, start with the Titans. They’re as good a run defense as there has been in the league for the last two years and they don’t give up big plays. They make you grind it out. We had to do that. We had a couple of long drives tonight where we went the length of the field and double digit plays. I don’t know what the exact numbers were, but we had a couple of long drives. That’s sort of what you have to do against Tennessee. They make you convert repeatedly to move the ball against them.

“It takes good execution. That takes all 11 guys offensively and a good coaching staff and a good plan for it all to fit together. Again, they’re a hard team to run against. We certainly didn’t go into this game saying, ‘I think we’re going to run the ball 50 times.’ I think that’s probably hard to do against these guys, but we mixed some runs in there. We tried to have some balance, tried to get some runs on our terms when we felt like we could do it.”