Tom Brady was sacked five times and hit three more during a game in which he played a career-high 99 snaps. The game also happened to be Brady's 15th in 18 weeks. He also happens to be 39 years old.
Still, he told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he felt perfectly fine exactly one week after winning Super Bowl LI.
"I have zero pain," Brady said on Sunday. "I feel great. I feel 100 percent."
We've long chronicled the ways in which Brady takes care of his body in order to be fresh for as long as possible. That includes taking a maniacle approach to his training, keeping up with an incredibly regimented diet, and sleep. Lots of sleep.
This season it also meant managing knee and thigh issues that stemmed from a hit he took against the Seahawks back in Week 10. Despite all that, and despite playing at an age when most players are several years into retirement, Brady felt well enough this past weekend to go skiing in Montana, where King caught up with him.
The two had a conversation that lasted a couple of hours, per King. Here are a few of the most noteworthy tidbits that were passed along . . .
* Though the Patriots put together the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Brady said the game was not one of his best. Yes, he won Super Bowl MVP after setting records for attempts (62), completions (43), yards (466) and his offense set the mark for most first downs (37), but he noted his performance was littered with imperfections through the first three quarters.
"I don’t really think that is necessarily the case," he said when King suggested it had to be one of the great games of his life. "I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the 'best games ever.' But it was certainly one of the most thrilling for me, just because so much was on the line, and it ended up being an incredible game."
* Brady broke down several key plays that helped the Patriots make up the 25-point deficit they faced in the third quarter, including the six-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the fourth. On the play, Brady acknowledged that he had a little help from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as he surveyed the Falcons defense.
Because Brady was to the line of scrimmage well before the coach-to-quarterback communication system went down -- it shuts off when the play clock hits 15 seconds -- McDaniels was able to steer Brady in Amendola's direction based on what he saw from the sideline.
Amendola was in the slot, with corner Jalen Collins on his inside shoulder, when Brady widened Amendola away from the formation a few steps.
"I think he said, ‘Don’t forget about Danny,’ or ‘Danny has a great shot on this.’ Something like that," Brady said. "I wanted to give Danny a better chance to get open. So I pushed him out because I knew at that point I had changed the route and I wanted to make sure Danny would get the leverage or put him in a better position to get the leverage based on the route that he had.
"I wanted to move him out because I didn’t want him to get stuck inside of Jalen … [Collins] being inside told me it was probably man coverage, a perimeter corner on the inside of the field … When I pushed Danny out, Jalen didn’t really adjust, so I was really looking outside after that to see if the corner was going to try to get involved and maybe trapping that to the flat. But once I saw the corner go with the outside receiver, or it might have been James White, I just threw it to Danny."
* Collins was targeted 14 times in the game, and he allowed 10 catches for 98 yards and two scores. Part of the reason Brady picked on the second-year man out of LSU?
"Because he is, in the vernacular, 'long,' and New England’s scouting theory entering the game was that 'long' corners (Collins is 6'1") are slightly slower at stopping and starting," King wrote.
That made some of the comeback routes that Brady hit to Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell particularly appealing when Collins was lined up across from them in one-on-one situations outside.