No fun in the sun

Mi­ami not a place Brady, Pa­triot has ex­celled in

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY MIKE SHALIN

Tom Brady has one sim­ple an­swer to why his New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots have strug­gled in Mi­ami.

“They play well and we don’t,” Brady said Fri­day.

He was smil­ing, but you know – and he knows – win­ning in Mi­ami is one thing in a bril­liant ca­reer Brady hasn’t been able to do con­sis­tently. Look at the num­bers:

• Brady is 7-9 at Mi­ami, where the Pa­tri­ots have lost four of the last five years. He is 15-1 against the Dol­phins at home.

• Brady has lost seven ca­reer games in De­cem­ber, five of them at Mi­ami.

• Brady is 79-19 against the AFC East in the reg­u­lar sea­son, with 10 of the losses com­ing at the hands of the Dol­phins, a team he has beaten 22 times.

“Re­gard­less, none of that stuff mat­ters,” Brady said. “This week it’s re­ally this team against that team and we’re go­ing to have to play well. They play good at home, they’re 5-1, they’ve got a good de­fence. We’ve got a big chal­lenge. Should be fun.”

And the Pa­tri­ots are favoured to win this game, which would give them their 10th straight AFC East ti­tle, the 18th in 25 years un­der owner Robert Kraft. The divi­sion is con­sis­tently the most lop­sided in foot­ball – and New Eng­land has dom­i­nated.

But not in the Florida sun­shine. “We’ve tried a bunch of dif­fer­ent things over the years,” Brady said of prepa­ra­tion for this an­nual visit, which has also in­cluded prac­tis­ing in­doors with the heat cranked up. “We’ve gone down there Thurs­day night and prac­tised Fri­day, gone down there Fri­day night af­ter prac­tice, stayed there Satur­day. It’s just re­ally about play­ing good when it comes down to it; there’s no magic for­mula.”

This week, the Pa­tri­ots, who have won eight of their last nine games, have been work­ing in the New Eng­land cold af­ter beat­ing the Min­nesota Vik­ings 24-10 on a driz­zly day at Gil­lette Sta­dium. “When you look at those stats, it is pretty in­ter­est­ing, the way some of those teams from the South come up and play, the teams from the North play in the South – there’s got to be some­thing to it,” Brady said. “It just comes down to play­ing good foot­ball. We’ve had some great games down there, too. Hope­fully this is a great game for us. But we have to go earn it.”

He fondly re­called the over­time long pass he threw to Troy Brown to win the 2003 game, end­ing New Eng­land’s five-game los­ing streak down there, re­mem­ber­ing the cel­e­bra­tion, and “flip­ping peo­ple off” on the bus leav­ing.

AP PHOTO

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady warms up be­fore an NFL game against the Min­nesota Vik­ings last week in Foxbor­ough, Mass.

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