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Patriots react to getting first-round bye for 9th straight season: 'That was basically a playoff win'

Ryan Hannable
December 30, 2018 - 10:18 pm

FOXBORO -- By way of beating the Jets in the regular-season finale, the Patriots earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye for the ninth straight season, extending their own NFL record.

The theme in the locker room afterwards was the victory was like a playoff win since it guarantees they do not need to play next week on wild card weekend.

Most of the players on the team have experienced a first-round bye, but not all. The coaches and veterans will get them up to speed on what to expect and how to best utilize the time off.

Here's a sampling of the reaction from players in the locker room afterwards on getting a first-round bye and not having to play until Sunday, Jan. 13.

Rob Gronkowski: “The bye is huge. It’s huge. That was basically a playoff win right there. To get that win today, now we don’t have to play next week. It basically won us a game for next week. So we got a bye, rest up, get the mental part and physical part. Clean up the bumps and bruises, because every game you’ve got those. So it’s always good to have that and you just have to treat it the right way and take advantage of it so we’re ready to go when it comes to playoffs.”

David Andrews: “Essentially it’s a playoff win, so you have one less game. I don’t know what it’s like doing it any other way. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of this organization and these great locker rooms. We’re very fortunate and just got to make the most of this week, get some rest, focus, take a step back to look at yourself and what you can do better and really gear up to go. This is a big push and this is what you play for right here coming up.”

Tom Brady: "You know, we had a great opportunity for it and just glad we could close it out. You’d hate to have that opportunity and not handle what we needed to handle and just glad that we did. It just ended up being a great way to finish the year – won two games at home against our division opponents after two pretty tough losses, but showed some resiliency and we’re going to need it going forward. We’ve got certainly a lot of things to learn about ourselves, a lot of things we can improve on and see if we can win a game here in two weeks."

Julian Edelman: “It’s nice, you get a little time to heal up. You get some time to self scout, to really look at the regular season things you did well, things you didn’t do too well, and try to really improve those types of things. You get a little time away from it to get ready for a battle.”

James White: "It’s definitely a big win for us, winning decisively for one of the few times this year. I think offensively, defensively, on special teams, I think we played complementary football and it’ll definitely be a big help having a bye week, let some guys heal up and definitely got to be ready to go once we step back on the field."

Trey Flowers: “It’s one of the things that we can allow ourselves to recoup physically and mentally. It’s just an extra week to get ourselves together and that’s always important.”

Chris Hogan: “I think it’s great. It’s essentially like winning a playoff game. I’m really happy about it for this team and now we get this week to focus on the Patriots, ourselves, and kind of work on things that we want to continue to work on for the postseason and get healthy. I think that’s a big thing and we’ll be able to really rest up and prepare for the upcoming weeks.”

Kyle Van Noy: “I love this. This is good and this is everything to me. I love playing in the playoffs. Anytime you get a chance to go for a championship it is huge. There are other teams that are going home so you cannot take the wins for granted. A lot of people think 11 and 5 is not good here but the reality is it is good enough to get second seed and be in the playoffs so we are prepared for whatever and ready as a team.”

Related: Date of Patriots' home divisional round game set