Bengals players were motivated by 1 thing Tom Brady said
The Cincinnati Bengals were quite motivated on Sunday, and not just because they were playing Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bengals made it clear that they were well aware of a quote Brady delivered about their defense during his “Let’s Go!” podcast last week. Brady had referred to the unit as “fairly tough,” which was presumably not meant as an insult but was certainly taken as one by Bengals players.
Defensive tackle B.J. Hill had a message for Brady after the game, sarcastically saying “we’re fairly tough on defense, remember that” as he entered the locker room. Cornerback Eli Apple was even more harsh: “The future is now, old man.”
Eli Apple and BJ Hill with a couple messages for Tom Brady. Hill obviously heard the “fairly tough” comment this week. pic.twitter.com/6CGe9FbZ6L
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) December 19, 2022
The comment had clearly spread throughout the Bengals locker room, as linebacker Germaine Pratt, who came up with a key interception against Brady, also referenced the quote when speaking to the media after the game.
“We got hot,” Pratt said, via Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. “We are a fairly tough defense. You know, fairly tough. I think we are tough as nails to get four turnovers on four possessions.”
Apple also played up the quote during his postgame interviews when speaking about Brady, who went 30/44 for 312 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
“He was fairly OK, but not good enough to win,” Apple said.
Brady is usually the one using remarks like this to motivate himself and his teammates. He should know better than most the kinds of consequences remarks like his can have. If he had just left off the word “fairly,” the comment probably would have gone totally unnoticed. Instead, he riled up a Bengals defense that played like it had a point to prove, particularly in the second half.