Tom Brady lauds Pats' mental toughness

BALTIMORE -- The New England Patriots have won the AFC East title in 10 of the past 11 years, and it seemed as if this one was appreciated as much, if not more, than most others. Consider quarterback Tom Brady's remarks.

“Every year is special, but we’ve really earned it this year," Brady said after the team's 41-7 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. "The NFL has a lot of stiff competition. Winning 11 games is very hard. We have faced adversity all year. Of course, other teams have, too, but our mental toughness has really gotten us through this. ... We’ve shown that we can hang together all year."

Players celebrated in the locker room with navy AFC East championship hats and T-shirts.

“I’ll be wearing it all week," Brady said. "Those hats and T-shirts are important because of what they mean. I hope we can keep getting more hats and T-shirts.”

Brady, who said he was unaware that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had broken his single-season record for touchdown passes, also touched on the importance of the commanding win over Baltimore.

“This was a great win against a very good team on the road," he said. "To come in here, in one of the toughest places to play in the league, and win in all three phases of the game means a lot to us.”