DETROIT -- Some quarterbacks crumble when they get hit early and often in games. In a 45-24 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving, Tom Brady seemed to get better.
After getting pounded to the turf multiple times over the offense's first three drives -- with the Patriots falling behind 14-3 -- he finished 21-of-27 for 341 yards with four touchdowns.
Wasn’t he supposed to have an injured foot?
“He’s tough as nails, probably the toughest quarterback in the game, point blank,” fellow captain Vince Wilfork said. “I’m not saying that because he’s my teammate. I’m saying it because it’s true.”
Brady set a franchise record in extending his streak of passes without an interception to 199.
One of his biggest highlights came on a 79-yard touchdown throw to Deion Branch in the third quarter that tied the game at 24. It wasn't the designed play.
"He was supposed to run an in-cut, and [cornerback Alphonso Smith] was sitting on it," Brady said. "He threw his hand up and I laid it out there for him. He made a great run after the catch. Certainly it's not how we drew it up, but it's just a great play by a great player."
Brady isn't too shabby, either.
While his accuracy and ability to avoid the critical mistake were impressive, it was his toughness that resonated throughout the team.
“Some guys look at Tom and might think he’s 'Mr. Untouchable' and he’s this, he’s that, but he’s a tough son of a gun. He takes his licks and he gets up,” Wilfork said. “When I see a quarterback like Tom, and the success that he has, fighting through injuries at times and getting up hit after hit, he can ride with me any time.
“I could compare him to an offensive or defensive lineman. He’s tough. It’s not like he doesn’t want to get touched and every time he gets touched he’s hurt. It’s not like that. He can take a blow, get up, not saying anything, and go on about his business. I like a quarterback like that.”