For Tom Brady, there have been few regular season wins more satisfying than the 2003 overtime victory against the Dolphins in Miami. The quarterback delivered a strike in the extra session to Troy Brown that helped New England take a 19-13 victory, a win that "felt like we won five Super Bowls." For the Patriots, it snapped an extended South Florida losing streak and sparked a memorable celebration for the then-young quarterback.
“I remember the bus ride leaving, it was pretty cool," he said Friday afternoon. “We were flipping people off. It was out of control."
He added: “It was a great game, great win. Troy was not the intended receiver on the play. It was kind of a toss play, and I was supposed to throw it to the backside slant, but I remember the coverage kind of rotated that way. Troy was running a slant on the other side and just kept running, and I saw him and just chucked it up there. He caught it, and we celebrated. It was just a great celebration.
“That was a pretty special day," concluded Brady. "There was a long history of us playing a lot of bad football games down there, and that kind of broke that a little bit. Not that it’s been stellar (since), but at least that one got us out of the basement.”
Brady also addressed some of the issues the Patriots have had in Miami over the years.
Tom Brady says just as he knows how many layers/heat packs he needs in certain cold conditions in New England, the Dolphins use their climate to their advantage, so it takes a certain mindset to overcome it. pic.twitter.com/X0KnWG5o8A
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 7, 2018
Rob Gronkowski's production has fluctuated over the course of the 2018 season, and on Friday, he was asked abut his overall effectiveness at this point on the calendar.
“That’s a tough question a little bit. I feel like obviously I can be more effective for sure,” Gronkowski told reporters. “But what I’ve been doing is just putting practices together (and) just been working hard. (I've) just been doing what I’ve been asked to do from my teammates, coaches.”
“I can grow in the pass game,” he said. “I can grow in the run game even more at times. Just whatever it is, just got to go out there and play my best football.”
There is some clarity regarding the Dolphins' injury situation, as cornerback Xavien Howard has officially been downgraded to out. Howard, the NFL's leader in interceptions, was banged up in last weekend's win over the Bills, sustaining a knee injury. As a result, a thinned out Miami secondary will be tested by Brady.
As for the Patriots, they reportedly had perfect attendance, save for practice squad defensive tackle Frank Herron. Their health situation should come into focus when the injury report is released around 4 p.m., but as we've stressed several times over the course of the last week or two, this as as healthy a roster as we've seen for this time of year.
Here's the complete injury report for both teams. For New England, Stephon Gilmore was added with an ankle issue -- he's questionable, along with Dwayne Allen.