PHOTO: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls signals against the Buffalo Bills on December 11, 2005 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Will he play or won't he?
That will be the big question in New England this week as Patriots observers wait to see the severity of the left leg injury quarterback Tom Brady suffered in Sunday's 35-7 win in Buffalo. Brady appeared to be hit by Buffalo defensive end Aaron Schobel on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Brady remained in the game until the score got out of hand in the fourth quarter, although he was limping noticeably on a 9-yard scramble later in the first quarter.
"It's going to be hard to ever get me out of there," Brady said about the possibility of leaving the game. "There are guys in the locker room who play not feeling 100 percent every day. If I couldn't play, I wouldn't play. But I could, so I was in there."
The Patriots (8-5) failed to clinch the AFC East title when the Dolphins upset the Chargers on Sunday. With the division crown in hand -- it still is a virtual certainty -- the Patriots might have been more inclined to rest Brady for Saturday's home game against Tampa Bay, although Brady would not be in favor of that. After all, he has started 84 consecutive games, including playoffs, since subbing for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001.
"I don't like sitting out," said Brady, who gave way to former Bills quarterback Doug Flutie midway through the fourth quarter with the Patriots ahead, 28-0. "I don't like watching. I like playing."
Despite his injury, Brady (29-of-38 for 329 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) didn't play it safe against the Bills. He ran three more times -- twice on sneaks -- after getting hurt on his touchdown and picked up first downs on all three plays. He was also hit with a 15-yard penalty for throwing what the officials determined was an illegal crackback block on Deion Branch's reverse in the second quarter. Brady was animated in disputing the call and had to be restrained by Branch.
Coach Bill Belichick said he had no problem with his franchise quarterback throwing himself at the legs of a defender (free safety Troy Vincent).
"If it's their job to block, they block," Belichick said, lumping Brady in with everyone else on the roster. "If it's their job to tackle, they tackle. What are you going to do if someone intercepts a pass? Let them run in for a touchdown? All players are football players. If they have a job to do, you do it. There's no class system. Everybody's got to block. Everybody's got to tackle at some point. That's football."
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