FOXBORO, Mass. — Julian Edelman and the rest of his New England Patriots teammates were happy to walk away from Gillette Stadium on Sunday night as AFC champions, but they had a subdued celebration.
“One more,” Edelman said after the 36-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’m not going to take this lightly. This is an unbelievable feeling, but we’ve got our hands full, obviously. … It’s just one of those things where there’s a little bit more meat left on the bone.”
The Patriots have one more week of practice left in New England before they depart for Houston to play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The Patriots said they’ll celebrate Sunday night, but they know coaches will be ready to turn the page to the Falcons by Monday morning.
Edelman was one of the Patriots’ best players in their AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers, and he leads the NFL in receiving yards over the last 11 weeks. He has looked like a different player since the Patriots’ Week 9 bye, with 73 catches for 1,003 yards and three touchdowns over that 10-game span. He caught eight passes on 10 targets for 118 yards and one touchdown Sunday as the Patriots’ second-most targeted receiver behind Chris Hogan.
“I think it’s just continuing to try to improve in practice, buying into the system, taking in the coaching, trying to go out and have a purpose in practice and really focus on things that I need to work on and not just laying it out there,” Edelman said. “Our coaches have put us in the right situations, and I think it’s a complete team effort.”
It’s the best 10-game stretch of Edelman’s career, but he’s not ready to say he’s playing the best football of his life.
“I don’t know,” Edelman said. “I’m still trying to play better.”
Edelman delivered an all-time Patriots quote when asked about the up-tempo offense the team was running against the Steelers. The Patriots were known for their no-huddle offense in the past, but they’ve moved away from it in recent years.
“I’m a cattle,” Edelman said. “I go with the herd.”
Aren’t all the Patriots? Soon they’ll move to Houston together.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images