For two weeks, Randy Moss was very much in the spotlight of criticism and questions regarding his efforts on the field.
During that time, Moss declined all chances to chat with the media about his various "issues," including being sent home in a snowstorm after arriving late to an 8 a.m. meeting and the perception that he quit on his team in a Dec. 13 win over the Panthers in Foxborough, Mass.
But after Sunday's win in Buffalo, the All-Pro wide receiver and future Hall of Famer decided it was time for him to have his say.
"I'm gonna make it real brief," Moss said in a postgame monologue to the media behind a dais at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "Y'all had two weeks to do y'all's talking; now let me do mine.
"It has been a really tough couple weeks, but you move on. That is the nature of this game. I am happy that we got this victory, and I appreciate all the support from my true fans, the players, the coaches, my family and loved ones.
"I have been in this league for 12 years, and I have been through a lot. These shoulders I have on my body, you could put the Earth on it. Just to let you know, I bounce back. I appreciate it."
With that Moss walked off into the night for a return flight to snowy New England, clearly buoyed by leading the Pats with five catches for 70 yards and the only passing touchdown of the day in the Patriots' 17-10 win. Moss also drew a key 43-yard pass interference penalty on Buffalo safety Donte Whitner that set up his 13-yard scoring catch.
The production came on the heels of his one-catch, 16-yard effort against Carolina that saw him fumble at the end of that play. He spent large portions of that game seemingly sulking on the sideline on the New England defensive bench with his helmet on. All told he'd caught just six passes in his previous three games before Sunday's bounce-back effort in Buffalo.
"He is a big player in this offense," quarterback Tom Brady said. "There was so much said about him last week, he came out and showed the kind of character he has. ... My father always said, tall trees experience high winds. He has been at the top for a long time, and when it doesn't go right, it is just part of the profession, and Randy is mature enough to handle that. He is a fighter, and he came out (Sunday) and made some great catches for us. I missed him on a couple of deep ones that I certainly wish we would have hit, but he ran his butt off."
It's the type of effort from Moss that New England will need to continue over the final two weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs if Bill Belichick's team is going to make another deep run into January.