(On the importance of having
"It’s a tremendous help for us, it’s a tremendous benefit for us. Aqib [Talib] is a long, rangy guy himself, so he can not only cover receivers but tight ends as well, especially the athletic tight ends."
(On how things changed for the defense when Aqib Talib came out with an injury)
"It’s ‘next man up,’ so guys had to step up. I thought we did a tremendous job of fighting all the way through. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect game for us defensively but I’m proud of our guys, we fought all the way to the end."
(On witnessing another game-winning drive by
"It’s special to have 12 [Tom Brady] on your team, just to witness that. It’s just incredible, man. I was jumping for joy on the sideline when KT [
"I think it starts with the week. I kind of had the mentality that, ‘Hey, you know what, you’re going to be a starter in this game.’ Knowing that I wasn’t but still preparing like I was, and just keeping myself in it throughout the entire game, asking questions."
(On whether he has a full grasp of the offense at this point)
"No. I mean, this is a complex offense. To feel like you have a full grasp on it, that’s going to take time. It takes reps."
(On if catching the ball feels like muscle memory)
"Yeah. It’s similar [to] routes that I’ve ran in the past, it’s just a matter of knowing the wording, knowing the concepts. And, like I said, [Wide Receivers Coach Chad] O’Shea has been awesome as far as reviewing with me, spending time. I know I can get annoying at times, but he puts up with it, so thanks to him I was able to go in prepared."
(On what it was like being on the receiving end of Tom Brady)
"It’s awesome. Obviously it’s a blessing to have such a great quarterback. It makes your job a lot easier, just the trust that the last thing that I was worrying about was where the ball was going to be, because you know it’s going to be right there, just because his accuracy is just spot-on. But it was awesome.
(On how he’s seen the Patriots come back late in games before)
"Oh yeah. I’ve been familiar with this team, and you’re never down and out. I think we all look to number 12 [Tom Brady] in certain situations like that. We look to Tom and he’s not shaken, and so that kind of, I think, goes down the chain to all of us. It kind of rubs off on us, and I don’t think any of us panicked. I think we always knew that we were in it and that we could come back."
(On the team’s game-winning drive)
"I’m still shocked watching (Tom) Brady play. He’s amazing. You have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line too. They stood up and Kenbrell Thompkins made a big catch, so it felt good."
(On holding Jimmy Graham without a reception)
"He’s a very good tight end and our biggest thing was to go in and try and stop him and their whole receiving corps, and we did a pretty good job I think. I still have to look at the film, but I think we did a pretty good job."
(On adjusting once Aqib Talib came out of the game)
"It changed a lot. We had a whole thing going about who Aqib would go to, like a matchup. It changed a lot but everything went well."
"Just getting it started, you know. We started it off, played with urgency – give the ball to the referee so we don’t kill out the time, just play out the situation, so we were able to do that. We put ourselves in the hole, but we were able to dig ourselves out against a good team."
(On if he thinks back to preseason when they worked on those situations)
"Well, you don’t think about training camp. You think about Thursday, Wednesday when Coach [Bill] Belichick goes out there and says, ‘You got no timeouts [and] you got to score a touchdown,’ so we practice that situation a bunch and we were able to execute it this week, but like I said earlier, we put ourselves in a hole. We didn’t execute in certain situations – defense kept us in the game, made some big stops, and got us the ball back and we made some plays when we had to."
(On if the punt return pass to Aqib Talib was planned)
"Unfortunetely, I threw that ball by design. That was horrible football and I’m probably going to hear about that, but I probably should have kept that. Thank God Talib, being the player he is, got on top of it and took me out of the dog house a little bit."
"Whatever it takes really has been my role and my thought going into it. It kind of happens that way, so I was able to have some good catches, some key catches to keep some drives moving, so it felt good."
(On if it was by design that he was more involved in the passing game)
"I guess you could say that. There are reads and checks and progressions and it happened out that way. I was just able to get a couple catches."
(On how much this comeback win means for the team)
"It’s huge, especially in the fashion that we did it in – just the fight in everyone and not giving up. The stands were getting a little empty, but we just kept fighting and we were able to come out with the win."
(On being a defensive player on the sideline during the final offensive possession)
"I’ve always been a fan of Tom [Brady], you know, working his magic and he did. That last drive he threw that pass up to K.T. [Kenbrell Thompkins], great play by those guys and we just needed to keep going."
(On stopping the Saints offense twice to get the ball back to the Patriots’ offense)
"We just did a good job of executing our game plan. It was late in the game and we knew they wanted to run the ball and they tried to run the ball and we did a good job of stopping them and getting the ball back to Tom [Brady]."
(On if each side of the ball, offense and defense, feels confident in one another)
"I feel like we play for each other; the defense plays for the offense, offense plays for the defense and special teams and so forth. We play as one and we are one and we’re just going to keep going."
(On if this game and win can be a tone setter for the team going forward)
"We go into the game with the same mentality just to win, not to boost confidence or to get ahead of ourselves. We just take it a week at a time and attack next week."
(On the defense’s mentality after Brady’s late-game interception)
"We’ve got to line back up and get the ball back. That’s the thing – our offense has complete faith in us that they’re going to go out there and play free, and if they turn the ball over we’ll get them the ball back. We have faith [that] when we get our offense the ball back with time, we’ll win the game. "
(On containing Jimmy Graham)
"We just went out there and played. All week, we knew. All we kept hearing was, ‘Jimmy Graham’, and we knew we’d just have to come in and play. We’d have to play him tough, and you don’t come in and say, We just want to try to contain him.’ We can’t know the game plan, we’ve got to try to shut him down. That’s the only way we’ll have a chance to win this game, because if he has the types of games he’s been having, we’ll have no shot. It was a total team effort; Aqib [Talib] did a great job early, we had a bunch of different guys – Kyle [Arrington] had a big interception and a big play on the goal line against him, so guys stepped up and played tonight."
(On whether being physical was the biggest key to slowing down Jimmy Graham)
"Yeah, I mean you’ve got to try to do everything. The guy is a great football player. A guy with his size and athleticism that can line up inside and outside, I think that’s what makes it tough. Sometimes he puts guys that might not be used to playing inside and all, but guys did a good job tonight just stepping up and going out there and just playing football."
(On how he and his teammates adjusted when Aqib Talib left with an injury)
"A lot of things happened with Aqib being – once Aqib went down. We just had to adjust, and with me playing different positions in the defense I’m able to be flexible, and I was able to move around and play a bunch of different positions tonight. When you get in these games, you can only dress a certain amount of guys. If guys go down, you might not get any reps during the week on it, but guys came in and played well when Aqib went down, and then late in the game when [Jerod] Mayo [went down], guys came in and stepped up."
"It’s been a long time since I had been in the (end) zone, so I was just happy to be there. I really was. To come out here and find the endzone not once but twice, I’m blessed and thankful and I don’t take it for granted. It’s another day being out here on a Sunday getting to do what I love and it’s special. This team, the offensive line, the young receivers, (Tom) Brady, we played an exceptional game today."
(On his return to the field)
"I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t (frustrating), but I just have to keep plugging away. In the grand scheme of things, I think God is teaching me patience. It’s not always going to go as we want it to, but at the end of the day, He’s got us in His hands so I’ve just got to keep pushing and keep working hard and I can’t lie, I’m happy about the outcome of today’s game. It’s tough to watch your team play and be at home on the couch. It’s a sinking feeling, so for me, I had to put myself in a position to come back out here and I’m just thankful they gave me a few plays to go out there and do what we needed to do, and we were able to pull it off."
(On the final drive of the game)
"I’m going with Kenbrell Thompkins. He did his thing. KT has been exceptional since day-one when he got here and I’m happy for him. As a rookie, to make the game-winning catch, it gets no bigger. Tom is one of the best quarterbacks to play the game and he throws a pick the drive before, then comes out there and drives all the way down for the game-winning score. What more can you ask out of your leader? He put the team on his back and went out there and made the plays we needed to make. It’s a team victory overall. The defense did a great job of stopping everyone and we just stuck it out for 60 minutes and played some good football when we needed to."
Kenbrell Thompkins, Wide Receiver
(On his emotion after catching the game-winning touchdown)
"Just excitement. More excitement just for my team, not necessarily for me but for my team. I know we worked so hard, we had a tough week of practice this week and just going out there and making that play for my team definitely meant a lot for me."
(On the mentality of the offense toward the end of the game)
"We just knew that it was going to come down to the last minute. Until that clock said all zeros on it, we were going to fight until the finish. And that’s what we did, we just went out there and fought to the finish."
(On what he thought when the offense got the ball back for the final drive)
"Just believing in this team. We were saying on the sideline the whole time that we were going to get another chance. And when we get that chance, we have to take full advantage of it."
(On the game-winning touchdown)
"Well I was turned the other way, I didn’t even see it [laughs]. All of a sudden I just heard [it]. It was exciting. I haven’t seen it yet. I did hear it, yeah. So I figured it was something good."
(On if he is surprised by anything Tom Brady does)
"No, [Tom Brady has] been doing this for a long time. He’s one of the best, if not the best. We have trust in him and the other guys that are out there. We all have to do our best to get stuff done like this and the drive we did."