New England Patriots players comment on their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from Heinz Field on Sunday, October 30, 2011.
Assessing the defensive performance:
We just didn't play well. We had them in long down situations, but we just couldn't overcome. Playing against a team like that, if you can't get off the field on third down, it's going to be a long day as you saw. You have to give them a lot of credit. They came up with a good game plan. They attacked us and they executed their game plan. We obviously didn't. We have to get back to the drawing board. There's a lot of football left to play. We have to take this one in stride and take it like a man. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We'll get moving tomorrow, and it's on to New York.
Re: Effect of the bye week
We had a decent bye week. We just didn't come to play today. I'm not going to say it was the bye week, or whatever it was. We just didn't come to play today and it showed.
How frustrating was it to not get off the field on so many 3rd downs?
Very frustrating. We talk about getting them in 2nd and long, 3rd and long and taking advantage of those situations. We had them in those situations but we didn't take advantage of it. It was a team effort. You can't say it was the defensive backs, you can't say it was us. I think collectively we didn't do a good job defensively, when it comes down to it. Like I said, you win as a team, you lose as a team. Take it like a man. Take it as a team and move forward. We have to be able to fix it and move on.
Re: Effect of Steelers' dominance in time of possession:
They definitely had a better flow to the game. It was a good team. We have to be more prepared. They have a good offense, they have a good defense. We have to execute better on offense and put up more points.
Did you feel you were inside the goal line (with about three minutes left) and did you feel it could have been challenged?
Yep. It was such a quick situation, and that was the call. We just have to move on. We needed the time outs, so you can't even risk it. That's what the referee called, and we just moved on. We eventually scored, which is good. Throughout the game we have to play as a team and we have to execute better out there?
Re: Effect of long Steelers drives in the first quarter:
That's why when you get the ball you can't go three-and-out, you have to set a rhythm. You have to play keep-away when you get the ball back. We just have to execute better, and when we get the ball just drive better.
Re: Defending against the Steelers
From the first drive, they declared an inside passing game. You never want to give it all up in one play, either. We mixed the defenses up and tried to do what we could out there and throw different looks at them. They did a great job in game-planning. They just outplayed us. They have speedy, explosive receivers, but we just run the game calls. It was just a bad day overall.
Is it hard to be aggressive when you're sitting back in zone?
No. Normally we read better when we drop in a zone. We read the routes, read the concepts better. It just wasn't a good day.
Do you think other teams will follow the Steelers' blueprint in attacking the Patriots' defense?
We go against one of the most prolific passing games every day, so there's nothing else to be said. It was just a bad day.
Re: Getting back into the game:
It was a great feeling, but once you get back in the game you're just doing your job. You're not worried about it being your first game back, you're just worried about helping your team win. Obviously they made more plays than us to win the football game.
Re: Effect of Steelers' dominance in time of possession on the offense:
The game I was watching was tough offensively, defensively and on special teams. They gave it to us. They made a lot more plays than us.
Re: Patriots' dominance of the Steelers in recent years:
That's years before. Today they had the most success against us. We can't thrive on last year, two years ago, three years ago. That was then. Today is today.
How did it feel to be thrown right in?
I'm here to help my team. Whatever they ask me to do. I didn't know my role at the beginning of the week, but at the same time it's just ‘do your job' and your role will define itself later.
Did the Steelers do anything surprising?
No. They came in and played. They did what they had to do. They did their style, and we didn't do what we're supposed to do. If you look at it, we had a lot of penalties and a lot of three-and-outs. We didn't score from the red zone every time. We know there are things that we're good at that we didn't do. They took advantage of it, but I would say that most of that stuff is self-inflicted. We just have to work on our stuff and get better at what we're doing. Especially those three-and-outs, that's bad football.
Were you shaken up towards the end?
Yeah. I'm ok, I'll be alright.
Re: Effects of long Steelers drives in first quarter:
That's the thing. When we get on the football field, we have to take advantage of opportunities. We didn't do it. The defense did a great job, even though they drove the ball down the field, they didn't get in the end zone. Our job was to go out and do the same thing, but we didn't. We didn't convert on third down, we didn't convert from the red zone. We had too many flags flying. That's the game of football. You minimize all the mistakes, flags, three-and-outs, and score in the red area, and we didn't do any of them.
Re: Effect of the bye week
We felt like we had a good week of preparation, and we didn't show up. That's the part that's frustrating. Coach Belichick did a great job of working us and installing everything that we needed to win this game. We had a great two weeks of practice, and we just didn't go out and show what we did in practice. We just didn't do it.