Q: So you like doing it this way? Coming back?
TB: The hard way? It's not planned that way. There's no panic. I don't feel like the guys on the sidelines really panic. I just feel like it's really a matter of execution and we started executing better and we put points on the board. It was a fun day to finish 13-3 and to win our last eight in a row has been really good. We just have to continue to get better and have a good week this week and get ready for our toughest game of the year.
Q: You've thrown for over 5,000 yards this year - 22 miles.
TB: Guys did a lot - catching the ball and running with it. Our passing game has been obviously a big strongpoint of this team. The pass catchers and the blockers have been great and we've run the ball great, too, at times. That's what it takes - a complementary offense. You run it and we throw it when we need to throw it and we can be effective. You have to stay balanced and those guys have done a great job all year doing stuff with it.
Q: Aside from the obvious that winning is the most important thing, what do the individual records that you're piling up mean to you?
TB: I play this game for one reason and it's to win. There's nothing more important to me than that. As a quarterback you do everything you can do to help this team win. When your number is called upon to go out and execute certain plays, that's what you're expected to do. It's not something I think about, it's not something I ever [think], 'Man, I love throwing touchdowns,' or 'I love throwing for yards.' I love winning and that helps me sleep at night.
Q: If you go back to when you were heaving the ball up to Randy Moss against Miami in 2007, is it fair to say that records are on your radar screen?
TB: That's what we determine as an offense is the best thing that we do. You try to play to the strengths of your offense and play to the strengths of the guys that you have. There's no doubt this year that our pass catchers are the biggest strength of our offense. To get the ball to those guys with room to run and space is - whether it's Gronk [
TB: Sure, no question. I think all those guys have opportunities. It's not so much where in our offense we're like, 'Man, this play is designed for this guy.' We're putting our guys in the best spot possible and whatever coverage they run dictates where I start my read. If that first guy is open, he gets the ball. We never predetermine who we're going to throw to. You just drop back and you try to find the open guy.
Q: Is it safe to say you know you can't get down in a postseason game by 17 points and get where you want to be?
TB: I haven't thought about that. It's a 60-minute game and we're trying to put it together for 60 minutes. Some days it's been better than others. I like the way that we answered today. You never want to get down 21-0, but if we do, we do and we have to find a way to battle back.
Q: What has been the common thread in falling behind? It has been five out of the last six games. Are teams doing things early in games that are contrary to what they should and you have to adjust?
TB: It's really lack of execution more so than anything. They're not doing anything special or 'Wow, we weren't prepared for that.' It's just they're executing and we're not. I'd love to be able to see what it looks like when we put together 60 great minutes of football. Today was 45 but it was better than 30 last week, so maybe we're trending toward that.
Q: How have you been able to execute offensively as well as you have without a Randy Moss-type deep threat? I'm not saying you don't have one but not one like that. How are you able to do that without stretching the field very often?
TB: It's just you throw a screen pass and a guy runs for 40 yards or you throw it to Aaron [Hernandez] there and he's making guys miss. A lot of it is what they're doing with the yards after the catch. They're getting open. As a quarterback you just drop back and try to find them. Like I said, they've done a great job with that all year. I have to continue to get better and make better reads and make better throws and hopefully that leads to a win in a couple weeks.
Q: You have proven that you can stretch the field horizontally effectively just as you can vertically.
TB: Sure, but we go vertically into the defense, too, it's not all horizontal. There are plenty of vertical routes. We tried a couple today and we're calling them. If they're deep, we're just going to throw it somewhere else. We're trying to throw it where they're not. If they cover us deep, we're going to throw it short. That play to Aaron [Hernandez] where he caught it and ran down to the two or three-yard line there in the fourth quarter was really a short play - we were trying to throw it deep and they covered us deep so we throw it short and we run for a bunch of yards.
Q: How important is the home field advantage going into the playoffs?
TB: It depends how well we play. I think that's going to be the determining factor on whether we win or lose is how well we execute. It's great playing at home. It's great to have a bye but I think we have to concentrate here this week on what we need to do to play our best football in a couple weeks.
Q: What has Bill O'Brien meant to you as an offensive coordinator?
TB: He's been a great coach and friend. We have a great relationship; probably a very unique relationship in that we communicate all the time. I always enjoy working with him and he's done an incredible job with this team and this offense. He expects nothing less than our best.
Q: He may have opportunities emerging in different spots. Would you miss his tutelage?
TB: I don't know what's going to happen. I hope he's here for a long time and I told him that too.
Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
(On breaking the tight end receiving yards record)
"It means a lot, man, that they're willing to do that [when] we could [have] taken a knee and just make sure no one gets hurt. It's just an honor to play here. That's why I love playing here, great teammates, great coaches, and everyone's just a team here and nothing would get accomplished here without everyone here - all the veterans and everything. Everyone's just great teammates, all the praises to my teammates and everything and the coaches definitely and playing with Aaron [Hernandez] beside me, too. He balled out today and it's great having him. He didn't play the last time against Buffalo and that just shows how big of a difference he is coming back and playing against them."
(On overcoming large deficits)
"Oh I know, definitely, we don't want to be doing that. It's the playoffs now. We got the best teams coming in the house, so we got to start in the first quarter, we got to start fast, we got to start strong and we can't be getting down like that. We were lucky enough to even come back against Buffalo losing by that much - 21. We got to start fast for sure and we got to play all four quarters."
(On how the offensive switch gets flipped and the team starts producing points)
"Man, well last game it was the second half and this one was the second quarter, so hopefully the switch starts in the first quarter in the next game. I mean, I don't know what it was. We just turned the switch and hit it off and put up 49 points and the defense turned the switch, too. They put up 21 points on us in the first quarter and then they shut them out the rest of the game, so that was unbelievable. We were playing complementary football at the end of the game and the second quarter and throughout. We go to [keep] playing like that [in] the playoffs."
(On defensive mindset after adjustments were made)
"I don't think the mindset changed. I don't know what any of the other guys thought, but I just thought we still had a chance in the game and I just had to try and do my job."
(On Buffalo's lack of offensive success after first quarter)
"When the plays aren't being made you're doing something for a reason. A lot of people don't understand what's going on, so I mean there could have been something - an adjustment that we did or they didn't make a play. That's football.
(On whether entering the game with
"I don't know. I mean I was just - coaches told me to go in. I was trying to pay attention to offense at the beginning of that. You know, I really don't get to see the coaching adjustments because I have to be a part of the ‘O' [offense] and I really don't know what happened."
(On the identity of the defense)
"The defense we would like to be is the one causing turnovers and that's what we work on. That's always the goal. We try to get the ball in Tom Brady's hands as much as possible. It's unfortunate that we play inconsistently and we can't have that next game."
(On whether he is worried about the team's slow starts recently)
"No, not at all. We're fully confident in ourselves and in this team. Whoever we play, we'll do a great job preparing for them. It's win or go home, then."
(On what the defense will need to do in the playoffs to have success)
"We will need to come out strong. We need to come out of the gate strong and not spotting a team 17, 21 points because you know it just gets harder and harder especially in the playoffs you definitely can't do that."
"It's huge having Patrick back because he brings a physical presence to our secondary, and he's a great playmaker so it speaks volumes having him back."
(On why the defense looks different from the first half to the second half)
"It's unfortunate in the past two weeks it has taken us to get in a deficit like that to come out and play the way we should, that is definitely not the goal for this team. We are definitely going to be working out for our next opponent and work to start out fast."
(On the recent slow stats)
"We've been getting off to a slow start lately. We just went out, executed and tried to do the things we needed to do to be successful and play fundamentally sound football."
(On scoring double-digit touchdowns in consecutive seasons)
"It's a team effort. I don't know how many touchdowns we scored as a team this year, but nothing happens without all 11 guys doing the right thing. It's a team effort."
(On the dual running attack with
"I don't even really look at it like that. Whenever we're in, whoever is in - me, Danny [Woodhead] Stevan [Ridley], Shane [Vereen], Kevin [Faulk] or Lou [
Patrick Chung, Safety
(On how was it to be back on the playing field)
"It feels good to be back with my family my brothers out there and just having some fun. The first play I was definitely nervous, but after that it went away and the game just comes to you and it's just about football."
(On how do you stop the slow starts the defense is having)
"We just need to start fast, it's just about who can stop who and who is going to make the plays. It just takes practice I guess, just practice. We just need to execute and play ball from the beginning."
(On how was it waiting to come back into play and playing before the playoffs)
"Sitting around waiting it kind of hurts a little bit but now I'm back with my guys. Once again it's not about me we just won it's the team. It was very important you can't go into the playoffs just straight into the playoffs, you have to have a warm up game to get your legs right get your footwork going and get your mind back on football and then see how it goes from there."
(On first interception)
"I turned my head back around and I saw the ball coming, so I tried to dive in front of it and get my hands on it."
(On his second interception)
"I tried to disguise the coverage, walk down into something and jump in the route - I was just praying I didn't drop it because that one was definitely easier than the first one. "
(On the meaning of the first post interception celebration)
"No, it was just what came to my mind at the time."
(On what lead to the interceptions)
"We knew at half time that we were going to have to get some turnovers and that's what was going to put us back in the game, so that's what we tried to go out there and do."
(On taking the momentum over to next game after the bye week)
"Just being consistent and getting out there and making all of those turnovers. We've got to continue that if we want to have success in the playoffs."
(On the amount of good-timing turnovers the team has had this season)
"It's huge. Turnovers matter more than you know, so if we can keep getting turnovers I think we'll have success and keep getting wins."
"He's a great athlete so no matter where [coaches] put him he's going to make plays and I think he showed that today, so it's all about meshing as a defense, and during the week it's about getting comfortable with who's out there and we did that and fed off of it."
(On coming back to win after being down)
"We started off slow and that's not the goal but we got the job done and we're happy to get the win."
(On securing home field advantage and the number one seed)
"We always love playing at home and not having to travel. We're familiar with the surroundings and it's huge for us. We love being here and we love our fans."
(On mixing up the defensive players' positions)
"Adjustments are apart of the game and the coaches do an excellent job of mixing and matching. Once again, we started off slow but got the job done and kind of tightened it up in the middle of the game."
(On the defense giving up multiple points in the first half and none in the second half)
"We always talk about playing 60 minutes which we haven't done yet. It will be interesting to see once we finally put 60 minutes of a game together how good we really are, but the positive thing is to show our mental toughness and not allow points after those 21."
(On another successful regular season)
"It starts with Mr. Kraft and the setting that he has built for the players. I feel fortunate to be here - it's a great place."
Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On how he is holding up at the end of the season)
"I feel great. The season takes a toll on you as it goes but we get a bye week so we will rest up and practice to make sure we are ready for this postseason."
(On the team starting games slowly)
"You just go out there and play the best you can. Whenever you get an opportunity out there, you try to take advantage of it. Sometimes you don't start the way you want to but in the end, we are getting it done."
(On Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien being rumored to take over as Head Coach at Penn State)
"We are not really worried about that right now. Our focus is here and on the postseason. We have a chance and everybody is going to take full advantage of it."
Aaron Hernandez, Tight End
(On taking handoffs out of the backfield)
"I try to make moves and make people miss and sometimes it works. Growing up I was more of a running back (going) into high school. I always loved getting the ball and making moves and I still try and do that."
(On getting off to stronger starts in the first quarter)
"Once we get our offense going, its tough to stop and I feel like (the Bills) are one of the toughest teams to stop in this league. We just have to get off to a quicker start and if we do that, we will be a lot more dangerous (in the playoffs)."
(On starting games slowly all year)
"We started off slow and lackadaisical with a lack of detail but once we get the detail down and our playmakers start making plays, we can get it going. We just start slow. It has been like that all season but it has to change now coming into the playoffs. If we change the pace up and start going faster it will be hard to stop since we have so many weapons."
(On what to attribute the recent slow starts to)
"Bad football by us. It's the players. We're going to look at the film and figure out it's one guy here, one guy there, one guy here, guys just not doing their jobs and not doing it well enough. They're (the Bills) one of those teams that really are trying. I mean look at their team. They were going for it on fourth down, fake punts. They were really trying to win the game. We allowed them, by not staying focused and paying attention to details, to get off to a great start against us."
(On how to carry the momentum through the bye week to the first playoff game)
"Continuing to try to get better. Really not focusing on all the stuff around us. Not to be concerned about who are we playing, and all of those different things because those things will take care of themselves. Really for us, this week is about continuing to figure out the things we aren't doing as well, starting the game, playing sixty minutes, some areas of our game that we aren't doing well, and really focusing on those this week."
(On what it means to be a Patriot)
"For sure it's definitely professionalism. Everybody cares. I think that's one thing that I love about this locker room and love about being in this area is that everyone cares what the end result is. I've been in a lot of places where people only care about themselves. I think you can definitely tell that this community, the fan base and the team really care about winning for each other."
Devin McCourty, Cornerback
(On playing safety today)
"I'm just trying to be a defensive back. Whatever the team needs. I'm just trying to make plays on the opportunity, wherever I am at."
(On how much safety he has played in the past)
"A little bit. I think a lot of defensive backs have played all over the secondary. I've played a bunch of different positions as a football player."
(On moving forward to the playoffs)
"We are going to use this week to make sure that we get better. I think we are a very confident football team. We just have to come out and play well. I think the biggest thing is that now is the time you have to put sixty minutes together. That is what our focus is and now is the time to do it."