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Patriots Postgame Quotes

Posted Jan 22, 2012

New England Patriots players comment on their AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 22, 2012.

Jerod Mayo, Linebacker
(On reaching the Super Bowl)
"I got my first playoff win this year and I have my first AFC Championship win. Just seeing guys like Rodney [Harrison] and Drew [Bledsoe] come back - guys like that - and being able to continue on with the legacy of winning. Hopefully we can get one more. It's huge for me."

(On what felt when Baltimore missed the field goal)
"Child-like joy. It's all about child-like joy. Last night felt like the day before Christmas for me and I haven't had that feeling in a long time. At this level, the day before Christmas is like a regular day. But now I just feel like I got my present. We have one more game to go. We'll enjoy this one tonight and get back to work tomorrow."

(On Brandon Spikes' interception)
"[It was] huge, huge. Brandon you know, he's finally getting healthy and that consistency as far as having players out there - Brandon, [Patrick] Chung and all those guys - has been huge for us in the playoffs. We said no matter what the regular season looks like, it's all about now. It's all about the playoffs and that's the mindset we have."

(On the feeling of going to the Super Bowl)
"It is such a great feeling.  We finally got something done and hopefully we get something done one more time."

(On the defense forcing the Ravens to kick a field goal at the end)
"It is the mental toughness.  We have been talking about it all year.  Baltimore is a great team but we made a stop."

(On people questioning the defense all year and making the final stop)
"It showed the mental toughness and it showed the character of this team and this defense.  We are happy we got the win."

(On limiting the Ravens offense)
"Those guys up front did an excellent job and we made the big plays when we had to."

Matt Light, Guard
(On victory and returning to the Super Bowl)
"The taste and the victory and the whole nine [yards]. When you get an opportunity to do it again - it's incredible. It's an incredible feeling. It will take a while to sink in that we're going [to the Super Bowl] and then it will be a heck of a week of preparation as always, but this is what we fought hard for all year to have an opportunity to get to the Super Bowl. We'll see how it goes from there."

(On what the key was to the victory)
"Just staying on track. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, not trying to do anything more than we had to. I think we just go out there and play with confidence and do the things that we do. We always put ourselves in good positions and stay[ed] in rhythm. They threw a lot at us but we've got a lot of weapons that people have to defend and they got to respect and honor them, so as long as those guys go out there and make those plays, obviously it does the world for us, especially up front. Those guys getting open [and] [Tom Brady] finding them makes our lives a hell of a lot easier."

(On what was going through his mind when Billy Cundiff lined up for the potential game-tying field goal)
"I had my eyes closed, man. I wasn't going to watch that one. That was a little too much stress for this guy, but it was unbelievable man. Things happen for a reason."

(On Tom Brady's touchdown sneak)
"We keep telling him to stop doing that stuff but he doesn't listen to us very well. Look, if he sees something like that he just goes for it. It was a heck of a play. We've been stuffed two times in a row and obviously needed that one to come through. We struggled in the red zone to a degree and it was just him making a play and he does that quite often."

Devin McCourty, Defensive Back
(On what was going through his mind on the last drive)
"We just got to get off the field any way possible and once they got into field goal range it was just trying to keep them out of the end zone or go block the kick."

(On what he was thinking during the Ravens' attempt at a game-tying field goal)
"We were going to block it. That's what I was thinking that we were going to block it and not go to overtime and win and go to the Super Bowl. The guys came off the ball had a great rush and that's the difference. You just want to keep the pressure on the kicker and it went wide left and next thing you know I'm sprinting down the field."

(On the defense making four straight huge stops to win the game)
"It's a great feeling. Like I've been saying all year this team and this defense have been working each week in practice to get better and to see it happen when everyone says we're a horrible defense and we're this, we're that, and to just come out here and just play football. Each week we're preparing to come out and play and to get off the field and get those stops and help this team and feed off the offense and the offense feed off us. That's how it's supposed to be. This was a Championship game."

(On Brandon Spikes' interception)
"That's big. On the sideline we kept saying that we've got to step up and make a play. [Brandon] Spikes is a very emotional, passionate guy so whenever he makes a play, everyone goes crazy. That's just what he brings to the defense and what he brings to the team."

(On not forcing a turnover until late in the game)
"They were doing a good job of taking care of the football and a couple times we got them into passing situations and [Brandon] Spikes was able to make a big play so that was big. As a defense, you've just got to keep playing. Turnovers are going to come when they come. Whenever it happens you got to take advantage of it."

Deion Branch, Wide Receiver
(On going back to the Super Bowl)
"It's great. That's why I came back to this place. That's why I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something like this. It's very special."

(On Tom Brady saying that he didn't play well)
"Tom's an upfront guy, straight forward. Trust me, everyone made a lot of mistakes on the field today expect for our defense. Defense and special teams did a great job. As far as offense, we didn't put our best outing on the football field tonight and I promise you the next time we step on the field it won't be the same thing. I promise you that."

(On Tom Brady being very critical of himself)
"Tom's very hard on himself. That's why he's the best player in the NFL. He takes a lot of stuff to heart and he expects to go out and do everything perfectly and then we expect that from him as well but at the same time like I said, nobody did anything great on the offensive side of the ball tonight. Nobody. So for him to sit in and say that we except that but overall nobody did anything perfect."

(On playing in Indianapolis where he has a home)
"I think it's going to be very special. I know my phone is blowing off the hook right now, people calling but Georgia and Indianapolis will be there representing and I'm very thankful for that, thankful for my quarterback right here beside me. Ain't that right Tom [Brady]? It's going to be a great thing man. Right now we're just going to take this in and move on tomorrow."

(On Sterling Moore's game-saving play)
"I didn't see it. I turned my back on the last 10-15 plays. I couldn't watch it because I felt like all the work that we put in, I felt like it's the last thing we want to let it come down to - to put our defense in the position that we did. We've been working so hard all year long and for us, as an offensive member, for us to put our defense on the field and put their backs against the wall like that I felt bad. I couldn't even watch it."

Brandon Spikes, Linebacker
(On what he saw during the play on his interception)
"I just took my normal reads. I was responsible for the tight end going vertical and I turned into the play and the ball was right there. I just wanted to make a play and I was able to. I was fortunate to hold on to it, it was a tough catch."

(On Sterling Moore's pass break-up play)
"You have to play through the whole play. His technique was - I'm not in the secondary, but throughout the week the coaches put a big emphasis on playing all the way through [the whistle]. [Lee Evans] had the ball, but [Sterling Moore] knocked it out. That was big."

(On what it feels like to get to the Super Bowl)
"I dreamed of this game a few days ago and I had this experience. I thought the SEC Championship was big, but this is amazing. I just want to take it all in while I can and get ready for whoever we have to face in two weeks."

(On advancing to the Super Bowl)
"Really right now I'm speechless.  I just want to enjoy the moment.  My teammates fought the whole game for 60 minutes.  We fell down but we got back up and that is what makes it so good."

Sterling Moore, Cornerback
(On the difficulty level of Sterling Moore's pass breakup)
"It's very tough. You just have to keep playing and try to get a hand on the ball."

(On how good it feels to make four straight stops on defense to win the game.)
"It's a great feeling. Like I've been saying all year, this team and this defense has been working each week in practice to get better and to see it happen when everyone says we're a horrible defense, we're this, we're that. And to come out here and play football, each week prepare and come out and play and to get off the field and get those stops and help this team and to feed off the offense and have the offense feed off us, that's how it's supposed to be. This is a championship game."

(On Brandon Spikes' interception)
"That's big. On the sideline we kept saying that someone has to step up and make a play and Spikes is a very emotional, passionate guy so whenever he makes a play everyone goes crazy. That's what he brings to the defense and brings to the team."

(On his mindset after getting beat for a touchdown in the third quarter)
"Just short memory. Everybody was telling me, ‘we know what you can do, put that behind you and go out there and make a play for this team.' Had to have a short memory."

(On if he was relieved to have a chance to make such a big play at the end)
"Absolutely [laughs]. Especially after I thought he caught the ball - he did catch the ball. I got a chance to knock it away. When that happened I thought, ‘this loss is on me.' So I had to do something to redeem myself."

(On when Evans caught the ball what was going through your mind)
"It wasn't in my mind to slap the ball out, it was just a split second decision and I'm glad it worked out. We do that drill every day in practice (stripping the ball) but it was the first time I had to use it in a game and I just took what I learned from practice into the game."

(On has he ever been to the Super Bowl)
"Last year, I was in the stands last year. I sat way high up there and I was given the ticket from a teammate of mine (Ryan Walker) at SMU, his dad had an extra ticket and he gave it to me."

(On has reality of all of this sunk in yet)
"No I don't think it has, I think it is going to take a little while before it all sets in. When it does sink in I am going to enjoy the moment.   

Aaron Hernandez, Tight End
(On the final play)
"I was watching. My heart was pumping because I knew I had a chance to make that play so we wouldn't have to give the ball back to them. It was crazy. I feel bad for (Billy Cundiff) because it's a tough kick with a lot of pressure but I'm glad we came away with a victory."

(On what motivates the team)
"The thing about this team is that we have a lot of competitive players who love the game and play with their hearts. We all came out and fought. We fought all week in practice and we were ready for this game."

(On what the attitude was like facing the Ravens)
"The Ravens have a great defense. They have Hall of Fame players on their team but we knew we had a very good offense that is hard to stop. We kept fighting and came out with a victory. Our defense came up big and that showed it was a team effort."

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
(On if anyone on the team had talked to him about going to the Super Bowl)
"We never really talked about that because we were always just looking forward to our game days. We'll probably hear about it now coming up this week so I'll be looking forward to it."

(On the team's emotions after the game)
"Emotions are flying high. It's unbelievable. It's my second year in the league, playing with a great team, and you have to enjoy the moment. It doesn't even feel right, especially playing with the veterans here. I watched them go to the Super Bowl as I was growing up and now I'm part of it? It is an unreal moment and you can't take it for granted."

(On dedicating the season to Myra Kraft)
"We are playing the season for her and now we just won the AFC Championship. She was an amazing woman and it's great being part of the Patriots."

(On the feeling of putting on the AFC Championship hat)
"It was great.  I have never put one of these hats on before.  It feels good and it is just amazing."

Brian Waters, Guard
(On the feeling of going to his first Super Bowl)
"I'm overjoyed.  This is an unbelievable deal.  This is probably the most excited I have been in a long time, since the birth of my children probably.  God knows this has been unbelievable and I have been truly blessed.  I appreciate my teammates and these guys welcomed me here and just gave me an opportunity to do something special."

(On the ending of the game)
"What an ending. I don't know what to say.  Every inch counts in this game and every foot counts in this game.  We were fortunate to come out on top."

(On the Patriots' defense)
"First of all, they're the real MVP of this game, without a shadow of a doubt. You look at how many bad situations they were put in today and they held their own. They create a turnover and we give it right back. We get a turnover on special teams and they hold [the Ravens] to three. They did an unbelievable job of creating pressure, but yet tackling guys. I'm sure there are some things that they'll want to clean up, but more than anything, we put them in bad situations and they kept us safe and clean and kept us in the game."

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Running Back
(On how sweet it is to be going to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl)
"It feels good. We've got to take care of business when we get there though."

(On if his success was the key to getting the offense on track)
"We're a team. Whoever gets the ball, whether it's me or any of the other special players, we just try to make plays. That's all we've got to do, go out there and make plays. Coach [Belichick] gives us the ball, he trusts us with it, so we've got to do what we've got to do with it."

(On how inspiring the crowd was)
"It was good to get them going. It was loud in there at times, especially on those last couple drives. We need that ‘12th man.' This was the last home game of the season, so I hope they blew out all their lungs and their vocal boxes and everything [laughter]."

Shaun Ellis, Defensive End
(On what it says about the Patriots that they can win even when the offense struggled)
"We're a relentless bunch of guys. Even though the game is not going right, we can just keep it manageable or just take it over. We have Tom Brady. He can makes things happen. But today it came down to the defense. The offense has been bailing us out all year. And today, it was our turn. Last week and today, it was our turn to return the favor."

James Ihedigbo, Safety
(On the play of Sterling Moore)
"The receiver had the ball and Sterling had his back turned and just slapped it out. He then goes back to back and made another amazing play by deflecting the ball and forcing them to kick that field goal. Hats off guys just played their hearts out, the Ravens wanted it and they're a great football team, they made plays throughout the game they wanted it, we just wanted it just a little bit more and now we're going to Indy."

(On when Evans caught the ball did you think he was going to hold onto it)
"That is why you have to play through the whistle, like I said Sterling made an amazing play. Like I said, he didn't see the ball coming and his back was turned and as the receiver caught it and before he could put two feet down he (Sterling Moore) slapped it out of his hand, that's just a split second. That is just great thinking, an amazing play there."

(On growing up in Massachusetts did you follow the Patriots early Super Bowl teams)
"I thought I never would have the opportunity to be a part of it, I mean you grow up watching the Ty Law three interceptions against Indy in the AFC Championship game, you see Rodney Harrison making big plays in Super Bowls and you grow up seeing that and you never think you would have a day to be a part of it. Now this team is writing our own script in the history book and it's amazing to be a part of it and I am honored and privileged."