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Bill Belichick Post-Game Press Conf - 11/03/2002

Belichick on the game: We’re proud of the way our football team played today. This was a good team effort.



BB: We're proud of the way our football team played today. This was a good team effort. I thought that offensively, defensively and special teams, that each unit complemented the others. We improved on some of the things that we needed to improve on from last week such as third down, red area and just taking advantage of the field position that we had. We've got a lot of tough guys in that locker room. They've gone through a tough stretch, but they've fought hard, they've kept working and they've corrected some of the things in the last couple of weeks. It all didn't get done last week, unfortunately, but they've worked hard to straighten some things out and I was happy for them that they were able to go out and play so well today. It was really a good job by our players and like I said, there are some tough guys in that room.

Q: Can you talk about Antowain Smith's play?

BB: He did a super job. He runs hard. He made a couple of big plays in the passing game too on those screens. You just can't say enough about Antowain Smith. He's run hard all year. I am sure it is good for him to do it here, but he's a good back. I'm glad we've got him.

Q: There seemed to be a lot of elements in the offense that worked well last year, was this game plan specifically for the Bills or did you want to bring back some elements from last year?

BB: No, it was specific for the Bills. We had a lot of trouble offensively in the two games against Buffalo last year. We couldn't score a touchdown in the second game and we were barely able to score in the first game. We got a long run there from Antowain to get us to 21 points, but it was a real struggle. Offensively we were just able to execute well. We converted on third downs and Antowain ran well. It was all geared towards the Bills. It wasn't about anything other than trying to move the ball against a good football team and team that really gave us a lot of trouble last year. We had a little more success this time.

Q: The animation you showed leaving the field today suggests that this was more than just any win. Can you speak to that?

BB: The team had lost four in a row and a lot has come down on them. I think it was a good feeling for all of us in that locker room that have worked hard, that have tried to correct things and there has been some frustration because it hasn't gone our way the last few weeks. I am happy for the team and I am happy for everybody that has worked so hard. Even when not many people believed in us other than the people in that room they kept plugging away and kept trying to do the things they needed to do. I was happy that it came out for them that way today. They deserve it.

Q: Can you talk about Tom Brady's play and the impressive numbers he put up this afternoon?

BB: I thought he did a good job. I thought he was really sharp. Charlie [Weis] did a great job play calling. Tom threw the ball well and made good decisions and ran the team well. Tom is a good quarterback.

Q: How important was it to score first?

BB: We've gotten off to a slow start the last three weeks. We've been outscored 51-10 or whatever it was in the first half of the last three games. It's certainly a lot easier to control the game when you have the lead. I'm not saying you win it at halftime, because that is not the case. Drew [Bledsoe] led Buffalo on a good drive right there at the end of the half and that kind of swung the momentum back a little bit. But when you can run and throw and do the things you want to do on offense and defensively, there is a point in time where they just can't run their offense. They've got to catch up a little bit. It just changes the game. It makes a it a little less two-dimensional. It becomes a one-dimensional game. Not to say that that is the end of the game, it just makes it easier to stick with your balance that way. Defensively we were able to get a little bit of a pass rush and offensively we were able to mix our pass and run and got good balance on them.

Q: How important was it to see Brady play that well against Bledsoe? I know there was a lot of hype surrounding that matchup?

BB: Yeah, there was a lot of hype for all you guys on that. What's important for us is that we won the game. I'm glad that we played well against a division team and beat a division team on the road. That's what is important. I know everybody else wants to hype the rest of the story, but the important part of the story for us is that we beat Buffalo in Buffalo. If you want to do well in your division, you are going to have to do well against your division teams.

Q: You guys shut down Buffalo's offense as well as anybody this year. What did you do?

BB: I think you have to give all the credit to the players. They played hard. They played well. Buffalo has got a great offensive attack. They've got a good running game. They can throw it. They can catch it. They run after the catch. They made a lot of plays today where they caught the ball and we had trouble getting them on the ground. But they just hung in there. We had good field position for most of the day and we were just hanging on there, most of the time for dear life. I don't know about shutting them down. I thought they moved the ball but we were able to keep them out of the end zone and made enough plays to somehow get the ball back.

Q: What was your strategy in using the four linebackers in the pass rush?

BB: Just trying to get a little more speed on the field and trying to change up a little bit on the pass rush. I thought maybe that would get a little different look.

Q: There was a lot of hype about trading a player in the division, was that again just media hype or how would you consider that?

BB: I think that has been overly discussed. I think today we can talk about the game. We've been through that 800 times.

Q: Did your familiarity with Drew help you to defense him at all?

BB: I don't know, not really. He throws good long. He throws good short. He throws good over the middle. He stands in the pocket and guys are bouncing off him. We all know that. I don't know if knowing that helps.

Q: It looked like he searched you out there at the end?

BB: Yeah, he did. I never thought that Drew was anything but a class player and class person, and he did. He said something to me after the game and I really appreciate it. I feel that same way about him, really. He's a hell of a football player.

Q: I think they had only nine offensive plays in the first quarter, how important was that?

BB: It was the balance that we were looking for. Part of playing good defense against Buffalo is giving them fewer opportunities and that is moving the ball on offense and keeping the ball out of their hands. So that certainly was a significant part of it. It is a lot easier to play defense when they don't have the ball.

Q: At third and two on their 18-yard line in the first quarter you blitzed and Ted Johnson got the sack up the middle. How important was it to get pressure up the middle on Drew?

BB: You try to get pressure wherever you can. Up the middle is always the place to get it on any quarterback. You just want to try to get a quarterback out of his rhythm in the passing game and that was a big play, it really was. It knocked them out of field goal range and Ted timed it up and hit it in there nicely.

Q: Did it sort of set the tempo in terms of their inability to tell where the blitzes were coming from?

BB: I don't know about that. It was a key play. It was a good play to make, but there were a lot of other plays that didn't have anything to do with that. Again I just think you have to give the players the credit for playing hard, for making plays and being able to get some pressure on the quarterback and being able to cover. There wasn't anything magic about it. I mean those coverages are coverages that every team in the league runs. We've been running them all year. We just did them a little bit better today.

Q: Do think that maybe the worst is behind this team now?

BB: I think that next week won't have anything to do with this week. If we go out and play better against Chicago we will probably win and if we don't we will probably lose. Everything will be determined by how it goes this week. I don't think this game is going to have any effect on the Bears game. I think it was important for us to go out there and play well against this division team and that's going to tighten the race up a little bit in this division, I think, but how we do next week will depend on how we do next week. I don't think this game will have anything to do with it.

Q: What made them so vulnerable to the screen passes?

BB: I think it was good execution. They had guys on them a couple of times. It looked like our linemen got out there and we able to block some guys off. The runners ran hard. Kevin [Faulk] made a good run. Antowain made a couple of good runs. It looked like [Daniel] Graham made a good run. Good running and little bit of blocking always helps.

Q: Has Antowain really worked on his pass catching ability?

BB: Antowain works hard on everything, he really does. He works hard on his blitz pickups. He works hard catching the ball and he works hard running. I just couldn't say enough good things about Antowain. I could sit here and talk about him all day. He's just such a pleasure to coach. He's a model guy. He's a great worker and a great team player. So whatever you ask him to do, I've never seen him do anything but give his very best. He's a guy I have a lot of admiration for. Like I said, I'm just glad we've got him

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