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Bill Belichick Post-Game Press Conf. - 12/29/2002

Belichick: Well, it was a long football game. There are some tough guys in that locker room there.



BB: Well, it was a long football game. There are some tough guys in that locker room there. They won't quit. They just keep fighting. It doesn't matter who believes in them or what anybody else thinks they can do, they just keep on digging. And I have got a lot of respect for those guys and I thought they really deserved today. It was uphill the whole way, but we were able to make enough plays at the right time and in all three areas of the game, and it was really a terrific victory. I can't say enough about the effort that the players put out there for 60 minutes or it was more than that, 65 minutes, how ever long it was. So now we just sit back and see what happens. But you know, these, as far as today goes, we did what we could do; and hopefully, we will live to fight another day.

Q: How gratifying is that to you to see your team come back in the last five minutes like that?

BB: Oh, it was great. It was great. I mean they, you know, they never give up. They never stop fighting. But we also executed some things real well, made some key stops, managed the clock, you know, the two-point play. I mean we just did a lot of things right at the end and it was good.

Q: Coach, how clutch was Adam Vinatieri, could you tell at the end his last kick was good?

BB: Yes. It looked pretty good and the fans started cheering. You could see them right behind the goal post. He is the best kicker in the league so if you want anybody kicking that kick it's him. We came real close to getting the fair catch there at the end of the regulation which would have given us a free kick, but we couldn't quite get at it. It was good we got a clear shot at the end.

Q: Bill, how much frustration maybe was there on the sideline, if any, that defensively you had problems, obviously, with Ricky Williams. Offensively, there weren't that many openings. Was there a frustration level that just all of a sudden –

BB: Well, I thought we had more trouble than we needed to have in the running game. We just didn't do a very good job in the bounce out, running and setting the edge. Ricky Williams got a lot of easy yardage outside that we just didn't defend, obviously, as well as we needed to defend it. So that was frustrating. It shouldn't have been as easy for him as it was to gain some of those yards. But no, he is still a great back and, you know, they've got a good running attack. So that part was frustrating. Offensively, we had a couple of opportunities we didn't take advantage of; but that is a good defensive football team so we have got to keep plugging away, keep taking the shots and, fortunately, we were able to hit some.

Q: Ricky Williams, you didn't see as much of him in the second half.

BB: I thought we just played poor perimeter defense in the first half, poor to atrocious, somewhere in that neighborhood. And you know, it wasn't perfect in the second half but it was a lot better. It was just terrible in the first half.

Q: Bill, the kick at the end of the regulation, was that an option or were you going to kick that away the whole time with the on-side look?

BB: No, we were kicking it deep. We were kicking it deep.

Q: Bill, you featured Kevin Faulk a little bit more in this game. Is this the best game he has played for you?

BB: He has had some big plays this year, but he played consistently well today. I thought we were able to get him on some matchups in the passing game. And you know, Kevin has had a solid year. He has had a hell of a lot of big plays and he certainly came up with them today. They, of course, obviously, played a lot of press coverage like they always do, roll up a lot on the outside receivers. So he had an opportunity to get some space inside and he made some nice plays with it.

Q: Coach, what did you say to your players when you took the trophy out yesterday?

BB: I just told them what I thought it stood for and it was more about the present than the past, what it would take for us to, what I saw the team that won that trophy, how they played and how we needed to play, and fighting for 60 minutes and playing tough, hard nosed, smart football was really what that was about.

Q: Bill, you seemed confident your club would rebound today, especially after the last two games. What did you say coming into this game?

BB: Just what I said. I think we have a lot of tough guys in that locker room, guys that are tough that will complete right to the end even when things are tough. And I'd go to war with them any time.

Q: Bill, there were times earlier in the game, Brady seemed to be favoring his arm. Was there something there?

BB: I don't know. You know, it was a tough game. There was a lot of hard hitting out there. But I thought he was able, I mean he made a nice throw there at the end to Kevin.

Q: Bill, comparing this year to last year, would you admit now the way it is kind of uncanny?

BB: This isn't about this year and last year. We have had a couple of close games. Look at the Chicago game. You know, we lost some tough ones. We have won some tough ones. You know, going into today all we could do was just stay in the division race. All we could do was beat Miami. We did what we could do. Unfortunately, we have several other losses along the way that may or may not keep us out of division. But we did all we could do today and I am proud of the way the players handled that.

Q: How are you going to spend the next three hours? You did what you could do today and now you have to sit and watch. Is that going to be difficult to sit and watch a game that you can't –

BB: Well, that is the way it is. I mean there is nothing you can do about it at the time. You know, when it is over we'll know one way or the other. You can't control between now and then.

Q: Where are you going to watch it?

BB: I don't know.

Q: Right here? Are you going to go to your office, do you watch it as a team, what are you going to do?

BB: No, we don't have any plans to watch it as a team. I have trouble watching games like that. I will probably just come in later on in the second half and see how things are going. It is hard to go back and forth play to play, it is probably emotionally more than we are ready for right now. I have never been in a situation like this before. You know, I have been on situations where you play on Sunday and you wait for the Monday night game or you play on Saturday and it is a Sunday game, but I have never been in a situation where you have won a one o'clock game and something is dependent on the the four o'clock game. So, you know, let's go Packers.

Q: Bill, would you classify that as kind of typical of the Brady we saw last game, when you really needed something, you know, he came through?

BB: Well, yes. He really did today, no doubt about it. You know, he would probably say that about the Chicago game too. You know, he certainly played well in a clutch and I thought he made some good throws earlier in the game. I mean they weren't all perfect, you know, none of them are. But he certainly made some clutch ones at the end. The two-point throw was a big one. You know, the throw to Kevin on the sidelines, that was a great throw and catch. It was tight coverage and he was able to get it in there. You know, Kevin made a terrific play.

Q: Bill, as physically and mentally tired as your team might be at this point with all it has gone through, did you have an inclination that they still had this in them?

BB: Well, I thought heading into this week, well, whatever we got, I thought we were going to lay out there today. Whatever that was, you know, whether that was, you know, 80 percent of our maximum or 92 percent of it or 97 percent, I don't know what it was, but I really thought whatever we had, we would lay out there. And I would have been disappointed if the players hadn't done that. But they did. Hey, Miami is a good team. They gave us some problems, no question about it. But the effort, the toughness, the hanging in there, the just fighting to the bitter end, that is what I respect about these players. And they certainly did it today.

Q: Bill, just before the field goal on third and one, they threw a seven-yard pass, was that just to get it a little closer, was that a bit of a gamble?

BB: Yes. Well, we were trying to get a few more yards. I felt real confident if we could get the ball inside the 20, that that would be a real high percentage kick for Adam. I think the ball was on about the maybe 24, somewhere in there and, you know, we would have taken a shot at it from there and it would have been over a 40-yard field goal if we hadn't gained anymore. They had blitzed the two games before so it was kind of a tough skid, you know, running inside there had nine guys. That was a play we thought we could get the ball outside and pick up a few more yards.

Q: So you are not going to watch the film, huh?

BB: Not yet. Hopefully, we will be back next week. Thank you

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