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Bill Belichick Post-Game Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talks to the press about their win over the Miami Dolphins, 20-13, in the last regular-season home game ever to be played at Foxboro Stadium.To read a full transcript, click below.



BB: They've done everything we've asked them to do all year. I thought it was another great team effort. I can't say enough about the defense causing those turnovers. They're really playing good football. And we got some big plays offensively, of course Antowain [Smith], you just can't say enough about him. That guy runs hard, he's tough, and he can carry the mail. He did a great job. Again, Fred Coleman made a big play, Patrick Pass, J.R. [Redmond] made the big block on Pass' touchdown where he picked up the blitz. Just a lot of guys … each week it seems like we're talking about some different people, but somebody steps up and makes the plays that help us win. It was a great emotional day with the crowd and the fans and it was a tremendous atmosphere out there and it was a thrill for me to be a part of it. I'm thrilled for our football team. I thought that they really played their hearts out. Miami's a real good football team and I don't want to take anything away from them because they're a team that's going to be heard from this year. They're a strong football team. They're tough, they're well-coached, and we have a lot of respect for them. We really do.

Q: Bill, over the past several weeks, you've made a point of saying that this team has not accomplished anything yet. Do you still feel that way after this win?

BB: Well, each win you get a little bit closer. Each win's a little bit closer, but there's still a lot of football left to be played and some things are out of our control, but we've done what we could do the last five weeks and we need to do it one more week, so that's really where our focus is. Anything else that happens, we're just going to have to sit back and wait it out like everybody else is. But I'm glad that we're taking care of our side of the business and that's really all I can ask our team to do, and they're trying to do it.

Q: Has Smith surpassed what you thought he would give you when you signed him?

BB: He's pretty good. He had some good runs. Just go to the Seattle game last year at the end of the season. The guy can run. He's strong, he's powerful, he does not go down easy and he makes tough yards around the goal line, and he continues to do it. I've been impressed with him before and I never liked playing against him. I'm glad he's on my side.

Q: Can you talk about the throwback pass to Brady?

BB: It's one of those plays we've had in all year, but we just either didn't have the right time to run it or something happened and we just didn't get it called or we just felt like … We were looking for the right situation and Charlie [Weis] made a great call on it and it came up just the way we had planned. In terms of the situation, that was what we were looking for, and Charlie was right there and made a great call on it and Kevin [Faulk] made a good throw. The play hadn't always looked that good in practice, I can tell you that. It looked kind of like you want to draw it up. It was a big play, it gave us a big lift and a couple of big plays offensively, some turnovers, that was kind of the story of the game. We had a few more than they did.

Q: A couple of times, they had opportunities to kick field goals and they chose not to. The way your defense was playing, did that surprise you?

BB: Well, we went for it too. We went for it on fourth-and-one. Obviously I'd like to have that one back, the way it turned out. I thought at the time we had a good play, but [Jason] Taylor stepped in there and made the play. He knocked off [Marc] Edwards and he made the stop and I think that they probably felt the same way when he did it. You only need a yard and you've got a big back like Lamar [Smith] or Antowain, you've certainly got to give a lot of consideration to trying to pick it up that way, so it was just good that we could step in there and make the play, but both defenses played hard and both defenses are tough – they've got a real good defense – and we each made a couple of fourth-down stops.

Q: Did you just want to keep the momentum?

BB: Yeah, that was a situation where … The sun was really a factor in the game on that type of a play. It was coming over that corner of the end zone there and it was tough to see the ball. We had trouble with it in warmups and we felt like early in the first quarter we were going into the sun, so it really wasn't a factor other than for the returners and in the second quarter when we were going with the sun, we were a little bit concerned with the receivers looking back for the ball, but in the return game, on punts and kickoff returns, it was definitely a tough situation. The first one we kicked, [Ed] Perry fielded it pretty cleanly, but just standing there on the sidelines, we said that he made a good play on the ball and it was a tough catch and we've got another chance to do it and Adam [Vinatieri] hit it and it just didn't come down as clean that time. But it was a tough play. There really isn't anything you can do. You can't let it go, you've got to try to handle it and Adam did a good job of putting it there and it was a tough catch, it really was, just because of the angle, the sun and the wind and the ball hanging up there and all that, it was tough.

Q: About Fred Coleman's play on the onside kick…

BB: Oh, great play. Great play. Yeah, he did. And he hung on to the ball. He took one for the team there. He just went up and got it. Everybody knows how dangerous [Olindo] Mare is on those onside kicks. I don't think there's anybody in the league better then him, and he can go both ways on them and it's a great weapon. You can tell on our kickoff return team, we're trying to defend it on every single return, not just the one at the end. But when they've got to do it, they've got a lot of options. He gets the ball up there so high. Freddy made a great play to go up there and get it and hang on to it.

Q: What happened to the offense in the second half?

BB: We ran the ball, we made some first downs. We really didn't convert across midfield. When we had some good field position, we took some shots downfield, but Miami did a good job of covering them and we ended up getting a couple of negative plays there, but overall our field position wasn't real good, it was just getting it out to midfield. We couldn't really get the ball – other than the one drive at the start of the third quarter – we just didn't get the ball across midfield enough and do much with it. But at least we were able to drive it out of our end and we ran some big minutes off the clock there in the fourth quarter.

Q: Was that your idea to let the team do the victory lap and have the team go around the stadium?

BB: Yeah, I'm a real veteran at closing down these stadiums. That was something we did at Cleveland after we finished that game against Cincinnati. The fans have just been great all year. They've been so supportive and so enthusiastic and they were really a force today and on behalf of the whole organization and certainly the players and the coaching staff, we just want to show our appreciation for the last regular season game scheduled here today.

Q: Is it rewarding to be where you are right now?

BB: Sure it's rewarding. When you work that hard and you start back in March with all the running and lifting and meetings and mini camps and running the same plays day after day and coming in to work, it can be monotonous. Training camp and all of that, I mean you work for these days. These are the games that you work hard to be able to play in and to be able to step in and play well. Sure it's rewarding and it's gratifying. There was a lot of hard work that's gone into this game. It wasn't just the last couple of days. But I do think that the team had a good week of preparation this week. We didn't do a lot of contact work, but we really wanted to make sure that they were fresh and aggressive in the game and I thought that they were. I thought that we ran hard and we controlled the line of scrimmage and blocked them on the line of scrimmage. Defensively we tried to be stout in there. We had some trouble chasing [Jay] Fiedler around, but I thought we did a decent job on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They really stepped in there and they played hard. You've got to give all the credit in the world to the players. They did a terrific job today against a good football team.

Q: Was Antowain Smith dinged up a little bit?

BB: He bruised his knee. Yeah, they were checking him out and he had to miss a couple of plays.

Q: When you were running around and doing your lap with the ball in your hand, was there anything going through your mind? What emotions were you feeling?

BB: The appreciation of the fans. The appreciation of the fans and how strongly they've supported us. Obviously this year and today, but even when I was here in '96 and the last couple of years they've been here every week. We have great fans and we appreciate them.

Q: Do you expect there to be another home game?

BB: I don't know. That's out of our control. I really don't know. Well, I shouldn't say it's out of our control, we've got a game to play against Carolina, but the standings will be whatever they are. We've done what we could do the last five weeks and we'll try to do it again in our last game.

Q: Could the defense have been any more clutch today?

BB: I think there were a few times when we made it a little bit harder on ourselves. We gave up a few third-down conversions that I didn't think we should have given up. Even though on that play at the end there they came back and ran the same play that they had run the play before and we didn't cover it the first time, we didn't really cover it well the second time either. We had a few problems out there with them, like you would expect. That's a good offensive line and a hard-running running back and Fiedler's an elusive quarterback, so we were scrambling around a little bit. But in the end, we stepped up and made some big plays and that obviously saved us.

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