Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference on Sunday, January 2, 2011.
BB: Well, once again, I give our team a lot of credit. The players really did a good job here today. They've really been focused and I thought [they] played well today in all three phases of the game. We had big plays on offense, defense, special teams. We had some guys step up that hadn't played a lot and made some big plays for us. Overall it was a pretty solid effort. It's good to end the season on this note, but right now we're just like everybody else; everybody is 0-0 at this point in the playoffs, so it's time for us to get focused on the next target. But it's a nice way to end the season. I'm proud of the way the guys played today; they stepped up and played like the AFC [East] champions that they are.
Q: Can you reflect a little bit on what it means to see a guy like BenJarvus Green-Ellis rush for 1,000 yards?
BB: Well, I think the most important thing is just the team playing well, and he's done a good job for us all year. Individual stats aren't really our primary focus around here. We're trying to win games, but he's done a lot to help us win them.
Q: With the decision to hold out guys like Wes Welker and Deion Branch, was that all injury based...?
BB: Well, I'd say it was primarily the former.
Q: What did you like from what you saw from some of the guys you saw in this game that you hadn't seen in the past, like Taylor Price? Edelman we haven't seen much this year...
BB: We saw him against Chicago. Like I said, some guys got to play more in this game than did some other games and that was good for them. We'll take a look at the film and see how it all came out, but it was good to give some guys an opportunity to play. They may be playing here later on in the season. Who knows? That's always good experience.
Q: When you put Brian Hoyer in briefly in the second quarter, were you just trying to keep him on his toes?
BB: Well, that could easily happen in a game when a quarterback comes out and the other quarterback has to go in. That's what he did.
Q: With the three top receivers out that could sort of throw a wrench in the idea of keeping the momentum of the team. If they're not playing, why play Tom Brady?
BB: The decisions we make - generally the way they always are - are what's best for the football team, so that's what we did; we did what we felt was best for the team. Everybody else may not see it that way, but that's what we try to do; we try to do what's best for the team.
Q: Is it safe to say you guys came out of this game pretty unscathed from major injuries?
BB: Well, it's a physical game. I'm sure we'll have some guys with some bumps and bruises coming in here tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. I don't know.
Q: With the top seed wrapped up how do you get guys to go hard and how do you know they're going to go hard?
BB: Well, I think if you're a competitor and you play in the game, you want to go out there and compete and play in it. I know you all don't look at it that way, but I think if you compete in a game, you compete.
Q: How have you seen BenJarvus Green-Ellis progress throughout the season?
BB: He's been pretty solid for us all the way through. I think that's one of the biggest things about Benny is his consistency - training camp, regular season, preseason and all the way through. I think he's been really consistent.
Q: What does it say about a team to put up those kinds of numbers in the second half in a game like this, especially against that level of competition?
BB: Like I said, I think our players were focused. They played well today and took advantage of some opportunities.
Q: Could Danny Woodhead have returned to the game? Was that just precautionary?
BB: I don't know. It didn't really come to that.
Q: Was it important to you for BenJarvus to get 1,000 yards?
BB: I think the important thing was for the team to go in there and play solidly in all three phases, like we've practiced and prepared for all week. It will be a couple weeks before we play again, so the guys that played got a good opportunity to play and some other people that hadn't played as much also got a chance to play, so that's kind of the way it worked out.
Q: Defensively, guys made it hard for them today and it seemed like a pretty good effort today.
BB: Yeah, we had our moments on defense. We gave up a few plays we'd rather not give up and they've got some quality receivers there in [Davone] Bess, [Brandon] Marshall, good backs. I thought our defense competed well. Some things could have been better, but overall it was pretty solid.
Q: Is Tom Brady playing better than he has ever played?
BB: I don't know. He's been a pretty good player for us. I don't really think you rank them. You go out there and prepare every week and go out there and try and play well and win.
Q: 37-4 or 36-4 as far as Brady's touchdowns to interceptions go. Phenomenal comes to mind. Impressive, certainly.
BB: He's playing well. He's done a good job for us and the guys that are catching them are doing a good job, too. The guys that are blocking are doing a pretty good job [and] the guys that are running the ball. Really, when you have a good offense it's usually because the whole team is playing well offensively, not just one guy. I think that's the case on offense for us. We've had good play out of multiple players and that's what makes it run.
Q: What is it that makes Julian Edelman so dangerous with the ball in his hands in space?
BB: I think he's quick. He's strong for his size. He breaks a lot of tackles. He's got good balance. Guys hit him and he's still able to stay on his feet and keep moving.
Q: He hasn't gotten a ton of catches lately. With confidence issues with players like that, was it good to see him get some playing time today and do well?
BB: I think it was good for some of the players that haven't had as many opportunities to play in recent games that they were able to get in there and play today and get some playing time. We'll see how that plays out going forward, but I think it's good that they were able to do that and the guys that have been playing, I think they got a pretty good opportunity to play as well. We'll have a week off, but they played a pretty solid game today against a good football team and I think that will serve us well. It's good experience and hopefully we can learn from it and continue to get better and work hard for whoever we've got coming up here in a couple weeks. We don't really know who that is, but we know it will be a team that's won, so it will be a good team.
Q: Can you talk about Rob Gronkowksi's contributions this year, especially in the red zone?
BB: Rob's done a good job for us all year. He's blocked well. He's caught the ball and he's scored touchdowns. He's a big target down there. He's a hard guy to overthrow. He's got a good catching radius. He does a good job of positioning himself on the defender so that the quarterback can put the ball where he can get it and the defender can't. He's done a nice job. He's an instinctive receiver.
Q: It seems like you personally hate to lose any game at any time. Everybody in this league says that, but to see a guy like Brady with three Super Bowl rings who is still as intense as he is at every game, is that innate in great coaches, great players?
BB: I think that's what competitors do; they compete, regardless of the score or situation. You don't control those things as a competitor, you just control your opportunity to compete, whether you've got the ball on their 1-yard line or your 1-yard line or the score is 30-0 one way or the other or it's the first game or the last time. If you're a competitor and you compete... (On same subject)
BB: I think when you've got competitors on your team, that's what they do: they go out and compete. I think we've got a lot of them on our team. I'm proud of that. I'm glad we've got them.