Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference on Sunday, October 17, 2010.
BB: Man. that was a good win for our football team today. I'm really proud of those kids. They played hard. [They were] 10 points down in the fourth quarter, rallied, fought through it in overtime. It was really just a heck of a job by our players. You've got to give them all the credit in the world. I know a lot of people doubted that they could do it and our second half [problems] and all of that, but you come back from behind [against] a team like Baltimore and win it at the end...we just had a lot of big plays out there. You can just talk about everybody. They all contributed. It was a real team effort against a real good football team. Baltimore has got a good club. They do a lot of things well. Fortunately, we were able to do one or two things a little better than they did today. I'm really proud of our team. We've got a big challenge ahead of us going out to San Diego, but we're going to enjoy this one for a while and then get back to work. ?
Q: What were your thoughts on Deion Branch's first game back?
BB: It was good to have him back there. He's a good football player. He had the chance to make some plays and I think he made them. [He's] not perfect, but he did a lot of good things for us like he's always done. ?
Q: At the beginning of the game Baltimore moved the ball pretty well and then the defense toughened up in the end. Can you talk about their play in the fourth quarter and the three big stops?
BB: We didn't do very good to start the game. They drove right down the field. Another bad drive there at the start of the second quarter and then didn't do very well there in the third quarter. We didn't have good field position, be we didn't play well. Overall, I thought we competed hard. They've got good players. They've got a good team. We made some plays; they made some plays. It was a back and forth kind of game, but I thought the one thing we did was to keep fighting. We kept playing hard and we eventually got a couple stops there in that overtime period - three stops or whatever it was. We were able to give our offense enough field position to eventually get it in there for the kick. [It was] team defense. I don't think you can say anything about one guy. And I thought our captains this week did a real good job, I'll say that of them. Vince [Wilfork], Jerod [Mayo], Alge [Crumpler], Tom [Brady], Kevin [Faulk], those guys did a real good job of just staying focused, staying positive, really working hard, setting the example, and everybody else followed it. So I give them a lot of credit on this one, too. ?
Q: How much did that 65-yard punt change things?
BB: We had some good field position there. We had pretty good field position all day defensively, and that one was big. They didn't field the ball and, as usual with the wind, it got a pretty good roll. We were kind of fortunate on the one before that one where [it was the] same thing where it hit short, dropped the snap and we were kind of lucky to get out of that one with the field position we did. Zoltan [Mesko] did a good job. Our coverage teams were good. That was a huge play. There were so many big plays we could talk about. [There were] 75 big plays in that game. ?
Q: When you evaluate Deion Branch's array of skills, what do you think are the best two or three?
BB: He can get open and catch the ball. Don't make it too complicated.
Q: You mentioned that Alge Crumpler is a captain now. Can you talk about that progression?
BB: Tom [Brady] is a great leader. There's no question about that, but it's hard for a quarterback, really, to be a captain for the whole group...the offensive linemen and the big guys and all of that, it's just...It's a skill position so we thought that Alge, based on his attitude and his respect and just everything he's done here...When I met with the captains last we talked about adding another player on offense. We talked about Alge. I asked Alge about it and he was really receptive to doing it, so that's what we did. ?
Q: It seemed like Dane Fletcher took a lot of snaps later in the game. Is that something you're forced into by injury?
BB: No, it's just that we were just playing a little different group there on third down. We played that at the end of the half there in the two minute and [we] used it some on third down. ?
Q: How much confidence does it give you to have the ball in the hands of a guy like Tom Brady in an overtime situation like that?
BB: I have confidence in everybody on the team. That's why they're on the team.
Q: He's a little better than most, though.
BB: Yeah, he does his job well, but everybody that's out there...look, when you put them out there in a game like this, you better have confidence in them. Every play is a big play. Every block is important. Every tackle is important. Every coverage is important. Every catch is important. Everything is important, so if you don't have confidence in a player at this point, you can't put them out there. I know all you care about is the guy that throws the ball and the guy that catches it, but there are a lot of guys that block. There are a lot of guys that play defense. There are a lot of guys that play in the kicking game. I'm just saying that every one of them that's on the field, you've got to have confidence in every single one [to] put them out here in a situation like this. ?
Q: Did you feel the way momentum changed in the game?
BB: Not really. It's two good football teams playing hard. We made some plays; they made some plays. [We] went back and forth. They were up on us in the fourth quarter there, but we never felt like we were out of the game. We had a good drive, came back, made it a one-score game. It was just a good back and forth battle the whole way. You love the competition of those games. It's so much better when you come out on top, but it was a good football game. I can't imagine anybody that saw that wouldn't feel that way. ?
Q: Can you go back over the two challenges and what you were thinking?
BB: The second one was right in front of us on the sideline and it didn't look to me like [Joe] Flacco had the yardage and then the ball came loose. It just didn't look to me like he had it. It looked like the official on the sideline kind of got blocked out of the play, so I just didn't think he made it. And the first one was [Aaron] Hernandez. We got a good call from the guys upstairs on that one. They saw the replay and said his elbow hit. That one didn't really seem that close. The other one with Flacco was [closer]. I didn't think he made it, but as usual, it comes down to is there an angle? Is there a camera shot that actually shows what I thought I saw? It's in the middle of the field. Who knows what the angles are, so you just have to hope that you have some evidence to back up what you think you saw. ?
Q: Can you talk about the third-and-one stop on Flacco's sneak? Obviously that was a huge play.
BB: I think, again, you've got to give a lot of credit to Pepper [Johnson], the defensive linemen, linebackers. We really work hard in goal line and short yardage. We haven't had a tremendous amount to show for it, but we've really worked hard on it all year. I think our players really try to understand it. It was something that we felt like in that situation, when the formation got to what it was, when [Le'Ron] McClain motioned out of the backfield then they kind of played it and got a good surge inside. It was a big play. Those guys really have been working hard on goal line and short yardage all year. Like I said, it's like we've had stop after stop after stop, but we've had a couple and they keep working on it and eventually those plays will come. Fortunately it did today. ?
Q: Can you talk about the timeout you called with a few minutes left? It looked like there was some confusion there?
BB: We were right there in field goal range. We had a play called and they jumped into a front and I just didn't feel great about the play. We kind of didn't really expect that. They kind of subbed us a little bit late. So we had the play called and then they got another group on. They gave us a look that didn't look great, so at that point in the game, the last thing you want to do is lose a couple of yards or just have a bad play. Every play is just so critical at that point. So the extra timeouts in overtime, I mean, nothing to really save them for. I just felt like we could do better than the play we had called against the look that they were in on that particular one. ?
Q: I can't imagine it's very often that a team gets the ball three times in overtime in this league, especially against a very good offense like the Ravens. What does that say about your young defense?
BB: We made enough plays to get off the field. I think certainly the personal foul penalty on that last drive was a big one on, I don't know, third-and-20 or whatever. You don't pick up a lot of those, statistically, in the league. That was fortunate but we did a good job [of] - [Jermaine] Cunningham and whoever else was in there - of not retaliating and getting an offsetting penalty or something like that. Fortunately, we were able to make a couple plays in long yardage and I think that penalty definitely helped us. ?
Q: Sticking with the pink shoes?
BB: Yeah, I should. I should. I could wear them to the prom.