New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 13, 2009.
BB: Well, it was certainly nice to win out there today. We overcame a few turnovers offensively and gave up a big play on defense, but overall I thought there were a lot of positive things. We had a long drive there to take the lead, Steve [Gostkowski] had a couple great kicks and we were able to run out the game there in the fourth quarter, so that was good. Not perfect, but a good solid effort - one we can build on here. We've got to turn this around and get ready to take it on the road next week. Hopefully, we can be a little more successful there than we've been in some of these other games. [It was] a good game to win and now we're back for our last division game next week.
Q: Can you comment on Wes Welker's performance today and his performance every day?
BB: Wes, he's got a lot of heart. He's a heck of a football player. He shows up every day to work. I know he's been banged up, but he fights through it, returns punts, catches the ball, blocks. He goes into the corner after the puck, too. He's not just scoring goals; he's going in there and digging it out in the corner. He's a tough football player. He reminds me a lot of another slot receiver that we had here for a longtime, kind of the same way.
Q: From the outside it seemed like a disjointed week of preparation, do you think that led to the way you played in the first half?
BB: No, I don't think so. We just didn't execute a couple plays as well as we could have. We turned the ball over three times, that's not good. But those should have been prevented. And we had quite a few good plays; we just didn't have enough of them. A couple drives stalled out [and] we got a couple penalties in the second half. There were some good plays, [but] we need to be more consistent.
Q: [On the offensive line competing against Julius Peppers]
BB: I think we competed well against their defensive line. They rushed us - I wouldn't say they weren't effective in the game, I think they were - but we stood in there and battled them. Tom [Brady] got rid the ball a couple times quickly enough, and other times we blocked them and had enough time to hang onto it a little bit. That's a good front and he's [Peppers] a good player, [Damione] Lewis is a good player, [Jon] Beason's a good player, [Chris] Gamble. They've got some real good players on defense and I thought those guys played well today.
Q: On the long touchdown, was that a physical or mental mistake?
BB: We missed our coverage there. We were looking for something and got something else. We knew Steve Smith was a big focal point of the offense all week and we just broke down on that play. We're going to have to do a better job of coaching it and making sure that those things don't happen. We can't give up those kinds of plays anytime, especially not this time of year.
Q: You had a couple changes in the secondary this game with James Sanders and Shawn Springs...
BB: I think everybody played. I think everybody got a chance to play for the most part. We planned to play a lot of people back there and they all contributed. Overall, I thought we had a decent day defensively, other than a handful of plays - obviously, the touchdown and DeAngelo [Williams] had a couple of runs there. Overall, it was better on third down and better overall defensively, but there's still room for improvement.
Q: What got the run game going?
BB: Good blocking and good running. There's no real magic formula to it. We've got to block them and they've got a lot of guys to block. They've got seven or eight guys on the front that you've got to get blocked and the backs have got to read it, but I thought our backs ran hard. We got a little bit of yards after contact, we got the ball outside, we also ran plays inside, so we had some balance in the running game [and] that helped us on some play action passes - we got some guys open. We just dropped too many balls, turned the ball over too many times to have a consistent day on offense. That's what offensive football is, eliminating those negative plays and taking advantage of all opportunities we had. We just had too many of those and left some points and yards out there on the field.
Q: How meaningful was that 96-yard drive?
BB: It was huge. It was huge because we had driven it down there at the start of the third quarter, took the length of the field and turned the ball over. And being able to get the ball back in bad field position and you give it back to them and now they're knocking on the door. So not only were we able to drive it down, but also finish the drive and get the ball in the end zone, so that was big for us.
Q: Randy Moss had a difficult game; he only had the one catch that he fumbled. How important is it for you guys to make sure that he doesn't get too frustrated, so he doesn't disengage?
BB: It's important for everybody to do their best and play well this time of year. It's important for the entire football team. It's important for the coaches to coach well and the players to play well. This is what we work all year for and here we are. We're in the middle of December, we have three games left and they're all important. We need everybody.
Q: It looked like you were rotating the tackles in, was that a game-planning thing?
BB: No, we planned to play all three tackles and we did. We played Sebastian [Vollmer] on both sides, and we played Nick [Kaczur] and Matt [Light]. It looked like all of them had a chance to play. I'm not sure exactly how the number of plays worked out, but they all played a significant part. I think that was probably good for them to get a little break. It's not often those guys do and be able to come back in and be fresh and go on those long drives. But we tried to work Sebastian back in this week and he did with a decent number of plays.
Q: What went into your decision for Adalius Thomas to be inactive?
BB: We make the same decisions every week. We activate the players that we feel give our team the best chance to win - assuming that the guys that can't play are injured - but the rest of them, we take the guys that have the bigger role in the game.
Q: On Stephen Gostkowski's 48- and 47-yard field goals, how far out would you have let him kick? You saw John Kasay come up short kicking a 53-yarder in the same direction.
BB: I think Steve [Gostkowski] hit a couple over 50 [yards] in pregame - 51, 52. I think those were in the high 40s, right? Forty-six, 47 [yards], somewhere in there, so we felt that was a few yards into his range. We felt good about that. The play there on third down to Kevin [Faulk] to pick up nine or 10 yards on that third and 14, or whatever it was, that was a big play to get us into field goal range. Steve's got plenty of leg. He's a strong kicker. I thought his balls were carrying pretty well - not like they do in September or in Florida - but we felt he was good for a little bit over 50.