Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 08, 2009.
BB: That was a typical AFC East game, tough game that came right down to the wire. I'm real proud of our football players. I thought they had a good week of preparation. I thought they went out there and played hard today. Miami made some plays, we made a few more and it's good to win that one. It's a big division win. Miami is 3-0 in the division coming into this game, so that was a huge win for us. We know we have a big battle coming up next week, but right now we'll just enjoy this one for a little bit and get back to work on Indy. I thought our guys played hard today. I thought they made some big plays and made them at the right time and ultimately that was the difference.
Q: When they broke out the Pat White formation, after they came off the field, you went and huddled with the defense. What did you say?
BB: Well, we just didn't play the option very well. We worked on it and then it happened probably a little faster than we practiced it, and once we got it adjusted, I thought they did a good job. We knew they were going to throw some new stuff at us like they always do - gadget plays and stuff like that. That's part of their offense; they do a good job on those. The double reverse pass ended up being a huge play for us. We were able to knock them for a big loss on that one. The option, we worked on it, but not quite as they ran it. We just had a couple missed assignments and [Pat] White ran well.
Q: Are you a believer in momentum and how much can that sway a game?
BB: That third quarter kind of had elements of the Indianapolis-Miami game, where Miami held the ball for a long time and the Colts came back and hit them on a couple big plays. It was sort of the same thing, where we hit Randy [Moss] on a crossing route, he broke a tackle there on [Vontae] Davis and went 60, 70 yards - whatever it was. Those plays can turn around in a hurry. Long drives can be equalized by big plays, and big plays can be equalized by long drives. We just had a couple more of them than they did, but it was a big answer by our offense. It was a third-and-five; had that pass not been complete, [we would have] give them the ball back and they got a lead and so forth. That was a big one to hit and then we hit the two-point conversion that put us up by seven, so that was huge.
Q: Why did you play Vince Wilfork more outside?
BB: We just felt like that was a good matchup for us. Mike's [Wright] done a good job inside and outside, we just felt like overall with Vince [Wilfork] and Ty [Warren] outside, Mike inside [and] Myron [Pryor] that that would give us the best matchup on Miami's personnel and what they were doing. Vince has really played all across the line for us. He's a pretty versatile player. He's very flexible. He did a good job. He embraced the move all week and I think — we'll see how the film looked — but it looked like he did a pretty good job on [Jake] Long.
Q: Can you talk about how your receivers and Randy Moss did against Miami's younger secondary?
BB: We made a few plays. Once again, the biggest problem for us was in the red area. We got the ball down there three or four times, whatever it was, and ended up just kicking field goals. So luckily, Randy [Moss] hit the big play and we didn't have a red area series in the third quarter, but Miami's got a good red area defense. They held us to field goals and those get equalized with touchdowns. We've got to do a better job of getting the ball in the end zone, but give them credit they're a good red area defense, too. What did we have? Two hundred and fifty yards passing in the first half or something like that? I'm not saying all of it was on them, we certainly hit our fair share of plays, but down in the red area we didn't and that's why we really didn't have very many points?
Q: Can you talk about the job your kick coverage did?
BB: I think those guys did a pretty solid job. First, we got good kicking. The ball was hung up there pretty well on both punts and kickoffs. Our guys ran hard, tackled hard. I think we had some good hits down there, not just covering, but also we had some pretty solid hits in the tackling area. So we played very aggressively in the kicking game and so did they. They've got some big, physical guys in there, too. That was part of the battle.
Q: How much did the Dolphins run the option?
BB: They'd run it with Pat White. They ran a different look instead of having the guy behind him, they had it off to the side with a fake. We'd work on our option responsibilities the first time it happened, it was a little quicker. We just missed an assignment on that and he had 30 yards and we just didn't get off the blocks on the pitch. It wasn't a big new thing, we just didn't play it very well and they executed it well. Luckily, we got that straightened out and it wasn't a big problem in the second half. They tried to change up and instead of running the option they ran it back inside. But White didn't really hurt us too much with those inside runs - a couple yards here and there. But it wasn't big plays like they had in the end of the second quarter.
Q: [On it being a "standard" AFC East game]
BB: Real physical games. The Jets game was a seven-point game. This game's a 10-point game, a seven-point game down to the last couple seconds. [It was a] physical, hard-hitting game, teams that run the ball and physical on defense, run to the ball and tackle hard. They have big physical players. Those are the kind of games we play in and it was certainly good to win it.
Q: It seemed like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter were held in check. Was that a credit to the offensive line?
BB: I think, certainly, the tackles were matched up on them a lot, but we also had the tight ends on them some, we had the backs chip in. I think we ran the ball fairly well today. I don't know what we ended running for, but it was certainly enough to keep them off-balance where it wasn't just pass rush every play and you don't want to let those guys get into that kind of mode. Sebastian [Vollmer] and Nick [Kazcur], along with the tight ends and the backs, did a nice job. I thought Tom [Brady] had good time to throw. We got hit a couple times, but that was more when we held the ball and the coverage was there as opposed to just breakdowns in the protection.
Q: How much time did you spend during the week on the Wildcat?
BB: I'd say probably about the same amount of time that they run it. We'd probably get somewhere around 25, 30 percent, about the ratio they run it is. So I would say we probably put a quarter of our time in on that. Then, you have third down and all that other stuff they do. You definitely have to commit time to it defensively and they give you a lot of different looks. It's not just one formation - unbalanced line, sometimes they motion, sometimes they don't, now White's running it, which he's run it before. They throw off it. They try to double reverse pass — luckily, that was a play that we worked on in practice this week. I think the guys saw it and reacted to it pretty quickly. I mean you have to commit some time to it, there's no doubt about it.
Q: What was your philosophy behind going for the two-point conversion?
BB: That was a real tough decision today. I think that was one of the toughest ones. We're up by five, it's late in the third quarter, you kind of feel like that's not going to be the last score in this game. So you could go up by six, but then you kick a field goal and now you're up by nine. Those things start to add up a little bit, and you're down by five, and they score, and kick it and now you're down by three, so there are a lot of different multiples there. I'll just say that had it been later in the game it would have been an obvious decision. At that point, it was late in the third quarter. It was a tough one that could have gone either way. We just felt like we were moving the ball pretty well, offensively. We felt like we had a good play, that was probably the most important thing was we had a good play down there and whatever they did we felt like we were going to be pretty good with it. Those were the things that went into that decision. But I could have easily kicked it there and come in here and said I feel like I did the right thing, too. I think that one was right on the edge. There's still a lot of time left. That was a tough decision.
Q: The fourth down before the last field goal, were you planning on going for that?
BB: Yeah, we had a play. It was just dumb on my part. It was stupid. That was bad coaching.
Q: Dan Connolly filling in for Dan Koppen, can you just touch on that?
BB: [Dan] Connolly's really done a good job for us. He's played a lot of different positions since he's been back: center, guard, tight end, fullback, short-yardage and goal-line stuff. He missed those first couple games early in the year, but he's really been a solid guy that's taken a big jump this year from the off-season, training camp, preseason games. He's probably one of our most improved players. It seems like every time he's gotten a chance to play, he does a good job, he shows up. I think he's getting close to battling for some playing time. He's really taken advantage of his opportunities when he's had an opportunity to play. We'll see how things are with [Koppen] and all that, but we have a lot confidence in Dan and also Sebastian [Vollmer] here when he's filled in for Matt Light. Our depth on the offensive line, we've needed it and they've come through for us.
Q: Do you have an indication right now of the severity of Dan Koppen's injury?
BB: No, I don't. I just got in off the field after the game. All that stuff is 24 to 48 hours anyway before you really know what you're dealing with. He's a pretty quick healer. He's a pretty tough guy.
Q: How do feel Patrick Chung has been coming along?
BB: Patrick's coming along well. Patrick's playing time has increased here the last two or three weeks. He's done a real good job for us in the kicking game and he continues to show up and make plays. It's not always perfect and he doesn't always do everything exactly the way you want it done, but at the end of the play he makes a bunch of tackles and he's got his guy covered and he basically ends up being a productive player. Patrick works extremely hard. He's in here early, he stays late — kind of like [Jerod] Mayo and [Gary] Guyton were last year. He really puts a lot into it. Football's real important to him and he's continued to get better on the practice field, both in the kicking game and defensively, And he's taken advantage of the opportunities he's gotten. Anybody that works that hard and has that kind of ability he has, I think he's going to continue to improve. It means a lot to him.
Q: In terms of the option, was there any detail in terms of the adjustment you made?
BB: No, really we just did what we were supposed to do. I'd say that's the biggest thing. The first couple times they ran it, we weren't quite sure, we were a little indecisive. The first time [Pat] White kept it. The second time, we didn't come up very quickly and they pitched it and [Ricky] Williams [and] got 20 yards on that. And after that, it seemed like after we saw it we were a lot more confident and did the right thing and had everybody accounted for - the inside runs, the option, the pitch and all that. They started right off with it early there in the third quarter. Once we saw it and got it straightened out, I think we played more aggressively and confidently [and] we defended it a lot better.