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Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 8, 2013.

BB: Well that was another wild one. Once again, have to go give our team a lot of credit for the way they played. Plays were made there at the end of the game and some real good individual efforts and got a lot of, obviously, contributions from everybody. Huge, huge kick by Steve [Gostkowski] and a couple big scores there offensively. We were able to keep them out of field-goal range at the end. Cleveland played about like I thought they would. They're young, they're aggressive. They played hard, they played well. We certainly have a lot of room for improvement, a lot of things we need to do better. It's always good to come out with a win in spite of everything that happened. Rob [Gronkowski] was taken to the hospital for observation and evaluation on his injury. That's all I have.

Q: These comebacks wins against the Saints, Broncos and now today, what does that say about your football team with the ability to make these unbelievable comebacks?

BB: I don't know. Each one has its own dynamics and own special circumstances. We had to make just about every play we made at the end today and fortunately we did. Usually when you put yourself in that kind of situation it doesn't always happen that way. If one little thing goes wrong, then it doesn't work out but fortunately it did today.

Q: When you pick the type of onside kick to use, is that a scheme thing based on what you think they're going to do?

BB: I'd rather not talk about the strategy of that. That stuff's going to come up again. We do what we think is best, let's put it that way.

Q: What are your immediate thoughts on a game like that? Is it elation that you managed to pull it or disappointment that you put yourself in that situation?

BB: No, we're excited to win. Absolutely we're excited to win. It's hard to win in this league. Cleveland is a good football team and they played well today. We're definitely excited to win, yeah.

Q: It's difficult for defensive backs to target the correct spot. Do you have an issue with T.J. Ward going low on Rob Gronkowski in that situation?

BB: I think that's a question you should take up with the league.

Q: Have you ever had a feeling like this after a game like that? How do you put it into words?

BB: I just tried. Sorry if it wasn't good enough for you [laughter]. I tried the best. We put ourselves in a bad situation. We were down by whatever it was, 12 points. We went into our two-minute drive, got a couple plays, got the ball down the field. We had an extra timeout because we didn't stop them down there. They threw the two passes in those kind of 'run-it' type situations, they were good calls by Norv [Turner] and well executed obviously by Cleveland so we didn't get to use our final timeout and fortunately had one left there. We tried to run the ball in and they stopped us so we had an extra timeout to use there to get ourselves a little bit more time. Then, the onside kick and trying to get the ball downfield again. We're just playing it one play at a time. That's all you can do. [If] you're down by two scores, all you can do is score once and then get the ball back and then score again. You can't score 14 points in one play. It's just sequence and series of plays. I don't know how else to put it, find somebody more eloquent to do that.

Q: Talk about the execution of the running backs today.

BB: Well, we got contributions from all of them, like we usually do. We have a lot of confidence in all those guys. They all do a good job. We ran with the ball, we caught it, made some big plays in different ways: coming out of the backfield, check downs, runs, getting into the end zone. Those guys did a good job. Obviously we have to play [with] more consistency. We had our moments then we had a lot of moments that weren't very good too. But we had some production.

Q: From where you were watching from, did you see any issue with T.J. Ward's hit on Rob Gronkowski?

BB: That's not for me to judge.

Q: Is the victory tempered at all by his injury?

BB: Anytime a player gets hurt – you never like to see that. I don't even know what the extent of his injury is yet, so you don't want to jump to conclusions on that.

Q: What does this say about Tom Brady? This comeback?

BB: We've seen Tom do this many times before. I think it's probably all been said before, but he did it again. That's what it says – he did it again. Him and a lot of other guys, he had a lot of help out there.

Q: The next man up thing is getting stretched.

BB: We just take it one play at a time, one day at a time, one game at a time. Whatever it is, we'll deal with whatever we have to deal with.

Q: When Matthew Mulligan tried to jump over the defender, is that something you coach or was he just trying to jump over the defender?

BB: He was being aggressive, trying to make a play. A lot of times when you see a big guy like that run with the ball, guys will come in and try to tackle low. Certainly Cleveland's defensive backs do a lot of that. He was just trying to hurdle a guy, he probably thought he was going to go low.

Q: How has Shane Vereen evolved since he got here?

BB: Shane, the more opportunity he's gotten, the more he's been able to do for us. In his rookie year, in the Kansas City game, [in] limited chances he had that year, he was productive. Last year we had some depth in our backfield. When he got an opportunity to play, he did a good job. He obviously had a great game against Buffalo and then missed the next eight weeks. When he's been in there, he's been pretty productive for us. There's just been times and reasons over the course of his career, for one reason or another, where his opportunities have been somewhat limited. But when he's been in there – and our other backs have done well too, it's not like they haven't been productive. They've all taken advantage of their opportunities, they all deserve to play and they've all done well for us.

Q: How do you keep your team calm and not panic when there's a sense of urgency down the stretch?

BB: We practice all these situations. I think it's just the recognition of, 'This is what the situation is that we practiced; this is what we need to do in this situation, we have to go out there and try to execute it.' I think that's really the short end of it. You never know what's going to come up. You don't know what situations are going to happen in the game. You just have to take them as they come. As they come, then you have plays or you have calls or you have things that you prepared for in those situations and you just have to recognize that this is it, this is what we need to do. I think that really is the entire team, it's not one guy. One guy can't tell 10 other guys what to do one every play. As a team we need to recognize that, 'This is the situation, this is the play, this is what we're looking for. This is what we want to try to do.' Again, overall, our team has a done a reasonably good job of that, particularly today. That's about as hard as it gets today, being down by two scores with two minutes and 20 seconds or whatever it was left on the game, something like that. We dug ourselves a big hole but we made the plays we needed to make to get out of it. Have to give them credit for that. But that's what we practice for. You probably think we should practice the other stuff in normal situations, right? Do a better job of that [laughter].

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