New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Candlestick Park on Sunday, October 5, 2008.
BB: Well, that was a good win for our football team today. I was really proud of the way we played. We didn't get off to a great start and fell behind a couple of times here on the road. These fans were really into it. The 49ers played hard; they're a good football team and they do a lot of things well. They certainly move the ball offensively. They rush the passer on defense. I was proud of our guys. We fought back and just kept making a few plays and, in the end, we made enough to win the game. We made a few more than they did. The credit goes all the way around. I thought it was a good team win. Offensively, we were able to come up with a couple of critical plays; certainly, the fourth and two was a big one. That's a play that we've been working on for I don't know how many weeks, months, but we needed it today. I give the players credit; they fought back through some adversity. They kept their heads up and just kept working, and were able to make some plays, and come up with big ones when they had to. So hats off to them; they did a great job.
Q: How big was it for Matt Cassel to be able to bounce back like that after the Miami game?
BB: I think every win's a big win in this league, so I'm sure he was proud of the first one and the second one and now this one. It's a good win and he did a good job, as he did in the other games.
Q: How much of a boost did Kevin Faulk give you guys?
BB: Kevin came through. He had two rushing touchdowns. He probably hadn't had that since the fourth grade. It's not really what he's known for, but he made a good run down there on the goal line and found a crease - twice - and those were huge for us. Kevin does a great job. Seems like no matter what we ask him to do, he always does it well; whether it's blitz pick-up, or pass receiving on third down, running the ball, goal line. He's a clutch, dependable player for us. But he had some big ones today.
Q: How important was time of possession?
BB: I don't know what it was, but it seemed like we had the ball out there after the first quarter. It seemed like we had it all day. We were on the field some of the first quarter, although they had a couple big plays. Actually, the one drive wasn't that long; it just seemed like they had a lot in one play and then they scored on the turnover to (Frank) Gore. But the time of possession was good for us. Defensively, it's always good when you don't have to play, and we were able to make some adjustments, which is always tough with (Mike) Martz's offense. He gave us some formations, some shifting, some looks that were a little difficult to deal with. So that really helped us, defensively, because our offense was able to stay out on the field. It gave us time to talk over some of that stuff and also give our pass-rushers a little bit of a breather because chasing (J.T.) O'Sullivan was tough today, too. We had a hard time catching him.
Q: After the early scores, did you make some defensive adjustments?
BB: The one big play on the corner route, we didn't cover him so that was an adjustment to try to have everybody cover their man. [Frank] Gore made a nice catch on the post route. Look, this is a good offensive football team. They can throw the ball and get it down the field. It's unrealistic to think we can come in here and they're not going to complete a pass. We just tried to minimize the damage. They got us a couple of times. Fortunately for us, it wasn't enough, but they get them against everybody. They're second in the league in big plays, and it's hard to try to prevent it. I thought our secondary competed well against those guys and you have to give them credit. They get them and they got a couple against us today.
Q: When you saw them come out in the nickel defense early on, did you go to the run more after that?
BB: They were trying to match us with personnel. Depending on what group we put out there, I think that determined what group they put out there, for the most part. They have a lot of different substitution packages, which Mike [Nolan] always has. Those are hard to get ready for and adjust to. There are a lot of odd things; guys standing up and floating around and all that. So with the crowd noise and all, it was good game-planning on his part and he gave us a lot of different personnel groups. As we shuffled ours, he shuffled his, so that's kind of the chess match you have with Mike.
Q: How nice was it to get the deep play to Randy Moss?
BB: It was good. It's always good to hit a long touchdown pass. Matt [Cassel] made a good throw and Randy [Moss] made a good read. He put the ball right on the money. You always love to see that.
Q: How important was the bye week coming into this game?
BB: In the end, you just have to go out there and make plays. It's always good to have that one week you have off during the season. It is always good because it gives your banged-up guys a little bit of a change to heal. Mentally, it gives you a little bit of a breath for a couple of days over the weekend when you don't have a game. The rest of it is pretty much in the normal routine. We had ours; everybody else is going to have theirs, somewhere along the line. It's good when you have it, but I think it's more important to play well than it is to have an off week.
Q: Can you discuss your expectations for the work week coming up here?
BB: I think the biggest thing for us is really here in the next 48 hours. Instead of getting on a plane and going back to the East Coast, and being tired, and dragging through Monday and Tuesday, and trying to get it going on Wednesday, we have an opportunity to rest up and get our work done here tomorrow morning and all of that. We were over at San Jose State on Saturday for our walkthrough and I think the facilities and what we have over there in the weight room and the locker rooms and the practice fields are going to be fine. So I think we'll just try to use our time more efficiently, instead of flying back and forth across the country, we'll use this to try to rest and be productive today - I should say tomorrow, Monday really. Not that we would be flying on Monday, but we'd be feeling the effects of flying. It's the same thing on Friday. We'll be here on Friday and instead of the cross-country trip. We would have had to come back. That's really our opportunity: the next 48 hours and then at the end of the week on Friday. But I think we should have a good week of practice. It certainly shouldn't have anything to do with the facilities or the situation here. The hotel is good and San Jose State is good so we should be all right.
Q: How well do you think you ran the ball today?
BB: I thought we had our moments. We had some big runs. We made some runs in short-yardage and we made some runs on the goal line. We made some runs to keep the down-and-distance in manageable situations. That was good. It could've been better, but I thought the backs ran hard.
Q: What happened to LaMont Jordan?
BB: He got banged up a little bit. We'll have to see what the story is with him. I'm not sure.
Q: Was it good to see some productivity in the red zone with the offense?
BB: Of course. The two things, statistically, that have hurt us the most in our first three games have been our third-down defense and our red area offense. It was good be able to get the ball into the end zone. It was good to be able to have, statistically, a better down on third down. Those two things helped us. Hopefully, the extra work and time that we spent on it, both this week and a little bit last week. Hopefully, that will help us going forward because it's hard to win games if you're not efficient in those two areas - third down and red area. In the end, it usually comes down to that in a tight game.
Q: Talk about the work of Kevin Faulk.
BB: Kevin did a great job, as he always does. He's such a dependable player for us. He ran the ball well. He's not usually our goal-line runner, but he had a couple of big runs down there on third down. Blitz pickup, he's always been solid. It seems like no matter what we ask him to he does a good job, but he certainly did that today. That was huge.
Q: Does it seem like the offense is getting behind Matt Cassel in Tom Brady's absence?
BB: The offense has been what its been the last four weeks. They're working well together, getting a little bit better each week. I think our execution is going to continue to improve. I'm not saying that we're in midseason form or anything, but we made some progress and we need to continue to be more efficient, especially in the red area, and on third down, and getting the ball down the field.