CHAN GAILEY, HEAD COACH
Q:What's your view of Stevie Johnson's penalty?
CG:Well, what we said after we had an issue earlier in the season was 'If anybody got a penalty that hurt our football team for any kind of demonstration, that he was out that game and then we would decide about the next game.' And so, if I say that, then I am going to do it, so he was out.
Q:How disappointed are you in him for doing what he did? Because he knows better...
CG:Well, you know, I am disappointed. What happens is, it happened last year, he put a message on his shirt, showed his shirt and didn't get a flag. And he does it this year, and he gets a flag. Which one is it, you know? It puts me in a bind because I make the statement and if I say it, I'm going to do it. So, I could not argue the grey area of that. So, yeah, I'm disappointed and if it hurts the team, then I've got to do what I've got to do.
Q:Stevie Johnson has had a history of being selfish. At what point do you get tired of it?
CG:I got tired of it the first time it happened. But, you hope people learn from situations. You know, there isn't anybody who hasn't made mistakes, but you've got to learn from your mistakes. And everybody falls in that category, me too, and I have said this a hundred times. He is not a bad guy; he's not. He's a good guy, but he uses some bad judgment at times and if you do that enough and it hurts the team, you've got to do something.
Q:How does this affect your thoughts on him going forward? Would you want him back if you could get him back?
CG:Let's talk about that in the days to come, let's not talk about the future today.
Q:How much do you think it hurt the offense?
CG:It hurts, sure it does. Anytime you lose two good football players, that you depend on, it hurts your football team.
Q:Clearly, it must have been a premeditated celebration, to write out the message and everything. Was that something that the team was aware of before the game or anything?
CG:No. I don't go check everybody's undershirts.
Q:You got up 21-0, then what happened down the stretch?
CG:We were, I mean, I thought we were moving the football and then we got a bad snap that ended up costing us and we ended up second-and-19, and we couldn't recover from that. Then we got a holding call and then we couldn't recover from that. You know, we just couldn't get it going back after that. We missed a field goal right before the half, which hurt, because we moved it down there enough to give ourselves an opportunity for points and so it would have been good to make those points. And then in the second half, I wanted to run the ball a little bit more with C.J. [Spiller], but we could not get that going enough and then we were so far behind, we had to stay in the game with our four wides personnel.
Q:You came out up tempo, no-huddle and you had the fake punt. What was your mindset going in with regards to those two things?
CG:Well, I felt like when we played them the first time, we hurt them with some hurry up stuff. We felt like we could move the football, let Fitz [Ryan Fitzpatrick] see all the unusual things that were trying to do against us and let him handle it. We weren't trying to speed the game up, you know, we were not trying to do that. And we talked about, as time went on, we were a little fast early and then we slowed it down some. And then with the fake punt, we thought we had a chance. They had been doubling one of the gunners and that gave us at least a half a man advantage inside and it was fourth-and-one and half, something like that, so might as well go for it.
Q:How bad is Scott Chandler's injury?
CG:I don't know. It is bad enough to keep him out of this game. And I don't know if it's an operation or not. I do not know.
Q:Defensively, they are a good team. Defensively, you didn't help yourself too much either.
CG:We got a turnover there that helped us right before the half and we needed to get points on the board then. And then they out-executed us. That's basically what it is. They out-executed us.
RYAN FITZPATRICK, QB
Q:Talk about the frustration of starting with a big lead and then losing it.
RF:It was kind of like our season. It started off so well with the 21 points, and we had things rolling offensively. We were doing some good things on defense, stopping them. We wanted to do some up-tempo stuff today, which worked early. It kept working, but when you get a sack, a penalty, a bad snap or don't complete a pass or whatever it is, it puts you behind the sticks and makes it harder. But I thought we did a decent job with the up-tempo stuff today especially early, but when Stevie [Johnson] got taken out and Scott [Chandler] went down, it changed things for us. It slowed us down.
Q:Are you disappointed in Stevie?
RF:I don't even really know what happened. I know he got benched. I saw the flag, but I don't know what he really did. Who knows, maybe this is the last game we play together, but maybe it's not. But things started out well and unfortunately he got taken out.
Q:After the Jets game he said he cost the team the game. Do you wish he would stop hurting the team?
RF:It definitely hurt that Stevie wasn't out there. I don't know what to tell you. I assume whatever he did, he didn't think he would get a penalty for it. Unfortunately he got the penalty and Chan [Gailey] made the decision.
Q:How did things change defensively after Stevie was out?
RF:Offensively some stuff changed, but really they mixed it up a little more in the second half. They made some adjustments at halftime. For whatever reason, we kept having a break here and there. Things didn't go our way. And they obviously kept piling on the points, and getting the turnovers.
Q:You played well in the first quarter, but against this offense you have to be perfect the whole game right?
RF:You know versus these guys you have to go the whole game. We went in to this game saying we wanted to hold them to field goals and that we have to score touchdowns. You know, the defense did a good job, held them to a few field goals in the first half. We felt like we would be able to come out and continue to have some success and do what we were doing. But we just didn't do it in the second half.
Q:You won two more games this year than last year. What are your thoughts on progress and moving forward?
RF:I'll probably talk to you more about that tomorrow or the next few days. After I'm able to reflect and meet with Chan and talk to some of the guys and just figure out the things we did well and the things we didn't do so well this season. It was a big learning experience, and next year it can't be a learning experience for us. It's got to be a year we come out and play well all year. We're going to have another offseason in the same system, with the same coaches, with the same guys around. We've got to be able to now take the next step. Starting 5-2 is great, but winning one out of our last nine is not good football. There are a lot of things that we need to correct. Hopefully there are a lot of guys that will get healthy and help us next year. For us, we have to improve drastically this offseason. That's what we saw over the last eight games.
David Nelson, Wide Receiver
(On the loss)
"They're a good team and a good team like that, you can't make the mistakes that we made. We just had too many costly mistakes."
(On the way they moved the ball in the first quarter)
"They couldn't stop us. We had a good game plan coming in and in my opinion, we did move the ball well. There was just a couple of penalties here and there, a bad snap on a drive, an interception, just some miscues. We have to do a better job of taking advantage of the situations we have."
Kellen Heard, Defensive Lineman
(On the loss)
"It's mental. There is a big psychological block we have to get past. I want to win and it's frustrating. Being a competitor, it isn't about individual stats, it's about the team."
"We had good pressure from the outside early, so he was kind of timid and stepping up into the sacks. It was a team effort."
Drayton Florence, Cornerback
(On Tom Brady and all his weapons)
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league. I love playing against Tom Brady, he's a great competitor. He makes it real tough on you. Our offense played a great game. Anytime you got a 21 point lead, and you lose the game. I think that's all on the defense, we got to play a lot better. To go out and put up 21 points on potentially the best offense in the league, maybe Green Bay is the best offense, but when you get them in a big hole like that you just got to put your foot on the neck and we weren't able to do that."
(On having Tom Brady off balanced early on)
"I wouldn't say off balance. I just think we were making the plays. The offense was scoring on their possessions and just doing a great job of moving the ball keeping it alive. We went for a fake punt and we get it, and go down for the score."
(On Stevie Johnson)
"If you take their best player on offense off the field. I think it would have an effect on them. We took our best receiver off the field and it had an effect. We are not going to use that as an excuse why we lost the game. The coach thought that was the best decision to make at the time. He went with it, and we just got to keep playing. It's not my call or my choice. My job is to go out and stop the offense from scoring touchdowns, throwing touchdowns on my side of the field, and that is all I can control. There is two ways you can go with it. If we win the game nobody's talking about it, if we lose the game obviously it is going to get blown up. I think he's one of the best receivers out there on the field, and I'm glad I don't have to cover him week in and week out. We all know what he can do."
Andy Levitre, Offensive Line
(On not being able to finish in the second half and on the season)
"We failed to do so and you're not going to win the game…I think there is a lot of positives we can take and I definitely think we grew as a team since last year. There is still a lot to work on and we have to be able to persist throughout a season. We can't play great the first half of the season and not do anything the second half. Our goal is to make to the playoffs and ultimately win the Super Bowl. You have to play well all year in order to accomplish that."
Stevie Johnson, Wide Receiver
(On Johnson's penalty and not playing for the rest of the game)
"I didn't know it was going to draw a penalty. At the end of the day, what I did was what I did, and I am going to try and bring in the New Year. Ultimately, it hurt my teammates and that is the thing that is hurting me the most. The fact is that it hurt my team. The coach told me I was out of the game. He said for the rest of the game and I have to respect his decision. He made it and that is what it is. I can't complain about it or whine or pout. He made his decision and I am going with it. It really doesn't matter why or how it happened at the end of the day, what I did hurt my teammates and I have to take that and I will.
(On his future with the Buffalo Bills)
The play on the field determines all of that and the things after, maybe or maybe not, who knows. I come here to work just like everybody else in this locker room. Today I did something that hurt my teammates. I know the guys around me put in a lot of work to come out here and go up by 21 points on the New England Patriots. Throughout the entire season we can all see the work that gets put in, even from the first season that I got here and the guys that have been here, they grind it. To end the season like this, it hurts and with this one incident we are not going to say it was the conclusion for the entire season, it was something today that I feel I made a mistake for my teammates."
Justin Rogers, Cornerback
(On returning kicks)
"He (Stephen Gostkowski) is just a good kicker and he did a good job of kicking off. He was putting them in the corners. He was putting them deep. We have a rule that if it is farther than three yards deep you don't bring it out. I didn't have much of a chance. The two I did return I kind of took a chance on those and we didn't get out to the 20 [yard line]. We didn't want to put our offense behind the eight ball we just wanted to play smart. But it was a good job by him of kicking it deep. When you get behind you really want to bring them out no matter what. The coaches said we still want to give our offense a good shot at scoring and it would be risky to bring them out if they are five yards deep. I just had to be smart today but credit them for doing a good job at kicking."
Jairus Byrd, Safety
(On the success of the Patriots' passing game)
"We knew what they were going to do but it just came down to us executing. We didn't do a good job of that. We beat ourselves. That is all I can really say and that is a true statement. We beat ourselves."
(On taking the wide receivers out of the passing game but struggling with the tight ends)
"It was what they wanted to work. Like I said we beat ourselves. We did a good job on the outside of handling those guys, but we beat ourselves."
(On the end of the season)
"Anytime you have a year like this going into the offseason is a hard thing to swallow. It is tough."
Dwan Edwards, Defensive End
(On the Patriots)
"Shoot man, they made some plays and we gave them some opportunities to sneak back in the game. They are a good team and are going to keep fighting to the end. They had a lot to play for. We just let it get away from us. That is all I can say."
(On Tom Brady)
"Brady was the guy. He made a lot of big plays for them. He is pretty darned good. He is in the upper echelon of quarterbacks and you have to play your best when you play him. He is one of the better guys but we let him off the hook. This one will hurt for a while."
Arthur Moats, Linebacker
(On his sack)
"It was a group effort. Marcell (Dareus) had a lot of pressure up the middle so he (Brady) wasn't able to step up. Earlier I had beat him around the top so I gave him the same move. With him bringing the pressure up the front it was easier for me to come in from the back."