DENVER BRONCOS QB PEYTON MANNING
Q: When the Patriots and Tom Brady came out no huddle it was quick and fast. Have you ever seen a game that was played at such a high tempo, as it was in the first half?
PM: It's hard to compare to other games past. They certainly did a good job of staying on the field. They had to have won the number of possessions at least in the first half it seems like. They did a good job converting on third down and minimized our possessions, but we knew coming in it was going to be important for us to be efficient with our possessions and get touchdowns and not field goals, and to convert on third downs. We had a couple chances in the first half to score some more points – in the first drive we had a shot there and had another one there right in the second quarter – we had [Jacob] Tamme on a route that I'd like to have back – missed him on a second down. [We] had to punt there. So, anytime you're playing against a good football team you have to be able to convert opportunities when they present themselves and we had some chances and [we] just didn't do it overall consistently today.
Q: The three games you've lost have all been against outstanding football teams, but you've been down early pretty substantially to all three of them. Do you think there is any rhyme or reason or connecting thread you see there or not?
PM: I'm sure there are. It's hard to think back besides to just this game tonight. [The Patriots] are not a team you want to fall behind to – they have a good offense and like I said, we thought we had a good plan coming in. [We] had done some things we had not done before, had not shown before and I thought they were pretty effective. Like I said, we had a chance on that first possession – anytime you can start the game on the road with a touchdown with points and settle the crowd down – instead we sort of flipped it and it gave them some momentum. They got the lead and never lost it and once again, we did continue to fight and compete in the second half, which I do think we can build on and have it help us win a game at some point in an early situation if it happens again, but it's still not good enough. Here we are, 2-3.
Q: Can you talk about some things that you did that were different than earlier in the season?
PM: All 22? You're all going to have to work a little harder. I'm not going to give you all of the information. You'll all [will have] to go look at it.
Q: Early in the third quarter your defense gave you a three and out and you came back the other way and you had third and four handoff to Lance Ball. Coach [John] Fox said you had some miscommunication. What happened?
PM: We just didn't convert it, I guess. I can't speak to exactly what he's talking to, but we were on third and four and had a chance to convert it and [we] didn't convert it, and that was a good opportunity where the defense got a stop and got us the ball. It would have been nice to have gotten some points on the board there.
Q: Demaryius Thomas had a monster game – a big game, but he had the big fumble. [Willis] McGahee does good things, but he had a big fumble and a drop on fourth and one. As a quarterback what do you say to that?
PM: I stood with them. I told Willis after the fumble and after the fourth down when we had it and told Demaryius after that, that I'm with them. We're going to need those guys all season. Those guys have made key plays in our two wins and they made some big plays tonight, so, hey, nobody wants to have a play go against them or [have] a negative play – it's part of football. So, as a teammate and as a quarterback I'm with them. You don't see me not throwing to Demaryius or not calling Willis' number. They're out there and they're going to get the ball, and they're going to make more plays than they're going to miss – I can assure you of that and against good football teams obviously you hope you make more.
Q: Is there a sense that you're five games into the season and you know what you want to do and how to do it and you've done it… Then if you could allow yourself to think a month from now, six weeks from now this offense will run in the future versus now, how do you put that in perspective?
PM: I think it's important that we do improve throughout the season in some areas. We're not quite where we want to be. Obviously we'd like to be 5-0 and have a winning record. 2-3, we have a pivotal division game right before our bye week, so the key, like I've said all along, is that we keep making progress. Obviously, you'd like to win games while you are building on some things and improving. We've won two and we've lost three. I know they've been great teams that we've lost to which still doesn't make it any easier – it's disappointing. I think the key is learning from them and building on it and I believe we will. Coach Fox knows how to right the ship and it starts during the week [with] guys practicing better and being accountable and I believe that we will do that and have a chance to start winning some of these close games.
Q: Is it tough to be patient with that?
PM: Sure. Nobody wants to lose football games. To lose to the teams that you think even though they're good teams, but if you think if this happened or if that happened you have a good chance to win. There are a lot of what ifs. The key is that we learn from them and hopefully we can respond next week with the win and like I said, learn from some of the mistakes that are going on and win some of these games at another point in the season.
Q: Being several weeks in, how hard has the transition been to Denver on and off the field after such a long time in Indianapolis?
PM: I don't have anything else to compare it to. It's not easy. It is a transition and it's one that you continue to go through. I played here a number of times, but under different circumstances, so, like I said, this is the first time this has ever happened that I'm going through it, so I can probably give you a better answer later on as more time goes by. It's definitely different, there's no doubt about it.
Q: A big reason the Patriots stayed on the field was because of their running game. How disheartening is it to watch them pound the ball the way they did?
PM: Well, certainly it's a team game. Everyone has to do their part. Our defense knew they were going against a tough offense tonight. [The Patriots] are balanced [and] they can be effective with the run. Our job is to be efficient when our offense had the ball and we were at a couple of key times during the fourth quarter, but we weren't efficient enough and that's part of football. Certainty you only get to play half the game and when you're out there it's important that you do your job. I do think our offense and defense playing well at the same time, building off of one another, feeding off of one another – we've done that in a couple of our wins and losses, but we haven't really meshed at the same time and it's tough to win when you're not doing that, especially against good teams.
Q: Do you find yourself saying that you would like to things in certain situations, but because you haven't worked with guys as long…
PM: I don't make the comparisons. I don't look back like everybody else does. We are working on things and building things, and it doesn't happen right way. You have to have game experience. So to answer your question, yes, there are things that we have goals to get to – certain things we would like to get to and I think you have to have games to play, experience, situations, scenarios, coverages, different types of defenders, whatever those may be – they have to occur in games and as you get that experience you can grow and I feel that we will do that.
DENVER BRONCOS HEAD COACH JOHN FOX
JF: Alright, updates on the injury report: Keith Brooking went out and didn't return to the game with a concussion. Any questions?
Q: Coach, from the beginning of the game, is that about as fast a tempo as you have seen an offense against your defense?
JF: I mean, it wasn't a surprise. It looked like it was [fast], but [it was] something we have practiced. And obviously, didn't transfer real well to the field tonight. And I think, you know, once we saw it live, by then, we adjusted as it went along.
Q: What is the main difficulty when they do go up tempo like that? Is it personnel, communication, lining up?
JF: A little bit of both. It is not new; they have been doing this for a long, long time. They just have a good, solid group together doing it, so they communicate very well. And obviously [the Patriots] communicated better than we did.
Q: First possession when Demaryius Thomas gets the ball poked out, that kind of hurts you with your chance to set the tempo again…
JF: I think anytime you turn the ball over, it hurts you. That is a proven fact and we were minus two tonight. And you go on the road tonight, against a very good football team and particularly offensively in their tempo and their skill set, makes for tough slugging. I mean, our guys hung in there and fought back, but at the end of the day, it is still minus two. That usually relates in a point differential.
Q: Even though it's not new, what is it about the way Tom Brady runs a no huddle that makes it so difficult to defend against?
JF: Well, he is extremely smart and I think he knows football. I mean, I think our guy did an outstanding job tonight as well. I mean, he is a great player; he's been doing it a long time at a high level, so he is definitely a hard quarterback to defend against.
Q: Do you feel your team is more competitive this time compared to the last time you played here?
JF: Well, I think if you go by score, I think that is a fair assessment. But you know, still, being on the short end, you don't come in trying to cover or any of those types of things; you just try to win.
Q: How about the Patriots success running the ball? Seems to be a trend this season, they are committing to it more.
JF: They do a good job because they have some tough matchups with those tight ends. And you know, some people chose and we did early, kind of adjusted as it went, to put more athletic smaller people out there to defend them because they do spread it out pretty good. So, it's matchups and once you get the little guys out there, it's a little more inviting to run against.
Q: You had third-and-four early in the third quarter, the hand off to Lance Ball, what is the story there?
JF: Well, I think it was probably not great communication on the down and distance, as we probably could have done. You know, anytime it doesn't work, it's no good.
Q: No moral victories, but it seems like all your losses kind of have the same late in the game rally thing, but you just can't get over that hump.
JF: Like I said, we are kind of feeling ourselves through both offensively and defensively and those teams have been doing it together for some time. And they are obviously good football teams if you just look at the record. You know, it just is what it is. We have got to get better and that's the challenge and you know, there are a lot of tough guys in that locker room. There is no quit in them. They hung in there all 60 minutes; we just came up short again and we've got to get out of that.
Q: Was the main adjustment in the second half to take Wes Welker out in that short zero-to-five yard area?
JF: You know, one of the things that was going to be important in this game, because they are so good on third down, was third down, and we didn't get that done. I think they were 70 percent and that's how you possess the ball and keep it away from a team that has a good offense as well. Defensively, that was an area where we fell short.
Q: Are there any ongoing challenges with Peyton Manning as you and him work on making the transition from one franchise to the other now that you are four or five games in?
JF: I don't know if he is way up on the list of my worries, to be quite honest with you. You know, this is a football team. And mixing it all together, you saw a week ago, we put it all together. I would have expected us to put it all together more this week, but we fell a little bit short of that.
Willis McGahee, Running Back
(On missed opportunities)
"They're a great team. They had a lot of turnovers. I had two key plays, the dropped pass on fourth down and one and the fumble on the goal line. That probably changed the game for us when I dropped the ball."
(On what happened on the fumble)
"He just made a good play. I had it high and tight, but still, you've got to do better than that. I think that changed the game and I take full credit for that."
Mike Adams, Strong Safety
(On losing to three tough teams)
"We've got to win the big one to prove to everybody that we are contenders. These are teams that we are supposed to beat in order to go to the next level. The three teams we've lost to are arguably, all playoff teams."
Brandon Stokley, Wide Receiver
(On missed opportunities)
"It's just about playing four quarters of good football when you play a team like that. They are sound in every area and you have to give them credit, they made plays."
(On playing in this environment)
"They have great fans and any time you play on the road, it's tough. You have to execute very well and they definitely make it tough on you. I don't think that's why we didn't play as well as we needed to, we just didn't execute as well as we needed.
Joe Mays, Middle Linebacker
(On the Patriots tempo on offense)
"It caught us off guard, we knew they were fast and that they were going to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball, but it's different seeing them on film and playing against them. They're fast and those guys definitely got off the ball so we just have to do a better job. They just caught us off guard, we have to do a better job of communicating."
(On covering Wes Welker)
"That dude is fast, he is definitely one of the best slot men in the game, if not the best. What can I say the dude definitely made plays and we didn't."
(On the defense not being able to get off the field)
"Everything that happened out there we had seen on film, it was just the speed of the game. We weren't ready for that. We prepared for it but when we came out on the field it surprised us a little bit. We definitely have to do a better job of communicating and getting everyone on the same page. The first thing that comes to mind for us being a defense is we have to stop the run. We just didn't do a good job of that today. They were able to run the ball, pass the ball, they definitely were able to run their whole playbook against us. We definitely have to do a better job of stopping these guys on the run and getting pressure on the QB."
(Asked if Peyton Manning spoke to the team about his rivalry with the Patriots)
"He didn't say anything about playing here. He just said things about everyone coming together and going out there and trying to get a win, which we definitely did not do. I am pretty sure he is disappointed and everyone here in the locker room is disappointed. We just have to come out and play better as a team."
(On the team coming back)
"We never quit, that is what we are taught. We play until the final whistle. We like to use the phrase bend but don't break. We bent too much today."
Von Miller, Linebacker
(On the loss)
"It was a tough loss, again we put ourselves on the spot. Spots where you can't come back from against a good team like them. When you dig holes like we've been doing these last couple of weeks, we can't expect to win games. We'll get back in the lab tomorrow; take it one day at a time. I'm confident we'll work to be the team that we know we can be."
(On the quick pace of the Patriots offense)
"They are a good offense, we knew that coming into the game. We prepared for the type of offense we knew they were going to run. We didn't execute, another week we didn't execute, and we put ourselves in situations that we can't get out of."
(On talking all week about taking Tom Brady off of his game)
"I mean 31 to 21 we didn't do it enough. When we get back and keep on working, I'm confident we can be the team we want to be.
Champ Bailey, Cornerback
(On whether the Patriots did anything different on offense)
"To make it short, we worked on it all week, so that lets you know right there. It's just that you have to translate things from the meeting room, practice field to the game. The coaches can't go out there and play for us. We got to make sure we put ourselves into positions to make plays, get off the field on third down, and whatever it may be. We worked on everything they did to us. It wasn't any surprises, they just hit us in the mouth and we didn't get back on it."
(On the defense not being able to get off the field)
"We just didn't stop them, plain and simple. They came out and they were ready to play and we weren't."
Joel Dreesen, Tight End
(On his touchdown)
"It was a simple play action with our goal line personnel that we have been running since training camp. It was a pretty basic play. It is good when it does work like that."
(On the team coming back from a 31-7 deficit)
"On the sideline the morale was always high. Unfortunately we have got to find a way to protect the ball better. We have got to be better protecting the ball. We are paid to play for 60 minutes, no matter what the score is."
Eric Decker, Wide Receiver
(On his touchdown)
"It was a good throw by him (Manning), excellent throw. A fade route, a pretty basic play."
Rahim Moore, Free Safety
(On trying to cover Wes Welker)
"He (Welker) is a bad dude. They made good plays and we made our plays. We have to get better as a team and start off faster and once we do that we will be fine. As defensive players we have to play better because, if they don't score they don't win."
Dan Koppen, Center
(On coming back to Foxboro and the Patriots offense)
"We lost and all that matters is wins and losses. It was different, but in the end it was just a game. We lost. They ran their offense and they did it well."
Jacob Tamme, Tight End
(on the game and the Denver offense)
"You need to win the turnover battle on the road playing a team like this. They had a couple of wrinkles here and there, things that you would expect, but overall not really different. They only brought a few more pressures than they normally do. It was pretty much what we expected overall but they played better. They played better than us at the end of the day. We wanted to come out and show them something different early. We did some good things, but you have to finish drives…they did give us a couple of different things, but at the end of the day it wasn't about different looks and preparation. It was about them playing better than us for sixty minutes today. We did some good things in spurts but overall they played better."