BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN McDERMOTT
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018
Q: Sean, what was the problem with the run defense? Really, all day long, you couldn’t stop them.
SM: Give credit where credit is due, they had a good plan coming out. I thought we made some adjustments, believe it or not, during the early part of the game. You know, but at the end of the day, you can’t allow a team to run against you like that. I thought our defense overall, you know, gave us a chance at times. Took the ball away three times and then set us up in field position, but we couldn’t do anything with it, or anything significant, I would say. But got to do a better job on the run defense, for sure.
Q: How troubling was it Coach, I think three takeaways, you want to get points and you only get a three out of it.
SM: Yeah, I mean, against a good football team you need to cash those in and get points. And not just field goals, you got to be able to score touchdowns against good football teams, in that situation.
Q: There were just a lot of drops, including those that could have given you scores, it looked like at least in two cases. When you see that, especially this late in the year, even as young as some of these players are, what does that…
SM: You know I think the lesson these young guys that did play, to your point is when given the opportunity, you got to make plays. Look, sometimes Josh [Allen] could have made a better throw, but there were other times where the ball was a catchable ball and you got to make plays on the ball. That’s what we are looking for, that’s the production you need, to play good football.
Q: Sean, it seemed like today, that Josh [Allen] didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers, as you just said, we just said. But, it also seemed like the Patriots confused him a little bit. Were you recognizing that during the game that he might have been struggling a bit to read what they were doing?
SM: They were doing some good things. Again, give credit where credit is due. They had a good plan. Overall, you know, I just think that as a young quarterback you are going to see some things, from time to time, that are new. And so they presented some things that were new for Josh [Allen] and you know, I thought he settled down at times and made some good throws in there. But overall, obviously, not enough on offense. We’ve got to have better production. I didn’t think our early down success, early in the game in particular, was good enough. We were in some 3rd and longs, which is not a healthy situation for a young quarterback.
Q: How much was the run game part of that, it just seemed to make life difficult for you when you got the 3*rd* down.
SM: Yeah, you have to be able to run the football and stay balanced as best you can. And so, it starts with creating the line of scrimmage. We came out, ran the ball I think, on the first two plays and then we just couldn’t get anything going again on 3rd and long. I’ll give them the credit.
*Q: [LeSean] McCoy had, I want to say, 9 yards…something like that. How much was that him trying to fight through with the hamstring. Did you feel he was full go? Were you expecting better? *
SM: I just think, overall, I just expected us to be able to run the ball more. Or better than we did today.
Q: Talk about the run defense, Coach, specifically…I know you haven’t watched the tape yet, but what the shortcomings were. You know, scheme, tackling, that sort of thing. How would you diagnosis it?
SM: As the question was already asked earlier, I will start with giving them credit. Good scheme early, we made the adjustments, it quieted down at some points, but to be able to run the football like they did is not good enough on our part. And fundamentals are certainly in that when you talk about run defense. And then shedding blocks, getting off blockers and tackling. And so, there were times in there, I didn’t think we tackled well enough. We had them behind the line of scrimmage and we were throwing shoulders instead of wrapping up. So, we got to go back and look at that, as we look at our defense.
Q: A clear standout, from our vantage point, was Lorenzo [Alexander]. Can you just maybe, layout what he was doing out there today?
SM: Yeah, you line up in different places for us, and so you saw the take away. The interception there was a big play for us. Just the impact he had on the game, I thought was significant. You could feel him out there and he does a really good job for us.
Q: What went into the decision to have Charles [Clay] inactive today?
SM: Yeah, just you know, coach’s decision. You only dress 46, so it was my decision.
Q: You looking at young guys and I guess that would be the main reason?
SM: You’re looking at production and looking at young guys. And when you have opportunities, you’ve got to make plays and then looking at some young guys, too, to see when given the opportunity; make plays.
Q: Jason [Croom], hell of an effort on the play near the goal line, loses the football. What do you say to a guy like that, when he is coming back, in terms of keeping it tight or knowing when to go down.
SM: That’s some of the opportunities that I thought we had. You know, we get a score there, with a touchdown, then we are within a touchdown or so. And you know, those are tough, because I love the effort, but you also have to be smart. Keep it high and tight, keep two hands on the ball when you feel like the play is ending for the most part.
BILLS QUARTERBACK JOSH ALLEN
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018
Q: This was your first taste of facing this Patriots defense. How challenging was it with the scheming they did?
JA: Yeah, early on they did a really good job of kind of disguising and dropping out and playing zone when they sure looked like they were playing man. They did that for an obvious reason, being young. It took a little bit to adjust to. At the same time, I've got to be better with my eyes, got to be better with where I put the football.
Q: Based on what you've seen in the NFL, was that maybe the toughest time you've had trying to figure out what you're seeing?
JA: I wouldn't say so. They did a really good job, it's a really well-coached team, a really good defense. But at the same time, didn't feel like it was too fast for me or things were too crazy out there. We lost a game and a couple plays here or there, it could be a different story right now.
Q: How frustrating is that to not make those game-altering plays?
JA: Our defense played spectacular tonight, let's just say that. They forced three turnovers and we got [three] points off that and that starts with me. I know we were terrible on third down and we had a fourth down, down in our own red zone, didn't get it. Just missed opportunities on our part and like I said, that starts with me. Got to better, we'll learn from this one. New England is the team that teams want to be – the trajectory of where we want to put this team and how they can sustain success. So yeah, we're going to learn from this one, be better from it and start game-planning for Miami.
Q: That first series, you get a couple nice runs early and after that, it seemed like the run game disappeared on you. How much more difficult did that make it for you guys offensively?
JA: When teams don't get their run game going, it's tough for them to win football games. They're forcing us to throw it and when they do that, we've got to convert and we've got to make plays, I've got to make throws. We didn't do it enough tonight.
Q: Is what the Patriots have done over the past 10 years something you guys try to emulate or will try to emulate going forward?
JA: For sure. I think every team wants to do that. They're on a really great run right now. Obviously they've got one of the greatest coaches to ever coach and one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. When you can continue to learn and elevate your game, good things are going to happen for you. So obviously that's what we want to be.
Q: You told the broadcast before the game about your idol Tom Brady. What was that like going up against him today?
JA: I wanted to beat him for sure. Like I said, he's one of the greatest to ever do it and as a young kid growing up, I never thought I'd get the opportunity to be on the same field as him. So it's a cool feeling but at the same time, I was focused on winning a football game.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk with him after the game?
JA: I mean, yeah, I just shared a few words with him. Nothing too crazy but he's one of the good ones off the field too.
Q: Did he give you any kind of message of encouragement?
JA: Yeah, a little encouragement. I'm sure he doesn't want to share too many of his tricks or whatever is up his sleeve. Got to hand it to him, such a long career and he's still playing extremely well.
Q: With the pass to Robert Foster on fourth-down against Stephon Gilmore, was that the play?
JA: It was a check. They were bringing zero pressure so I've got to give a better ball to Rob to go make a play there.
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Charles Clay, TE
(On being inactive for today’s game)
“I was told. I just kind of control what I can and be a good teammate and help these guys out there as much as I can. I don’t want to get into any of that and I control what I can. I am just going to come and try to help my teammates as much as I possibly can in whatever roll that is.
(On his future with the Bills)
“Like I said, anything that is out of my control, I can’t really focus on. I am going to work like I have been and I continue to do that and keep my head down. I am going to keep working and see what happens.”
Jason Croom, TE
(On the game)
“It was just us needing to execute knowing we were going against a good team. We need to put our best stuff out there. We didn’t do that today.”
(On getting more playing time today)
“We all prepare the same way. Every time I was coming off, I was just trying to talk to him [Charles Clay] asking him what he was saying, just giving me a little motivation. It is what it is, if our number’s called we go out there. We’re all interchangeable.”
(On the fumble)
“That’s not what I want to be known for, that hit me pretty hard. I went over to the sidelines and was talking to Charles [Clay] he said, ‘Stay in it, play hard and try to make a play’. But you can’t make a play giving up the ball.”
Tremaine Edmunds, LB
(On the Patriots jet sweep)
“It was just something that we had to talk over. It was just some miscommunication by us.”
(On the game)
“We play this game to win. We didn’t get that accomplished, so no matter what we did we can’t be satisfied. We have one more game so we have to come back to work next week and finish off strong.”
Keith Ford, RB
(On the game)
“It’s a tough loss. The rush game was in between the tackles. Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a tough game and we would have to grind it out. Just take it play by play. That is all we are really focused on out there, run game, pass game, just taking it play by play.”
(On the Patriot defense)
“They played a lot more zone, a lot more even fronts and a lot more loaded fronts. All day they played pretty much how we knew they were going to play. They changed some things, some of the formations. All in all they played us the same.”
(On finally scoring a touchdown)
“It was big. We just wanted to finish strong. We knew the game wasn’t going our way. We just want to focus on getting better. The game didn’t go our way.”
Stephen Hauschka, K
(On how he feels he is playing right now)
“I’m preparing the best I can. I’m trying to help this team win moving forward.”
(On whether the wind was a factor in the missed field goal)
“No, I have to make that kick.”
Micah Hyde, S
(On the tough loss)
“You want to win the game, limiting someone like Tom Brady to what he had. We got the two turnovers off of him it was definitely nice, it was huge. But at the end of the day we have to stop all of their weapons, which they do have a lot, that jet sweep from [Cordarrelle] Patterson. They just have a lot of weapons.”
(On the trouble stopping the jet sweep)
“I really don’t know until we watch it on film on how it kept getting out. It was working for them so they kept running it. If I’m the offensive coordinator for them I’m doing the same thing. We couldn’t stop it and that’s one of those situations as a defensive player just you are trying to figure out a way. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. He’s [Cordarrelle Patterson] a good player, he’s fast. He turns the corner like no other. When he’s running full speed he can turn the corner. Most guys when they run that fast they can’t turn the corner.”
Shaq Lawson, DE
(On the game)
“They [Patriots] made some more plays than us. We needed to get a few more stops and with a team like that you can’t afford to have mistakes. You know how the Patriots are; they are real good at capitalizing off mistakes. With a team like that you can’t afford to turn the ball over and then we have to score every time. We have to get great field position.”
(On the difficulty to defend the sweep run plays)
“I really don’t know how they were getting out there. I thought we filled the sweep up good but he [Cordarrelle Patterson] is an NFL player too, so we just couldn’t stop it. It’s not tough and we know what to do. We just missed a couple of tackles and someone was out of gap. It wasn’t tough at all.”
(On defending Tom Brady and the defense’s success against him)
“The secondary, I mean, what we did as a defense, we try and put pressure on him. We try and get him out of spot. Our defensive backs played great, the best of the season. I don’t know, he was getting the ball out hot and sometimes we got pressure on him. I wasn’t paying attention to his stats, but I guess he [Brady] had a bad day.”
LeSean McCoy, RB
(On missed opportunities)
“It was a tough game today, extremely tough. You rarely get that type of game from the Patriots, as far as turnovers. We didn’t capitalize at all. It was very frustrating. When you get turnovers like that against any team you have to take advantage of them or it doesn’t matter.”
(On not starting today)
“The coach [Sean McDermott], we had a situation, and he was totally right. It’s between me and him. It’s a private situation. He checked me and put me in my place, and that was it.”
Jordan Poyer, S
(On if the defense was surprised by Cordarrelle Patterson running on the jet sweep)
“No, I think they had a pretty good idea of what we were running and where we were rotating. They found a play and they stuck with it.”
(On if holding Tom Brady to 126 yards passing was about the best that the defense could have hoped for)
“You guys have to answer that. He’s probably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, but at the same time we were not able to stop the run and that was the key factor in the game.”
(On how frustrating it was to give up almost 10 yards per carry)
“Yeah, it was pretty frustrating. Like I said, they found a run that they liked and they continued to run the same damn two or three runs.”
Corey Thompson, LB
(On the Patriots running the ball)
“We know with that offense that once they get going and find a successful play they are probably going to go back to it. They kept running the ball and had success so once we got into the heat of the battle we were anticipating run.”
(On forcing turnovers and the defense)
“That’s something we want to do every week. It is something that’s emphasized. We have been working on it in practice and carrying it over into the game. At the end of the day we have to do more. Just playing assignment football. We have to be competitive as far as fitting the runs, fitting the gaps, being disciplined and playing our responsibilities that the coach gives us. We have to do a better job against the run. They didn’t pass the ball as much as they normally would. They ran the ball a lot more. You’ve got to stop the run before you stop the pass. They had success today.”
Tre’Davious White, CB
(On the game)
“We didn’t make enough plays. That’s what it comes down to, not making enough plays as a team. And that’s the result. They do both [run and pass]. We came in and I felt we were prepared for it all but they kind of did some things and a couple plays got away from us.”
(On forcing turnovers)
“That is what we have prided ourselves on the whole year, taking the ball away. At least getting two and we were able to get three today. We just got to fight next week and come out to win and continue to take it away.”
(On the defense)
“A couple runs got away from us. We’ve got to run to the ball and try to get the gaps right but we’ll be able to correct those things for the next game. We should pride ourselves on more victories and we didn’t get the win. It doesn’t matter. We didn’t do enough to stop the run game. It is what it is.