HEAD COACH MATT EBERFLUS
Postgame Press Conference
Monday, October 24, 2022
ME: Good evening. So just to recap the game. Obviously, we had a good start, started off 10-0 there. That was really good by our football team, playing some complementary football. And, obviously, you know, the Belichick teams, they come back. And they did a nice job of making it 10-14. Had those two quick scores once they switched quarterbacks. I thought we had to do a better job on defense adjusting there. He had a couple nice plays on us. And then we ended up coming back on them. To me, it was more about the same. It was our ability to run the ball and ability to convert on third down. And that's what we worked on all week during the mini-bye. And I thought the guys did a real nice job of that and ended up getting a takeaway right before half and ended up going up 20-14. That was excellent. Then the second half, our halftime has always been where we look at it, what can we do better. Okay. And what can we do different. And so we always do that. We always look at that. We always try to anticipate what the other team's doing. And I thought our guys did a real nice job with that. Came out, kicked the field goal on the first series there. And I thought we played complementary football throughout the rest of the game. I thought we did a really nice job of getting the takeaways at the end and then converting those to scores, again still executing on third down. That really helped us. That was a big part of the game plan, a big part of what we did. We also had the Dante Pettis – it was a little bit of a low kick on that one, but he ended up returning it, a short field there. We ended up scoring on that one as well. And then from there, we were just in a four-minute mode. And I thought the guys did a nice job of sustaining drives in the four-minute. But, overall, a lot of things we worked on this week with the players. That was a big piece of this. We wanted to work on fundamentals and techniques of your position. My hat's off to the coaches, hats off to the players for really doing a great job with the fundamentals of the game. And you say that, you know, you can only do that in one week. Yeah, you can, because we've been working on them. And I think we did a really good job of that during the course of the week. We extended individual periods so we could get that done. I thought that was a big part of it because what wins football games is the fundamentals. And I thought we did a nice job of that today. I'll open up to questions from there.
Q: Matt, what does it mean to you personally to see all of the work translating, you guys having an advantage in all three phases?
ME: I think that's really an effective stacking good practices together. And I've said it in the media, in the Chicago media that, hey, we've had good practices. We've been putting good things together. And I think that this is a culmination of that. We had a chance to take a breath during the bye week and really figure out what we needed to do and needed to adjust what we're doing well. And some things we needed to tweak a little bit and no big changes but just some things that – to enhance our player skill sets. And I thought we did a good job with that. My hat's off to Getsy, Hightower, and Alan for leading their units. And they did a nice job.
Q: You mentioned your staff. I imagine it's pretty satisfying to see everybody dig in and come up with changes that paid off. What does this portend for the future?
ME: Like I said to the guys, hey, this is one victory. I thought we played complementary football. I thought we improved in our fundamentals, but we still need to improve. We're a young football team. We have a lot of improvement to do in practice before we play our next opponent. So it's on ongoing process.
Q: What did you think of Justin's total impact in terms of passing and running?
ME: Yeah. I think that creates an issue sometimes for the defense. Depending what defense they're in, certainly when you have a quarterback that can – has the designed runs with the run pass off of it, you know, and then also doing some things have the ability to scramble and make first downs. I think that's a big piece. And it's hard to defend those guys. And we've all seen them around the league. And Justin did a nice job of executing today.
Q: Did you have a sense that you'd see more than one quarterback today?
ME: I did have a sense. I don't know. I don't know. I just thought we had a sense for that and – because the other guy's been playing really good the last two weeks. We thought that if they started with 10 we might see both of them in a planned role, a planned rotation. We didn't know, but we certainly had a plan for that.
Q: How do you guys get Justin to go from you occasionally see this to this is his baseline, this is how he plays, this is not a surprise when it comes to this?
ME: I think it's stacking games together. He's just got to keep stacking games, stacking practices and keep executing. Executing is simple. It's, know what to do and know how to do it and do it for the guy next to you. And that's what we're doing. And that's what he did. Know what to do, how to do it, make sure you know your job, and execute that job. And if each guy does that, the play that we're running is going to be decent on offense, defense, or kicking.
Q: What did you see that encourages you to make sure he can fully ascend to this level where these are not peaks and valleys?
ME: I go back to practice. I go back to practice, what we see in practice. When we see it in practice first, we're going to see it in the game. When you see consistent execution from any player in practice, you're going to see it in the game. And then the game matters because that's performing, right? So you've got to perform in the games. So that's an important piece to practice – drill work, practice, game. So that's – but you've got to do it one week at a time. This league is one week at a time, and we've got to make sure we're squared away, get back to work on Wednesday.
Q: What did you like about the designed runs for Justin?
ME: Just being smart how we use him, you know, with whatever we're going to do, whatever the run design is, and then him being smart when he's in the open field like that. Body, ball, boundary, get out or just make sure he's getting down quick enough. And he did a nice job with that.
Q: With Mike Pennel, did you see what he did?
ME: I saw it. Yeah. Totally in the wrong. He should not do that. And I told him right afterward. And that's not what we teach. We don't teach that. It's not good football.
Q: Can you talk about Sam Mustipher being benched and then by the end of the first quarter he's in back where he was.
ME: Yeah. That's the old thing in pro football. Rosters are really small and one thing happens and you're back in the ball game. Sam did a great job of having a positive attitude during the course of the week when we made the move. And he's a consummate pro. And he's the toughest guy on the field, I promise you that. And he did a really good job of coming in there and executing.
Q: How hard is that to keep your head? I'm sure he didn't like getting benched.
ME: I don't think it's that hard when you have character like him. He's got such high character that's not an issue ever. So he's not going to have an issue with that.
Q: Is that a long term injury for Lucas Patrick? How serious -- ?
ME: Yeah. I don't know. I don't know the terms of it. We'll have to look at it and I'll let you know later.
Q: Is it a broken toe?
ME: I don't know.
Q: With both of your rookies coming up with interceptions, what does it mean to see that on the field and carry it forward? That's a good thing, right?
ME: Yeah. First of all, the one Brisker had was pretty amazing. That was a really good play for him, that concentration, get his feet in bounds. That was excellent. And then really the other two interceptions were tips. There were some tips there. But the one that Gordon had I think it was maybe tipped twice. He had to tip it to himself there and then the return. He did what – you know, take it up the sidelines. Did a nice job with that. But that fosters confidence, the ability to take the ball away. I think that's a big part of winning football. And he did a nice job.
Q. Did you raise objection to a couple plays before that when Brisker got kicked by Mac Jones?
ME: No, no, I didn't. I didn't see that that way.
Q: In terms of – you've got another goofy week coming up here. Is there anything else different you're going to do to help guys get off their feet?
ME: Yeah. The guys just have tomorrow off. We're going to get back late tonight. I give the coaches a bit of a break. They can go home and sleep for about three hours and come back. And then we've got to get going on to Dallas. But the players will have off. Wednesday we'll do a walk-through practice. We'll have long meetings and we'll install first and second down. Get guys off their feet the next day. And then we'll roll into Thursday. It will be first, second, third. Friday it will be red zone. Saturday will be our normal Saturday. And then we'll travel. So that will be it.
Q: To do this on Monday Night Football, I know everything is different for you guys, but did you sense that it mattered to your teammates – or to your team to go through this on national television? And if so do you think a statement is made when you go and have a game like this against a team like this?
ME: I just think that it's one performance, like you said, but it is important. It is important. The whole country was watching us. And I think that's important for confidence for the guys. And it's not about that. It's really about for each other. It's about trusting the guy next to you, knowing he's going to do his job and you're going to do yours because why? Because you care about each other. And I think that was important what we did tonight.
Q: Do you think this is the best performance you guys have had?
ME: Like I said, we're just trying to stack them together, get better. We could see it in practice. We were getting better in practice. We're going to hopefully stack these up and get better every week. Thank you.
QUARTERBACK JUSTIN FIELDS
Postgame Press Conference
Monday, October 24, 2022
Q: Justin, can you describe the satisfaction and the energy rush of this one here tonight?
JF: Yeah. Feels good. Of course, everybody was excited, everybody was happy after the win. So just proud of the way the guys came out, started the game and, of course, the way we finished, so yeah.
Q: Higher volume of designed runs for you tonight. What did you think of the game plan?
JF: Yeah. I thought they were good. I thought it brought a whole different element to our offense. I think we executed that well. And there were definitely some explosive plays in the design runs for sure.
Q: Eberflus talked about those designed runs, to be smart, find the sideline, make a smart decision there. Is that easier to do when they're designed when they're called for you and blocked versus your scramble?
JF: Yeah. Kind of my mindset going in, I wasn't trying to take many big hits. So I knew I had more designed runs this game. I knew I was going to have to run the ball a little bit more. Just being able to last the entire game was big for sure.
Q: You guys talk a lot about the interconnectedness of the different phases of the game. What did it do for you to have the defense continue to get the ball back and stop them and help you guys build momentum?
JF: Yeah. That's just playing complementary football so offense, defense, special teams. The defense gave us takeaways. And we always talk about plus 2 with a turnover differential. So defense did a great job with that. And special teams, we had a few good returns. First half, we had good field position pretty much every drive. So definitely proud of just everybody the way they executed today.
Q: Do you feel like the game adjustments that were made during the mini-bye are playing better to your strengths?
JF: Yeah. For sure. I think we had a great game plan coming in. And I'm just proud of the way everybody came in and executed it.
Q: The RPOs, how does that help when you're out there being able to execute?
JF: Yeah. Just makes our offense more complex, just getting us out of the pocket, just more designed quarterback runs. It just opens it up a little bit more. So, you know, just doing a lot of different things on offense.
Q: Can you take us through that one touchdown sequence, the pressure got there probably quicker than you were expecting?
JF: Yeah. They brought it all out. That was our second time running that play. The first time, the ball go batted down. The d-end came running free so I saw him and I just kind of pump-faked it and went side armed a little bit. We work on that in practice just maneuvering the screens around the d-end. So of course it was a great catch and run by Khalil and really a great play call and great execution by everybody.
Q: As soon as you completed it, did you see the run he had?
JF: I didn't see it. I got smacked on that play. I was asking for the ref -- I was asking the ref what he saw on the roughing the passer. That's why I've got this big mark. I got smacked on that play. I didn't know he scored until somebody came up and told me.
Q: Do you see this game for you as reflective of the bigger picture improvements?
JF: Yeah. My main goal right now is to continue to improve each and every day, each and every game. So, again, kind of look at tomorrow with the film, really tonight on what can I get better at and what I can improve on as an individual and what we can improve on as a team. So we're just focused on getting better each and every day.
Q: I feel like we talk every week about your toughness taking these hits. But when you get sandwiched between two helmets essentially what did that feel like? I know it hurts.
JF: It felt all right. Of course, it doesn't hurt as bad when you score a touchdown on it. But it's a part of football. So, again, can't really do about it, just got to get up and move on.
Q: I thought it looked like the two guys once you were down actually kind of checked on you.
JF: No. They were saying that it wasn't a – they were arguing with me because I went to the ref saying, you know, like where is the flag. But they were yelling at me that's not a flag. So they weren't checking on me at all.
Q: What did it show you the last seven days, just regrouping after the loss to the Commanders and getting back to work?
JF: Yeah. Just the resilience, you know. Everybody of course was devastated after the loss and just the way we fought and just the way we prepared throughout the week. I thought guys were locked in through meetings, through walk-throughs. And pretty much our motto this week was finish everything whether it was in practice, halfway through practice, we started practice strong, just finishing the rest of the practice. Finish the day focused in and locked in on meetings. So, again, I'm just proud of everybody the way they prepared this week and the way they performed today. It's always great ending the night with a dub for sure.
Q: Justin, you always think a win is going to be the start of something. Is there anything about the quality of this win or circumstances that indicates to you this has a little more staying power as a momentum builder?
JF: For sure. Definitely momentum. But again we can't get too high on the win. We've got to get reset Wednesday and come in and prepare like any other week, prepare like last week. I know our guys aren't going to be satisfied with just this win and we're going to get back to work this week.
Q: Is this encouraging?
JF: Yeah. For sure. It's way more encouraging. Fixing mistakes is always easier after a win. So again proud of the guys. I know they're going to come in on Wednesday with that same energy, same fight that they did last week preparing for the Cowboys.
Q: Is this the most meaningful win you've had since you've been here two years and, if so, why?
JF: No. Not really. I think every win is meaningful. So I don't take any game for granted. I'm just glad we got the win and, again, just proud of everyone. Appreciate you all.
Jaquan Brisker, DB
(On what he saw on his interception of Mac Jones)
"I saw two receivers going vertical so I just tried to split the difference. When he actually threw the ball, I was kind of surprised and I just capitalized on it."
(On how good it felt to capitalize on so many turnovers)
"It felt great. A lot of swagger, but, we went into the game with a lot of focus on capitalizing on turnovers. Earlier in the season we weren't capitalizing or causing turnovers so we just had to focus on that today."
(On controlling the game on the road)
"It felt good. We played a whole complete game from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. If we keep going like this, everybody keeps doing their job, we are just getting warmed up, building our chemistry up, and we're just going to keep going."
David Montgomery, RB
(On what it was in the running game that everything seemed to be going right)
"Justin [Fields] is able to use his legs and the line is blocking as well as they are, we have to take advantage of that and we were able to do that. Every chance we got to run the ball we wanted to make sure we were falling forward."
(On if this could be a turning point for their season)
"Of course. I definitely think it can be. Once we put everything together – special teams, offense and defense we can be very dangerous. We are just going to keep improving, there are some areas we can improve on, but this is good for us. We needed it."
(On having a one-two punch running game with Khalil Herbert)
"Khalil is a dog, man. I am blessed to have someone like him to come in and do his thing. When he's filling in he's feeling it and when I'm filling in, I'm feeling it. Being able to have him and Justin and the line blocking the way they have been in the run game, I'm blessed."
(On how much he thought the impact of the play designs helped them this week)
"It definitely helped us. It kept the defense guessing. They can't predict or see what kind of formation we are in to make it seem like they know what we are doing. We switched it up a bit and it worked out for the best for us."
Roquan Smith, LB
(On his thoughts on taking over the game after the Patriots scored 14 points to take the lead)
"I honestly felt like we took over the entire game. If you think about the plays they got, they only got the one go ball, the 'oh crap' play and a busted play on the running back swing play. Other than that, they really didn't do too much. We knew if we stuck to what we do and played within our scheme, good things would happen."
(On if he thought the Meyers touchdown was due to busted coverage)
"We all take the blame for it on defense, we don't point fingers. It was just next play mindset. The guy made a heck of a play and hat's off to the play-caller on their side for calling that play because we hadn't seen that since Week 1. Hats off to them for making the play, but it didn't determine the outcome of the game. We bounced back after that."
(On what they did that they were able to stop an offense that had seemed to be getting in a rhythm)
"Maybe they were finding their rhythm, but we just came out and played a good sound game and when you do that and everyone plays great one on one individual assignments, great things happen."
N'Keal Harry, WR
(On coming back to New England and getting a win)
"It felt good. It felt good to come back here. I saw some of my guys pre-game, but it really just felt good to get back on that field. It was great to be back on the field and especially to get a 'W'. Getting this win was big. We needed this win as a team. I wanted that personally, but I'm just glad we got the win."
(On the crowd reaction when he caught a pass and coming back to Foxborough)
"It was funny, it was funny. I enjoyed it actually. It was just great to be back. Their crowd was rocking tonight so it was good to come in and silence them a little bit. It was definitely different. Coming back to this stadium and coming through the visitor's side was definitely different."
(On seeing his old teammates)
"It was great. I still have a lot of good relationships with guys in this building. Relationships that will last a lifetime. It was good seeing them. Me and those guys went through a lot. Especially guys that came in my class with me. It was just good to see everybody."
(On the offense)
"We were just moving the ball. We were just really executing. Everything we wanted to do, everything we talked about during the week we were doing. You do stuff like that, you come out with wins."
Larry Borom, OL
(On the running game)
"I felt like it was the way we prepared. Whoever is in, it doesn't matter. Whoever is in, when your number is called you have got to be able to perform. It's how we practiced. It's the standard. Everything just started clicking. Once we get into that rhythm and get on a roll nothing can stop us. Every day in practice, the way we worked, it's going to reward you. We just keep playing hard and do what we need to do throughout the week. On Sundays and Mondays, whenever we play, it is going to show. Build on this and move forward"
(On Matt Judon)
"He's a good rusher. He's a good player. He's been around for many years. He's a good player."
Cole Kmet, TE
(On the offense)
"I was able to get out in space against some corners. It's a lot of fun when you're able to have all these different type of run schemes with the running backs we have and the quarterback we have, and even with our fullbacks and tight ends. It can be a lot of fun and we were able to do that tonight. We'll see where it goes. We will continue to lean into this. Probably a big strength of ours is being to run the football this way, then the pass coming off of that. We will continue to lean into that. That's a good defense we went up against. I definitely thought we were more physical than they were today and it will show on tape. We will just continue to improve and continue to find our niche."