HEAD COACH CHUCK PAGANO
CP: Alright, just injury-wise we had a few guys go out. I know it's the end of the year, but [Stanley] Havili went out with a shoulder – all of these guys will be evaluated tomorrow – didn't return. Hugh Thornton aggravated a neck and shoulder and didn't come back. Darius Butler, leg contusion, didn't come back and Josh Gordy had a collarbone and he didn't return. Obviously disappointed, not discouraged. Certainly we wanted to play better than we did. We didn't accomplish things we talked about we needed to do in order to come up here and win. Take care of the football, certainly we didn't do that. Stop the run, obviously we struggled there. On third down we struggled. We didn't want to finish this way but I'm very, very proud of this football team. Very proud of our coaches – there's a great group of men in there. We faced an excellent football team today and give coach [Bill] Belichick and his staff and his team credit. They did a heck of a job and played well today and executed, obviously better than we did. I'm very proud of our guys. We overcame a ton of adversity, ton of injuries, I think we put 17 guys on [injured reserve], but we make no excuses. We are going to get a bunch of guys back [next season]. We are building a program for sustained success and we're headed in the right direction. We took another step this year and certainly a lot to be proud of. I told those guys to hold their heads high and be proud of what they did because there's a lot of really good things and a lot of young guys have got better and you know some guys had some really good seasons. Kind of bitter, bitter way to finish, obviously, but we'll move on and we'll keep going and we'll get better.
Q: What is it about Bill Belichick's defense that makes it so tough to be successful?
CP: I mean, he's done it obviously for a long time. We knew coming in that he wasn't going to let our game-wreckers wreck the game and certainly took awhile for us to get T.Y. [Hilton] going. I think he only had two catches at the half, but then we made some big plays there. Bill's a good football coach and he's got good players and he's got a good staff and he's always done a great job from a game plan standpoint of taking away what you do well and making you beat him left handed. Guys up front did a nice job with the pass rush and put pressure on our quarterback and changed some things up coverage-wise and disguise and those things and forced us into some bad plays. He's been doing it a long time and he's very good at it.
Q: What's your level of disappointment with the defense, giving up 87 points in two games?
CP: Everyone on the defensive side of the football is – obviously it's not the level of play any of those guys or coaches and all of us expect. We've got to play better, so we'll go to work and fix some things.
Q: Andrew Luck had that great Kansas City game, but if you look at the numbers – seven interceptions in two playoff games…Going forward, you know he's talented, but what would you like to get out of him going forward?
CP: Well we just, again he played a whole season and we led the league in fewest turnovers. You know, 14 total and he had been doing a great job of managing the offense and taking care of the football. Those two games – [he] can't turn the ball over; he knows it. I know it and I thought he did a great job the entire season. Take away these two playoff games, obviously you can't do it when the stakes are this high and it's one-and-done, so we'll work to get that corrected.
Q: You had fourth-and-one in your own territory, I think 10-and-a-half minutes left, you're down 21.
CP: I should have went for it. That's on me.
Q: You've been going against this team for a few years now – both with the Colts and Baltimore. They seemed to have made a concerted effort to run the ball more than they've done it in the past and not relying on Tom Brady so much. Can you just briefly talk about that and, again, it working for the Patriots today?
CP: We went back and considering the conditions today we figured it would be a ton of [LeGarrette] Blount and [Stevan] Ridley. We knew we were going to get it and that's what's disappointing and discouraging is the fact that you know you're going to get it and credit them: they did a great job running it and they did a great job of blocking and executing. At times, at halftime, I think they were averaging three yards a carry. It wasn't – it was OK. They were playing pretty good. There was a couple that squeaked out, but certainly not like the second half. We've got to get better.
Q: How about the Patriots' philosophy change? It seems like they are more balanced than they've been in the 2007, 2008, 2009 seasons.
CP: Again, I think with the tight ends –you lose Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] and some of the weapons to injury that Tom [Brady] is used to having out there, you adapt and you've got to change things a little bit. They still do a great job with Julian [Edelman] and Danny [Amendola] and the other guys made plays in the passing game, but they've got a stable of backs. We knew it coming in and Blount, Ridley and Shane Vereen – they've got a bunch of guys that can hurt you and they did.
Q: You've done it so many times, but how hard is it to come back, especially when you're down by a touchdown and it looks like this is the situation you want to be in?
CP: It's extremely difficult. Especially in a divisional [playoff] game and on the road against a good football team. We've been able to do it many times before, but we knew we couldn't dig ourselves a hole and again, I look at it in the third quarter, we got it to a one-score game. We moved the ball; we just couldn't finish in the red area. We had to settle for some field goals and didn't score touchdowns, but I think it was a 21-15 game and then we had them backed up. The kickoff team did a great job, we had them backed up and they went play-fake and hit us on a big play and got the thing out of there and that hurt.
ANDREW LUCK, QB
AL: Obviously, they beat us fair and square and we didn't deserve it. I'm disappointed in myself – I can't commit that many turnovers and have a chance to win against a good team like this. I'm proud to be a part of this team – guys never quit, guys never stop fighting. We had our chances and we just couldn't get over that hump. The Patriots deserved to win.
Q: How tough will this offseason be for you personally with four interceptions today and just going into it and trying to get better going forward?
AL: I haven't thought about that. Obviously, this is not a good feeling right now and it will take a while to go away. Yeah, I haven't thought about that.
Q: They did a good job of really locking down T.Y. Hilton most of the game. How did that impact what you did or what you couldn't do?
AL: I think every team is going to focus on T.Y. when you play us. Other guys stepped up and did their job; we just couldn't get a rhythm going early. That first series interception, [putting] our defense in that position is just inexcusable and that's on me. So, they did a good job of keeping us out of rhythm.
Q: Even though they were on T.Y. [Hilton] he still got over 100 yards. Does that just show you what he brings to the table?
AL: He's phenomenal. You guys see it, we see it, we all see it. He's a heck of a player. He's one of those teammates – there are a bunch of them in the locker room that you're proud to play with, [that] you love taking the field with and it hurts when we can't go on, but again, the Patriots deserve it. They beat us fair and square.
Q: Last week when you made that rally you didn't make mistakes in the process of coming back. Do you think the mistakes that you made stunted your rally today?
AL: Yeah, mistakes form the first quarter in the first series to the last series. Turnovers were indicative to our game win for us – for me really – on my shoulders for throwing those picks. We just couldn't overcome it, so it stinks.
Q: Is it too soon to kind of gauge this season and what kind of successful season it was despite all of the adversity and another step further in the playoffs?
AL: Yeah, too soon.
Q: On the interceptions - did you not see the linebacker across the middle or was it just bad decisions?
AL: Yeah, on that one specifically it was a bad throw right down the middle. I had a chance and didn't put enough oomph on it. They did a good job; their [defensive backs] did a good job getting hands on guys and we knew that coming in. It's no surprise and I just didn't do a good enough job, didn't do a good enough job.
Q: When you're in that situation in the fourth quarter being down by just a touchdown, you've done this so many times were you thinking, "Yeah, we're in this. We know exactly what we need to do and we've been here before"?
AL: Yeah, I think we fought until the end. We had our chances when we pulled within a score and tried to keep it going. We had big stops from [the] defense and offensively [we] couldn't get over that hump – that final hump and we paid for it tonight.
Q: What makes their defense so tough?
AL: They do a good job of disrupting your timing and rhythm and getting hands on guys. [They] have a good relentless pass rush and I thought our offensive linemen did a great job this game giving time to get balls out. They do a good job of disrupting things if you could capsulate it in one sentence.
Q: Did you notice anything on the play where it looked like you got tripped? Did you feel the trip?
AL: Yeah, I felt something hit my shin. I'm not sure what though.
Q: Both games were played in pouring rain today. Did that effect how you played today?
AL: No, I thought the conditions were fine. There was good tack on the ball – I don't think it affected Pep's [offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's] play calling [or] how we played. The worst rain was in warm-ups. Once we surpassed that it was a great playing condition.
Q: What will you take away from this game?
AL: You can't turn the ball over against good teams. I wish I had learned my lesson against the Chiefs a week before, [but] didn't. The finality of losing a playoff game is very real and it stinks.
Q: What was the message from Head Coach Chuck Pagano?
AL: Obviously, he is very proud of the team. We are all disappointed. We came in here wanting to win like any team in the playoffs we were expecting to win. [He's] proud of us and I can say that I'm proud to play under Coach Pagano, he does a great job. Players for the Colts are very proud of the guys, but it was a bitter disappointment.
Antoine Bethea, Safety
(On allowing 234 yards rushing)
"Yeah, that is not something we wanted to happen. Coming into the game we wanted to stop the run and we just didn't do it."
(On being in the game and having their chance to come back)
"We had our chances to make plays and get off the field on third down and get our offense back on the field. Last game we were able to do that, but this a great offense, great quarterback, great team. We just dug ourselves a whole we couldn't get out of."
LaVon Brazill, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"I think did pretty well out there. I gave it my all and everything I had. I am just sad we finished out like this. They were doubling T.Y. [Hilton] and I was just trying to take pressure off of him and then there was two men on me. That is a good defense and a good team and I tip my hat to them."
Donald Brown, Running Back
(On the game and the mistakes)
"At the end of the day we didn't accomplish the ultimate goal, but there are definitely some positives to look back on. At times we didn't execute and versus a team like that you have to be on your P's and Q's and execute when your number is called. At times we didn't and they capitalized. Come playoff time the margin for error is very slim and it is tough when you dig yourself a hole."
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"We are very disappointed. We came here with a goal but obviously they were the better team today. We got off to a little slow start but all in all we still had a chance. That is a good football team and they played real well."
(On Aqib Talib covering him most of the game and the Patriots' double coverage)
"He [Talib] gets paid too. He made some plays and I made some plays. That was a better team today. I saw the whole book, I saw double, triple and no single and that was the game plan to take me out of the game. We have to step up and unfortunately we didn't come up with a W. I knew coming in they were going to through the book at me and I knew the coverages they were going to through at me."
(On his performance)
"I don't care if I get one catch for two yards as long as we win. I was able to get open and make a couple of plays and that's what I am here for, to make plays and help Andrew [Luck] and the team out."
Anthony Castonzo, Tackle
(On where the game got away from the Colts)
"I don't know. I do not know. I wish I knew, but I do not. There is nothing I can think about right now. I probably would have to watch the tape and see what went wrong. Other than that it is just over."
(Asked if the season was a success)
"We wanted to win the Super Bowl and we did not do that so I guess it would have to be no."
Coby Fleener, Tight End
(On being disappointed in loss)
"I said earlier that 31 out of 32 teams are going to end the season with a loss. Unfortunately, we are one of them. We lost to a good team, give credit to them, they beat us today."
(On Andrew Luck throwing four interceptions today and seven in the two playoff games combined)
"First of all, statistics don't tell the whole story. If a receiver or a tight end breaks off a route, the quarterback gets credited with the interception and the receiver just gets scolded on the sideline. I don't think you can put this all on Andrew. There is a lot of improvement that needs to happen all across the board."
(On what needed to happen tonight in order for them to win)
"Offense, defense and special teams, it's all three phases. We turned the ball over on offense and we can't do that. There's a lot we could have done better as a team. There is always room for improvement."
Jerrell Freeman, Linebacker
(On what was the difference in the game)
"Big plays and turnovers, it comes down to that. You could be playing the school of the blind if you don't get any turnovers as a defense and you give up big plays the other team is much better. We were sticking them all day, but the big plays, man, we gave up one on a cut back, you know."
(Asked if this was a successful season)
"No. A Super Bowl [would have made it a success]. We have high expectations for ourselves. It is what it is."
Robert Mathis, Outside Linebacker
(On what happened today)
"We can't make mistakes. A great team like New England will exploit you when you don't play your best football."
(On giving up over 200 yards rushing)
"We're disappointed because we came in and tried to stop the running game and they broke out a couple of runs on us. We just have to be fundamentally sound; they exploit you when you make mistakes."
Cory Redding, Defensive End
(On mistakes being the difference today)
"Mistakes will always kill you. The margin of error is so minute when you are in the playoffs. Good teams will find a way to make you pay for it and that's what they did."
(On having their chances late in the game but not being able to come back)
"Even though it was ugly and we made some mistakes we were still only a touchdown away. We've been in that situation before and pulled it out, but again, mistakes, the little stuff you can overcome during the season but not in the playoffs when you're playing a good team like New England."
Adam Vinatieri, Kicker
(Asked if this was a successful season)
"Obviously there is only one team that is happy at the end of the season. We built on what we did last year. I'm real proud of everybody. We put together a good season but when you fall short at the end it leaves a pretty sour taste in your mouth. At the end of the day we achieved one of our goals but we didn't achieve the last two and that was winning the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. We'll go back to work and figure out what we need to do in the offseason."
(On playing in New England)
"It's always a fun place to play. The fans are electric. You know when you come in here it is going to be a battle and you are playing a real good football team. Obviously when you play against Tom Brady and [Bill] Belichick is on the sideline you are going to have to play a great game to beat them and they out played us today. They made more plays. It's one of those things. It definitely holds a special meaning playing here. There are lots of memories here, some better than this one today for me."
(On talking to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady today)
"I talked to both of them. I have a lot of admiration for both of them. I talked to Tom before the game. We just kind of hung out and talked about family a little bit. As we were leaving I told Bill good luck with the rest of it and go get them."
(On playing next year)
"I hope so. Time will tell. I am not ready to give it up. I am enjoying it too much."
Bjoern Werner, Outside Linebacker
(On the finality of the loss)
"It was a great experience, great rookie year, but it ended in a bad way. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth."