NEW YORK JETS HEAD COACH REX RYAN
RR: I was dead wrong. I thought it would come down to me and [Bill] Belichick and thank goodness it never did because he won that battle like he always does. But, it came down to our players and it came down to the assistant coaches and we won that battle. [I'm] proud of the way the team played. Outstanding effort; maybe not as good on special teams I would have liked, but other than that, it was outstanding effort by our guys. We came here for a reason. We said, you know, maybe everybody else didn't believe us or whatever, but we believed. We worked too hard to get back here and we came for a reason. We thought we were the better team. Now clearly, that Monday night game, we weren't. They were clearly head and shoulders better than we were, but I knew that if we applied ourselves and we played the way we were capable of, then we would beat them. And that's exactly what happened, so we are moving on, same old Jets going to the AFC championship game two years in a row. Only difference is, we plan on winning this one.
Q: Rex, could you talk about your defensive game plan and [defensive coordinator] Mike Pettine, who was brilliant, and how much pressure you were able to put on [Tom] Brady?
RR: Well, it was a good game plan, until that last drive. I apologize to the fans, we gave up like a 75 yard drive there. You know, what's great is that is a heck of a good football team we just got done playing. They are going to make plays on you. We thought we had a good plan, but the plans are useless without great play from your players and our guys bought in and they did a great job. It was a total effort there on defense, from the pass rush, to the second level, and obviously to the deep guys. Just a great effort. We knew we had a good plan. Again, I tip my hat to the players and the assistant coaches.
Q: Talk about the good job that Mark [Sanchez] did?
RR: Well, he only had a 127 rating, excuse me, 127.3. But, I'll take it. The thing with this young man is he is just getting better. He's just now getting better and better. He's only in year two and he's won a bunch of playoff games. That might be a record, for most road wins, or close to it. He's only been in the league for two years and he's, you know, like I said last year, he's not going to be looked as the weakness of the team, but as the strength. And, I think you are seeing that right now. He did a tremendous job, and I'll tell you what, our receivers played great. All three of those guys contributed from Santonio [Holmes] with a touchdown to Braylon [Edwards] had a big game and Jerricho [Cotchery] had a huge game for us. Just, you know, really proud of our effort. You know, took all of us, you know, we had a bunch of mighty men in there and we showed up for 60 minutes and that's what it takes to play against a great football team. [We were] obviously going against, what I think, is the best coach in the league, in Belichick. So, we came here for a reason. We got the victory. I can't be more happy.
Q: Rex, you had a pretty long embrace with Bill at the end, what did he say?
RR: I'm not going to share that. He was just very complimentary.
Q: Regarding Brady's body language in the pocket and applying consistent pressure getting him off nerve...
RR: You know, this isn't the first time we've played good defense. We know a little bit about playing defense and clearly you got to mix it up on it. You can't just give them one thing all the time. Mix your coverages, mix your blitzes, mix your pressures, all that kind of stuff. Against these great quarterbacks, that's what you have to do. And that's back-to-back weeks. You know, against Peyton Manning at Indy and now, Tom Brady at New England. You know, mission impossible. Now on to round three, on mission impossible.
Q: What was the key to Shaun Ellis getting so much pressure?
RR: He's a great football player. He just needed the opportunity, and we turned him loose.
Q: What about your two receivers, in Edwards and Holmes, bringing them in this year, did they deliver?
RR: I know they delivered. And again, Mike Tannenbaum really put this team together for this time of year. We knew we would have to beat those kinds of opponents. You've got to get a team that can beat New England and a team that can beat Indianapolis at their place and Pittsburgh, hopefully. We know we are facing the best three teams, other than us, at their places. And you know, you got to be, you know, got to take some great players on your side to get that done.
Q: Rex, you had Dennis Byrd address the team last night. Can you talk about the message and the emotion created?
RR: Nah, I'll tell you what - he's a Jet and he'll always be a Jet.
Q: When you were running down the sideline, what was going through your mind?
RR: Well, if he was standing up, I was going to tackle him. But, you know, I realized that, you know, I don't have a lot of talent so I was glad that he was on the ground.
Q: What's the biggest concern going to play at Heinz Field after winning in such a tough environment?
RR: Well, I'll tell you what: I'll let you know tomorrow or the next day. I am going to enjoy this one.
Q: Coach, to what extent do you feel vindicated after all the talk this week?
RR: You know, that's a great football team we just got through playing. We talked because we believed in ourselves. I think that is where the talk came from. There is a huge amount respect that our team has for New England. I mean, that is a great football team. And they've got a great franchise, but you know, we aren't afraid of anybody. You know, maybe people take it the wrong way, or look at us or whatever, but we don't try to bad-mouth an opponent. We respect every opponents. We respect these guys. But, we're not in fear of anybody and we came here on a mission and we're trying to win a Super Bowl and we've still got a long way to go. Obviously, we've got to go into Pittsburgh and I told players last game, make your marks, because we are coming back here. I said the same thing about going to New England. So, for some reason, I don't know, maybe I'm not always wrong about everything I say.
Q: Where you surprised that [Bill] Belichick went for that fake punt late in the second quarter?
RR: We played it great. You've got to give a ton of credit - Eric Smith played a whale of a game for us. [He] just continues to make great plays. [Special teams coach] Mike Westhoff alerted our guys on the sideline, as far as anybody knows, for that fake punt, and just did a great job of that.
Q: Would you have preferred that Shonn [Greene] went down before he scored the touchdown at the end and taken a knee?
RR: Yeah, but I'll be honest with you when I was running down there, I was yelling to get down. But I really wasn't. [Laughter] It sounded like a good story, but you are exactly right we should have gone over it and never did. I was just hoping we would pound one through there. I was telling A-Lynn [Running backs coach Anthony Lynn] we are going to crack one, we are going to crack one. I said, 'Do you believe it, do you believe it?' And he goes, 'Yeah, right here.' And bam there he goes.
Q: Did you pull a hammy on that?
RR: No. Early in the week I took a header going down some steps. [I] slipped on some ice and went about five feet. But, you know, I still wasn't going to miss this game.
Q: Last time you played Pittsburgh you said that you thought you would see them down the road. What made you think that?
RR: They are a great football team. I figured by the time it's all said and done - the only way you're going to get to the Super Bowl is [that] you've got to be playing some great teams to get through there. And unfortunately, I wanted to get the game played in our stadium but that never worked out that way. Again, when it's tough on everybody else it's just alright for us.
Q: David Harris' interception on the Patriots' first possession after they moved the ball pretty well - do you think that set a tone for the rest of the game?
RR: No. They are going to move it anyway. I appreciate you pointing that out. You know what, it is one of those things where, you know, this team had a zillion points and all that this season - it's Tom Brady back there at quarterback. He may not study like Peyton Manning but he is pretty good. We finally got an interception against the guy and I think he had only thrown like 400 passes without one, so, we felt pretty fortunate. I was hoping that David would outrun those linemen that tackled him or whoever it was...
Q: Alge Crumpler...
RR: Alge Crumpler. It looked like a lineman, but Alge played well. The big guy can still get it done. You know what, we'll take it. We'll just take it. Man, I'm proud of our guys.
Q: How important is it doing it the difficult way, you go to Indy, you come here to New England and you're going to Pittsburgh and could end their season?
RR: I would prefer to be at home. I'll just put it to you that way. You know, but hopefully next year, we will be at home.
Q: The fact that you have two number one receivers in Holmes and Edwards, ok, three, getting to the third guy in Jerricho Cotchery, he had some favorable match-ups and he took advantage of them...
RR: He did, and that's what we were saying. When we picked up Santonio, we able to make that trade, we looked at it like we envisioned the ability to throw the ball, to run the ball. You know, we got some weapons now. I mean, it's hard to beat the guys that we have. We got three great receivers, a great receiving tight end and two great backs, so ... and a heck of an offensive line. So, I think we can match up offensively with anybody in this league, the way we have been playing.
JETS QUARTERBACK MARK SANCHEZ
Q: Can you talk about getting all three of your receivers involved tonight?
MS: Absolutely, and [also] Dustin Keller. Those guys take a lot of pressure off [of] the quarterback and they were great. [They] read everything really well, made big time catches for us - crucial catches at the right moments - and their second effort, their diving catches. They can make a quarterback look great and so I owe a lot to them. They did a great job tonight.
Q: This place has been a house of horrors for you in your first two visits. How does it feel to get that monkey off your back? You played well and you out-performed Tom Brady on his own field.
MS: Well, I wasn't playing against Tom. He's a great quarterback and I respect him, but I was playing against their defense. We had a great offensive plan. Coach [Matt Cavanaugh], Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer, Coach [Bill] Callahan all did a great job. [They] put us in the right spots, giving us opportunities to make plays. It all kind of came to fruition tonight. So, I was proud of our effort, and the offensive line did a heck of a job. It's a lot easier when you have that kind of time and that kind of protection, so I was proud of our guys.
Q: Can you talk about the drive after they made it 14-11 and you had that long pass to Jerricho Cotchery?
MS: It just kind of fell right into our game plan. We knew that the big plays would come. All week Coach [Cavanaugh] and Coach Schottenheimer talked about staying aggressive with the arm, but being very smart when you throw the ball down the field. It was an underneath pass that J-Co [Cotchery] kind of sprung lose on. He read the coverage perfectly, got the ball and made everything happen. We got down in tight there. We needed a play on third down and Santonio [Holmes] was ready. Braylon [Edwards] made a big play earlier, J-Co kind of set us up for the touchdown and Santonio kind of sealed the deal right there with a great catch in the back of the end zone. So, it was a great effort by all of us and a good job by J-Co getting us down there.
Q: Can you break down the play to Braylon Edwards in the first half where you made eye contact with him?
MS: They covered things well on my front side where the read was and we felt pressure from the left side. I just moved out of the way, tried to protect the ball and knew that I had an extra second. [Edwards] was looking back at me and I just kind of pointed him where to go and he knew exactly what to do [and] made a great catch.
Q: It looked like you could have run for that first down. Did you think about that at all?
MS: Maybe for a second, but I saw Braylon flash and I was just trusting my instincts.
Q: How satisfying is this win against the Patriots, since they are a team that has been a thorn in your side?
MS: Well, we knew since I had been playing here just last year that we were 2-2 coming into the game. This was a great rubber match for us, so we treated them with respect all week - at least I did with my comments, because I do respect their coach and their quarterback and all their players. I just felt like this week coming in, I needed to be smart and take what they gave me, not get caught up in, 'Oh, you can't win up here,' and use that as fuel. We just stayed within ourselves and let the other guys make plays. They did it all.
Q: Is it too early to ask you your thoughts on facing the Steelers again?
MS: Not at all. That's where my mind's at already. We saw them come back in the third and fourth quarter yesterday, I believe, and that's a team that you've got to beat them. You can't let up, like their coach, like their quarterback, like their defense. It's going to be a fight to the finish and we're both one step away from where we ultimately want to be, so it's going to take our best effort all week long. We'll be ready for the game. It's going to be in a tough environment again and it's good that we have the experience of playing there because we're going to need that.
Q: Where does this win stack up in your short career so far?
MS: I don't know right now. It's another playoff win and it feels so good. These playoff wins, they're not easy to come by. That's what all the older guys have told me - [LaDainian Tomlinson] and Jason Taylor - you don't get these playoff wins like this in your first two years. It's pretty unorthodox. I'm proud of the fact that I got drafted to a great team, that I've had the opportunity to play in these big games and I'm using this experience as we go into next week. But, we can't let up right now. It's not time to get nostalgic and sit back and start thinking about this game. We've got to move on.
Q: Second year in a row that you guys are going to the AFC Championship game. How much is that going to help you next week?
MS: Well, we know what it was like to play in a tough environment in [Indianapolis]. We knew that all of our games were going to be on the road because of our seed. We know how to play on the road; I think we're better on the road, so that's a huge help for us. We have a lot of experience doing it. We remember that bad taste after losing to the Colts in the AFC Championship game, so we wouldn't want that to happen again and we're up against a tough opponent. You get this far, they're all good players. They're all good quarterbacks. They'll all have a great game plan. Their defense is tough, so it'll be a great matchup and we're excited.
Q: How much does the talk from people outside the locker room motivate you?
MS: As a competitor, when somebody tells you, 'You can't,' all you want to do is prove them wrong. I knew with the kind of game plan we had, we would have a chance to do that and it wasn't about the two games before. We wanted to learn from those games, but not dwell on them - not dwell on the emotions of those games and move forward, figure out what happened, what went wrong, why I forced balls. We got down early and we were trying to fight back late in those first two games up here - last year and this year - and you got sloppy with your footwork, carrying the ball in one hand, giving them opportunities to score and making it tough on our defense. As long as we stayed out of that and played smart with the football, we were going to be just fine and we proved that right.
Q: Is it possible to describe what it's like late in the game when you're in control in the huddle and your destiny is in your own hands?
MS: I just like looking at the guys. Dennis Byrd told us last night, he was talking about looking into people's eyes and seeing through them, seeing into their heart, seeing into the soul and knowing what they're about and feeling that competitive spirit just bursting out of them. Those are the kind of guys we have in the huddle. You have a guy like Wayne Hunter - this is his first playoff start I believe. The guy comes in and plays lights out - unbelievable effort. Brandon Moore, who's been to a couple of playoff games, a perfectionist, and he has another great game. Nick Mangold, the Ewok, who has another awesome game against a tough guy in Vince Wilfork. So, you look at these guys in the huddle and those receivers are just fighting to make a play. They're begging for the ball. It's the best feeling in the world to know that you're the trigger man - you're the guy they're counting on to make a play and I'm proud to be that guy for them.
Q: Having defeated the Steelers the first time without Troy Polamalu, does that make this time more difficult?
MS: Absolutely. He's the ultimate playmaker. From what I hear from guys at [the University of Southern California] and Coach [Pete] Carroll used to talk about him all the time, but he's the ultimate teammate. He'll do anything; he'll sacrifice his body. He'll kind of freelance out there and read your eyes. Especially a young quarterback, he'll try to get after you early and rattle you. So, I'm excited about the matchup against him and he's going to bring his best and we're going to need our best.
Q: If you have one message to send to Jets fans, what would it be?
MS: Just thanks for their support. We're back in this thing again and hopefully we'll see a few of them there in Pittsburgh.
Q: Braylon Edwards said that you weren't doing a lot of talking out there, but were just speaking with your body language.
MS: Me, personally, or the team?
Q: You personally. Are you conscious of the positive impact that has on the team?
MS: Absolutely. Staying positive [with] your attitude and your body language, that stuff can spread throughout an entire team, good and bad, positive and negative. It's important to stay up the entire game: not get too high, not get too low. You've got to understand, and with the more experience I get, I'm starting to understand that there are going to be drives that go three-and-out. They're going to make great plays on defense. They're going to press the pocket a little bit. You're going to have to stand in there and stay strong and not get down. That was one of the goals today and I thought we did a great job of it and we need to keep it up.
Q: Can you talk about your defense tonight?
MS: Unbelievable job, unbelievable job against one of the best quarterbacks around and an offensive plan that can score 45 points when you plan to what they're trying to do, when you give them the ball on offense. We wanted to help them out as much as possible. We tried to give them a long field and I was really proud of the pressure they got with just the three-man rush at times, with the way Eric Smith stepped up, Brodney Pool, Darrelle Revis - the guy's unbelievable - [Antonio] Cromartie backing up everything he said. That's never my strategy or policy to come out and say something like that, but if you do, you better back it up and he sure did tonight in the return game, picking up the slack for Brad Smith's injury. It was a great effort by our defense and I'm proud to play with them and I'm proud of their effort.
Q: Did you and Brady exchange pleasantries after the game?
MS: Yeah, he just said, 'Good job. Good luck.' So, that was it.
Q: On Santonio Holmes' touchdown, can you take us through the options on that play? He was the only option, initially, right?
MS: No, he's not. We've got four options on the play, four receivers on the route. He was one-on-one, giving him a chance doing what he does best and that's positioning himself well. If you put the ball in the right place, then he'll make a play for you. So, that was pretty much it.
Q: Can you talk about the team's mindset after the Patriots made it 14-11 and you got the ball back?
MS: They scored right away, we knew we number one, wanted to take time off the clock, just like in Indy. Keeping their offense off the field is sometimes the best defense you can have. We wanted to sustain a long drive. We did that and put points on the board when we needed them the most, so that was huge in the momentum swing. It was great for us.
JETS CORNERBACK ANTONIO CROMARTIE
Q: A lot of people in this stadium might be surprised, but you guys don't seem to be surprised. What did you know that everyone else didn't?
AC: Our whole thing was just going out and doing the things that we needed to do. I think we had success this game and got [Tom] Brady all frustrated. [We] got him moving outside the pocket. We felt like once he moved outside the pocket that he wasn't as accurate as a passer. We just did the things that we needed to do, and we went out and scored points. We caused turnovers and things like that, and that's what you have to do.
Q: What was the biggest coverage difference between this game and Week 13?
AC: We were flat. That week there are really no excuses, but when you lose a guy like Jim Leonhard during an important weekend like that, it takes a toll on guys because the communication wasn't there [and] we had to put guys in to fill his spot. And coming into this weekend, we had guys to the point that we could go out and communicate. We have five weeks with those guys, and we're all playing on a very high level. We had a great game plan. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff put a great game plan together.
Q: Did Tom Brady have anything to say to you during the course of the game?
AC: No, nothing was said.
Q: Was it extra special for you having made those comments and as a team, back them up?
AC: It's nothing about making a comment. Those were my thoughts. The game is over. We've moved on. We're getting ready for Pittsburgh now. That's how I feel about the whole situation. And we came in got a victory in a tough place, in a very hostile place, and only thing we've got to do now is get ready and prepare for the AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh.
Q: Do you think you got inside their heads a little bit?
AC: No, I don't think we did. I think Coach [Bill] Belichick does a great job with his guys, getting his guys ready for a big game like this. Coach Rex [Ryan] and his staff did a great job of getting us ready for this whole entire weekend. Our whole thing was just to go out and prove to everyone that we feel we are the team to beat in the playoffs.
Q: Bart Scott talked about Rex Ryan showing you guys a video of Tom Brady's last three playoff games to show he's beatable. How much did that help you guys?
AC: To tell you the truth, we didn't watch any playoff games. We just went out and did the things that we knew we always do well, and we did the things that we knew we can add pressure to give him a different look. We ended up getting six sacks. Everybody said that he was unstoppable, but our whole thing was just to go out and do the things we needed to do and like I said, at the end of the day, play like a Jet.
Q: Aside from the sacks, you guys did a lot to disrupt Brady and make him look uncomfortable during the game. What did you guys do to make that happen?
AC: I think we just showed him different looks. I think that's the whole thing for us. And guys were getting after it. Our front four was humming. They were getting after the ball. Shaun Ellis had a great game. Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor, [Mike] DeVito, those guys, they did a great job. David Harris came up with a tremendous pick in the first half that almost went to the end zone. It was just guys going out and making plays and just doing their job and just playing their technique, and that's what it takes in being a part of this team, just going out and doing what you're supposed to do and being yourself.
Q: Were you surprised that they pulled that fake punt with a minute to go?
AC: I didn't even notice it. I thought they were getting ready to punt the ball. I was over there trying to look at the pictures and stuff, and turned around and saw that they had tried to run a fake punt, we got a stop, and it gave our offense a chance to go in and go score again.
Q: Not just Tom Brady, but it seemed that you were more physical with wide receivers and frustrated them. Did you get a sense of that as the game went on?
AC: That was the whole point of this whole entire week that we wanted to practice was to make sure that we got our hands on them [and were] physical with the guys, and just playing our game. When we play our game on the outsides, it makes things very difficult for the quarterback with the timing routes and the things that he does.
Q: How similar was your game plan last week?
AC: I think it was totally different. We actually added pressure to get Brady out of the pocket. Our front, like I said, did a great job. Drew Coleman came up with a great sack - that's our sack leader. We tried to show different looks, show them different blitzes coming. Last week, we just sat back and let them throw and came down to make the tackle against Peyton [Manning].
Q: Let's get this out of the way right now. What are your thoughts on Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger?
AC: It's going to be a great fight. He's a great guy. He's a guy that can move outside the pocket and be accurate outside the pocket. He's a tough guy. The team is tough. They have a great defense. We'll just make sure that we've got to prepare and do the things that we need to do. They're better than what we were when we played them the first time.
Q: So your thoughts on Ben Roethlisberger are different from what your thoughts were...
AC: I love Ben, man. Ben's a competitor, man.
Q: Does it matter to you whether any non-Jets fans like this team and embrace what the Jets are about?
AC: Our whole thing is to always be ourselves. Either people are going to like it or not. Rex is always about guys being themselves, being loose and just going out and having fun. That's the motto that he has throughout the whole organization. Our whole thing is just to go out and have fun and do the things that we know how to do, and just play at a high level.
Q: Have your feelings toward Tom Brady changed?
AC: My feelings haven't changed, but that's behind me, and I'm getting ready for Pittsburgh.
JETS DEFENSIVE END SHAUN ELLIS
Q: Coming through the tunnel after the game when you guys are excited, what is that moment like?
SE: Oh man. It's a tremendous feeling. A lot of people didn't give us a chance considering what happened last time. But every guy in that locker room believed. We knew that we didn't play our best the last time so we just wanted to come out and play Jets football. And you know we did that. [We] pretty much handled the game the whole time. It's a tremendous feeling [getting] to the AFC Championship for the second time. We are just ready for Pittsburgh.
Q: What did you guys do differently to throw Tom Brady off his game?
SE: We did a little d-line, [we] did some rushes and we played coverage. We sent some blitzes. Our [defensive backs] played a hell of a game to keep him off balance and show him different looks. Our [defensive backs] played great. When our defensive backs play like that we will win all the time. ?
Q: Is this one of the most gratifying wins of your Jets career so far?
SE: Oh yeah. Considering the stage that it was on and considering the last game it was definitely a tremendous victory for us and we're going to enjoy this tonight and move on.
Q: You are the longest tenured Jet. What has it been like the last two years for you here?
SE: It has been great. It has been great considering where I started. I've been to the playoffs a couple times but never reached that ultimate moment. And for us to get back here a second time - its great considering all of the hard work that previous teams have put in over the years. To be able to get into this spot is tremendous.
Q: When you're playing coverage as a defensive lineman, it must be quite the challenge to rush the passer. Can you give us a description of what that's like?
SE: Man, it's tough. It's a lot of double teams, guys peeling off one guy and going to the next guy. For us up front we knew that it was a tough challenge, so we just had to keep pushing the pocket. That's what we were practicing all week - just keep pushing the pocket, pushing the pocket and our DBs would make a [play] and we would be able make it home.
Q: Did you sense any frustration in Tom [Brady] as you kept pressing him more or less?
SE: He just couldn't get a beat on us. It was one of those things where he was expecting one thing and we showed him another thing and, like I said, our defense did a great job. Our defensive backs did a great job of showing him one look and moving to another look, and getting hands on receivers. One thing that hurt us the last time was when they were empty - they completed some passes on us. He made some throws but it really didn't hurt us. We regrouped and came back and played well.
Q: How important was the tackling tonight? It seems like they didn't get a lot after the catch...
SE: A couple of times they did. But that was one of the things that we went into last week with and that is: no yards after the catch. And we did a great job on that against the Colts and we just carried it on into this game. Last time we played [the Patriots] we had a lot of missed tackles after the catch and they made some huge plays on us. One of the things for us to concentrate on this week, like you said, is making the tackle after the catch.
Q: How was it getting the Patriots off the field in key situations when they were down the field?
SE: Like I said, with the defense and the way our DBs played well together, showing different looks. Anticipating the routes, I think our DBs did a great job with that. Derrelle Revis had a hell of a game. [Antonio] Cromartie, Brodney Pool, Smitty [Eric Smith], we all just played well as a unit.
Q: There was a lot of anger spewed out on the field after the game by Bart Scott and some of the other players over the fact that you guys were disrespected going into this game. Why do you think that was in terms of the emotion of some of the players on the field after the game?
SE: Anytime you take a beating like we did in the last game, it just fuels it. We just felt like we were totally disrespected the last time. Granted they ran the score up on us, [Tom] Brady with his emotions. They were doing our Jet run on certain plays. Going into this game we just wanted to get them back. It was one of those efforts where we were like we want to throw everything out there and get the win. Rex [Ryan] set the tone earlier in the week with his speech and everybody just bought into his system, and we just went out and played.
Q: Do you feel like what Antonio [Cromartie] said about Brady needed to be said?
SE: I'm not going to say it needed to be said but he said it and we backed him up. It happened. If you watch the tape he did do a lot of taunting. So, we just wanted to come out and just play our game - play physical and I think we did that.
JETS WIDE RECEIVER BRAYLON EDWARDS
Q: How long had you been working on that back flip?
BE: It was just a back flip, round off back flip. I've been doing it since I was young - maybe 12 years old was the first time I did it. I did it last week as I was going to the locker room, and it was one of these emotional-type of spontaneous, impulsive things. It just happened, and I did it. We ran with it. [Santonio Holmes] did it too, so he probably did the same thing when we were younger, that's probably when you learn.
Q: Rex Ryan said that Mark Sanchez was going to reach a point where he wasn't going to be the weakness of this team, he was going to be the strength. Can you talk about his connection with all three receivers?
BE: The thing that we did with Mark - and give a lot of credit to coach [Brian] Schottenheimer - is we're allowing Mark to get in a rhythm. We're not just throwing him out there and calling the most complex plays, and 'Okay, let's start this way.' We're just trying to get into a rhythm. I think that helps the offense as well, not even just him. It allows us to dig our heels and get into a rhythm, start smooth and get better as opposed to trying to start off super, super hot and end up starting super, super cold. So, we found a balance and that's allowed Mark to get into the groove that he's gotten into since the Steelers game - Steelers, Chicago, and this game here. So, that's what we're doing, and a lot of credit goes to him for paying attention and the little things during practice and coach Schottenheimer.
Q: On that long pass you caught, Mark was under pressure and he rolled to the left and he signaled you in some way. Is that something that happens in the second year together where you have that kind of chemistry and you know what he's thinking, what he's telling you to do?
BE: I think so. Originally, the play was supposed to be a corner route by myself. They played the type of coverage where they jammed Santonio, pushed him outside. They tried to jam myself. So, the middle was open. So I kind of saw the seam right away, and kind of stayed with that and thought that might be the throw. Like I said, Mark rolled to the left and pointed to the corner, and so I got off my defender and went to the corner, and Mark put the ball between myself and the sideline, and I was able to make the catch. It was a heck of a ball, even a better play by a second year quarterback that is learning this thing. He's getting comfortable as we're going back to the AFC Championship for the second time. We're real happy where he is in his game play right now.
Q: Was the loss last time inspirational in some ways to the way you played today?
BE: I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. I know they beat us bad, you didn't have to reiterate that - I'm just messing with you, [I'm] not sensitive. It was. They beat the brakes off of us. There is no way to get around that, and it hurts. On this level, you should never get beat like that. We're all professionals. We train just as hard as they do, if not harder. We put in game plans to stop what they do as opposed to what they do to us as well. You shouldn't come out and get beat 45-3 by anybody, no matter how good they are, and we did. And it made us look real bad. They embarrassed us. And maybe it was a wakeup call for what we needed for the rest of the season, not just at that particular point, but in terms of we say we want to be the Super Bowl-winning team this year. We want to get to the Super Bowl. We can't win the Super Bowl or even get there with this type of football, and it was a wakeup call. And we put that in the back of our minds for tonight.
Q: Can you take us through carrying defenders into the end zone on that touchdown?
BE: Dennis Byrd spoke to us last night, and everybody here is familiar with Dennis Byrd. If you're not, he suffered the injury in 1992 that ended his career. It was the most inspirational thing that I've ever heard in my life. After he spoke, I really couldn't sleep last night. I was just chomping off at the bit to play today. And basically what he said is he would give anything in life to be able to play one more play, not even a game, he said one more play. He said, 'You gentlemen have the opportunity to come together in this very moment and take a hold of your destiny.' And that was one of those plays, Mark put the ball on me, I caught it, and I just felt Dennis Byrd as I was going into the end zone. I'm not trying to get cheesy or anything like that, but it's honest. I felt his spirit and the things that he talked about last night. They really showed up on that play, and I looked up and I was in the end zone.
Q: When you get into a situation with you and Santonio Holmes on the outside, Jerricho Cotchery was a star here before you arrived, does that create great mismatches for Jerricho? He had five catches today.
BE: It does. You put him in that slot ... make no mistake about it, Jerricho's still a number one to number two receiver that works the outside. He's not a slot receiver that can be okay on the outside. He's a good outside receiver that just happens to play the slot. So, when you put him in that slot, he creates mismatches on safeties, your dime cornerback, your linebacker, whoever is in that slot. He creates mismatches his own self, and he makes plays. It will be hard for your third DB or a linebacker or a safety to cover him. The fact is it's darn-near impossible, so when we can find that, when we make that primary or secondary and Mark can get to that, [Jerricho] can make a lot of plays for us in that slot like he did today. When we go three wide receivers - you put myself and [Santonio] outside and then you put him on the inside in that slot and he'll work the situation.
Q: On that 58-yard play, he was covered by Patrick Chung in the slot. How did he get so open in the middle on that particular play and cut it up field.
BE: Your average safety plays safety because he doesn't have the feet to play corner. So, [Jerricho] worked him at the line of scrimmage, and when he worked him, he got open and he cleared himself on the in-cut. And when he caught it, he just kept running to daylight and [Santonio] made a heck of a block on the outside for him to allow him to get up the sideline and that's where it stems into your question, when you put him in the slot on a guy who doesn't have cornerback feet, you're in trouble. He's going to get open, it's just a matter of do the linebackers drop and rotate to him or does Mark see him. That's all it really comes down to.
Q: What did it say about Mark Sanchez that he was able to answer Tom Brady at the opening of the fourth quarter?
BE: What it comes down to is we knew that was a pivotal drive for us. They went down and they scored. We had to score. No matter what it took, we needed to get right back in control and stay on pace. I've talked about it all week: staying on pace. Mark took that drive upon himself to make it happen and he did it. He went down there and he was calm, he was poised, he made the throws that he needed to make. The throw that he threw to Santonio was maybe his best throw of the season. He put it where only Santonio could catch it. Santonio made a heck of a play, but once again, that's ball placement by Mark. That's him getting older, maturing, being experienced. He's making it happen. You look at what he's done, he's beat Peyton [Manning] head-to-head. He's beat Tom Brady today head-to-head. Last year he beat Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer. People want to talk about Mark and him being the weak link at one point. When we get into critical situations, he's beaten everybody.
Q: Was there a moment in this game where you felt like you had this game in the bag?
BE: Going into halftime, we were 14-3 and I felt good, but I still didn't feel like we had closed the door, or not even close the door, but just put our foot down and said that you guys had to take it from us. That drive that we were talking about, that was the drive. Mark comes out, he finds Jerricho for 58 yards, he comes back with a touchdown to Santonio. That's the drive when I said, 'OK, we're clicking on all cylinders.' You have all three wide receivers getting involved, making plays. From that, we made it happen. We could have gotten the first down on the one series, and gave them another crack at it, but then we get the onside kick and Shonn Greene seals the deal for us. That's when I knew we were clicking on all cylinders is that drive - those plays by Mark and J-Co and Santonio.
Q: Was Mark doing a lot of talking in the huddle or letting his body language speak for itself?
BE: He was on another swag, if you will. His swag was speaking for him. He wasn't very vocal. A couple of times he said some things - just some things that we knew but at the same time felt good to reiterate. But his body language, to which you're saying, spoke for us. He lets us know that he's confident. He's sure. He's going to get us in the right situation. He's going to make plays, so we just roll with that and make plays needed to win this game.
Q: Did you see Rex Ryan get down the sideline on that last touchdown?
BE: I kind of saw everybody going crazy, so he was a blur. I didn't exactly see him.
Q: Have you ever seen a coach get to the end zone to celebrate?
BE: OK, there it is. No, I didn't see that. That emotion, it stems from this whole season. This whole season there's been doubt and thing after thing. There's been scandal. There's been myself, my situation. There're things that just keep coming up, as well as the outside world for some reason not going with us, game-to-game, situation-to-situation, we're the underdogs, yet we feel like we're the best team in the league. So, that was that emotion: Rex Ryan in the endzone, everybody doing the flight boys even though there were only three of us. That's the emotion that we need. That's what we've been feeding off of all year inside, internally. Everybody wants to come down on us, that's fine. We'll take the guys inside this room, well if we were back in Florham Park, we'll take the guys inside Florham Park and we'll battle anybody. It's us against the world.
Q: You've been around both Ryan brothers in your career? Are they the same?
BE: They're similar. They're almost identical to a tee, but Rex is just a little more vocal. Rob is the same way. He curses from time to time. He has that cool attitude. All the players love him; they love playing for him. He puts guys in the right situations. His defenses are really good. The only thing is Rex is just a little more vocal.
Q: Why were you so moved by the visit from Dennis Byrd?
BE: I think the biggest thing is we take for granted the opportunity that we've been given. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things in which we deserve, but we take for granted the opportunity to be able to play football every day, to put on my pads, go to practice, to have the chance to talk to media - to sit here and go out to interviews, to go out there and score a touchdown or throw a block. I think we take that for granted every once in a while and we need to be brought to reality and we need to be humbled. That's what he did for us last night. He humbled us and just told us that it's not promised. Any play could be your last play. Any day could be your last day. You never know. All I can still hear in the back of my mind is, 'I would trade anything for one play.' He didn't say another season. He didn't say one game. He said he would trade anything in his world for one play. You know what one play is? One play lasts maybe, maybe six seconds on average. One play. He'd trade his whole life in for six seconds. That's all it took for every guy in our room last night.
Q: What are your thoughts on the rematch with the Steelers now in the AFC Championship game?
BE: They've got some players back or a player back that's a pretty important player. We still feel good. We go up there - we got a taste of victory up there. They played us hard. It was a good game, but I liked our game plan. I like how we stayed ahead. Although the score indicates one thing, we stayed ahead of the game or stayed ahead of the pace all game, and we controlled that game. They're a heck of a team. They're hard to play at home. Ben Roethlisberger in AFC Championship games, he's what 2-1, if I'm correct. That's a heck of a number for a young guy. He's, what, a year older than me, so that's year seven. So, he has a heck of a record , but we feel good about where we're moving right now - offensive, defensive, special teams - we feel as though we're clicking on all cylinders and we look to only get better going into next week against a great opponent.
Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver
(On touchdown catch)
"It was a quick play. Mark lined up and saw the guy come up and press me and he just got the ball out of his hands and gave me the opportunity to make a play. I was talking to him all game about giving me a shot to make a play and he did just that. It was a beautiful pass by Mark Sanchez, I just made it look easy in the back of the end zone. I think the pass that he threw was more tremendous than me making the catch because he placed it where the defender had no chance to make a play on it."
(On whether the Jets thought it could all end here)
"We just believed that we could go in and win the ball game. We had a perfect game plan put together offensively and defensively; special teams did their job today. You know, we played a great team ball game today."
(On play of Mark Sanchez)
"He knew what this game was all about. I was talking to him all week, I was in his ear all last night, I was in his ear all this morning letting him know put the game in third down and manageable, you manage the ball game, you win the ball game for us."
LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back
(On how special it is to be going to the AFC Championship game)
"Pretty special. I'm really at a loss for words. What an unbelievable win for our team. It feels good to be another step closer."
(On the Jets backing up their words today)
"We're a confident group. We always feel like we have the better team, we just have to go out and prove it."
(On play of defense after giving up 45 points the last game against the Patriots)
"Our defense was lights out. That's what we expect from our defense. In fact, I said it last time, that doesn't happen to our defense. That was a one-time thing. We knew they weren't going to come out and give up that many points. Our offense knew that if we got to right around twenty something, twenty one, twenty four points, twenty eight maybe, we knew we would win the game."
(On whether Rex Ryan was better than Bill Belichick today)
"Yes he was, absolutely. His team won the game today and he called a heck of a ball game for us, and the numbers proved it. He was better."
Nick Mangold, Center
(On play of receivers)
"The guys looked ready and Mark had a heck of a game. Everyone stepped up pretty well."
(On mood of team after New England made it 14-11)
"We knew that we had been in this situation before and we just had to go out there and play our game and get the job done."
Darrelle Revis, Cornerback
(On the Jets' Defense)
"This is how we drew it up. We got them into a lot of third downs." "The defense played great. I think also as a team we played well. On defense we just wanted to get them into third down situations, which we did. We forced them to make short throws and I think we did that with our blitzes and sometimes we did it with the zone coverage."
(On how Tom Brady looked)
"A little confused. We have seen him before. We saw it in the first game when we played him. In the second game he seemed more focused. This game he was a little confused out there."
(On the resilience of this team and playing on the road)
"It is great. We don't care what people say or whether they like us. We are not worried about that we just focus on what we need to do to win games. That is the only thing we can do. This season we have played well on the road. Playing away almost helps you out, because you learn to win during the regular season."
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Tackle
(On the game)
"It was about playing the game on our terms. We were able to do that for a longer period of time because we were able to control their game. We are excited and I think it worked out for us today."
Jerricho Cotchery, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"Before the playoffs started, we knew what type of battle it was going to be. We knew we had a long road ahead of us and being able to come up here against a divisional opponent, who has been a thorn in our side for a while, and getting a win against them, feels good."
(On the Jets' defense)
"We felt good about the way we were playing and about the things we had available to us. The defense was playing out of their minds tonight. We knew that if we could get going just a little bit we knew we were going to be able to get some separation in the game. They (the Jets' defense) kept playing their tails off and we just tried to put some points up for them and we did that. The way the defense has been playing, especially coming off of last week, stopping Peyton Manning, we knew that the defense was in the zone. We knew we had to hold up our end of the bargain and put some touchdowns on the board and when we do that we have a great chance of winning the game."
(On his long play)
"We knew we had to answer. We had to answer on that drive. On that play Mark (Sanchez) and I were on the same page and it just blew open. I stayed on the move. He expected me to stay on the move and after that I was just trying to make a play and the guys did a great job of rallying around me to try and get me to the end zone. It ended up setting us up with seven points and that was what we were looking for."
Joe McKnight, Running Back
(On how it feels to win)
"It feels great. It's my first year and I'm going to the AFC Championship game. It is something. I made a couple plays out there and now I'm holding on until the next game. Coming out of a game like this, next week we will play hard. To our fans, 'thank you.' We needed you out there and you came out to support us. They are as much a part of this as we are."
(On the difference from the last time these teams played)
"We came out with a different type of attitude. We came out to fight."
Matt Slauson, Guard
(On the win)
"It's amazing. I don't know how to feel yet. I'm still in shock. I can't rest. I can't be satisfied. I have to keep going out there and working every day. But it feels good."
(On last night's speech by Dennis Byrd)
"It was incredible. It was the most inspirational thing I ever heard. It was amazing."
Tony Richardson, Fullback
(On last night's speech by Dennis Byrd)
"It was nothing short of amazing. He spoke from his heart. He had some things he really wanted to stress to us. There were so many points that the guys got out of it but I think one that everybody was talking about was when he said he would trade everything he's ever had for one more opportunity to play one more game. He said 'the difference between me and you guys is you guys have that opportunity tomorrow.'"
Eric Smith, Safety
(On the Patriots' first drive and the Jets' defense)
"Having that two weeks to prepare we figured there would be something thrown at us that we didn't prepare for. After that we did a good job of handling things. It's the same thing we talked about, executing, keeping your eyes on your man. I don't know if we confused him (Brady). It was about making him take the snap then read the defense. Instead of just lining up, getting under the center and knowing where to go with the ball."
Mike DeVito, Defensive End
(On the last game 45-3)
"This team did a good job of putting that behind us, we knew that we had what it takes to beat this team. We love it when you put us as the underdog and say that we have no chance. We thrive on that. We proved that today, we beat a great team in their own place. We're going to take it all the way this year."
(On the defensive game plan)
"It was an awesome game plan. Rex [Ryan] and Mike Pettine put a great game plan together, switched everything up on them. Everybody did a great job putting pressure on him (Tom Brady)and making him duck and move and throwing him off his reads. It was just a great overall effort."
Bart Scott, Linebacker
(On the defensive effort)
"We watch the films, and we watched what they were trying to accomplish. If you look at our roster and their roster, we got better players all across the field. You guys all talk about how great their defense is playing. Last I checked they were 25th in the league and we were third. We didn't want to get disrespected for not being able to put pressure on the quarterback. That's how you guys' perception is different than reality. You perceived that they are playing so well and we are playing so bad. I guess the cream rises to the top."
(On looking to the next game)
"This is a win but this isn't our goal. Our goal is still ahead of us and we got a lot of work to do. Pittsburgh is a tremendous team, with a Super Bowl pennant and a quarterback that has won two of them. It is going to take everything we have, but I think we will be up to the challenge. "
David Harris, Linebacker
(On the difference from the last game)
"This time everybody wanted it real bad. We tried to limit the big plays, we stuck to our game plan and it worked. The defensive line had a great game today, they came up with six sacks and Tom Brady is one of those guys that doesn't get sacked very much. "
(On the interception)
"[Fortunately] Brady overthrew his back and I was in the right place at the right time. I was just trying to get as much out of it as possible, but I ran out of gas. It's a long way to the end zone."