New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, October 26, 2008.
Q: How big a part of your game is confidence, and were you able to build on that today?
MC: I think for any QB, if you play with confidence you play well because you're confident in what you're doing; you're confident in where you're going with the ball. It's a big part of my game and I played with a lot of confidence today. I felt good about the game plan and it showed out there.
Q: Can you talk about the touchdown pass to Kevin Faulk in the fourth quarter?
MC: It was a great catch by him. He made a great move on the linebacker. He was in one-on-one coverage and I just tried to put it out there and give him an opportunity to make the catch. He did a great job. He did what Kevin Faulk does best.
Q: How good of a job did the offensive line do today?
MC: They did an impeccable job. I had great protection all day. I was able to step up, go through my reads—go through one, two, even get to three at times. They did a great job.
Q: Bill Belichick said that you have been playing well all season. Do you agree with that or do you feel like it has been more up and down?
MC: I feel like I've been playing pretty consistent throughout the year. Sometimes the score doesn't reflect that, but we're constantly working, we're constantly trying to get better. I continue to mature, I believe, each and every week. Today was a good performance and something we can go forward and build on.
Q: Did it register with you that you were behind in the fourth quarter and it was up to you and the offense?
MC: It did. And this was a big game for us because it was one where we're behind in the fourth quarter and it's up to us to come back and, in the face of a little adversity, to fight and we did that as an offensive unit. Everybody stepped up and I thought that was a big thing for this offense to prove that we can do that in those tight games because I'm sure there're going to be a lot of those down the road.
Q: Did you calm yourself down a little bit on the last drive? You seemed pretty sure of yourself.
MC: As you get going in the game you just kind of go along and you play the game. I really wasn't worried about the situation other than the fact that I knew we had to score. I wasn't trying to press; I was just trying to go out there and execute the offense like we always try to do and we were successful at it.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about that run for first down in the first half when you kind of had to scamper around a guy a little bit?
MC: I just saw man coverage. I went through my reads and didn't see anybody open and decided to take off and run.
Q: What did you see on that run, especially to get around a couple of defenders there?
MC: I don't know. I saw a lot of big guys running at me and then I just tried to move around and dive. 'Please don't hit me. Blow the whistle.'
Q: Aside from that play, did you feel like you had more time in the pocket this week and that it was there for longer?
MC: It did. The offensive line did a great job today. They gave me a great amount of time in the pocket. I was able to go through my reads. I was able to step up when I needed to and I think that was huge for our passing game.
Q: Is the number of sacks you've taken a case where you are cautious because you don't want to make a mistake, so instead of throwing a bad ball you're conservative in order to get the ball back in the next series?
MC: There are definitely times when taking a sack is a better play than doing something else and trying to make a play when something is not there. Then there are also times when I'm trying to run around and make a play and I'm sure a lot of those sacks aren't even on the offensive line. They've been doing a great job all year. Sometimes I feel like I can make a play outside the pocket and I'll try to scamper and I'll run and it will be a one-yard loss and it ends up being a sack because we were throwing the ball on that play. That happens.
Q: Does Bill Belichick try to discourage you from running, in part because you've got to stay healthy?
MC: No he doesn't. We go out there, and the one thing we try to do each and every week is go out there and don't play scared. If that's part of my game and something where I need to pick up a first down on third down because I don't see anybody down the field then I'm going to run and do it.
Q: There was a sequence where Randy Moss had a tipped ball interception, Wes Welker fell down and the ball was intercepted, and then Randy Moss dropped a ball in the end zone. Was it tough not to get frustrated there?
MC: It's just one of those things where you go out there and you keep fighting. Those things are going to happen, where a guy falls down [or] a tipped ball happens. The main thing I thought was great for the offense was that we didn't get discouraged. We knew the plays were there; we just didn't make them. Then we came back and made the play when it counted at the end.
Q: Did you see Kevin Faulk make that touchdown catch?
MC: I saw him catch it. It was great. It was a great feeling.
Q: Do you feel like you are playing better as an offense and if so, what specifically are you doing better?
MC: The last two weeks I feel like we've stepped up on offense and we've done a better job. I just think everybody is starting to work together. The offensive coaches have done a great job getting us prepared and ready and we're playing with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. If we can continue to do that and build on the things we're doing well, we'll be hard to stop.
Q: As far as building, do you feel any more confident or do you feel the same?
MC: Week in and week out I try to go out and execute the game plan and play consistently. From week one to week whatever we're in now, I definitely feel a little bit different, from my role, understanding my role, [and] being comfortable in my role.
Q: Do you feel the game slowing down for you?
MC: You talk about slowing down and you try to just understand what they're doing on defense and if you're able to do that that it automatically slows it down. But at the same time, there're a lot of fast guys over there. There're a lot of moving parts and you always have to be on top of it.
Q: In the big picture, what has been the toughest part for you stepping into this role where you almost can't win in comparison to Tom Brady?
MC: I think that's one of the main things when you step into a role like this and you step in for a guy like Tom Brady who has done the things that he's done over the last nine years here. He was the MVP of the league last year. I think it puts a lot of pressure on myself and I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and try to pick up where he left off. Obviously a lot of people would say that's hard to do and it is hard to do, but as long as we can continue to build, we can be a successful offense and continue to grow.
Q: You don't seem to show the pressure you must feel?
MC: I just go out and like I said, I just try to play the game and have fun doing it.
Q: That's hard to do when you haven't played a whole lot.
MC: Sometimes. Sometimes. But I've been here for four years and I wouldn't be in this position if the coaching staff didn't believe in me and that gives me all the confidence in the world.
Q: Have you stopped to think big picture: you're 5-2. Are you proud of that?
MC: Of course we're proud of that. Of course we're proud of that. We're 5-2 right now and hopefully we'll continue to build on that and keep getting better. It's only midway through the season here, so we have a lot of games left and we've just got to keep pushing forward.