New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 7, 2008.
Q: What were you thinking when Tom Brady went down? Take us through your entire game.
MC: This is something I've been preparing for a long time. It's not something that we expected to come up on the opening day. I went out there, I got a lot of reps during preseason and that ended up being pretty fortunate for me because I got a lot of looks and everything like that. Obviously there's an adrenaline pump that went on immediately and then you just come back and focus on the job at hand and what needed to get done.
Q: Did you know right away that Tom wouldn't be back?
MC: You never wish injury on anybody. Since I've been here and been around Tom, he's always popped back up. I didn't know what was going to go on. I just buckled my chinstrap and if that was what was going to be, then that's what it was going to be.
Q: How much did that pass to [Randy] Moss help to settle you down?
MC: It was nice to get out of the end zone and get going, get that first pass out of the way and to have a nice completion like that. The guys did a great job today: Randy, all the rest of the receivers. The running backs ran the ball well and the offensive line did an exceptional job up front.
Q: Take us through that play with Moss, what was the play call?
MC: It was a play action pass. We had run a few balls and we were backed up. Randy made a great move to get on top of the guy and I just tried to put it in the vicinity. He did a great job coming down with the ball.
Q: What was the route that Randy ran on that play?
MC: It was just a simple go.
Q: Is going into the game on third-and-11 on your own one the worst circumstances you can think of?
MC: As a quarterback you have to deal with adversity and I think through adversity comes advancement. It was one of those things where it could have turned out that we punt, but we made a nice play and Randy made a great catch and now we're moving the chains.
Q: How did you feel as the game went on?
MC: You start to settle in a little bit and like I said, I have to rely on those guys and those guys rallied around me. I felt their support, both defensively and offensively, and you just have to go out there and focus on your job and continue to execute from one series to the next.
Q: How good does it feel to get the win today?
MC: It's great. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. To be out there and get this win and have it be a real team victory, because the defense and special teams, everybody played well. To have it be a team win and do it on the field felt really spectacular.
Q: Not counting the preseason, when was the last time you played that much in a game that counted?
MC: It had to be high school, I'd have to say.
Q: What was that game?
MC: It was the last game versus Poly in the third round of the playoffs, or something like that. We ended up losing. We didn't go to the championship, unfortunately, but that's how it goes.
Q: Did Brady say anything to you after the game?
MC: No, I haven't talked to Tom yet, but I am looking forward to talking to him and seeing how he's doing.
Q: What was the atmosphere in the huddle?
MC: Everybody just [said] words of encouragement: 'get ready to go' and 'we need you'. It was good. I felt their support throughout the entire game and they were there for me. I just took that and it motivated me to do well and motivated me to do my job.
Q: How much more comfortable did you get as the game progressed?
MC: I think you start to settle in. You start to see the defenses and then you start to go out there and do what we've been taught to do in practice for a long time.
Q: How much more comfortable will you be now if you get the call to start next week?
MC: I don't know what Tom's circumstances are but I'm going to come in and approach it like I have each and every week. You never know when you're going to play and this is a great example of that. It's the first day, opening day, you don't know if you're going to play or if you're going to play three times in the fourth quarter like I did last year. It's one of those situations where I'm going to prepare the same way, I'm going to go in there with the same energy and excitement and try and get ready for the Jets.
Q: You said you felt more comfortable today than you did at any point in the preseason?
MC: No, not at all. I prepared the same as I did preseason and I went out there and took the same approach. My approach doesn't change and we got the win today. We were able to go down and put some points on the board and the objective of the game, as always, is to outscore your opponent.
Q: How much of that came after the pass to Moss? You got out of your end zone?
MC: We had a few handoffs in there and you start to just say 'look, I'm going to be playing here'. You just take a deep breath and you get going. After that pass though, it definitely calmed the nerves down a little bit and I said 'I can do this' and 'let's roll'.
Q: How much did playing as much as you did in the preseason help?
MC: It was a tremendous amount of help. I got a ton of looks this preseason. I started four preseason games. I got a ton of reps in practice, so it was definitely a blessing to be able to have those reps and then to be able and come out and, not knowing the circumstances that we had today, then go in there and be able to run the offense.
Q: What where your thoughts when you saw Brady go down?
MC: I didn't really know what was going to happen. I've been here for four years and every time he's been knocked down he's gotten right back up. I was just anticipating that being the next move, but I guess it was what it was and they said 'you're going', so I just buckled my chinstrap and got ready to go.
Q: How cool is it to play an NFL game and get the win?
MC: I'm really, really happy. I couldn't even tell you. There was a huge emotional charge after the game. I've been working for this for a long time. It was definitely rewarding today to get that victory, there's no doubt about that.
Q: In terms of practice this week, did you have the standard back up reps?