HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
BB:We'll start with, you know, really proud of the team, the staff, the team. Obviously, we've had a couple of tough weeks. Yeah, I thought those guys really competed well all week in terms of preparation and studying. Obviously had some moving parts that we were dealing with, new guys coming on the team, not sure about the availability of some other players, some played, some didn't. The overall resiliency and determination that the team, as a group and the staff showed I thought was really, really good this week. So battled all the way through it. Some big plays in the game, like there always are. It was good to come out on the positive side of them today. We'll see what happens next week. But Miami is kind of what we thought they were: explosive team. They certainly caused some problems. We were just able to make enough plays to win, so it's good. It's a good feeling. It's been a while since we beat them, so it's definitely good to finally get on the right side of that ledger.
Q: How big of a spark was Kyle [Dugger] and what he was able to do there for the entire team? He seemed to wake the stadium up. His second in three weeks. How difficult is that to do from your perspective? Explain to us what Kyle has the ability to do.
BB:Yeah, I mean, it was a great play. A little bit like Marcus' [Jones] play. It was a great run. The interception, it was a good play, a good catch and all that but he made a lot of yards on his own. Like I said, like Marcus did last week, breaking tackles there midfield or 40 yard line, whatever it was, cutting back. Yeah, we all know Kyle's a very, very explosive, athletic player. He's done a great job for us jamming receivers, making the run, tackling, making big plays. When he gets his hands on the ball, he's a hard guy to get. Not many guys out there that are going to catch him from behind on offense, so if it was the Detroit scoop-and-score play, the interceptions here he's had the last couple weeks, last few weeks, he's really helped us. Big play with [DeAndre] Hopkins, knocking the ball off of him for the fumble in Arizona, that [Raekwon] McMillan got. He's been involved in a lot of those big plays. That's obviously really helped us.
Q: You touched on it a little bit, but just the resiliency of this group after a couple tough weeks to get a chance in the post-season?
BB:Yeah, I think that sums it up. It's a good feeling. Guys worked hard. We have something to show for it here today. It's a good thing.
Q: New Year's resolution this year to get a win?
Q: On the last offensive play before the kneel-down, the throw to Jakobi [Meyers], David [Andrews] said the play that was executed was different from what was called. What did you see from what happened from the play called to what was ultimately executed on the field? What did Mac change on that play?
BB:All right, so the last offensive play before the kneel-down was the sack?
Q: I meant the touchdown to Jakobi.
BB:Oh, the touchdown to Jakobi. Yeah. They ran a goal line defense, we shifted out. We had a couple of options on the play. Jakobi was obviously one of the options. Mac [Jones] took that when there were some other options on the play. I would say in practice it probably hasn't gone to him too many times. But Mac saw the matchup, similar to the two-point play that we hit – was it last week? Whenever it was, a couple weeks ago, against Oakland. Different but kind of similar to that. It's a one-on-one play. If he likes the matchup, he can go out there, then that just trumps the other part of the play.
Q: What did you think of the job Mac did today, not just on the last drive but throughout the game?
BB:Well, we were a little inconsistent offensively, so there were some good things. Miami played quite a bit of man coverage on the first drive, then Josh [Boyer] switched to the zone coverage with a couple blitzes. He sprinkled in a couple blitzes. We didn't do so well against that. We had a long drive, 90 yards, whatever it was, convert a couple third downs, a big play to Jakobi. Hunter [Henry] had a good day for us on third down overall for us against man coverage. They mixed it up pretty good like they usually do, man to zone to some heavy blitz looks, back to zone, a little bit of man, third down. We got them some, they got us some. That's kind of the way it goes there. They did a good job mixing it up, but we were able to convert enough to combine with Kyle's score, converting enough to win.
Q: On the bigger picture with Jakobi, feels like through the years he's evolved so much to fit what you need on offense. What does that say about him over the last few years to get this far?
BB:Yeah, well, Jakobi has had a career like some other players at that position have had here. Rookie free agent, wasn't drafted, low expectations. Came in, made the team. Not really sure how good it was going to be. Kept improving, kept working. Quarterback going to receiver. Learned a lot. Played with some other good players then coaches. He's worked hard and gotten better every year and expanded what he can do, whether it's blocking the running game, run option-type routes, go down the field, make plays in single coverage outside. He's got a good feel. He's got a good concentration. He's smart. He's tough. He's come through for us in a lot of big situations. But his progression has been a pretty steady incline since he got here coming out of college at NC State, after he converted from quarterback to receiver. He just works hard, keeps grinding, keeps getting better.
Q: On the sack that Mac took in the fourth quarter from the 29 yard line, how much consideration was there to kicking in that situation? What was the thought process to not kick?
BB:The thought process is try to pick up the first down. It was a long kick.
Q: How about the play? Was that the play you wanted there?
BB:Was that the play we wanted? Yeah, we called the play.
Q: How would you assess the way your cornerbacks and the secondary as a whole performed today?
BB:Played really well as a group. I think that our more experienced players back there, obviously Jon [Jones], Myles [Bryant], really did a good job of not only stepping up but also helping Tae [Hayes] and Q [Quandre Mosely] with some of the communication back there. I mean our safeties are our safeties, we played a lot of safeties today. We played a lot of three safety calls, some four safety calls where they were all on the field together. Tried to jam the receivers. I thought overall we did a decent job of that. Didn't give up a lot of explosive plays, which they've had a lot of them, probably as many as anybody in the league. 40-yard passes. They've had a bunch of them that have gone for 60 and 70. Did a good job of jamming the receivers, keeping the ball in front of us, converted on some third downs. I thought the leadership from the safety group, plus Jon and Myles, was just really good. Kept getting things organized. Again this is a team that uses a lot of motion and misdirection, formation change-up, different personnel groups between the tight ends, some two-back sets, some fullback and halfback, two halfbacks, three receivers, two receivers, two receivers and [Mike] Gesicki, two receivers and not Gesicki, then a lot of movement on that. Those guys did a really good job. We didn't really have a lot of coverage mistakes. They hit a few passes on us, of course, which they do against everybody, a couple pop passes and play-actions. Overall, a lot of balls went to the backs on checkdowns and things like that. Those guys were hard to tackle, but at least we were able to keep the game under control that way. Anything is better than a 60-yard touchdown. Thought our secondary did a good job, Mike [Pellegrino], Brian [Belichick], Steve [Belichick], Jerod [Mayo], all those guys. I thought our front played well, too. We handled a pretty good running game. We were competitive there. Then we got some pressure on the quarterback. A good team defensive effort.
Q: On the Dugger interception, that's a coverage you guys have run this year. New guys on the field. A lot of moving parts on that play. Is that an example of guys taking coaching over the course of the season, the coaches doing a good job to come up with a play like that at the end of the season?
BB:Well, again, I think the big thing in zone coverage is having good awareness of the pattern. Any time you get pressure on the quarterback, and the quarterback doesn't have time to look off and move the defense, you get a good break on the ball, you get a player like Kyle who is fast and long, some players wouldn't have been able to quite get to that ball, but he did. Like I said, it's a big difference when he got his hands on it and being able to run with it. Yeah, zone coverage is all about discipline, finding receivers, reading the quarterback, getting a good break on the ball. Kyle did all those, so we've used a decent amount of zone, man, pretty even I would say roughly on the mixes. A little more man on third down, a little more zone on early downs. Enough of each to try to keep the offense off balance.
Q: There are a couple of plays that Tyquan [Thornton] made today. What is your thought on his performance?
BB:Yeah, he certainly has helped us. It's good to have him. He came back early in the year but he missed so much time early, it took him a little while to catch up on some things. He's an explosive player that can attack the vertical part of the defense. Fast with run-after-catch opportunities, things like that. But like any rookie, there's always room for improvement. There's things he needs to work on and can do better. But he certainly helps us. He's a big target. Obviously the quarterbacks, Mac likes to throw to him. Big, fast guy. Quarterback-friendly. But, yeah, he's made some big plays for us. He opens up some other things because of his ability to stretch the field vertically. Hopefully we can hit on him some more going forward.
Q: When you were talking about the leadership of Myles and Jon, the safeties, Devin [McCourty] just spoke a few minutes ago, and he said that he thought about the possibility that this could have been his last home game. Today in particular, given the circumstances with the secondary this week, how valuable has his leadership been to get you to this point?
BB:Yeah, I think you captured it pretty well. That's really what it is. Devin has done about everything a player could do for this program. Say the same thing about Matt Slater in the kicking game. I mean, I don't know if there's ever been or ever going to be a player than Matt Slater as an overall special teams player and the leadership he brought to the team, along with Devin. Devin came in as a corner, went to the Pro Bowl, moved to safety, led the defense from the safety position from his second year on. His off-the-the field leadership, on-the-field leadership is superior, as good as anybody I've ever coached at that position. He does everything right. He's done everything right since he's been here. He knows the line calls. He knows the defense inside and out, so he has total respect from everybody because of his preparation and his unselfish play. Same thing for Slater. I don't know if he was here either, same question, but probably. What those two guys have done, what they mean to this organization, what they mean to me personally, what they've done here, it's pretty impressive, pretty elite. So, you know, I'm sure Devin would have liked to have had one more interception on the ledger today but he gave us, again you just don't see a lot of great plays that he makes, communication or adjustments he makes. When we have to change coverages, make coverage adjustments, it always runs through him. The front runs through a lot of times [Ja'Whaun] Bentley, down safeties. But all coverage adjustments run through him. It's like truly having a coach on the field, having somebody that can see a problem, fix it, or at least take us out of a problem because of whatever, they sub late, the formation, whatever it happens to be. He's got great judgment and great decision making. His decisions are quick, they're decisive, and they're almost always right. Any decision is a bad decision if you're hesitant and everybody doesn't get it. Making sure that we're all on the same page, that's always number one. Yeah, he's a special one. He's a special one. All right. Thank you.
QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
Q: Mac, just a thought on what you guys were able to do as a team. Also, was that maybe your best drive of the season?
MJ: Yeah, I think it was a great day here just fighting through a lot of different things on offense. I didn't play very well in the middle of the game. My voice is kind of going, sorry. I didn't play as good as I wanted to in the middle of the game. I thought our guys just kept fighting. We made some big plays in some big moments. That's what the NFL is all about. Obviously defense did great job of putting us in a good spot, special teams. Obviously, at the end of the game here, special teams came up huge with Hunter [Henry] getting the onside kick. Really proud of the guys for all the effort today.
Q: I wanted to ask you about the third down throw to Jakobi Meyers. When did that get in the playbook? What did you see on the play?
MJ: Yeah, I think it was a really good play call. Just kind of give them a little bit of a different presentation, run one of our core plays. It was cool to be able to do that. He had a great route. Obviously had plenty of time to throw it and go through my read. That was a big conversion. We had a few big conversions. A lot of things I'm sure we can clean up. Just going to watch the film and see what we can do better. Had to get the win and we found a way to do it. That's what the NFL is all about.
Q: It takes a lot to be a successful receiver in this league. Tyquan Thornton obviously a rookie. What have you seen from him from the beginning of the season to now, the plays he made today, his ability to run routes and be where you need him to be?
MJ: Yeah, I think he's a really good route runner, really good, fast, smart kid. Works hard. Doesn't complain about anything. Just goes out there and does what he's supposed to do. We have a lot of guys like that on our team. Just excited to grow with him. He's a young player. I'm a young player. We're working every day to get that chemistry. He's done a great job. Definitely we're going to watch the film together. I always like to tell him things to work on, same thing with him. He's very comfortable about telling me, "Hey, put it here, put it there, let's try this, try that." As a young player, definitely impressed with him. His ability to communicate at a really high level during the games by telling me what he sees, too. Love our receivers and all those guys. They fight hard for each other, fight hard for the team. That's what it's all about.
Q: Would you mind giving us a little bit of your view on the go-ahead touchdown? We saw Jakobi Meyers move out.
MJ: Yeah, I think we shifted and stuff. Puts a lot of stress on the defense. Been working on that play for quite some time here. Finally got to do it in the game. Just a heads-up play. Sometimes with the shifts and motions, that's what happens on defense. Hard to communicate, all that. But definitely made a great catch. Those are sometimes the hardest because you see a guy running out, looking at you, you don't want to put it on a line so they can intercept it. Definitely made a great play. It was a good situational play.
Q: How grateful and impressed have you been with the team's defense, the fact they've been able to help you along this season?
MJ: Yeah, I think obviously when I first came here, I was really fired up because I knew that we had such a great defense, everyone last year and this year, throughout history. All those guys play hard. Really well-coached. We have great scheme. Just great players. Definitely want to be able to produce more on offense. It starts with me as the quarterback. I know we've been saying that a lot. At the end of the day, we've just got to keep trying to win games, play with each other, try to finish games strong, be able to score more points so they don't have to do that part for us.
Q: In the event that this was Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty's last game here at Gillette, what have you learned from them and what do they mean to you?
MJ: Yeah, I think we have a lot of great older players on the team. Those guys just come to work every day and set the standard of Patriot football. Yeah, I think we have a great group. Obviously that's something that they're not focused on, we're not focused on. We're just trying to have a great week here and enjoy this one, get ready to play a really good team. That's what they want. They just want to have their best week, for us to have our best week. Love those guys. Excited to have a good week here.
Q: What did the touchdown drive to put the team up 23-14 mean to you personally in that you executed the drive, put the team over the top?
MJ: Yeah, I think we definitely made that an emphasis this week in practice. Kind of got back to working on that stuff, making sure we were sharp on everything. Definitely showed up in the game. We felt prepared, like always. It comes down to the execution of the plays. We're going to have to do that again here you never know when, probably the next game. You never know when that opportunity comes. You got to be ready, have a plan, then obviously go out and execute it.
Q: Hunter Henry obviously with the onside kick, that's a huge play.
Q: What is it about Hunter Henry in that clutch situation that makes him the guy? Then on the drive before the kneel-down, take us back to that.
MJ: Yeah, I think Hunter is just a great all-around, savvy football player. He has a great understanding of not only the tight end position, but for example that right there, staying calm, fielding the ball. Not the easiest thing to do when the game is on the line. That's just who Hunter is. He's a laid-back, easygoing guy. I love Hunter. Excited to grow with him throughout the years, all that. He did a great job. Obviously on that fourth down play, it's just taking care of the ball. We had a play that we were trying to execute. The biggest thing is just not give it back to their team for an easy, whatever, touchdown or whatever it may have been. Definitely going to learn from that one, see what I can do better, ask more questions, just to make sure we have a good plan there. So good learning experience, for sure.
Q: Tyquan Thornton was your leading receiver today. How have you gotten together? How has that chemistry built up over the last few weeks?
MJ: Yeah, I think Tyquan, like I said, is a smart, tough, fast football player. Comes to work every day, just puts his head down and works. Like I said, doesn't complain about anything. Just goes to work. Obviously we want to have even more production, so we're going to do everything we can to get him the ball more, make sure I can let him touch it on some of those deep balls, run underneath that. Some of that is timing that we need to get to throughout the week to make sure we're on the same page. Definitely impressed with the receivers, offensive line, defensive backs. Everybody did a really good job. Just have to flip the page and get ready for a really good team next week. Thanks. Happy New Year. See you.
CENTER DAVID ANDREWS
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
(On the way the team finished out the game and the opportunity to win next weekend and qualify for the playoffs)
"Yeah, we're still alive. It was a tough game, really fought hard. Hats off to them, they had a pretty good game plan coming in, did some things to challenge us. Defense, obviously Kyle [Dugger], I mean, huge play by Kyle. Then we were able to put that together at the end to go ahead. Overall good team win."
(On if he saw the Patriots' final touchdown drive as being a definitive one for the offense)
"Yeah, definitely think so, a drive to keep the season going for us, so big drive, a lot of people made some big plays. Great recognition on Mac [Jones] on that touchdown. He's back there clapping. Next thing I know, it was not what I thought was about to happen. Good job by him and Jakobi [Meyers] being on the same page, recognizing what they saw. Just overall great job by him and everybody that executed, get the ball down there and score."
(On the energy from Kyle Dugger's pick-six)
"Yeah, huge. Feel like Kyle has a touchdown every week it seems like going. Yeah, I mean, it was a huge play. Defense stepped up huge right there. Really gave the whole stadium, like you said, the whole team, some juice. We knew we had a chance to go out there and close it out and put a good drive together. Great job by the defense and then obviously covering that onside kick."
(On what it says about the team to grit out a win with so many injuries at this point of the season)
"I mean, look, everyone goes through it. Obviously some great opportunities for people if your number is called.
I thought obviously some guys did some really good things today, stepped up for us. Good to get Damien [Haris] back. Everyone is dealing with something. A tough league, a long year. Part of it. You learn to play with it."
(On Mac Jones' composure on the final touchdown drive)
"Yeah, did a great job putting us in the right position. Obviously it was a big drive, made some really key throws.
Like I said, that touchdown, that was great recognition by him and Jakobi [Meyers] being on the same page and kind of seeing what they had. I haven't seen it completely, but again, that's not what I thought was going to happen. Just a great drive by him. Thought he did a really good job all day staying composed, made the plays when we had to."
(On what it means to have a chance to win at Buffalo and make the playoffs)
"Yeah, I mean, look, if you've ever had the chance to play this game, you know it's the game of life, right? You're going to get knocked down, you're going to get picked back up, you're going to have some ups and downs. You just have to keep fighting, you got to keep pushing. It's the greatest game on the earth. It teaches you a lot about yourself and your teammates. I think we showed a lot of fight. Obviously got a big challenge this weekend. Playing one-week seasons right now, that's what it is. Huge challenge coming up for this week. Proud of the locker room, everyone rebounding this week and coming to work."
(On how much he and team leaders have done over the last couple weeks here to make sure the team stays focused)
"Look, you've got to be the same person every day. There's no magic thing you can come in, no magic thing you can say to people. I love getting to come in here for work. I love getting to do this. I'm thankful I'm getting to do this. I probably don't deserve to be in this league. I'm super thankful. I think we got a lot of good leaders on this team. It's not me, Devin [McCourty], [Matthew] Slater. No one did anything special. Just try to be the same, try to rally the troops, like I said. It's not anything special we did. A lot of guys in that locker room keep coming to work, keep showing up. It was a great team win overall. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it."
SAFETY KYLE DUGGER
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
(On his pick-six)
"Just cover-two dropping as the middle player. Got some odd drops, saw my threat was eliminated, so I was able to get my eyes back to the quarterback and get around to the backside vertical. Once I got my hands on the ball, I know I needed to score. It helped the team greatly. That was the goal."
(On Devin McCourty and if he's someone he's looked up to)
"One hundred percent. Dev, he's been huge, somebody for me to look up to, talk to, learn from. It's been a huge blessing for me to have him in that room with me. I'm super thankful for it. To answer your question, yeah, I definitely look to take that, learn from what he's done, how he's led for so long, continue to try to do it so well. I'm definitely lucky to have him in there."
(On what he saw on interception return)
"High entry, as the coach would call it. High entry from a couple O-linemen. Really just saw a little gap at the very end. I think it was the quarterback in a way. I saw high entry from the O-lineman, a small gap. I knew I had to get into it to get in the end zone."
(On what it says about the resiliency of this group to do what they did today after the past few weeks)
"To me it's not a surprise. It's kind of just really something that I've always known that the team and the defense has had. I've seen it every day. I know they're going to fight. I know they're going to continue to fight whatever the situation is, whatever the adversity is. I know they're going to keep it pushing once it hits. It was no surprise to me. It says a lot, I guess, about the resiliency here."
(On if he knew he would be able to have the ability to make a play on the pick-six when he got the call and saw the Dolphins formation)
"I don't really remember. I know the stick situation had a lot to do. We knew it's probably going to be some vertical routes, vertical route concepts downfield. That had a lot to do with it. As far as making the play myself, you never really know what it's going to be your time to do that. I was in the right place at the right time."
(On scoring three touchdowns this year)
"They don't come back to my house. I don't keep that kind of stuff. I'm making sure I'm trying to get the next win, next thing I can do to help the team honestly."
(On how much he's looking forward to the opportunity to win next week and make the playoffs)
"We're very excited for it, the challenge ahead, knowing we've got to put a lot into the week. We're super excited for the opportunity. We're going to make sure we do everything we can to make it a good game.
(On how far he feels like he's come as a player and how far he feels he can go)
"I still have a lot, a ton of things to work on and get better at. As far as how far I've come, I'm a lot better now than I was then. I'll say that. I've learned a lot. I definitely know I have so much to learn still. I mess up still things. I know I shouldn't be messing up. Things like being consistent, it's still huge for me. I got a lot to work on still.
(On what it says about the defense to have scored seven defensive touchdowns)
"It just kind of shows that the mentality is get the ball and go score, get the ball and go score. Drive the drive, down the down. That's just the mentality of us. I think that's really the thing that highlights the most."
LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
(On Kyle Dugger)
"I think you're going to have to write Kyle a blank check, that's how good he is right there. Just for him to get that interception and then turn it into offense, that's a one-man band. It just seemed like every week we come up with one. We've got to keep doing it, keep focused on it. That's the goal. For Kyle to do that, it was a really unbelievable play."
(On the character of this group)
"I say it every week, that we put more pressure on us than anybody else do. We need this. We came out, we executed I believe in all three phases. It was some stuff that went on, but that's how you play. That's how you play. That's a good team. You know you've got to fight till the end. That's what we did. It came down to an on-side kick. We just executed a couple more plays than they did. That's how you get a win against good teams."
(On the franchise record of seven defensive touchdowns this season)
"Like I said, we work on it. Scoop-and-scores, interceptions to offense. Honestly, it's more incredible plays by people with the ball in their hands, by some DBs. Marcus [Jones], [Kyle] Dug [Dugger], [Raekwon] 'Kwon [McMillan]. It's more just better plays by really good players."
(On Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater)
"Honestly, Slate and McCourty are the ones that do the talking before the game. They didn't mention that. They mentioned going out there and having a complete team win, which it was. I think those guys over their career, they are so unselfish, they are so team-oriented that they don't talk about themselves. They don't focus on the me, me, me. It's all about the we, how can we win, how can we execute. I think hindsight after the game, they kind of think about that stuff. They spend a little extra time on the field. But before the game, they don't really talk about that stuff. They don't talk about the me, they talk about the Patriots and the team."
(On playing with Devin McCourty)
"I believe just with all the bullets flying, with all the emotions out there, everything hectic, Dev is very stoic. He is always calm. He always communicates. He always gets us in the right call. I don't know how long he's been wearing a green dot, but since I've been here he has been wearing a green dot. He's been a play-caller. That's how you know a person is a staple to offense and defense, right? Dev has been a staple. Even though he dropped that pick today, I think the consistency over years, over a time frame, has been kind of unbelievable. That's why I think he's a first ballot, but he definitely will go down in Patriots' history for everything that he did for this defense and this team."
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 1, 2023
(On how much of a spark Kyle Dugger's pick-six was)
"We talked last night about scoring on defense is something we've done now four weeks in a row. It's something that's given us a great boost as a team. As soon as Dug caught it, if you watch the film, you probably see everybody trying to get a block. You can see Dug going, 'I'm not going out-of-bounds, I'm finding a way into the end zone.' Any time a guy like Dug, one of our best players overall on the team, gets the ball in his hands, third touchdown of the year. We needed him today. Stepped up big. I would say over the latter part of the season he's played great football. Really proud just to be able to be in there with him. His production and studying, his process throughout the season, it's no wonder it's paying off. The guy has been tremendous."
(On this game potentially being his last at Gillette Stadium)
"I took a moment. Spend some time with my family on the field. It's been a great run. To come out here, if this was the last one, I think to be able to leave Gillette with a win, very similar to how my first-ever game was a win. I've had a lot of fun. These guys have been awesome to go out here and compete with. You never know how football goes. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it before the game, and just now. Give a high five to the Minutemen, something I've done over and over and over again after wins. Just kind of think about that, let that settle in, just trying to make sure I stay in the moment, enjoy. But definitely gave it a few seconds today."
(On the importance of scoring seven defensive touchdowns this season)
"It's been a huge lift. I think we got a lot of guys, when we get the ball in our hands, we're trying to score. Again, like I said, I think it's the group as a whole, you see everyone is trying to get a block, everyone is trying to lead the guy to the end zone. We talked about turning those turnovers into points. It's been big for us. I think even special teams, like Marcus [Jones] scoring, blocked a punt, got the ball on the one or two yard line. Finding ways to win. I've talked about that earlier in the season. We don't know what it's going to be, but finding a way to win the game, whether it's a defensive touchdown, special teams, whether it's the offense going on an eight-minute drive, they score. Whatever it is, it's that time of year, we got to figure it out and do those things."
(On how important it was to have his twin Jason McCourty at the game)
"That's my guy. Just so many ups and downs throughout my career, individually different things. Just being able to rely on him and count on him. It was cool. This is the second time he's been able to come to the game as a fan. He's a working guy now. He worked the Buffalo game. I think for both of us, our relationship, the bond of just pushing each other. I know he's on edge watching, just like I used to be on edge watching him play. But it's been a great joy to grow up with somebody and have a dream, accomplish that dream, get to do it together for three years. But to just watch each other do something that a lot of people told us it would probably be impossible for one of us to do, let alone two of us to do it. It's like running a race next to your best friend. At the end you tie each time. We've had a lot of time watching each other and supporting each other throughout our careers."
(On what it says for this team to competing for a playoff position)
"Character. I don't know what game I said it after or before, but I don't think we have the men in that locker room that have the character to quit. I think each guy in that locker room all has a story of how they got here. We got a guy like Jon [Jonathan] Jones undrafted, Kyle Dugger, D-II guy, Judon, D-II guy, two of our best players on defense. I think that character, just that determination to be on top as individuals I think motivates this team to stick together and play together. I think we don't want to go out there and not give it our all I think because of the guys next to us. We're fully aware of this team, it won't be the same next year. We got one more opportunity that we're guaranteed. We're going to go out there and play together, give it our best shot for 60 minutes. I think that's something we can live with. Anything else I think will crush us as individuals. I think that's why you see this team coming out here next week, practice our butts off, go out there in Buffalo and try to get in the playoffs."
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Jakobi Meyers, WR
(On his touchdown)
"Yeah I was in tight at first and I shifted out. Nobody came out with me, I looked at Mac [Jones] and he saw me. We all pray for moments like that, to be open like that. I saw his look and I just knew what it meant and we were good to go."
(On if they can become a complementary team late in the season)
"I would say so, at least I am hoping so. That is something we practice hard for every day when we go out here and put our pads on. If that is what we turn into, I would be very proud of it. Like I said, it is always good when you catch stride, it does not matter when you do it."
(On what Matthew Slater means to him)
"Man, he's one of many great guys. But that is a special one, you would probably have to do a whole day type of conversation to just really understand what he means to this team. For everybody, he's just a guy to look to when everything is going wrong or even when things are going well on how to handle it. He's just an ultimate Patriot and an ultimate man and if I could grow up and be like him I would be proud of myself."
Jabrill Peppers, S
(On the change to playing four safeties)
"Everybody's interchangeable, you know. We all understand the game plan, we all understand what to do. It's just the look we want to show the offense and how we want to move the moving parts."
(On the coverage plan for today's game)
"Keep everything in front of you. Be physical with their receivers and come up and make the tackles. And I think we did our job."
(On if the team was building on their performance from previous weeks)
"You know we just felt as though that's probably what's best for the game plan that week. Get eyes on the quarterback, be physical with the receivers, and break when the ball gets thrown."
(On how he's able to play different positions)
"For sure, I feel like that about all of the guys. We all play deep, in the box, outside, and that's great for the defense because you can be pretty interchangeable."
Jonathan Jones, DB
(On playing with a depleted secondary)
"Guys stepped up. With a team like this late in the season, you need guys to step up and we were able to go handle business."
(On if he likes matching up against Tyreek Hill)
"I guess. It's a good challenge. He's one of the top receivers in the league. He's been for a while now. He's not slowing down, so he'll be a good receiver for a long time."
(On how the defense limited Tyreek Hill)
"We did a good job. We were able to control him. Not give up the big plays or what they like to do. Kept him in front of us. I'm pretty sure the quarterback situation had a lot to do with it, but we came to play ball."
(On the defense's ability to give the team a chance to win)
"That's our goal. We show up week in and week out to try to do the best we can. We try to make plays, make impact plays, which we've done a lot from the front end to the back end this year to help us win."
(On playing through pain today)
"Everybody is banged up this time of year. It's the end of the season a lot of guys are banged up. So, we try to be out there to fight."
Matthew Slater, WR
(On his future)
"You know, as much as I try to block it out and focus on doing my job, it certainly dawned on me today that this very well could be my last game here. I don't know what my future holds. I haven't spent a ton of time thinking about it, I've been trying to stay in the moment. I certainly took time to appreciate being in this stadium and running out of that tunnel today. Saw a couple of signs that were thanking D-Mac [Devin McCourty] and myself. I don't know what either of us have in store but I think when you get to this stage of it, you try to take in every moment and savor it. I think some of the players and coaches knowing that I'm not sure of what my future have expressed gratitude and that meant a lot to me, and just told me they loved me and it just means so much, it really does."
(On playing for a playoff spot despite the lows the team has experienced)
"This is a resilient group. I've been a part of a lot of teams here. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be a part of this crew. We have been dragged through the mud, kicked, counted out, and we just keep fighting. What more can you ask for? As a leader of this team that is all you ask for, is guys that come in and compete every week regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what's being said about them. That's the type of football team we have."
(On what he'll do as a captain to get the team ready for next week)
"I think the message has to be just leave it all out there. This is a playoff game for us, we have to treat it as such. The urgency, the preparation, the focus, the attention to detail, it all needs to be there. So I am certainly going to be pushing hard. I do not know what my future holds so I want to make this count on a personal level and I know a lot of guys feel that same way so we will see how it goes."
Deatrich Wise Jr., DL
(On the pass rush plan)
"The plan was to get after him. They changed it and took Teddy [Bridgewater] out and putting Skylar [Thompson] in. He did a great job running around making plays with his feet, but we were still trying to get after him. We missed a few but at the end of the day we caused a lot of pressures and bad throws and that's what we wanted to do."
(On playing a meaningful game next week)
"Every game has been a big game for us since – it's been a long time. So, we've been fighting for an opportunity to play in the postseason. We capitalized this week, and we'll get back to work on Wednesday. Take advantage of a great opportunity against Buffalo."
(On having Christian Barmore back)
"He made some great grown man plays. Throwing guys on the ground making big plays, making sacks. Even intimidating the offense by doing the Waddle. That was really good. He did a great job all day creating pressure and having big stops."
(On this week's preparation)
"It's been the same. We're going to prepare how we always do. Watch as much film as possible. Understand our opponent and capitalize on game day."