HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
BB: All right. Well, it was a disappointing outcome for us today. Had some opportunities throughout the course of the game and just couldn't do enough with them in all areas. Offensively, we moved the ball, but just -- let me just open it up first here. So, as I was saying, defensively, obviously all the areas of the game, the passing game, we didn't do a good enough job there, especially in the first half. We had some opportunities to convert on third down in the red area and we just weren't able to do it. Then Watson had a good day, like we have seen him have before. They have a lot of good skill players, tight ends and receivers. So we just didn't do enough, didn't do enough at the critical times to, that we needed to. So it's disappointing, but we'll turn the page here and move on. Still have a lot of confidence and belief in the team. If we just do things a little bit better then the results will be different and better. But, I don't know, we just couldn't do it today.
Q: It seemed like there were a handful of plays today, particularly the last fourth down on that last possession you guys had, where the Texans had a blitzer come in unblocked, unchecked. It felt like there were a lot of unblocked blitzers today, just what was the issue there?
BB: I wouldn't say it was a lot. I think it might have happened a couple times. But, yeah, we just got to identify it and block it. They did a good job of timing them up and we just obviously have to collectively as a team execute better against those plays.
Q: Have you had a chance to visit with Rex Burkhead at all since the game ended and any update on how he's doing?
BB: Yeah, I talked to him and, so we'll wait and get medical confirmation, but obviously, it's a knee injury.
Q: Harris was getting a decent amount of usage early in the game, but then that seemed to tail off. I know he came in with a couple of injuries. Was that, were those things related?
BB: No, I don't think so.
Q: And it seems like in this game and maybe some games earlier in the season as well there have been more missed tackles than usual. Is there anything specific that you could point to for why those might be occurring?
BB: No. No. Something we have to keep working on.
Q: You average five yards per carry on that opening drive and then your average in your run rate went down significantly. Did you see that as a function of the game script getting out of hand, where you're down by 11 at half, or was that a conscious game-plan decision?
BB: Well, I think that Houston, the Texans made some adjustments in the running game and I think we had some good opportunities in the passing game, which we took advantage of. We threw the ball pretty well. So I think that's -- we were able to move the ball. That really wasn't the issue. We had, some penalties stopped us and then we had some missed opportunities when we moved it across the 50 or into the scoring zone.
Q: What did you see in the second half that was particularly encouraging given his production, I think, in the half was maybe the best in maybe over a month.
BB: Sorry, what was that?
Q: Cam's production as a passer. He was hitting at all levels of the field and seemed to be playing as well as he had in a month or perhaps longer. What did you see from him in the second half when the game opened up a little bit?
BB: I think he's been playing very consistently here for awhile. So we have seen that from him for I think a number of games here, really since the San Francisco and the Buffalo games. He's had decent games for us, so have the receivers.
Q: On third down through, it looked like most of the first half when you guys were on the field defensively, it looked like just trying to run, or rush three or four players in those situations. Did you feel like you were putting enough pressure on Watson and how hard is it to strike that balance between having enough in the secondary versus just trying to make the quarterback uncomfortable there?
BB: Yeah, well, I mean, those are the choices you got to make. They got a lot of good receivers. They got a good quarterback. They have done pretty well against pressure. It wasn't very good for us last year. We mixed it in there some, but they did a pretty good job with all of it, to tell you the truth.
Q: Along those lines, I wanted to ask you about Deshaun Watson, just his ability to create new throwing lanes and to improv a little bit. How difficult was that to defend tonight? How good is he with that?
BB: He's very good. Yeah, he's very good at it. He's a big, strong kid, hard to tackle, gets outside the pocket, creates some space out there. And the lines are very long. They just kind of get in the way and Watson makes things work out. He's got good pocket presence and he's a really good quarterback and he had a really good day today. All the yards they gained weren't in the passing game either. It was him running or him throwing. It was the entire offense. He did a good job with it, obviously.
Q: Obviously, a disappointing stat defensively. Can you talk about your defensive effort there in the second half?
BB: Yeah, well, it was certainly more competitive in the second half. We still had a couple of second and long and third down conversions that allowed them to get into field goal range. But it was good to keep them out of the end zone in the second half, other than the two field goals. But we gave up too many points in the first half and just couldn't make the stops there in the second half to keep them out of field goal range. So I mean, it got better, but it wasn't in the end. It just wasn't good enough. Watson and their offense was, they just out-coached us and outplayed us today in that phase of the game.
QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Q. What are your initial takeaways on the game and how it ended on the fourth -and-4?
"Yeah, we've just got to keep competing. We had a lot of games just like it ended today, and we've just been on the short end of the stick. At the same time, it didn't come down to that play. We had our opportunities in the first, second and third quarter prior to it leading up to that particular moment. We've got to be better throughout the whole game – offensively, defensively and special teams – and we will"
Q. Damiere Byrd talked about execution. What are your thoughts on the execution of that last drive?
"It was OK. We were moving the ball, so it's not like it was a lack of execution. It just has to be a little bit more execution on the gotta-have-it situations in situational football."
Q. This is a hard question to ask after a loss, but you talked during the week about your influence on other quarterbacks. QB Deshaun Watson played well today. Do you think in the long view, someday you'll really absorb the influence or generational impact you've had on quarterbacks around the league?
"It's too early to tell right now. My main focus is trying to win football games for the New England Patriots, and that's where I keep it."
Q. If you could walk through the final play and how it unfolded from your point of view.
"Yeah, we had a good play call, but it just came down to execution. They brought some pressure. I tried to make the most of it, but at the same time, that was a good defense. That team was not an indication of what their record said. We knew that. They have a lot of talent on that team, especially defensively. Through it all, we've just got to take this opportunity, learn from it and be ready to go next week."
Q. How difficult was it to lose RB Rex Burkhead?
"It was extremely devastating knowing how great of a teammate he is, knowing how great of a leader he is, knowing what he brings to this team. But he's a warrior, and I know he'll be back stronger. His influence will be missed."
Q. How frustrating was it to not come out with a win?
"That's the only reason why you do play is to win. For us, we've just got to play better offensively, myself included. Accept challenges from where they come. Our defense did give us an opportunity at the end, holding them to a field goal. We've just got to keep, keep, keep thriving on becoming the best team that we can possible be."
Q. What happened in the second half that allowed you and WR Damiere Byrd to have such a connection and hit on big plays?
"Damiere was just doing exactly what he's been doing all year, pretty much, in practice. For it to show up in the game is just what Coach always talks about. Practice, preparation and execution turns in to in-game reality. Damiere has been doing a great job on those routes, and for him to keep coming downhill and for it to show up on game day, it just showed what he's capable of doing today."
Q. Is it as simple as doing better on first and second down so that you don't end up with the third and longs that you had today?
"We've just got to sustain drives, I feel like. With a defense like we played today, with such a strong front seven, we've just got to make sure that we sustain drives and keep them out there. They don't typically give up big plays. We knew that coming in to this game. Have to find ways to string together plays, run the football, keep them off-balance with the pass. We were able to do that some, and sometimes we just got one dimensional. But yet through it all, like I said, we had our opportunities. Coach believed in us, and he leaned more so on the passing game today, and we've just got to find ways to win."
Q. JJ Watt had four batted passes in the game. Was there anything specific that was leading to those passes batted at the line of scrimmage?
CN: JJ Watt, he's an all-pro, perennial all-pro. He's a defensive Player of the Year, one of the best players in this generation. So for us, it is what it is. They get paid too. So for us to go against that, I'm not saying we fold up the tent, but at the same time, they're going to make plays just like we're going to make plays and we just can't get bent out of shape when that happens. We just got to move on and still be able to move the ball like we did show sometimes today, but it's not enough.
Q. There were a couple of moments in this game, particularly on that fourth down at the end, where Houston was able to get some free rushers in the back field on you guys. Was there anything consistent in those moments that was happening on your offensive end that led to those moments?
CN: We just have to go back and watch the film, learn from it, be better from it, and when we're put back in that situation again we'll execute better.
Q. They brought some pressure off the left side there on that one and Isaiah had just come out of the game. Did that have anything to do with any communication on that side of the line there?
CN: I wouldn't say that. They brought that pressure multiple times today. We knew that they were a repeat type of defense and if it hurt us one time, which it did, they will come back to it, and surely they did. So for us, it's just a matter of understanding situational football and position guys in situations and everyone will be firing on all cylinders. But like I said, we'll learn from it and be better from it and just have another opportunity coming up this week with a great week of practice and our next opponent.
WIDE RECEIVER DAMIERE BYRD
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Q. Just your overall thoughts. Did you have a feeling coming in that this might be the day for you?
"I always think every game is a day for me and whatever happens, you never know what's going to happen, you never know what game you'll get called upon to get to do that, to be factor on the offense and today was my lucky day and Cam (Newton) trusted in me and we were able it make a few plays."
Q. Did you have on the, I think it was in the third quarter, there was a third down play where you caught the ball on the screen and you almost had to kind of crawl to the first down marker. What did you see there and did you realize just how close you were to the line?
"Yeah, it was a good alert by Cam (Newton). He checked the play and then I was just trying to run and get as far as I could. I knew it was third down. So I knew I was close. I wasn't sure how close. I was trying to give it my all."
Q. How tough is it to keep coming down with a chance to win games or tie games and be on the wrong side of that? It's happened a few times this year.
"Yeah, it's rough. I think that's what makes a difference in this league. You look across the league game-wise, it usually comes down to one possession, one possession, one play, two plays to be able to tie it up or to go in the lead, and that's the difference. We have to find a way to be able to handle it and get it on our side and take advantage of it."
Q. Did you feel confident, not in the last, last Hail Mary drive, but the drive before, that you were moving the ball and that were you going to be able to accomplish the mission?
"Yeah, I think I definitely was confident in our entire offense. I think we all were. We knew exactly what we were going to get, but we just weren't able to execute it."
Q. So it's a career game for you in receiving yards, your first hundred-yard game. I know you've already set now a career high in receiving yards this season. Do you feel like you've proven something just to the rest of the NFL, to maybe yourself, just about your status in this league and whatnot?
"I think I'm proving to myself that I can be consistent and that I can continue to improve week-in and week-out. It's a long season, as we all know, and my goal is just to continue to get better as the season progresses and playing my best football in November and December and just continue to find ways to help our team win games and score touchdowns."
Q. Just how tough was it on the offense to lose such a versatile player like RB Rex Burkhead when you guys did lose him?
"Yeah, you never want to lose your brother or your teammate. Obviously, Rex (Burkhead) has been great for us throughout the season and it was very tough to see him go down. We're praying for him and hoping that he makes a speedy recovery and that that injury isn't too bad."
Q. And can you just talk about the touchdown pass, the 42-yarder, what the play was and how were you able to just beat your guy because it looked like it was real close and he was hanging on top of you, but you were able at the last second to kind of get away from him?
"Yeah, it was a play that normally may not always get a look more so, just trying to get, run the defender out of there. And Cam (Newton) made a great read and a great throw and then I just tried to shield off the defender and tried to make a good over-the-shoulder catch."
Q. Just kind of mixed emotions for you right now where you have this phenomenal game personally, but the difficult loss, and what's that like for you trying to balance those two things where you obviously have this stand-out game, but a difficult outing for the team?
"It's not really a balance. We lost the game and that's really what I'm here to play for is to win. So If I had zero catches, if I had 15, it would still be bad, for me."
Q. When you look at the group today, there was obviously some ebb and flow at times, but consistency was a challenge. What stands out to you as to why the offense was unable to make plays when you guys needed to, particularly down the stretch?
"We just have to execute. When we execute, when we use our formula, we're able to drive down the field and have positive plays and score touchdowns, put points on the board. When we don't execute, when we don't use our fundamentals and use our rules, then that's when we get in trouble."
Q. A thought on that last drive, how frustrating was it? You were down deep in their territory, you just couldn't come up with a big play when you needed it.
"Yeah, it's frustrating. The games come down to a few plays and we knew what we were going to get. We just weren't able to execute all together across the board and we just have to find a way to have all 11 guys come together and do our assignments right."
Q. How disappointing is it from a momentum standpoint? You guys had won two straight, you lost a tough one in Buffalo. It seemed like everything was going your way. How tough is it for you guys to not get back to that 500 mark?
"Yeah, coming in we knew this was a good team and we knew that we were going to have to play our best. Unfortunately, we didn't today and now we have to go back to the drawing board and continue to do the things that we know that we can do right."
Q. Outside of just not being in the close games, what's the remedy to winning the closer games because you guys have always been in these games? It just seems more times than not you end up on the wrong side of it.
"Yeah, it's execution. You look at it, it's one or two plays where we do the right thing on that play and it might be a touchdown. We do the right thing on another play, it's third and four and now it's a first down and we're in the red zone. It's those plays. Unfortunately, we can have 70 plays and it comes down to two or three and we have to be able to execute when the time comes."
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
No Transcript Provided.