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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 12/24

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Mac Jones and select players comment on their game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, December 24, 2022.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

BB: Disappointing finish here. Competitive game. Things to work with but in the end just not enough. Disappointing result.

Q: We saw in the second half the sort of impact that Kendrick Bourne can have when he's made the focal point of the passing game. Why have the opportunities for him to be such a regular target in the offense been so few and far between this year?

BB: No particular reason.

Q: Curious what your impressions were of Joe Burrow. First time you faced him, first time he's faced you. Was it any different from what you'd seen on film?

BB: No, about the same.

Q: On the Bengals, one of their drives early, a third-and-17, far from your sideline. How much consideration did you give to possibly challenging whether he came down and controlled the ball there?

BB: Didn't see anything that would give us a chance to do that.

Q: And at the end of the first half, can you explain just sort of the sequence there, where you had the quick pass and then took a timeout and kneeled? What was behind that thought process?

BB: See what happened, see how much we gained on that play. In the end, didn't feel like it was much we could do there.

Q: You made adjustments in the second half. Defense played great. What was the big change there in the second half after giving up 22 points?

BB: No big change. Same calls.

Q: What have you seen from Marcus Jones and how he's progressed this season?

BB: Yeah, talked about him a lot. He's done a good job for us. A little bit more each week and he's been playing a lot of defense lately.

Q: You've repeatedly taken responsibility for the offense this season. When you don't cross midfield until the end of the third quarter, you get 12 points here today, how much of that is your responsibility? Your players were well-positioned to win today.

BB: I'm the head coach.

Q: You said it was the same calls in the second half. Obviously, Joe Burrow had a great first half. Threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Was the second half you guys slowing him down or was that the Bengals stopping themselves?

BB: I don't know. Call it whatever you want.

Q: I want to know what you call it.

BB: We shut them out in the second half. I thought we played good defense. Call it whatever you want.

Q: How do you make sure that the players stay together these final two weeks of the season here?

BB: Do what we've been doing.

Q: Four straight runs there once you guys got in the red zone on the offense's final drive. Was running clock also a consideration there or just simply trying to score?

BB: Trying to score and trying to control the clock. They used their timeouts. We had control of the clock and the field position on the last, what was it? First-down play.

Q: What was the Bengals defense able to do to slow down your group for three quarters?

BB: Couldn't convert on the third down in the first half. That was the biggest problem.

QUARTERBACK MAC JONES

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

Q: Mac, with about six minutes in the third quarter the team had about 70 yards total offense. Obviously you finished with 285, which means a lot of offense in the last 18, 20 minutes or so of the game. What clicked? Was it different play calling? Personnel groupings? What clicked in your eyes?

MJ: I think obviously tough loss for us here. Definitely things I want to do better. And just got to keep working, got to watch the film and keep working together I think. We didn't quit. We fought hard and at the end of the day, we got to score more points. And we got the ball moving a little bit. But just want to capitalize and score more points. So falls on me as a quarterback. And super disappointed, but also a lot to look back on and realize that we have fighters on this team. And that's tough to say in a loss, but we do, we have fighters on this team. I thought everybody on our offense and defense and special teams fought to the end.

Q: Just your interpretation of what led to the unsportsmanlike penalty on you at the end?

MJ: I think obviously there's a little bit of a pile there and then the ball squirted out actually into another pile. I went over there and tried to grab the ball to save the game. So at the end of the day, you've got to take your chance and try to get the ball, got to compete for the ball because it's a live ball until somebody holds it up in the air. You got to go get it, and that's what I tried to do.

Q: We saw the impact Kendrick Bourne had when he was a focal point of the offense. Why do you think those opportunities where he's been getting the ball consistently in big situations like that have come so few and far between, especially when it comes to throwing down field?

MJ: I think KB, he's a great teammate, and he's one of my closest friends. Every time I've seen him, he's had a smile on his face, even in a situation like that at the end of the game where we're trying to fight back and there's a lot of pressure, he's in there smiling, like, "let's go do that." When you see that from a guy, and I'm saying the same stuff in the huddle, I want to look for a guy like that, who wants to compete and play and play with effort. He's one of those guys. And we've got all those guys, the receivers did a great job. Obviously we have some tight end injuries. Hope those guys are okay. And the running backs competed. And Scotty [Washington] went in there, obviously did a great job. That's a tough situation as a guy who hasn't played all year jumps in there. Thought the O-line did good. I'm just super disappointed. You've got to watch the tape and grade yourself as an individual and grade yourself as an offense and as a team. We're going to do that. We've just got to move on from it.

Q: You've had a lot of crazy finishes this year as a team. When you look at this one, three timeouts, in the red zone, a chance to score, obviously it's frustrating. But when you look back on it must be hard to believe you didn't punch it in there, right?

MJ: Yeah, I think first of all no one probably believed that we would come back from 22 points. But we fought and we're right there. You score and it's a totally different game. So tough situation. Just got to execute better. It falls on me, do things better. Then when we get the ball back, just at that point you've got to have better execution. Got to know where to go, got to know where to throw it. In that situation there's not a lot of time. So just the same thing, just got to learn from it and be better at situational stuff. And it starts with me.

Q: How do you feel Marcus Jones has been a spark for you guys on all sides of the ball?

MJ: He's just ridiculous. Great player, great teammate, explosive, lines up, runs full speed on offense, lines up and goes full speed on defense. Same thing on special teams. Love the guy. Bummed when you have a great performance like that, we can't pull out the win. He's a great person, great player. And got a lot of good dudes like that on our team. It's tough when you lose. But falls on me as the quarterback. And got to do things better.

Q: I know you're running and rolling out there. Did you actually see the tip on the Jakobi Meyers touchdown?

MJ: Yeah, just a great play. It was good to see, that's an example of competing, right? Scotty jumps up there, tries to make a play. Then Jakobi is right there waiting for it. And the offensive line, on that play, when we watch it, did a great job of just competing. I roll this way, I roll that way. They were throwing blocks left and right. Love that for those guys. At the end of the day just came up short in other situations and got to get off to a faster start and maybe the game's a little bit different. So definitely disappointing.

Q.: Looked like you guys were rolling with a lot of 12 personnel. Initially Hunter Henry obviously goes down. Did his injury put you in a pickle there knowing that might be a big part of the game plan?

MJ: I think Hunter is one of our best players. Same with Jonnu [Smith], when they're on the field together, it puts matchup issues on the defense. Once again Scotty steps in there, hasn't played all year, probably didn't expect to be in that situation but he planned for it and did the best he could. Just proud of those guys. It shows you that that group is really well-coached and all of our guys are. So we've just got to do better and execute the plays better and all that stuff.

Q: On the 48-yard touchdown pass, how much pride do you put in yourself to be able to make a throw like that in cold conditions?

MJ: I mean, it's like third and 29, right, or whatever. So at that point I did a lot of things to put us in that situation, which isn't good. And got to watch the tape to see what I could do better to not be in that situation. But at some point you've just got to let it rip. He just made a good play.

Q: After the game we saw you have a big wrap around your shoulder. Maybe like an ice pack. Is that something that happened today and how are you feeling health-wise overall?

MJ: I always do that. It's precautionary. Try and keep everything and stick to my routine. Like everybody else, just get your treatment and carry on. Got to put this one to bed and it just wasn't our day. Super disappointed, but feel like there's a lot of things we can build off of.

Q: Jakobi Meyers was asked about you. And he said I'll roll with Mac at any time; he's tough, he gets up, mentally tough. What does it mean to have the support of some of those guys, Kendrick Bourne in the locker room as well, talking about you and your toughness?

MJ: I think we've got a lot of tough players on this team. I look up to a lot of guys like Jakobi and KB and [Matthew] Slater and Devin [McCourty]. I've been able to watch my first two years here. And the best players on our team are the toughest players and there's times when I need to be more tough and stand in there and rip it and all that stuff. We're all out there competing. That's what it's all about. It's just not quitting and keep competing and we'll do that as an offense. We'll do that as a defense. Do it as special teams. I think the guys themselves, we're all going to compete. So that will never change.

CENTER DAVID ANDREWS

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

(On how he would describe the emotional roller coaster of the game)

"Tough, tough day. Fought hard to the end. Just didn't come up good enough at the end. But, you know, it's kind of been what it was. So take a few days here, go home, see our family and come back and work on Monday."

(On what changes were made in the offensive approach as the game went on and how things changed as they opened it up down the stretch)

"Made some plays. Ask coach about the play calling. But made some plays there. KB [Kendrick Bourne] made some really good plays. Obviously the one, Jakobi [Meyers] heads-up play. Just couldn't finish it today."

(On the confidence of the locker room after getting back into the game but not being able to finish it off)

"Proud of the way everyone competed, and defense played their tails off, obviously. We've just got to do a better job as an offense to try to close out the game."

(On if he felt they were prepared for the blitzes and what led to some of the breakdowns)

"What led to them I'm not sure yet. I'll have to go back, look at the film, play calls, see what it was. But, I mean, look, it takes everyone operating, 11 guys, whether it's communication, pass routes, hots, blocking assignments, whatever it is. It's never just one guy; it's usually a culmination of things. We'll try to find it out."

(On what he thought of the way Mac Jones responded in the second half)

"Look, you've got to keep swinging. That's the only thing I know to do. And he competes his butt off. So I thought we just – you can't make up chunks on one play. You've got to keep going play after play, down after down. We try to do that. Like I said, just didn't finish it."

(On how Kendrick Bourne played today and what he brings to the offense)

"KB does a great job. Love KB, having KB in the locker room. And obviously he can make some plays for us, and made a couple big ones today."

LINEBACKER JA'WHAUN BENTLEY

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

(On being close at the end but not being able to come away with the victory)

"We had our chances for sure, definitely in the second half. I thought we did a good job. Comes down to making the plays in the fourth quarter and getting it done and finishing the game."

(On how the weather affected the game today)

"If you ask me, personally, not at all. Another football game for me. Honestly, it's been colder before being out here in Foxborough. I think that wasn't an issue at all."

(On how much pride the guys on defense take when they score a touchdown)

"Definitely a goal of ours to try to get points for the team. At the end of the day just making plays, to be honest with you. Whether that's causing turnovers, but always icing on the cake when you're able to get the ball into the end zone. We've been doing a good job at that. That's one thing we definitely build off, try to take it with us as we go."

(On what the big difference was for the defense in the second half)

"Just making adjustments, kind of seeing what they are seeing and what we've been giving them and kind of spinning it a little bit. Kind of just playing complementary defense, whether that's the pass rush and the coverage behind, just trying to get in sync."

(On the players' mood in the locker room after the game)

"I mean, it just happened. So, guys are kind of in and out. Obviously, the holidays and things like that. So at the end of the day, we're going to come in here, watch the film. Obviously, you wanted the results to be different.

But we came in here, I like how the team fought at the end of the game for sure. Showed good toughness and grit. It's definitely something we're going to build off of, one, because we had no choice. That's exactly what we're going to do. That's the team we want to be and the team we've been, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is a tough football team. We'll continue to do that."

(On how frustrating is it to lose after scoring on defense and holding the Bengals scoreless in the second half)

"Obviously you want the win. So, anything that doesn't result in a win, it's not what you want because it's not what you practice for. But at the end of the day, you have to put your best foot forward. And wherever the pieces lie you have to live with that. The Cincinnati Bengals are a good team, a playoff team, a playoff team at that. Kudos to them, they got the job done today. We wanted to finish with a victory and we didn't do that today. All we can do is move forward and build off the good things we did. Obviously, you've got two games left, so we can't get down on ourselves because there's another game next week with a team that's also ready to go. We need to make sure we're ready to play tough, physical football."

(On if there's a lot on defense to carry the team to win games)

"At the end of the day, when we're on the field, we're looking to make plays. Whether that's in the beginning of the game, the end of the game, whatever it takes to win the game, whenever we're out there, however long we're out there, doesn't matter. We're looking to make plays. So, all the other stuff we're not really concerned about. We're just more concerned about what's the quickest way we can get on and off the field and make a quick play."

(On impressions of Joe Burrow)

"Talented guy for sure. Tough guy, sits in the pocket. Doesn't matter if somebody's in his face, he's willing to take the hit and get the job done. So, he's definitely a great quarterback. And he got it done today."

DEFENSIVE BACK MARCUS JONES

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

(On how it's been working on both sides of the ball with meetings and splitting time)

"During the week, it will be different things to where Coach needs me to go to this meeting or go to that meeting. That's just basically how it goes. I make sure I'm locked in on both sides and know what to do. Ask questions whenever I don't know what to do. But usually that's how it goes."

(On how he would describe the game and the emotions throughout)

"Coach talks about it's never over until it's the last buzzer, basically. Just keeping our head down and grinding. That's the main thing, controlling what we can control and just keep playing until the end."

(On the coverage plan and how it changed throughout the game)

"Just making sure we got the right keys and got our eyes in the right spot. Being in the right position to where Burrow would throw the ball, back shoulder, ball down the field and everything. I definitely have stuff I need to improve on in that aspect, but that's the main thing."

(On the pick-six)

"So, we were in a certain coverage and whenever I saw him throw the ball I was like, 'I gotta get there first.' Make sure I get there and catch it. Then after that I saw our whole defense setting up a wall, I was running and seeing [Joe] Burrow, the last man, and I was like, 'let me make sure I don't step out.'

(On if making big plays provides a spark for the team)

"It provides a spark, definitely. But right after it happened, we got the mindset to prove ourselves again. So do it again and do it again."

(On how much his confidence has grown)

"It's definitely grown over time. Getting more plays and more snaps, things of that nature. But just making sure that I basically keep my head down and keep grinding because you can't be complacent when it comes to playing in the National Football League."

LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

(On what today's performance by the defense says about the team)

"We are just a resilient group. Stuff hasn't been going our way, bro. It hasn't been going our way. And sometimes you have games like that. And it seems like we have a season like that. But the one thing we won't do is quit. We can control our effort. We can control our energy. And we can control our emotions. So if it's still time left on the clock and unless the opponent is taking a knee, we're out there strapped ready to go."

(On the defense's response to the offensive performance in the second half)

"That's what you've got to do, man. It's really only people in this building and, excuse me, I know you all love us and everything, but the people that sit in these seats in team meetings, that's all we care about. That's all we care about. Y'all are going to write in there, the fans going to write in there, everybody going to tell their own story. But us, we come together and the hot days of summer camp, OTAs and then the dog days, we're out there playing in seven degrees today. We are family. So when they come back like that, we expect it. We expect it. And then they expect us to get the ball back and hold the opposing offense. We have an expectancy for each other and we hold each other to a higher standard than everybody else will."

(On forcing the fumble by Ja'Marr Chase)

"Chase is a great player, really good athlete. And he makes a lot of people miss. And he just exposed the ball. They told me it was a missed tackle. But you can't get one of those when you force a fumble. I just grabbed onto whatever I could grab onto and just my momentum, carried the ball out and, man, Marcus [Jones], bro, Marcus is always in the right spot at the right time and he makes the correct plays. And I don't think you can ask more from a guy, but every week we do. And he delivers. And I just – that's what you do. We put the pressure on each other. We put the expectancy on each other, and I think every week Marcus has came out and delivered."

(On getting the energy of the crowd up)

"When we get the crowd behind us, we have great fans and we have very passionate fans and fans that have seen a lot of winning. When they get behind us, regardless of where we're at, regardless of how the game's going, how it's looking, when they get loud, that affects what the quarterback hears and what the running backs and wide receivers can hear, it affects all the checks on the line of scrimmage. Regardless if I'm in the game or out of the game we have great players out there playing and I was just trying to do my part, just trying to be one of the 11 and try to create a little bit of noise."

(On his assessment on the identity of the team)

"I think you watch this team here. That's what we are. When we are consistent, it looked good. When we focused and we're locked in, it looked good. But when we're not, it doesn't. That's who we are. I mean, at this point, you showed your hand. And so as a team we've just got to come back and be consistent for the rest of the games we play and the rest of the time we're here. But also as a team, man we are just a band of brothers and we stand behind each other. Like I said, we expect each other to play better every game. It doesn't matter how many tackles you got. How many yards you got, how many touchdowns you got. We expect more from each other. And that's how you lean on each other and become a good team."

(On his impression of Joe Burrow as a quarterback)

"As far as quarterbacks and toughness and reading the defense, he's up there. He's up there. You don't carry your team to a Super Bowl if you're not a good quarterback. And I believe Joe Burrow is a really good quarterback. He will be for a long time in this league. He has great wide receivers Tee [Higgins], [Ja'Marr] Chase and [Tyler] Boyd – that's a really good trio of wide receivers. And then Joe Mixon in the running game. And so that's just a good football team. And you've got to fight. You've got to fight. They came out and they had a passing game going. Seemed like they were hitting all the marks. But you've got to fight. In the second half, we did better. We did much better on that. And we made some plays."

(On leaving the field late in the game)

"If you've ever seen me go down to the locker room, I have to use the bathroom. I'll be hydrated. And we've got a bathroom like right off there."

(On finishing the season differently than last year)

"I think when you're in the position I am and teammates look for you to make plays and coaches look for to you make plays and you've been making plays all year, you've got to continue to be that person. And I try to come in here and be as consistent as a person, as a player, as a teammate, as a friend as possible day in and day out. And I think just with that I can make plays. But I think going throughout the season and stuff, I get different blocks and I get different looks and I get to slide and all that. Just going out there getting sacks and hitting the quarterback, it's what I need to do. But a play like making [Ja'Marr] Chase fumble is something that changed the game. And it ended how it ended, but those are game-changing plays in the fourth quarter when you're down four."

WIDE RECEIVER JAKOBI MEYERS

Postgame Press Conference
Saturday, December 24, 2022

(On the touchdown he scored off the tip from Scotty Washington)

"Honestly, I ran my route. I know the ball was supposed to go underneath and probably try to catch and carry it, but I saw Mac [Jones] break loose and give my guy Scotty a chance. I was trying to get around the ball. I figured he's a big, tall guy, and either he made the play, or tip it and I'd be there to catch it in case. Shout out to Scotty, I was there, right time, right place."

(On how he would describe the mood around the team right now)

"As you would expect. Honestly, guys, losing alone is sour, but losing a game that you needed to win in order to get to where you want to be, that's even more sour. Like I said, we always have great leadership in the locker room. We've got a lot of great talent beneath us, like younger guys who we know can make plays and who we know are hungry to make plays. It hurts, but at the same time we've got to make sure we keep those guys motivated. At the same time listen to the leaders in the locker room. I think we'll be all right."

(On being involved in two rare plays the last two weeks)

"That's football. One day you can experience the highest of the highs. The next day you can be the lowest of the lows. That's honestly not even football; that's life. I feel like I learn a lot of lessons playing the game. At the end of the day, I'm a man who believes no matter how good or bad things go, I've got to stay the same every day. I'm grateful for the lessons I learned last week and I'm grateful for the opportunity I received this week. I'm just trying to keep pushing to being a better player every day."

(On what it says about Mac Jones and the offense to respond the way he did in the second half)

"I mean, his resiliency. That isn't the first time that it's happened this year, honestly. He's dealt with it all year. Guy's ready to pass to it the next guy. But he keeps going out there battling. He takes shots, gets back up. He make mistakes, he comes back up try to fix it. Shout out to Mac. It's a tough guy mentally and physically. I can roll with him any day, because at the end of the day regardless of what people say he's going to go out and fight the hardest. Shout out to him. Proud of the guys."

(On how difficult it is to keep a good mindset every day despite the results of the last two games)

"I wouldn't say it's tough at all. Like I said earlier, we've got some great vets on the team and some great young guys who are hungry to make plays. Honestly all we have to do is follow the words they say, follow the foundation that's already been set. We are professionals at the end of the day. So it shouldn't be too tough."

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB

(On making a comeback in the second half but not finishing)

"You know, our team fought hard all the way through, offense, defense, special teams were fighting the whole game. But yeah, we couldn't make it happen, so it doesn't feel good."

(On the last fumble)

"Got the ball, was trying to make something happen. Probably doing more than I was supposed to do. Probably should have just went down. Ultimately they took the ball from me and I fumbled."

(On how Mac Jones responded in the second half)

"He's the same person every time I see him. He's just always a fighter. Always going to play until the last whistle."

(On the message now versus two games ago)

"I mean, nothing has changed. I'm still coming here every day trying to work and get better and I feel like the rest of the team is doing the same. Same thing, just grinding it out."

Kendrick Bourne, WR

(On how the offense changed in the second half)

"Coaches made adjustments. We came out and played harder and gave ourselves a chance to win."

(On Mac Jones being resilient)

"Mac is very poised. He's been like that his whole career. I'm proud of that guy. He's a warrior. That's what we need. Not the outcome we wanted but I love the fight in all our guys."

(On not being able to score after a long drive)

"It's tough. The fight is the best part of our team. Hopefully moving forward, we can be better with finishing those opportunities."

(On the mindset finishing the season)

"Got to win. Just win. The two games we lost were tough. Some tough losses man. So just win. Division games are very important."

(On staying ready)

"Just doing my job. Being there for my guys. That's all it is. When my name is called that's all it is. It's not about me, it's about the team. So, once I have to go in the game, I need to be ready. That's all it comes down to. Just being ready for the opportunity. Everybody's situation is different."

Deatrich Wise Jr., DL

(On Marcus Jones)

"He's doing a great job. I believe he actually scored in all three phases of the game, which is very impressive for a rookie, period, for a player in general. He is doing a great job taking everything a day at a time."

(On how the game finished)

"Well the whole time I was thinking as a defender, we did a great job at shutting them out in the second half. Could have done a better job in the first half of shutting them out. Could have created more turnovers to get that ball back to the offense. It came down to one score."

(On the message to Rhamondre Stevenson after the fumble)

"One play does not make a game and does not make a player. There are a lot of things that happened in that game. Like I said, in the first half they scored 22 points, it was 22-to-0. We should have stopped them earlier, speaking on a defensive aspect. One play does not win a game, one play does not lose a game. I always tell players there are a lot of things that happen throughout the game. The calls, this that happened, that that happened. We always focus on the next week, the next play. Whenever he gets an opportunity, I know that he can shine."

Adrian Phillips, DB

(On the emotions he felt towards the end of the game)

"Obviously it's tough to come back and fight that hard and not have the results you want. Everyone is trying to do the right thing, everyone is trying to make the big play, and everyone is trying to help the team win. So for that to not happen and to end the way it did, it's tough. It was on the line with that win or loss. So it's just a tough one."

(On how he finds the motivation to go into next week's game)

"It's tough. You have to find something that motivates you to go out there and play the game, because at the end of the day we are getting paid to go out there and do a job. Whether the motivation be your fan base or monetary, you have to find that, just have a short memory and don't let it get to you so we can end the season the right way. You have to still give yourself the best chance to be able to go in the postseason if there is still an opportunity."

(On the message to Rhamondre Stevenson after his fumble)

"There's not a message to him. If you go back and look at our whole season, he has been pretty much our best player on the offensive side of the ball. He knows how much it means to him to be able to put the team in a position to win. Things didn't swing his way today. There is nothing that needs to be said, we just console him. He is still the dawg, and we love him. Nobody needs to say anything because he already is the type of player to put it on himself. He is just that type of dude because that is just the way he is built."

Tyquan Thornton, WR

(On how the team should finish the season)

"Come in, compete and continue to improve. That's what it's about. Competing and getting better."

(On battling injuries all season)

"I'm feeling good mentally and physically. It's been a long season. We all have nicks and bruises. Nothing that I can't push through and play with."

(On how close he was to catching the deep pass)

"I was really close. I was really close. I feel like we did all that work to get down there and got to be better and make that play."

(On his comfort level in the offense)

"Very confident. I see us coming in each and every week no matter what the stats say. Each and every week we're going out there and working. We're putting in the work. We're getting better. We're learning how to practice, building our practice habits. I see a lot of good coming out of it."

(On weather being a factor)

"No, it wasn't. Not at all."

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