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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 12/24

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday, December 24, 2023.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

Opening statement

"That was a wild game. Really proud of our guys, our players and coaches. We came out, had to leave some of our better players in Foxborough. Got off to a rough start, but those guys really battled back, hung in there. Their defense played great in the first quarter and great in the third quarter. 'Russ' (Broncos QB Russell Wilson) brought them back and hit a couple big passes today and made some key plays. We missed some, we made some, we made the ones we had to make so, really happy for the work all of the players and coaches put in and how resilient they were coming out here. They were playing a team that's really been well lately. Like I said, got out to a rough start but we're able to settle down and play turnover free after the first play and put a lot of defensive snaps out there. Had a couple big plays in the kicking game, both ways, but it was good to make them. It's good to come out of here and win."

On responding to big plays

"Everybody was really, really resilient. Defensively, we had a few of those. You can't control that on defense, you can't control field position. You have to go in wherever they get the ball. It could be at their one or our one, so whatever it is on you can't control that. That was a big slot for us, fourth down the first drive and then third quarter is really we control the field position, we'll take advantage of it offensively. It's good complimentary football. We got some yards on the return game, so it was a good swing for us."

On if QB Bailey Zappe's is becoming more comfortable

"Yeah, the more snaps he gets, sure."

On K Chad Ryland

"Big kick."

On K Chad Ryland overcoming some of his struggles

"Like I said, I think our whole team showed a lot of mental toughness all week, all year, tonight."

On if rotating left tackle was the plan

"That's the way we practiced it."

On if putting OL Trent Brown and OL Atonio Mafi in was the original plan

"We put them in. We felt like we needed to put them in."

On playing complementary football

"It's a great opportunity to play complementary football. Score, kickoff, pin them down there, get the ball back, get in good field position and see if you can string it together. The turnover was big, but it was a good opportunity, we took advantage of it so that's probably something we haven't done enough of this year, but it was good to see it tonight."

On rookie LB Marte Mapu

"All the rookies have grown. Every week, every game, every practice, it's all good for them. They just have to keep working hard and getting better. They all have a long way to go but just chipping away at it."

On DL Christian Barmore

"It was by far his best offseason. He's continued to train really hard which has kept him a little healthier. He's played a lot of football but he's been able to maintain that health and conditioning [because of] that offseason training. His lower body has really helped him with both conditioning and also just his explosive power. The experience has helped him. He did a good job tonight. We had set up a couple of things that worked well that he was able to take advantage of. I thought overall our pass rush was disciplined. This guy [Broncos QB Russell Wilson] is really hard to sack. He's really had to handle. I thought [LB Josh] Uche and [LB] Anfernee [Jennings] and [Patriots LB] Mack [Wilson Sr.], [DE] Keion [White] all did a really good job of—I mean he got the one scramble up the middle early but for the most part we did a pretty good job of controlling him which is hard to do. To sack him a few times is even harder. Russell's tough. There's no one guy that can get him. You have to collectively match the coverage with the rush. The rush has to be coordinated with all three, or four or five guys, however many we have rushing because if we leave seams in there he'll find them."

On if QB Bailey Zappe should have become the starting quarterback earlier in the season

"Yeah, we're just looking ahead to Buffalo now."

On K Chad Ryland making the winning field goal

"I mean look—he's had plenty of good kicks. Like you said he had the two [missed kicks] tonight and he's hung in there and 'DV' (WR DeVante Parker) had several big plays for us. He made some big catches and fought for extra yardage. I thought he ran hard. [He had] A couple of chances when he had to run with the ball—they weren't necessarily long gains, but they piled up a few extra yards. Parker stepped up for us, I mean, all of our guys stepped up. Parker obviously, [QB] Bailey [Zappe], [K] Chad [Ryland]. You need those plays at the right time. When you need to make them, you need to make them to win [and] tonight we made them. Unfortunately, there's been some other weeks where haven't been able to make them."

On if they thought of going for two after the final touchdown they scored

"Yeah of course it is. Of course, it is. We did what we thought was best. I'll leave it that way. I did what I thought was best."

On QB Bailey Zappe's resiliency

"I mean, yeah. Him and a lot of other guys. You just have to hang in there and learn from our mistakes. Keep trying to improve and keep moving forward. You can't look back too much. You look back to learn but you have to prepare [and] move on to the next challenge. Try to get better. He's done a good job of that."

On if it's sweeter to get a win on Christmas

"Yeah, of course. Absolutely. Happy Holidays everyone."

QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

On how he is feeling postgame

"I'm on cloud nine. I'm going to enjoy these next few days—Christmas and everything."

On how his emotions changed throughout the game

"It was kind of opposite day for us. We've started fast the last two weeks. Today we started slow. First play of the game, a fumble. Then from there you can see the momentum for us as we can move the ball on these guys. That was the whole mentality for us and then going into that last drive, just to get close enough that we have a shot, and we can send [K] Chad [Ryland] out there. He made a helluva kick. That was unbelievable."

On what Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien did to allow them to move the ball

"Like he usually does, he gets us in a rhythm, and we go from there. The last few games, situationally, it hinders what we can to move it down the field. Today, we had great matchups on the outside with our guys. It shows that if we put it up there and give (the wide receivers) a chance, I like my guys better than anyone else."

On the conversation he had with Kurt Warner about making it to the NFL

"That was right after I got cut. At that point in time, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. We have built a relationship to where I can text him. I know he has been through a lot. His career wasn't easy getting into the league and he faced a lot of adversity. I just reached out to him and picked his brain. I'm glad I have someone like that outside of my coaches that I can pick their brain."

On looking back on getting cut earlier in the year and now starting

"You learn. I understand back then the decision that was made, and I respect it. Now we are here, and I'm going to enjoy the win."

On making passes on the final drive

"To see guys go up and make plays like [WR] DeVante [Parker] did, just builds more confidence. Not only for me but for him. I feel like no matter what, whoever is out there covering my guys in press coverage, it's either going to be incomplete or we are going to come down with it."

On if he ever wonders what would have happened if he started playing earlier in the season

"I'm not going to get into that whole thing. I can only control what I can control and that's how I approach every day. How I take control of the ball and how I get the ball to the playmakers and how I prepare throughout the week. We have two days where we can celebrate this win and then we have to get right back at it before we face a really good Bills team that's rolling now."

On the defense making a stop after the early fumble

"There were a lot of thank you's that I was telling everyone. That sort of nullifies what happens. You don't want to turn the ball over but if they don't get any points, that's a win. For us as an offense to have a defense like we do is phenomenal. To be able to do the situational things as a team that we were able to do, the defense stepped up today. It's awesome to see those guys play. They're one of the best defenses, if not the best defense, in the league."

On the mood of the team

"We preach every day that we are playing for each other. We know the playoffs aren't in the future so right now, we are playing for one another. Going into this week, we understood we had Christmas around the corner and wouldn't it be nice to celebrate Christmas with a win. That was our motivation and to be able to go out there and execute it is great."

On his personal growth over the past four starts

"There have been things on and off the field that I've looked back on that have improved. From a football aspect, from seeing the defenses and understanding pushing the ball down the field and being smart with the ball. Things that in the preseason and last year, I was a little lackadaisical. Those are things that I try to improve on every day and try to do better at. Off the field, just the preparation part. Watching film and understanding the game plan. Understanding how OB (offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien) is going to call the game and being on the same page with him. The more and more weeks go by, the more that we will get closer and closer."

CENTER DAVID ANDREWS

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

Not transcribed by opposing team.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN CHRISTIAN BARMORE

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

Not transcribed by opposing team.

RUNNING BACK EZEKIEL ELLIOTT

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

Not transcribed by opposing team.

KICKER CHAD RYLAND

Sunday, December 24
Postgame Press Conference

Not transcribed by opposing team.

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