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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 12/8

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 8, 2019.

BB: Alright. Well, first of all, I'm really proud of the way our team competed tonight. Those guys went and battled for 60 minutes. It wasn't always perfect, there were certainly things we could have done better, but we were competitive right down to the final play and that'll serve us well going forward. Obviously, we've got to do some things better than we did them tonight. It just wasn't quite good enough under the circumstances in the game. There's no point in talking about those, but hopefully we've got a lot of football left and see if we can get back on track next week, and that's really all there is to it.

Q: How does a team adjust when emotions are high on the sidelines due to the way a call was made or not made?

BB: Yeah. Well, it's the National Football League. Just got to continue to compete, control what you can control.

Q: What went into your decision to not kick on the 4th-and-7?

BB: I thought it was the best thing to do. 

Q: The offense has started slow and picked up later in games when James White has been involved over the past couple weeks. What went into the decision to not give the ball to James White earlier in the game?

BB: Yeah. We did what we thought was best. We didn't start slow, we scored the first time we had the ball. I don't know, I might have missed it. Yeah. Look, you can second-guess all the play calls you want. That's fine. That's your job, go ahead and do it. That's fine. We did what we thought's best, that's all we do.

Q: The game seemed to get away early before you came back in the second half. Was there anything you took away from the first half?

BB: Yeah, I said there's things we could have done better throughout the game. Absolutely. So, we tried to do that. Coaching, playing – yeah, there's a lot of things we could have done better.

Q: How do you feel about the state of your offense?

BB: I think we lost a close game to a good football team. If we could play a little bit better, I think we could win.

Q: How about the fight from your guys today?

BB: Yeah, that's what I opened with. I was proud of the way our guys competed for 60 minutes. I think I said that right off the bat, absolutely, 100 percent I'm with you. Yeah. That's my number one thing.

Q: What was the explanation the officials gave you on the N'Keal Harry non-touchdown?

BB: Yeah, you'd have to talk to them about that. I'm not going to speak for them. 

Q: Did the officiating make it hard to get into any sort of tempo or flow in the second half?

BB: Yeah, I don't know.

Q: Can you talk about the effort from Nate Ebner tonight?

BB: Yeah. Again, I thought we competed well. Look, they're good in the kicking game. They've got a very good returner and coverage was tough. They have a good cover team, a good kicker, got a lot of hang time on the ball. So, I know we had to battle for the return yardage as well. You know, made a big play on the blocked kick. They made a play on a blocked kick. I mean, it was a very competitive game all the way through. So, it went right down to the final, basically, the final 50 seconds, or whatever it was on the last play. So, all three phases of the game. We made plays on defense, we made plays on offense. They made them on defense, they made them on offense, but they play into the kicking game. Came up a little bit short.

Q: What message did you pass along to your defense at halftime to help them turn things around and only give up a field goal in the second half?

BB: Yeah, we just keep coaching through the whole game. I don't wait until halftime to talk about it.

Q: You got booed off the field at halftime. Do you have any reaction to that, or does it bother you at all?

BB: No, we're just trying to win games.

QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 8, 2019.

Q: When the team went to the locker room at halftime, there were some audible boos coming from the crowd. Can you guys hear that on the field?

TB: Yeah, you hear cheers, you hear boos. That's part of being in sports.

Q: What was your reaction when that happened?

TB: Tried to go in and play better, basically. 

Q: Do you realize you threw a legitimate touchdown pass to N'Keal Harry that was not reviewed? How frustrating is that?

TB: Yeah, I mean, it's – yeah. Doesn't happen very often. So, it happened. We still had a chance and wish we could have scored there at the end. 

Q: Can you talk about what you saw when you took off to run on fourth down at the end of the game?

TB: Yeah, they were playing double coverage and just had a little space. So, it was nice to get the first down there. We needed it. We got down to the scoring area and just couldn't quite get it in. So, disappointed in that.

Q: Going back to the second half of the Baltimore game when it seemed like you guys were really in rhythm for a while, it seemed like there was energy and sense of purpose offensively. It felt like you were in a similar shootout there for a while tonight.

TB: Yeah, we had some – you know, we got the ball. We moved it, we just had some plays there where we could have scored and just couldn't quite – we had a fourth down, we had some other ones in the red area, a couple fourth downs. Just didn't make the plays when we needed to make them. 

Q: You guys lost a couple December games last year and it turned out alright. How do you handle this mini losing streak with just three games left?

TB: Well, we've just got to go out and try to play better and try to win next week's game. Disappointing, but not going to feel sorry for ourselves. Try to go back to work and do a better job.

Q: Two weeks in a row, your first-half offense has looked completely different from your second-half offense. Is there a simple explanation for how it can look so different from quarter-to-quarter and half-to-half?

TB: I mean, I think we're just trying to figure out what works. So, I think you have an idea and then you see how the game unfolds and then you've got to make some adjustments. So, we tried to make some adjustments there in the second half. They threw a lot of different defenses at us, some we handled pretty good, others we didn't. It was a good game by them. 

Q: Over the years, you've probably figured out more things late in the season than any quarterback in the history of the game. Are you confident this time around you can figure out your offensive issues? If so, why?

TB: I don't want to make any predictions. I don't think that's – I think we come in with a plan to get better every week and try to win each game. Each game takes on a little different feel and the situations are a little different, and it's a different team every year, too. So, I may have certain experience doing things, but this particular team as a whole hasn't been through different situations. So, you just try to work through them over the course of the whole season, and we have three big games to go, and we've got to get back to winning football. 

Q: I see your elbow wrap there. What's going on with that?

TB: I just got hit right on my elbow. It's fine. It'll probably be on the injury report, but I'll be there next Sunday.

Q: Going back to the N'Keal Harry play that was ruled short of the goal line, were you given an explanation by the officials why they called it that way?

TB: No, the play clock was kind of ticking down. So, it was really just ruled out of bounds, and we didn't have time for that – the 40 second clock. We barely got the next play off. I think everyone thought it was a touchdown, they reviewed it and we realized we couldn't challenge it, and we just tried to run a quick play. 

Q: How much creativity are you guys trying to inject into your offense at this point on a week-to-week basis?

TB: Yeah, just trying some different things to give us a little spark or momentum. You know, we had a couple big ones tonight on the flea flicker and then on the other one with the halfback pass. So, those were good plays, those were good momentum plays, and I wish we could have made a few more of the other ones, too.

SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 8, 2019.

Q: The defense went from allowing 20 points in the first half to three, is there anything that you can pick out that allowed you guys to make such an improvement?

DM: Better execution. We gave up the one long play, against that offense you can't give it to them in one play, and then we had them in the red area and then we gave it up on the wildcat triple-option. So, it was really two bad plays in the first half and I thought we just did a better job of eliminating that. When you play a good team, you can't have those plays. I thought in the second half we really locked in and just did a better job of not giving up the big play or a silly play in a key situation – third down in the red area, we've got to play our best football. After that, the second half is kind of winning time, you've got to play your best. [It] sucks as a team, you play well enough to win and a couple things don't go your way that are kind of out of your hands and makes it tough.

Q: Did you know the minute you punched the ball out on Travis Kelce that it was good?

DM: I thought so because when I hit him, my other hand – I felt the ball leave his hand as we were going down. I'm probably biased, though. But then watching it, you can tell right away.

Q: Is it your understanding that on a close call involving a fumble that the play should be allowed to continue?

DM: We hear a lot of stuff, what's supposed to happen, kind of is what it is once you get out there in the game. You hope it's like that, but it wasn't this time. I thought we did a good job of just putting it behind us and keep playing. In games, that's going to come up. Calls you think should go your way don't go your way, you've just got to play through it.

Q: At 23-7, are you thinking, "Just give us one turnover, have the special teams make one play like they did and you get back in it"?

DM: We were talking about that on defense. We've just got to – we always talk about complementary football and that's what we were thinking – defense, we've got to – we get them on the long field, three-and-out or we've got to get a turnover, get our offense a short field. When we're able to do that they were able to put some points on the board. To me that's just playing together. Get a turnover, Steph [Gilmore] picks it up, we don't get that. Then N'Keal [Harry] is close. It's just tough. But I thought we did a better job in the second half just playing complementary football, special teams stepping up and the defense making the turnover and the offense doing a good job of turning it into points.

Q: After plays where the calls didn't go the way you guys wanted, how do you rally the team as a leader?

DM: You don't have to say much, we still had a chance in the game. I think that's what it comes down to, just telling each other to lock in. N'Keal was frustrated but that's coming to the sideline, so I think he had plenty of time to cool off and get ready. As a defense, we took the field and just get ready to go and try to get our offense the ball back. They were getting in a good rhythm of making plays so that's all we were thinking about.

Q: On the play with Sammy Watkins blocking Stephon Gilmore well out of bounds and the scrum ensuing after that, did you have to try to maintain the composure of the team?

DM: It's kind of like all 11 guys out there on the field, I've always just reminded each other – but last year this was the AFC Championship Game and it was one play away from it being the other way and them going. We knew it's two teams that know we've played a lot of big games. You get close games like that this time of the year, we're going to go at it. I didn't even get to see the Steph and Watkins play, I just saw the what's his name and everybody ran over there. It's always going to be chippy this time of the year. All these games are so important. We've always got to do a good job of protecting each other, not getting penalties but making sure we protect each other and we don't let anybody push us around.

Q: What are your impressions of Tom Brady as it gets later in the season and the offense is working harder to get points than maybe it has since you've been here?

DM: I would say the offense as a whole though, we've got a lot of guys that are competitors, are winners at heart and obviously it starts with him. He's a leader, he's been here 20 years of doing it that way. I think the thing with him that you love about any player or leader or teammate is consistency. His competitiveness, his effort, his leadership doesn't change whether we're scoring a lot of points, we're not, up or down, he's always having that flare. We see it in practice all the time when the offense is having a bad day, he's yelling and screaming at them, or if they're killing us, he's talking trash to us. I think he always is going to have that and he's always going to do whatever it takes to try to win a football game and if that comes down to him showing his speed and taking off on a big play in a situation that we needed the first down, that's going to be there. But I think it goes without saying when we have a leader like that, guys follow that. Obviously, this didn't turn out the way we wanted but you watch that game, we've got guys out there giving it their all, competing hard. We can work with that, we've just got to move on now and see how we can capitalize on these three games remaining to try to be the best team we can possibly be and get some wins.

Q: Some of your teammates were explaining a change with your defensive performance between the first half and the second saying you guys got more aggressive and got a better feel of what they wanted to do against you. What were some of those things? How were you more aggressive?

DM: I thought we just took away the shot. I think all games are like that, you kind of figure out – you see their game plan and what they want to do. I thought we put ourselves in good position on a lot of defensive calls, to go out there and make stops. The thing with them is you've got to do a good job tackling and not giving up in one play. I thought that's what we did a good job of. But you play them like they still make some plays, still make some tough catches. We put that play behind us and just try to make sure we didn't let them get points after that first three points opening the second half. We did a good job of that, they're a good offense, a lot of explosive players. Limiting them is tough but I thought we did a good job in the second half.

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

Phillip Dorsett II, WR

(On the outcome of the game) 

"We fought and we fought and we fought. We fought hard and I am proud of everybody. We just came out on the short end of the stick."

(On it being frustrating with the referees) 

"Obviously, it gets frustrating, but calls get made and calls don't get made. I know it is a tough job on the referees but at the end of the day, it is what it is."

(On the surprise of not seeing a flag in the fourth quarter) 

"I was really surprised. I was definitely surprised because I was 99 percent confident that I was interfered with but there wasn't a call."

(On whether it feels the game was taken from them)

"I don't want to say that. They [Chiefs] played a great game and they came out with a great game plan. They executed it and we just fell short."

(On the feeling of the possible missed calls)

"You got to keep playing. We didn't get the calls so we have to do what we can to score and we didn't."

(On the obvious nature of the non-calls)

"It was tough. Obviously with instant replay you get to see everything. I can't sit there and judge the referees because at the end of the day they are reacting off of what they are seeing in real time. They miss calls and they make calls but I am not saying they missed any. I just don't want to go rambling but I mean its football and we need to play better."

(On still having a chance to score at the end)

I mean that is the plan. The plan is always to try and score and at the end of the day we didn't. So that is why you can't say it was the referees that blew the game because we still had a chance to score and we didn't. So we have to play better."

(On the early struggle on offense and the fixes)

"They came out and played well and we had to play better. We started playing better in the second half. We started to play harder but it was late. It was too late obviously. Like I said, we need to come out and play a better game next week."

(On Tom Brady's run)

"It was all gutsy, all him. I mean if you see it open up you need to take off and that's what he did. That is why he is who he is, because he will do whatever it is and whatever it takes to win the game."

Nate Ebner, DB

(On the blocked punt) 

"It was just a good situation for us to get some pressure. The coaches had a good scheme this week and everybody put a lot of pressure on them. I just got a little gap. We take pride in every aspect of special teams. Whenever we get an opportunity to go out and execute something we worked on all week we try to take advantage of it."

(Asked if he feels they can get a block every time) 

"That's why we rush, is to try to put pressure on them. If we can get there and get a block that is great for the team but ultimately we are just trying to put pressure on them."

Nick Folk, K

(On his preparation for the game after the surgery) 

"Once I got out there and kind of got warmed up, and that's how it was throughout the week, every day got better. Thoughtout the day as I moved it got better. I would wake up and it was a little bit stiff. So it is just a progression. I'll keep going with it, keep doing what we need to do to make sure we are ready next week."

(On the blocked kick) 

"Yeah it's disappointing, but we have to go back and look at it and fix it for the rest of the season. Those are so hard with still shots on the sidelines to see exactly what went wrong with it. I felt like I hit it pretty clean. I'll have to go back and take a look at it and see how we can improve on that."

Stephon Gilmore, CB

(On the fumble) 

"One thing coach (Bill Belichick) teaches us is no matter what happens, until the whistle blows, keep playing. I saw it was a fumble, I picked it up and I kept playing but it is the refs call. Do your job, play the play out. If they blow the whistle you've got to live with it."

(On the scuffle on the Chiefs sideline) 

"He was just barking after the play, competing. In between those lines it's just two good players competing against each other. "

(On the defensive improvement in the second half) 

"We were playing aggressive. We got a feel for what they were doing and we started playing more aggressive."

(Asked if the Patriots were let down by the referees) 

"We can just play the game and not control the other things that happen. They made more plays tonight and they made more plays than we did. It was frustrating. We've got to keep fighting."

(On the close game)

You can't let one play affect the next play so you have to keep fighting until the end. Nobody ever had control of the game, it was just two good teams competing against each other. It came down to the wire. One or two plays we could have made and the game could have gone a different way. We kind of knew what they were doing, they made some plays. That's a good offense, we adjusted and we were able to make plays the second half. We just have to keep playing, we have Cincinnati this week."

(Asked if he would have scored on the fumble return had the whistle not blown) 

"I believe in myself, so yeah. Coach teaches us to keep playing until you hear the whistle and that's what I did. I heard the whistle and I was surprised. You've just got to live with it."

(On the frustration of today's game) 

"It's frustrating but you have to put it behind you and keep playing. You can't let one play affect the next play. You never know how the game is going to go."

Duron Harmon, DB

(On the loss) 

"It was tough. That's a really good team and obviously those plays and those touchdowns that we thought we had, we obviously could have used against a really good team. You can't take anything away from Kansas City. They did a great job of creating a lead and being able to play from ahead. But we felt like we had a chance to win and this one tough. This is probably one of the toughest losses."

(On the defense) 

"It wasn't enough. Like I said, you can't blame the officiating. Because at the end of the day we still had a chance to win it. We played well, I wish we could have started a little better obviously. Giving up that many points in the first half is not ideal to what we want to do. We fought back, we played hard. This is a team that's going to play 60 minutes, and for whatever reason the calls weren't going our way. The ball didn't bounce our way, but we're going to regroup. We're still in a good position. We got to continue to fight. We got to continue to grind out these next three games because they are very important to our season. So obviously it's going to be a tough one to think about and move on from, but we have to. Tomorrow we'll move on and get ready for the Bengals. Get ready for the best ball we've played all year. And continue to just keep moving forward, this is going to be a good one that we can learn from."

(On the offense at the end of the game and Tom Brady's run) 

"I always thought the offense was going to pull this one out. He was moving. Obviously you saw that emotion that he had after that. He was doing a good job of leading the offense. It just didn't work out in our favor, but we're going to be fine."

(On the missed calls) 

"It sucks because at the end of the day, we felt like those were plays were going to change the momentum of the game and eventually put us in a spot to win the football game. It was taken away from us. I know the referees have a rough job. I'm not going to say that their job is easy, you know just make a better call and do this better. At the end of the day we all have a job, and we all get paid money to do the job and do it well."

N'keal Harry, WR

(On what he thought happened on the non-touchdown call) 

"I thought it was a touchdown. I'm pretty sure everyone else saw it was a touchdown. It's something that is out of our control, out of my control."

(On whether the official said anything to him) 

"They didn't say anything. I didn't talk to them about it."

(On how frustrating it is to do your best to help the team out but you get nothing for it) 

"It's definitely frustrating, but at the end of the day, I was always told to control what I can control, and I did that. I felt like my effort was good and that's all I can give."

Jakobi Meyers, WR

(On what seemed to be clicking for the offense in the fourth quarter) 

"We were talking on the sideline and felt how the game was going. We knew they came out and gave us their best shot in the first half and our defense was doing their thing like they always do. We just had to pick it up. We all dug deep went out there and played hard."

(On what the mood was on the sideline after the back to back blown calls) 

"We never felt out of it. Like I said, you saw what happened out there, but at the end of the day, we knew we were still in the game and we still had a chance. That's what we wanted. We wanted to be in the game with the ball in our hands. It didn't come out the way we wanted it to, but we still made a good effort."

(On what led to the early struggles on offense) 

"We weren't executing to the best of our abilities. I felt like we had a good game plan but at the end of the day, players have to make plays, including myself."

Matthew Slater, WR

(On the play of special teams with another blocked punt) 

"That's a huge play by Nate [Ebner]. It's something that we worked on all week. We felt good about it and we took advantage of the matchup and Nate executed it perfectly. You can't really get too excited about it unfortunately, because we didn't get the result we wanted. But I think our guys collectively have done a good job of just buying in and believing what we are trying to get done in the kicking game. Certainly as one of leaders of that group, I'm proud of the way we played, but you want to win the game, that's all that matters."

(On how hard it is to keep their composure during a game like that) 

"The Chiefs did a great job and made more plays than we did. Tip of the hat to the Chiefs."

James White, RB

(On the game) 

"Obviously we could have played better and it wasn't our best football but everyone fought and competed. We did what we could to have opportunities to get back in the ball football game. We just didn't make enough plays."

(On the officiating) 

"I can't really comment on that. The referees see what they see, I guess. You just can't put it in their hands."

(On hard time getting into a rhythm) 

"It is tough but it is football so it happens. You just have to find a way to get things going and help the defense and the special teams out."

(On only getting three points in the fourth quarter after N'Keal Harry's non touchdown) 

"We still have to be able to go out there and play football. Obviously we thought what we thought, but if it is not called you still have to be able to go out there and make a few plays and get the ball in the end zone. Like I said we just did not make enough plays."

(On the plays that were not reviewed) 

"I mean it is not really in our control. The referees are going to call what they have to call and you just have to play football."

(On the early struggles on offense)

"I think like I said, everybody needs to be on the same page and finish. It is nothing dramatic, it is just everybody just doing our jobs and doing them a little bit better. We came out in the second [half] and did things a little bit better. The defense had some turnovers and some good stops and I think we tried to ride that momentum. The special teams had a huge blocked punt and like I said everyone fought hard we did what we could do to get ourselves in a position to win."

(On losing two straight games)

"We can dwell on loses we need to move forward. We have another opportunity next week against Cincinnati and we need to come out ready to go and be prepared."

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