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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 10/21

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Quarterback Tom Brady and select players comment on their 38-31 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 21, 2018.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

BB: All right. It was good to get a win on the road here. I thought we played competitively today. Certainly getting the 14 points in the kicking game was big for us.

It's one of those unusual back-and-forth games. Didn't have the ball a lot. Able to score a lot of points. Some big plays on both sides. But good to win and good to be 5-2, get back in the division next week.

Q: Can you talk about how proud you are, going down, 17-7 …

BB: Bears are tough. They present a lot of problems and definitely put ourselves in the hole and they took advantage of it and we were able to fight our way back. Given all that happened, to be ahead at the half, but that didn't last long, either. Kind of an unusual game with a lot of big plays.

Q: What was your vantage point -- how did you see that play on --

BB: The way they described it.

Q: What was that?

BB: Just the way the play described it.

Q: What were your thoughts on the defense trying to keep them --

BB: Looked like we tackled him before he got in.

Q: What was your impression of the offensive line without Marcus Cannon?

BB: I thought we competed well against a good front. Ran the ball and had some balance. You know, they do a good job mixing it up. They create some problems with some good players up there but I thought our guys battled them. I mean, we battled hard the whole game. It wasn't always perfect but they fought hard.

Q: Getting that first drive

BB: Yeah, that was a big drive for us, the 96 -yard drive was a big drive for us. We had a couple opportunities offensively where we strung together some plays and moved the ball and we had some where we didn't and then we had somewhere we just weren't on the field and blocked on the fumble, kickoff return, kickoff return, so there's some possessions there that we never even touched the ball on offense. But they were big plays and scored. I don't know how many plays we ran on offense but I'm sure it's a lot less than they ran.

Q: Other than the Hail Mary, you did a good job protecting the big pass. What did you see out there?

BB: They had big plays in the scramble. So those are passing plays that we just didn't defend well.

I mean, look, there's a lot of things we could have done better today. So we'll go work on those and try to improve them.

Q: Anything you would change at half-time -- Josh had a big second half.

BB: No (shaking head) not in particular.

Q: Hightower, was he staying on the field because of where you guys were on the field in terms of like being on that unit? Or did you guys see something that was a match-up thing?

BB: I'm not going to get into the specifics of the call. Put the guys out there on the plays based on -- on, you know, number of different reasons, whatever they are.

Q: Was there any way to measure the reliability of James play, the touchdown catches today, but also without Sony much of the game, the ability to run the ball effectively?

BB: He did a great job for us. Great first down at the end of the game. Didn't run out the clock but got close. Cease to dependable in every area: Blitz pickup, the passing game, running game, tough yards.

I thought Barner did a good job for us, too. He ran hard. So didn't have a lot of depth at that position but those guys stepped up and did a great job.

Q: And Josh Gordon, along those lines?

BB: He had a couple big plays. Big catch on fourth and whatever it was, three. Couple tackles at the end. We had a lot of guys make big plays. We had production from a lot of different people. So did they. Luckily we just had a little bit more.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Q: Are you surprised how often they were dropping back into coverage rather than bringing in the pass rushers?

TB: Yeah, I think they had a certain game plan they tried to execute, and they made some plays. We made some. Obviously it came down to about one yard but I think for us to get a win on the road, was something we've been talking about, something we need to do. We played a little bit better today. I still think there's a lot of things we can do better. Bears have a good team, so it was a great team win.

Q: The two plays to Gordon, big plays in the game, the fourth and one, what you saw, and then the 55-yarder.

TB: Yeah, I had it matched up on the one-on-one and he just went up and got it. He made a great play. We are just going to keep developing our confidence in one another, and he's making great plays when I throw him the ball. Just got to keep doing it. And we had a good play-action pass. I had great protection. He was running kind of a deep end cut, and tried to throw it and he caught it in stride and ran over the safety and got back to about the one-yard line. It was an incredible play. So we really needed that. We got the interception. John picked the ball off. We had it, to go 96 yards, we're talking about, come on, there's the one, 96 yards, and we ended up doing it. It was good to have a four-minute offense and run a lot of the clock off.

Give them credit. They fought to the end and they made some plays when they needed to, and, you know, but for us, I think we all feel pretty good about a win and rest up and get ready for a Monday night game.

Q: Did you have to do much adjusting first not having Gronk late in the process, and then also losing Sony in the game?

TB: Yeah, I think there were a lot of those adjustments that were probably challenging for Josh, especially, with the play call. I give him so much credit, never lose his poise and Gronk just not feeling up to it, and you know, Josh kind of manipulating everything with the game plan that he needed to do and in order to put us in a position to do well and then losing Sony was tough. We all hope he's okay. He's doing a great job for us.

Q: Last week it was Mahomes, like a new era with quarterbacks. What did you see on the sidelines with Trubisky and what advice would you have for him going forward?

TB: Yeah, he made some great plays. Even that last one, that last throw was an incredible throw. Rolling left, had a guy in his face, and he's obviously the got the ability to throw it and he made some great plays out of the pocket running. He played really well. I'm glad we just came up defensively with enough stops. We made some great plays on the ball, too, to get some interceptions. It was a great win.

Q: How happy were you that the second half, getting Chris involved?

TB: Yeah, he did. I think everyone's out there, you just don't know when your number is going to get called and everyone seems to be making plays. We've just got to do it more consistently.

I think we're able to move the ball and score points and I think the turnovers are frustrating because we talk about them all the time. We just haven't corrected them yet. If we do, it's going to be great because we'll hold on to the ball and make it a lot tougher for them to score and hopefully we'll score more points.

Q: What were you seeing and what was on that last second play, what kind of thoughts were going through your head when the ball was up in the air like that?

TB: He got a good throw on it and he made a really good play. I mean, I think those are just -- you know, you hold your breath and I saw him jump up and catch him and I obviously didn't have the angle on the goal line, but I thought he was getting close to the end zone and they were pushing and we were pushing. I'm sure it was probably a half a yard or a yard. It was close.

Q: Did you anticipate the front that they played -- were they trying to stop the inside run -- did you guys prepare for that look a lot?

TB: Yeah, that was just part of their plan and I think they are pretty good at it. They have a lot of flexibility within their scheme. They have good defense. They have a good line, good linebackers and made some plays in the secondary. It's a good team.

Q: (Inaudible)

TB: Yeah, but I mean, even if you rush them, there's other issues. If you drop them, there's issues. I think for us, to recognize what their scheme is and what they are doing and trying to play off, and like I said, I think they made their fair share of plays doing that and we made our fair share, too.

Q: (Special Teams)

TB: A couple great scores. Any time you score when you're not on offense, it feels pretty good. I was happy for CP to get that one in. He's been close quite a few times, and then Dont'a made a great block punt. Who ran it in, Kyle? Kyle made a great one. Those were big plays for us. We needed them. Obviously it came down to, all those points mattered and hopefully we can just keep playing better.

I think, again, I still think we can do a lot better than we did today.

Q: How close or far away do you think are to that?

TB: I think it's just we're going to have to keep getting better every week. I mean, I don't think it's next week or the week after that, but we need to make improvements. I think the more we're on the field, the more we can practice, the more we can figure out where everyone fits and what we're doing a good job at and what we're doing a good job at in general, those will sort themselves out. You can build on things from week-to-week but I'll certainly take building on the wins rather than losing games and being 5-2 after starting off 1-2 is a great place to be.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Q: James, did you feel any extra pressure that now you guys are down two running backs?

JW: Definitely, it's tough to see a guy like that go down. He's been battling some injuries and been working hard and playing well. Just hope for a speedy recovery for him. When guys like him go down, guys like myself and Kenjon just have to step in and fill the void and make the most of the opportunities we get. We both run hard and try to get open in pass routes and just try to find a way to make plays.

Q: The offense in the fourth quarter -- when you needed to get first downs --

JW: As an offense, you definitely have to do that to be able to put the game away and be able to execute and get first downs, however you want to do it, run the ball, throwing it. I think we did a great job in the end trying to melt some of the clock off so if they got the ball back, they didn't have too much time to work with.

Q: You're not on the field for the play, but the last play, what was your view of it and what did you see?

JW: The Hail Mary, guy caught it. It's super close. They say it's a game of inches and that's kind of what it came down to. Everybody was aware that he at least made the tackle, so that's good.

Q: Were you surprised how often you got isolated in coverage?

JW: You never know how a team going to decide how to match up against you. No matter who is covering me, I just try to win my match, whether it's a corner, safety, linebacker, D-ends, just get open, man-to-man, or find the right spot in the zone and catch the ball and protect it.

Q: Having somebody go down, how much did that affect you guys from the original game plan and what you can do and how much did you have to adjust on the fly?

JW: Our game plan can adjust on any point, in the middle of the game no matter who is playing or who is not. Coach McDaniels does a great job of putting everybody in the right position to succeed and everybody is aware and alert, and ready to go no matter what the play call is, so doesn't matter, the game plan doesn't necessary have I have to change too much.

Q: As a captain, what have you seen from Josh Gordon in terms of how he's come in, sort of had his role gradually increased?

JW: He's working extremely hard. He's buying in. Just paying attention to everything that the coaches have been talking to him about and he's playing hard and he's been making big plays for us. Had a huge play towards the end of the game and a huge conversion, too. Made a lot of guys stepping up and making plays, so nobody really cares who gets to shine. Just go out there and make a play if the ball comes your way or if you get the football.

Q: On that option route, you delayed -- did you have protection responsibilities before you went out of that?

JW: Yeah, I did.

Q: Just elaborate. Was that sort of the goal, to get -- obviously Mack is one of the best pass rushers in the league. Is that sort of the goal to get him out in coverage on you?

JW: I think that was just their game plan, whatever it happened to be, not necessarily putting me on Mack. Can't really dial that up.

Q: On Sony, have you had a chance to see him?

JW: Yeah, I saw him. Just looked him up, hope for a speedy recovery for him, whatever it happens to be, I'm not sure. He'll attack it, whatever -- whatever it happens to be.

Q: What does it mean for you guys to get a win on the road? The last two times on the road, it didn't really go so well?

JW: It's definitely good to walk away with a win. We definitely still didn't play our best game everything and but definitely better to correct the film with a win than a loss. Get back in there and try to fix things up. We have another tough road game, a division game against the Bills and that will be a tough environment.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Q: Josh, going back to the fourth and one play, 19-yard down the right side, helmet came off, and the 55-yard play.

JG: You know, I think we just worked on that play. Worked on the connection from last week and having that miss, some adjustments. This week, I had a better look at it, better time. Having a week of practice helped and able to just go and make a play.

And the 55-yarder, just an end cut and unfortunately got a little bit time there at the end of that 96-yard drive. But you know it was fun. It was great. I'm glad I got a good touch on the ball and was able to make something happen.

Q: Your first 100-yard game as a Patriot. Did you know going into this game that there would be more opportunities for you and that the team would be counting on you?

JG: Yeah, Coach McDaniel mentioned it to us. I think we're prepared for it mentally and we practiced different looks and different groupings and personnels to off set that and I think collectively as a group, we showed that we can hold our own without him but we'll be glad to have him back.

Q: You were out there for that last Hail Mary play. What was your view and what was your perspective? You did make a play on the ball. What happened?

JG: I don't know. Just too many people I think around the ball at once to try to even figure out what's going on. I wanted to grab it. Somebody else wanted to grab it. Pushing and pulling and everything like that. He ended up with it. It was a great play for him, definitely. But fortunately enough, we were able to hold them out of the end zone.

Q: Have you ever sat down on Hail Mary's before like that at the end of the game?

JG: It's been awhile.


Julian Edleman, WR

On the ability to come out with the win

"We answered a lot, we had two big special teams touchdowns. We were able to go out and make some plays, but we also put ourselves in some holes. It's nice to come into Chicago, in a hostile environment, and get a win on the road."

On Gronkowski not playing

"First off, you feel for him. You know, that's our boy, that's our guy. When the game starts, you have to flip the switch and go into preparation mode to flip the switch and figure out what you have to do to replace a guy like that."

On Josh Gordon's impact to the team

"He's a threat. He goes down the field and makes plays. He's come in and he's worked hard. I just want to say thanks to the league. It's pretty cool to have a guy like him and play with a dynamic player."

Stephon Gilmore, CB

On comfortability when guarding big targets 

"I'll cover anybody. Whoever they say to cover, that who I go to."

On the blocked punt and touchdown

"It was clutch, it was a great block and a great return. Any time you can put points on the board it's a good thing."

On fighting and counterpunching this game

"It was big. It's Chicago, a hostile environment and we really had to make that happen today."

Devin McCourty, S

On similarities between this offense and Kansas City a week ago

"No, to me Chicago is Chicago, Burton is Burton, Gabriel was Gabriel. They were a good football team, we knew that coming in. They put up a lot of points throughout the early part of the season."

Dont'a Hightower, LB

On how big of a boost it is when your special teams is scoring touchdowns

"We practice and preach it, so it's pretty cool, when you can come out here and execute it, a big game like this on the road. We definitely needed it and it was perfect timing."

On Patterson's kickoff return

"It's amazing man. I remember watching CP [Cordarrelle Patterson] in college and going up against him. So having a dude like that back there returning kicks only amplifies our special teams."

On if he's blocked a punt at any level

"No, I only blocked a field goal and that was in college."

On the bull rushing through there

"Im just playing myself you know. I'm a power guy, not a finesse guy. I'm in there trying to play strong and physical so that's what it was."

On getting the team's first road win

"It means a lot. We play good at home, so it was about time for us to get it together. We've had a couple games on the road where we haven't played well, collectively, all the way around but today was a good hard-fought game that we played for 60 minutes."

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