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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 11/12

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, November 12, 2017.


Opening Statement

"I thought this was a really good effort by our team tonight. Really all week they did a great job coming back after the bye. We started on the Broncos on Monday, and the entire team really prepared very hard. Our practice players and our guys on the scout team put in a lot of extra time. I thought we had a really good week. Team played very good complementary football tonight--we got great contributions from all four units--from the running game, the passing game, the return game, the coverage game. Right from the very beginning of the game, I felt like the players were ready to go. They played with a lot of energy and a lot of focus. They cut down on the penalties tonight, that was certainly helpful. The turnovers were big and our production was balanced with the running and passing game. Stops in the red area in the third were good defensively, those were important. Just a real good team win, a good team effort all week and tonight. I thought our team showed a lot of toughness and resilience. It's a tough place to play. The Broncos are a good team, and they were obviously ready to go tonight. They moved the ball on us and had a great defense but our players really responded and I'm proud of the way they stepped up tonight. Good to come out to Denver and get a win."

On whether he's still surprised by the way QB Tom Brady plays at his age

"I think our entire team played well tonight and that makes it good for everybody else to play well. Tom [Brady] played well, receivers played well, backs played well, line played well, defense played well and special teams played well. That makes everybody's job a little bit easier. That's good complementary football. Tom did a good job, but I mean everybody played well. That's really the way we like to play, get those contributions from all three units every week."

On the importance of special teams in this game

"We always have to take advantage of the opportunities. That's not the first punt [Broncos Punt Returner Isaiah] McKenzie's muffed this year. We had one chance on the kickoff return, and took advantage of it. We really had two, they punted twice, didn't have a lot of opportunities on that. We were able to take advantage of it. It's good preparation. I thought that Special Teams Coach [Joe] Judge and Bubba (Assistant Special Teams Coach Ray Ventrone) did a great job, had our players ready to go. They handled all the different situations we covered pretty well on the kickoffs. They stepped up and made the plays so I'd give them the credit. A lot of different guys making tackles, making blocks in the return game and getting down on punt coverage. It wasn't one guy, it was the entire unit, and there were several different units involved. That speaks to our entire team."

On moving into the top-three all-time in coaching wins

"It's flattering but I don't think that's the story tonight. The story is what our team did and how our team performed. To win games in this league, you need great players, and I've been fortunate to have a lot of great players, a lot of great coaches and a great staff. That's really what it's about. The players are the ones who deserve the credit, they're the ones who go out there and make the plays and they did it tonight."

On TE Martellus Bennett joining the team on Friday and playing on Sunday

"[Martellus] obviously had been in the system for a year. He worked really hard and was here early and stayed late trying to catch up on the assignments and terms that are different than last year, things that were different than the way he remembered them or things that we're doing differently that we didn't do last year. He worked really hard and made several good plays, in particular a good catch and run there a couple times. It's good to have him back and good to have him contribute."

On TE Dwayne Allen getting his first catch of the season

"Unfortunately we've missed him a few times when he's been wide open for some big plays. That was a tough catch and a big catch. I think that kind of speaks to the whole team tonight. Different guys came through in different situations, stepped up and made plays when we needed plays and we got contributions from a lot of different people. That's what a team is. Everyone contributes and we had a lot of that tonight."

On the versatility of multiple players

"It's great to have players that can do multiple things, players that can play on all three downs, whether it be offense or defense, and players that can play on fourth down in the kicking game who still have an offensive or defensive role. It makes you a stronger team and it makes you a better team. Guys that are specialists and that do one particular thing, do it very well. That's great too. Those guys give us a lot of production in that area."


On his thoughts on the game tonight

"I thought we did a good job really staying balanced and I thought playing from ahead was really important all night. It is really hard playing this team when you are behind and they can just T-off on the rushes. They probably just have very skilled pass-rushers, but we played really good complimentary football. Special teams and defense played great and we just tried to hold up our end of the bargain. It was a great team win and obviously it has been a tough place for us to play, but it feels good to come out of it with a real solid win." 

On the special teams making big plays tonight

"That was great, we know the caliber of specialists we have. They do not get opportunities very often, and they only got one opportunity tonight. [RB] Dion Lewis took the house so that was pretty sweet, and then the blocked punt was great and set us up for a great field position. Those were two huge plays, and hopefully that can set up other things down the road."

On the scoring drive at the end of the first half

"That was a big drive. They had a couple timeouts so you are going between moving the ball and not going too fast to give them enough time. We ran the ball good and kept them off balance and then made some great plays in the pass game,     [TE] Dwayne Allen made a great catch in the touchdown. Everyone really contributed on that drive and that was really big going into halftime. They [Broncos] came out and scored a touchdown to start the third quarter and then we got it and went down and answered so I think that whole little span was great for us offensively."

On TE Martellus Bennett

"He did a great job coming in on a Friday. I love having Martellus on our team. He adds a lot and he is a great player. He was for us last year and hopefully we keep building on it. "

On playing well through the first nine games of the season

"It's been good. I don't think it's been perfect, and I think we have pretty high expectations for what we're trying to do offensively, so I know we play well. It looks pretty good and it's probably been more uneven the first eight games of the year and tonight was a really good night for us. Hopefully we can build on this tonight and gain some confidence in all three phases, which we played well in all three phases."

On his individual performance tonight

"I try to help people along with the things that I do that help me feel really good. I do really love the game and I love practicing and playing, and I love being with my teammates and working hard, so it is fun for me. I plan on doing it for a long time."

On remaining in Colorado to practice this week

"In a way, we're away from our normal routine, but we've got to try and make it as normal as possible because we're playing a good team. They're on the road and we're on the road. It's kind of a different type of game. We've never played there, so the only thing we can really control is our effort and our preparation and that's got to be locked in this week. We had a real good week this past week, which you always feel good going into the game when you prepare well and we've got to do the same thing this week."


On tonight's win

"It felt great. You saw us. That was a big victory. That was a big team win. All three stages, defense, special teams, offense, we all played together. That was huge. We need to win like that and you know it."

On the Patriots' special teams performance

"It's super nice. Whenever you have special teams play like that, took the kickoff to the house, the punt block, it's huge. It helps out the whole team, defensively and offensively. Those plays on special teams are game changers."

On if he felt he scored on a play that was not ruled a touchdown

"I didn't see any replays or anything like that, but did you guys see any time where the ball hit the ground? That's because it didn't. That's why. I put my hand underneath the ball. I know for sure I caught it and I just don't understand why it wasn't a TD. It didn't show [any] evidence of it hitting the ground. I know it didn't. My fingers were underneath it. It tilted up the ball and I knew it was right there, I brought it in, it landed on my forearm, I brought it in and I knew exactly. I went up to [Patriots head] coach [Bill Belichick] and he's like, 'Are you sure?' And I was like, 'I'm sure, man.' I would never say that if I wasn't 100 percent sure because you don't want to lose that kind of trust. I thought I caught it. I know I caught it. My fingers were underneath it."

On continuing to play with Patriots QB Tom Brady

"It's great. It's kind of like the same thing though since I've been here since day one. Nothing's changed with him. He's always fired up. He's always practicing hard. He's always in the meetings. Literally not one thing has changed since I've been here. He's always on top of his games and it's just great. It just keeps you going too, seeing a guy like him just lead us the whole way at where he's at in his lifetime too."

On contributions from Patriots TEs Dwayne Allen and Martellus Bennett

"It's huge. It's great to see those guys contributing like that. The first under with Marty went for like 20-plus yards. It helps out. That's huge. Seeing Dwayne get that TD, I was so happy for him when he got that. It was great to see that and just everyone contributing in our group. [Patriots FB James] Develin had a couple catches. He's part of the tight end group and it's just awesome to see all of us be able to be part of the gameplan like that and all contribute in the passing game and run game."

On if the Patriots gameplan was to target running backs and tight ends early

"You always come in with a gameplan. I would say like it's like one percent of the time the gameplan actually goes through the way that you exactly want it to go through, so you just never know what they're going to play on defense. It just goes all with the game flow. Some games, our running backs have like 15 to 20 catches. Then some other games, our receivers [and] tight ends have all the catches. You've just got to play it by ear, how they're playing defense. Tom just does a great job no matter what to find the open guy, if it's from the backfield, if it's a wideout or tight end."


On the secondary's success despite injuries

"I think someone asked me during the week, how does that work with a guy that had been out for a couple of weeks. I said it just built our secondary stronger. Steph (CB Stephon Gilmore) was in all of the meetings. He kind of prepared like he was playing in the games that he missed. I thought that continued our communication with him, but it also added Bad (CB Johnson Bademosi) in there who had to fill in and step up. Now, instead of having two guys on the outside that you felt really comfortable with, we have three. When E-Rowe (DB Eric Rowe) comes back, that will be another guy that can play outside and inside that's been keeping up and out there practicing. I think injuries are always tough, but when you're able to play well through injuries, you kind of just build and add more depth to the secondary. I thought that was huge for us and I thought that Steph did a great job coming back today. It's tough when you miss a couple days being in shape, and then being out here in Denver. I thought he did a really good job."

On limiting Denver's offense in the red zone

"We know what our offense—if we can make teams kick field goals if they get in the red area, that's huge. Our offense has been able to since I've been here to score points. Obviously, we don't want to give up points. We don't want to let teams drive the ball and get in the red area, but when it happens, you have to step up and try to get off the field. I thought that was key. With [Broncos WR] Demaryius Thomas and [Broncos WR Emmanuel] Sanders out here, they're tough guys to cover all night. They were able to make some plays, but I thought we stepped up and played well in the red area. It's something that we always talk about and that gave us a chance."

On how they stopped the Broncos in the red zone

"I thought today was just a couple plays. There was a big play here, there was a big play there that let them get in the red area. I think the thing is, once you get in the red area, offenses aren't usually the same. The field stretches. It's more wide than it is length wise. We have a whole gameplan that is separate from what we do in the field to the red area. I think that's key for us once they get down there. It's everyone talking. 'We're in the red area now. Everybody lock in. Let's make them kick three.' I thought guys did a good job of flipping that switch of once we got in the red area on what to expect and how to play. If techniques change and coverages change, I thought we did a good job of that. I though upfront, we did a great job of not allowing them to run it in because that's what they really want to do in the red area."

On having a strong special teams performance

"That's huge. I mean we talk about that every week. We spend a lot of time on special teams and we knew [Broncos WR Isaiah] McKenzie had muffed a couple. We talk about for the gunners just getting there and trying to make it tough and [P] Ryan [Allen] always does a good job punting the ball for us. To start the game like that, to go and get stopped by their defense, but then to end up in great field position. Then [RB] Rex [Burkhead] blocks a punt and [RB Dion] 'D' Lewis scores on a kickoff return. Those are tough. When you can stop, you don't have to drive the ball down the field and score offensively against a good defense and get the ball in the read area or score. That's huge and that plus defense, the turnover was big for us today."


On the Patriots' performance tonight

"I feel like we played well tonight. Special teams played really well, defense played well and offense got the job done, and it was a big win for us."

On winning two consecutive games in Denver

"Every time we come here, we know it's going to be a big game. It's going to be a packed house and it's going to be a tough team. We worked hard last week. We had a good week of preparation and we're real happy we got the win. It is my first win as a Patriot in this building, so I'm happy about that. I thought about that coming here and I'm really stoked that we won."

On if the Patriots special teams impacts their offensive play

"No question. It helps us out tremendously and sparks us. Hats off to the special teams tonight."

On the Patriots winning 12 consecutive road games

"We definitely have a mentally-tough team. Guys have been through a lot of adversity so they know how to deal with playing on the road and playing in front of a hostile crowd. This was a big game. We knew it was going to be a big game and we're happy we won."

On responding to the Broncos' touchdown in the third quarter

"I felt like we played solid on all three sides of the ball and that's why we came out on top. Hats off to the guys tonight."


On how feels to be back in New England

"Anytime you can win a game, it's always huge. I always try to make the most out of the opportunities."

On returning to New England

"It was pretty cool. Last week I thought I was going to be on IR. It's just been a surreal week for me."

On his shoulder

"It's not about could you play? It's about should you play? It was one of those things. Right now, I'm just [expletive] it. When [Head Coach] Bill [Belichick] called me after they said they claimed me, at first I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery or whatever. When Bill called after they claimed me, I was [expletive] and then he was like 'What's going on? I told him and then we had a quick conversation and then I told him I'll think about it and I'll call you back. Even then it wasn't just 'Hey, you want to come play?' It was let me just call you back in a few minutes and let me think about it and regroup because I don't even know if I went through the seven stages of grief yet, I'm probably on step three, but I think the group of guys on this team couldn't be a better place for me in what I'm going through right now and my situation. It couldn't have been a better place, all of the familiar faces and things like that and it's good to have those guys around."

On what made him decide to play for New England

"It wasn't where I was, it was about the injury. It was one of those things where I talked to six or seven doctors about it and it could go either way. It was one of those things I felt I should get fixed and then after deciding to get it fixed and getting waived, you've got that vengeance in your heart and you're just like alright are you going to do it? OK, [expletive] let's go ball."

On the familiarity of returning to the Patriots' huddle

"It was cool. A lot of familiar faces in there. The last two days have been cool. I've just been trying to sleep because I've literally been on like four planes. When they call you, they're like, 'OK, you've got to get on a flight.' And I'm like, '[expletive].' A similar thing happened the last time I came. I was at Disney Land when I got traded, and I was like, 'I'm at Disney Land. I've got to come right now?' And this time, I was just sitting on a bean bag, literally feeling sorry for myself. So, it's like you go from Disney Land to a bean bag. It's a nice bean bag, but at the same time, you're just sitting their kind of like, 'What am I going to do?' I had no idea. I had never been in that situation before, so I was just trying to figure it all out. There were a lot of things from talking to the NFLPA to talking about workers' comp and things like that, all those conversations. I even talked to people for Netflix. I thought I was going to get a desk job. I had my people negotiating, like talking to different networks about being on TV. So, I thought I was done. I was making plans to get a desk job … to finish up the season. It was interesting. But it is what it is."


On the importance of special teams in the game

"It was huge. [Special Teams] Coach [Joe] Judge had a great game plan for us all week. I thought we executed it well. Any time you can contribute in that phase and do well, it always helps out, especially with field position and changing the momentum in the game."

On the blocked punt

"We had a rush called. I rushed on the outside and it just kind of opened up. The guy, he tried to block me up high or something and [DB] Brandon [King] did a great job of widening his guy outside."

On if he's blocked a punt before

"Yeah, I have. A couple tips and a block in Cincinnati. It's a great feeling just being able to contribute in that phase. It's a momentum switch."

On if this game showed his potential

"Yeah, I try to. Whatever phase it is and whatever way the coaches want me to contribute, I'm always going to give it my best. Tonight, I felt like we were put in very good positions to make plays. We had a great week of preparation and it showed today."

On his receiving touchdown

"It felt good. [QB] Tom [Brady] did a great job all night just reading coverages, checking it down and seeing the opens. It was a great pass from him and I was just fortunate to get in."


On guarding Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas

"I like going out there and covering that third guy. You can get used to that guy. You can play physical and make plays."

On shadowing Thomas

"Malcolm was on 10 (WR Emmanuel Sanders) and I was on 88 (Thomas). We studied those guys and knew majority of their routes. They switched up some stuff, but at the end of the day we came out with the win so I was happy."

On contributing to the win after being out the last three games

"It felt good. The injury I had was a little frustrating. I thank God that he healed me. I was able to come back and take off where I left it and play confident."

On the Broncos touchdown pass to Thomas

"It was a good throw. We had a certain coverage that had helped on the inside, but I think it was a coverage beater. He made a great play."

On how it feels to be 7-2

"I have never been 7-2 in the league. It is crazy. We just have to keep it going. It feels good to win. I have not won in my whole NFL career, so it feels good."


On winning after a bye week

"I would just say we're not complacent. We know we've got a long way to go. We know even though we've won some games, we can play better and we can be playing more complete games. Even though we played better tonight and had a good game tonight, there are still some things that we didn't do well and certain situations, certain drives we didn't play the way we wanted to play or how we wanted to play. So we've got to go back, we've got to learn, watch the film, take the coaching from it and try to improve upon it next week and be a better football team than we were this week next week against the Raiders."

On the benefit of the Patriots' special teams contributions

"That's why we work hard. That's a big area where we want to be a win for us each and every week. We want to go out there and know that our special teams are always going to dominate because we put the work in. We watch the extra film. We practice hard. We go over it a lot more than probably a lot of other teams, so each and every week, we want to go out there and we want special teams to be a win for us. Those guys continue to make big plays for us, and it turned out to be a win for us today."

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