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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 11/13

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, November 13, 2016.

Bill Belichick, Head Coach

BB:Alright. Well, I thought that was a tremendous effort by both teams tonight. That's about as competitive of a game as you can get. Unfortunately, we just couldn't quite make enough plays and we could certainly micro analyze probably 100 plays in the game. They're all important. They're all critical. You get into a close game like that and there's a lot of things that could've made a difference one way or the other. But in the end give Seattle credit. They've got a good football team and they played just a little bit better than we did tonight and I'm proud of the way we competed. We've just got to do a better job. It starts with me. Coaches, players - I mean we just got to do better. Again, Seattle is tough. They force you into some mistakes. They do a great job. Not to take anything away from them but there's just some things we've got to do a better job of. Those showed up tonight. We need to work harder on them and be able to perform better in these kinds of situations. We need to turn the page here and move on. [We have] a tough week. Going out to San Francisco will be a big challenge. We'll get ready for them but we're going to have to turn the page and move on. Again, a very highly competitive game tonight with just a little bit of a disappointment in the way it turned out. We just couldn't quite do enough to change the outcome

Q:What did you see on the final play of that last offensive series? Did you think it was pass interference?
BB:It was a really competitive play. I thought the game was well-officiated. They did a good job of letting the players play. I mean they called some things they had to call. I focus really on our team, what we can do. That's what we need to do.

Q:What did you see on the touchdown play Seattle had right before the end of the first half?
BB:We broke down. Just a bad play.

Q:How do you feel the secondary played and is that an area of concern going forward?
BB:Yeah, I think it's everything. You can't turn the ball over. We had penalties. I mean take away a five-yard penalty on the last drive [and] we score instead of being on the two-yard line. I mean there are a million plays like that. Defensively we made some stops in the red area but certainly missed a lot of opportunities to get off the field on third-down, gave up some big plays. Kicking game - same thing. There's certainly a lot of things that could've been better on special teams, not that it was all bad, it was competitive. But there's just things we could do better, need to do better, need to coach better, need to play better.

Q:What did you see on the touchdown play Seattle had right before the end of the first half?
BB:We just didn't play it very well, obviously. I think it goes without saying.

Q:What did you see on Kam Chancellor's hit on Tom Brady and did that affect Tom going forward at all?
BB:Yeah, I didn't really get a good look at it.

Q:What was your reaction to seeing Pete Carroll decide to go for the two-point conversion after their final touchdown?
BB:Yeah, that was an aggressive call; an aggressive call on the road.

Q:On your final offensive drive were you trying to also kill some clock while trying to score or was that not a concern?
BB:We were definitely trying to score but I'd say managing the clock was part of it.

Q:What do you mean when you say you've got to coach better and that it starts with you?
BB:Well, I mean there was a multitude of plays out there that had they been a little bit different they would've helped us in the overall result. I've got to coach us better. I've got to spend better time coaching, need better execution. We need to do a better job. There are 100 plays we could talk about. Part of that's my responsibility, the coaching staffs responsibility, the players responsibility. It's all of us so we've all just got to do a better job. Not that everybody's not trying hard; it's just nothing close to what it needed to be. It just needs to be a little bit better against a good team like Seattle. We've got to coach it better, we've got to execute it better, we've got to work at it harder.

Q:Does anything stand out to you as a reason for why the defense may not be turning the ball over as much as we've seen in the past?
BB:It's something we need to do a better job of. We're turning it over too much and we're not turning it over enough on defense and special teams. It's not the way we want to be so we're at minus-two tonight. That's not really a good formula. Honestly we're lucky it wasn't worse than that to tell you the truth.

Q:Is the defense allowing 31 points tonight maybe a wakeup call to the whole unit?
BB:I mean look, we go into every game trying to score as many points as possible and limit the opponent to as few points as possible. I can't imagine it will be any different than that. That's always what it's been, that's always what it's going to be. What else would it be? I think we came into this game and we were right there with Seattle, right? Fewest points allowed, top whatever it was, whatever the rankings were. I don't know. Get down to within a few inches of it being a 31-31 game. You've got two good football teams out there. They had a good defense, we had a good defense. They had a good offense, we had a good offense. I mean you were at the game.

Q:What led to Trey Flowers seemingly getting some more opportunities tonight?
BB:There's really no difference for any players on the team. Everybody earns their playing time. Players that play the best earn the playing time. If they play better than another player then they play more than the other player. If another player plays better than them then they play less than the other guy. You earn your opportunities. You earn your playing time. That's the way it is.

Q:How do you think Trey Flowers did with those opportunities tonight?
BB:We'll look at the film. He's played competitively for us all year.

Q:Do you feel you've had to utilize a little more zone defense due to the number of mobile quarterbacks you've faced?
BB:I wouldn't say that. I mean we were in quite a bit of man coverage tonight. I'd say we probably in the end tonight had more success playing zone than we did playing man. They did a good job, especially early in the game. They had some tough man-beater matchups, formations that they do a good job of that. [Russell] Wilson made some great throws, some good catches, good receivers. They got us on a couple man-beaters, got us on some man routes. We were competitive on some and they got us on some.

Q:Was Tom Brady's quarterback sneak on third-down at the end of the game a designed call or is that something he can check into?
BB:Well again, look I'm not going to get into the specific calls. I mean we'd be here all night talking about every play and 15 things that could've been different on each play. We have different ways of calling plays. We have different ways of calling defenses. Some of that depends on the situation. Some of it depends on the way the play is called. But I mean I'm certainly not going to stand here and have a 15 minute conversation about every play. I mean we'd be here all night.

Q:Is there anything specific that's causing you guys to fumble more on offense and on special teams?
BB:Yeah, that's definitely a problem. Our ball security is not what it needs to be. We've addressed it. We obviously have to keep addressing it more and find a way to improve it. We can't keep turning the ball over.

Q:Are some of defensive breakdowns more a result of the scheme or perhaps a lack of communication?
BB:I think each individual play has its own criteria to talk about and tomorrow to correct and address. I mean they run a lot of different plays. We run a lot of different defenses. They match up differently. I mean it's certainly not all one thing but in total we obviously need to do a better job than what we're doing. That's all the way across the board, all the areas of the defense; front, coverage, run defense, turnovers, you name it. It's not all bad but it needs to be better.

Q:Do you sometimes just have to tip your cap to a guy like Russell Wilson who played so well?
BB:That's the first thing I said; the first thing I said. Give Seattle credit. They have a good football team. They're well-coached. They're very well-coached. They're tough. They compete on every play. They have a lot of good players. They have a lot of good players who play good, as we do. It can't get much more competitive than it was out there tonight but give them credit. They made more plays than we did. They did a little more than we did tonight. That's why they won. We've got to do a better job. I'm not taking anything away from them. Again, that's a good football team in all three phases of the game. They're good on offense, they're good on defense, they're good in the kicking game. Every play is competitive. There are no plays off. You've got to do a good job on every single play. That's what it takes to compete against them. You can start with [Russell] Wilson. I mean you can go right down the line. I mean whoever you want - Wilson, [Richard] Sherman, the backs, the receivers, the tight end, the front, the edge rushers, secondary, the linebackers, the kick returner. Take whoever you want. They're tough. It's not easy to make plays against them. We made a lot of them. They made a couple more so give them credit. They deserve it tonight.

Tom Brady, Quarterback

Q:On first-and-goal on that last sequence, was the plan to score immediately or to take some time off the clock?

TB:It was just some situational football. We were trying to get it very close but not in.

Q:Can you take us through the last couple plays of the last sequence including the fumble on third down?
TB:Yeah, that was just my fault on the ball handling. I was going left and David [Andrews] thought I was going straight. It was just my mistake.

Q:Did you feel like there was enough contact with Rob Gronkowski on the final play to warrant a flag?
TB:I didn't see it. I mean, there was a lot of - there's always a lot of contact with that team. Sometimes you get the call, sometimes you don't. So certainly, it looks like it came down to one play, but there were a lot of plays in this game that we could have done a better job of. They're a good team. We knew that going in and we have to play better than the way we played.  We were just too careless with the ball. They weren't. The turnovers were a big factor. We had our chances. We just didn't make enough plays.

Q:It looked like you were in a little pain walking. Did that have anything to do with the quarterback sneak at the goal line?
TB:No, it was the hit that the safety had.

Q:Did it have any impact on you? Were you playing through pain?
TB:No, it didn't have any impact. A lot of guys are playing through pain out there.

Q:What was your decision on the interception you threw?
TB:Yeah, it was - we were behind them, I just didn't get a great throw on it. I was kind of running back to left. We made some plays on scramble plays this year. I just didn't get a great throw on that. I wish I would have because we would have had a chance.

Q:What went wrong offensively throughout the game today?
TB:Our execution wasn't great, and they put a lot of pressure on you defensively. They have a lot of good players and they make you earn every yard. That's what I respect about that team, that defense. They play to the end. They've been in a lot of close games. It came down to one yard at the end and we didn't get it.
Q:What was your mindset on the last drive after Seattle's two-point conversion attempt failed and it remained a one-score game?
TB:Yeah, they were trying to be aggressive there and so were we. They didn't get it so we had a seven-point game and we had our chances to get down there and get the ball in the end zone, and we just came up short.

Q:Were you pleasantly surprised Seattle went for two at that point?
TB:Either we would have had to gone for two, or they would have had to gone for two, so no. It's one or the other.

Q:You were asked if your knee inhibited you at all during the game, but how are you feeling now?
TB:It's a little sore, but like I said, a lot of guys are pretty sore.

Q:Is there anything that Seattle did differently tonight?
TB:I thought they played really well. I thought they played very true to - they've got a very fundamentally sound defense, and they've got very good coaching, and they've got very good players. It makes it tough, but we had plenty of chances. Our execution wasn't as good as it needed to be and that's the way it goes.

Q:Is there anything that Russell Wilson does that surprises you at this point?
TB:He's just a great player. He made a lot of great plays tonight. He throws it great, he's got great command, and he spreads the ball around. He made some great throws tonight.

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End

Q:Do you think there was enough contact on that last play to warrant a flag?
RG:I mean, it didn't get called, it is what it is. If it's not a [pass interference] to the refs, then it's not a [pass interference] to the refs. The play is what it is, you can't really change it.

Q:Do you think there is an unfair advantage compared to other tight ends in the way some plays are called against you?
RG:I mean, that's a good question. That's a tough question. I've had problems in the past with that, last year and a couple times this year, but I'm not here to make excuses and say that was a [penalty]. I just want to - we just lost a game - I want to give credit to the Seahawks. They played a good game. It was a well-fought 60-minute game on both sides of the ball, but I mean, I'm not trying to get into that discussion right now. 

Q:What was your mindset going into that last play because it looked like you wanted to initiate contact? Were you hoping to force the call?
RG:No, I wasn't. I was going in. He was playing off me a little bit, pretty far, farther than usual. You usually don't see that, and it was a fake, so I had to go up to him and make a little move. I wasn't trying to initiate contact actually, it just happened. I just went up to him and just tried to get on top of his toes. That's what you're taught, to get on top of the toes, make a little move and release outside. I just got up on his toes a little too much, obviously. I wasn't trying to make contact. I was just trying to make a move and get outside and catch a fade ball.

Q:Can you talk about the hit you took from Earl Thomas in the middle of the field?
RG:Yeah, that was a big hit for sure; probably one of the hardest I've got hit in my career for sure. [It was] by a good player; a good fast player who's like a missile. It was a good, clean hit; nothing against it. I just took it and it just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, that's all. If you've ever gotten the wind knocked out of you, you know what that feels like. Just down for about a minute or two, it's a little tough to breath, but once it comes back, you're good.

Q:Do you credit him for the way Earl Thomas hit, too? He didn't go for a head shot or try to take your knee out.
RG:Yeah, it was a good, clean hit. I have no problem with it. He hit me fair and square. It's football. You're going to get laid out eventually. 

Q:What did the Seahawks do to frustrate you guys offensively today?
RG:They've got a good team overall. They've got a solid defense; they've got a lot of good players. They did good coverage-wise, good scheme. We've just got to execute better on the offensive side of the ball. I've got to play better. I've got to block better, be better in the receiving game, and we've just to execute better.

Q:Was this the Seahawks defense you were expecting to see?
RG:It is what we expected to see; a good, physical defense that plays tough, plays to the whistle, plays all 60 minutes of the game. It was expected what we saw. We were expecting a 60-minute game and it sure was.

Martellus Bennett, Tight End

(On final plays of the game)
"They just made plays and we weren't able to get in."

(On moving forward and looking ahead to the postseason)
"We're not worried about the postseason right now. Right now we're just getting ready to go to San Francisco and win that game. Come back next week and get ready to get back on the grind. Come back here tomorrow and check the film, see what we can correct, do better, and get ready for the 49ers."

(On Seahawks' game plan)
"They play good football, and we knew it was going to come down to, [we knew] it was going to be a 60-minute game, that's one of the things we knew was going to happen. It's been like that for them all year and the last couple years it's always been 60-minute games no matter who they're playing and we knew at the end of the game it was going to come down to the last couple plays."

Trey Flowers, Defensive End

(On struggling to make plays towards the end of the game)
"Yeah we just struggled. It was a tough game, we played a good team; we left some plays out there, no doubt about it."

(On Russell Wilson's mobility outside the pocket)
"It's always a big deal with him. He's able to make plays with his legs and get guys to move around to make plays down the field. We knew that coming in, so we really tried to force that and practice that, but he's a playmaker so I have to give it to him."

(On the run game)
"Obviously they have a lot of weapons, and they're a great team. We have to be able to defend everything; so we just need to keep moving forward and look forward to San Francisco."

(On not scoring in the final seconds of the game)
"Obviously we're thinking positive, but it didn't go that way."

(On coming off a bye week and playing Seattle who had a short week)
"We're disappointed about the loss, but we just have to keep it moving. There's still a lot of the season ahead of us and we just have to make sure they don't beat us twice, and keep our eyes forward to San Francisco."

(On the biggest change in the defense)
"We had the game plan, but they have a lot of weapons. They have a great tight end, a great quarterback and a lot of great receivers. We had to contain them."

Devin McCourty, Safety

(On the non-pass interference call on the Patriots' final play)
"It could go either way. I mean, sometimes you get those calls, but as a defensive player, you always hope they let you play. It's a tough call. It could easily have been called pass interference, but those are always tough calls down there on the one, two-yard line."

(On how frustrating the loss is coming off a bye week)
"I wouldn't say frustration, because we knew they were a good team. We knew that even on a short week, they were going to be prepared and ready to go. [There's] just frustration from the defensive standpoint because we were one, two stops from winning that game. We've just got to do more to help the offense. They're moving the ball and putting points on the board. We've just got to hold up a couple of times and play better in the red area. A couple of stops I think would have helped us."

(On the frustration of allowing big plays)
"It's tough. I mean, we know they're going to throw the ball down the field. It's very similar to when we played them the last time. They're able to run, but we did a good job up front against the run, but we knew they have very good deep downfield players, so I think they just did a better job of completing some of those balls against us today. We were aware, but those man-to-man situations are tough. Russell Wilson throws some good balls down there, so it's tough."

Rob Ninkovich, Defensive End

(On what the defense needs to correct)
"It's hard to replay the game in my head right now - I didn't see the tape - but there's definitely things you always have that you want to improve upon, so I think it's [about] moving forward and understanding they're a good football team and we just have to do better. We can't give up those touchdowns there in the red zone."

(On how hard it is to get to Seattle QB Russell Wilson)
"I think the ball is coming out of his hand pretty quick, but it's a team effort and again, I think you've got to give them credit. They did a lot of great things and we have to do better."

(On Seattle's two-point play following their final touchdown)
"I'm just out there trying to do the best I can and trying to defend. They didn't get it. That's it."

(On if this type of game makes the team playoff-ready)
"Coming into this week, we understood they're a really good football team in all three phases. They're very well coached and they're a solid team, so I've said it many times, you've got to give them credit for making the plays they had to make to win the football game. We have to do a better job. We've got a lot more games to play, so you take it on the chin, you move on and you learn from it and keep grinding."

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