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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 12/16

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 16, 2018

Opening Statement:

Alright first of all, give the Steelers credit. They played well, did a good job. It’s a good football team. I was proud of our guys, how we battled all the way from the first play to the last. In the end, we just came up a little short. They made a few more plays than we did. You know, they say penalties in the red area are pretty much the difference in a game, so we need to do a better job there. It’s one of those typical tough football games against the Steelers, and like I said, they did a little more than we did tonight. That’s pretty much the story the way I saw it.

What was to blame for all the penalties?

We just got to do a better job.

Was crowd noise a factor on the false starts?

We play half our games on the road.

Re: Did the Steelers show any new wrinkles on defense?

They did a good job, yeah. I mean, we moved the ball. Like I said, we had too many penalties and we got stopped in the red area, and that was penalties.

Re: What do you have to do to improve the run defense for the last few games? The Steelers put up quite a few rushing yards.

Yeah, these guys are tough. They’ve got a great offense. They do a good job in every area, so everything is a challenge with them.

If you had tied the game were you thinking two-point conversion, or would you have played for overtime?

Yeah, we were trying to score.

Yeah, but then would you have gone for overtime or the two-point conversion?

We didn’t score.

Sometimes do you think ahead on those situations?

Let’s just take it one play at a time, Mike.

What did you see on Tom Brady’s red zone interception?

It was on the other side of the field. I didn’t see much.

What gave you confidence that J.C. Jackson could follow and cover JuJu Smith-Schuster as much as he did?

Look, all those guys are good. I thought our DBs really battled them. We were in a lot of man coverage and they really battled us. Those are some great receivers. They got some, we covered them I’d say competitively. They made a couple of great catches. They have really good tight ends – really good receivers and tight ends and obviously a great quarterback. It’s a good group and an obviously great quarterback who made some tremendous throws. Even some ones they make when you’re all over them. They made great catches.

Re: The remaining two games

We are going to get back to work and get ready for both of them. That’s exactly what we are going to do.

Re: The special teams play to pin the Steelers at the 1-yard line

Great play by both guys. I got caught at the other side of the field. We played with great effort tonight. We made some plays. They made a few more than we did.

This is the first time you’ve had five losses since 2009. Is there anything missing from this team?

Getting ready for Buffalo this week.

Re: Struggling on the road

We lost to a good team today. They played a little better than we did. We have to play better to win these games. Coach better. Play better. That’s a good football team.

Re: Josh Gordan coming off on the final play of the game

Because we put [Cordarrelle] Patterson in.

Re: The re-spot of Corarrelle Patterson’s catch and run

The officials made that call, ask John Parry and his group about it.

Is that just a tough break?

Yeah, I don’t really know. I wasn’t really looking. Whatever the ruling is, it is. We don’t have any control on the ruling. That’s the officials call. So, you should ask John [Parry] or Al [Riveron] or whoever makes the call. That’s not my call. My call is what to do on the next down.

Re: Making adjustments based on the way the game is getting called

Yeah, I mean look, we obviously aren’t trying to commit those penalties, but we got them so we have to do a better job. We have to eliminate them. It’s too many.

PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 16, 2018

How disappointing was not to be able to get the job done?

Yeah, that's exactly right, just didn't get the job done. We have to figure out a way to do better. Two important ones coming up, they won't be easy, so we have to grind out. Tough loss.

Re: Issues showing up this late in the season

Obviously, we aren't playing well enough to win, and it comes in a lot of different ways, turnovers, and just missed opportunities. That's what it comes down to. Too many plays opportunities that we could do something with it, and we just don't. It's football. We wish outcomes were different. Obviously, this week, last week. We just have to get back to work.

What happened on the interception in the red zone?

I was trying to throw it away, and I didn't.

Was that because you were jostled when you were letting it go?

Yeah, I was just trying to flick it out of bounds. I didn't want to take the sack. It shouldn't happen.

You don't think you had Rob Gronkowski on that play, did you?

I was trying to get it out.

Tom, you have had some big games here, some big performances against the Steelers. Obviously only 10 points today, what were they doing on defense to frustrate you guys a little bit?

That's a good question. I'll have to look at it. I thought they played good. They made some plays. We certainly had some opportunity out there and I give them credit, because they made important plays when they needed too. But, our defense played great. Special teams played great, but we have to do better offensively. Tough loss.

Were there any wrinkles by them, or was it what you expected?

They had a few different things. It's kind of been every team this year has a few different things. I think we have to just come to expect it, and still go out there and do our jobs, and execute, and make plays.

What about this team that has made it so tough on the road for you guys?

All of these games are all a little bit different. You're right, we obviously haven't played very well on the road. Obviously, what we are doing isn't good enough. It's just a cumulative thing. We're out here as a team trying to compete, when you're on the road, you have to play well. Some things are a little bit more challenging on the road, we have to embrace those things, and we just haven't done a great job on that.

Tom, do you think the crowd noise affected you guys at the end?

I mean we work on it so much. I don't think that's surprising us. We just have to figure out how to not have those things. We will work on those.

Re: Holding calls

I don't know. I haven't seen them. The referee said they are trying to call those tighter. I don't have the replay of them. So, I don't know how tight they are. Obviously, there is holding on every play in the NFL. That's what we do, we hold, it’s just whether you get called or not. If they are calling it, then you just have to do a little bit less of it. That's how you block, you hold. If they are holding, we are holding. Sometimes they call them, sometimes they don't. If they are calling them tight, then they're calling them tight. I haven't seen them. What do you guys think? Hard to tell? That’s how I felt.

Tom, do you think any of your offensive weapons are pressing at all?

I think it’s just finding our rhythm out there and doing a better job overall. We just haven't done a great job of that. We're still in a decent position. Were ahead in our vision, we have a lot of football ahead. We just have look at this as an opportunity to learn from what’s happened this week, and what happened last week, and go out there and go have a good week.

Re: Rob Gronkowski

I'm not sure. I think they were conscious of where he was. They had doubles on him, some doubles they had on Julian Edelman. Rob made some big plays for us.

Re: 11-5

Well, we are just going to go out there and compete. We just came out a little bit short the last couple of weeks. We just have to do a better job. All of us feel it, it's not any one thing, and it’s a lot of things collectively. We have always won as a team, and we lose as a team. When you lose close games, there are a lot of plays you wish were different. We're not going to make any excuses. We just have to do a better job. There is only one way to do a better job, and that's to learn from it, correct it, and go out there on the practice field and work harder at it.

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

WR Matthew Slater

What was he thinking with 2:30 left and this team’s history of comebacks?

I had a lot of confidence. I don’t think any of us lost any belief in ourselves at any point in the game until it was over. I had a lot of confidence that we had a chance to tie it up.

Has everything been a little bit harder this year?

Every year is different. This year is a little bit different. Obviously, we’ve had some tough games on the road and that’s the way football is sometimes. We really can’t feel sorry for ourselves. There’s still a lot for us to play for, but we certainly need to figure out who we are on the road opposed to who we are at home.

Re: 13 penalties today

Some of those were some close calls, some of those were penalties we can handle. We talked about it earlier in the year, we had a game where we had a ton of penalties and we got away with it, but it caught up to us today.

Re On what the back-to-back losses in December say about the team

You know, we are in a tough spot obviously. We put ourselves in a tough spot, but at the same time, we haven’t lost our belief in each other and we still have a lot to play for. There’s really no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves. We need to figure it out and keep competing and keep trying to improve.

RB Sony Michel

What was he thinking with 2:30 left with this team’s history of comebacks?

I was just ready to play, to stay in the game, be locked in, and be ready to execute the calls.

Re: If he had any doubt they were going to get in

I never had a doubt. We came prepared. The main thing for us is just to keep fighting and that’s what we did. 

Re: What happened in the red zone  

We were playing against a great team. They made some great plays, but the guys on this team still fought hard. They still kept their head in the game and that’s what it’s all about.

Did they do anything different to try and defend you?

They played some good football and you got to play good football back. We were trying to take advantage of whatever they gave us and do whatever Coach [Belichick] called. We just tried to go out there and execute but you got to keep going, got to keep playing.

DB Duron Harmon

On what the back-to-back losses in December say about the team

It says that we got to be better. We got to win these games and we know that. All games are going to be tough in December, especially when you go against good teams like Pittsburgh today. They played tremendous, but we got to find ways to win and whatever it is, whether it’s penalties or just making sure we’re all locked in, whatever we got to do we got to make sure that we do it because we know these games in December are important.

Is it concerning that certain problems with the run game always occur on the road?

I wouldn’t say concerned because like I said, I know the type of group that we have. We all come ready to work. We are going to fix it. We are going to fix it, for sure. We are going to be better next week and when we get another opportunity to play on the road, we will be better and do everything we can to get a win.

Re: What makes him so confident that what he’s seeing right now can be fixed

Just the guys. We played solid football down the stretch when it mattered the most. Fourth quarter we did some things that went well. Just knowing it’s the group of guys that we have. Great guys, guys that put a lot into it and we obviously have to put more into it because for whatever reason, what we want to happen isn’t happening.

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