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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 12/23

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018

BB: Well, always a great feeling to win the division. You have to give our players a lot of credit. It’s been a tough couple of weeks but they responded with a great week of preparation. I thought we played hard today against Buffalo that also played tough like they always do. They’re a well-coached team and they really make you work for everything. In the end, we were able to make enough plays in all three phases of the game. I thought our punt and punt return teams gave us a lot of good field position plays throughout the course of the game. Then we were able to run the ball fairly consistently, play pretty good defense. Those are all good things. It’s good to win, good to know that our season is going to extend a little bit here. It’s a good way to celebrate Christmas and then obviously be ready to go against the Jets. I mean, we know that’ll be difficult, too. That game will have some important meaning for us and them, so we’ll have to have a good week there. It’s good to enjoy this one for a day or so.

Q: Can you talk about the fourth-and-5 play from the third quarter that resulted in a Julian Edelman touchdown?

BB: Yeah, we talked about that going into the game, those long field goal situations. It’s a tough kick going that way into the lighthouse. You saw what happened on theirs. I think Steve [Gostkowski] would’ve had a good shot to make it, but fourth-and-5 we felt like we had a decent chance to pick that up too. It was a really good, tight throw. Tom [Brady] stuck it in there. Julian ran a good route and got inside and did a good job of finishing the run. Obviously, kind of got tackled but spun out of it and kept his balance and scored. We were looking for the first down there, not the touchdown so I’m happy to take the touchdown, but it was a well-executed play and Julian just made a great run, showed great balance and toughness to finish it.

Q: What went into the decision to take Tom Brady out with that much time left in the fourth quarter?

BB: Yeah, because I thought that was the right thing to do.

Q: Are you able to be nostalgic about all of this success here in New England?

BB: Yeah, maybe do that some other time. Right now, I’m really just happy for our team and our players, our coaching staff. They work extremely hard. This has been a very challenging season. We still have a big game left so we’re not done yet here with the regular season, but to be able to win the division is certainly a goal that we have at the beginning of the year so to be able to reach that I’m really just happy for all of the people that have worked so hard to make that happen. Now we’ve got to press harder and continue to get better and play better and coach better as the season extends here.

Q: Could you address how your running game has gotten stronger as the season has gone on?

BB: Yeah, again, that’s a team effort. Certainly Josh [McDaniels] and the offensive coaches – Dante [Scarnecchia], Ivan [Fears] – I thought the receivers really blocked well today. Chad [O’Shea], Nick Caley – all of those guys do a great job and our offensive line, tight ends, fullbacks working together with the back and their reads. Even some of the receiver running plays which, again, involve a lot of receiver perimeter blocking which is critical to those plays. I thought Julian, Chris [Hogan], Rob [Gronkowski], Dwayne [Allen] were out there some too. It’s team execution and that comes from a lot of reps on the practice field, a lot of time spent in the meeting rooms to get those things right. We had a good day with that today and that was important for us. And I thought all of those guys you mentioned ran hard. The backs ran hard. C.P. [Cordarrelle Patterson], Phil [Dorsett] got on the edge there, Julian ran hard after a couple of catches. Those guys, if you give them a little bit of space, they can make some yards on their own.

Q: Running 47 times for 273 yards – was that the plan going into today to try and dominate the line of scrimmage?

BB: Yeah, well our goal is always to move the ball and score points, so that’s what we try to do. It depends on how they’re playing us and whether we can run it, throw it, whatever it is. If we can move the ball and score points, that’s a good thing. Today we were able to get the ball outside to the edge a few times. Then when they took that away, James [White] hit it up inside on the touchdown run there on third down. Sometimes those things are taken away and you do something else. We don’t try to go into the game and say this is how many times we’re going to run the ball, this is how many times we’re going to throw it to this player, this is how many times we’re going to throw it to that player. We call our plays, we see what happens and we try to adjust as the game goes along to do what we think is best. It’s the same thing we do every week.

Q: Despite no catches from Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett, there may have been a lot more that went into their performance’s today. What did you think of them and their downfield blocking today?

BB: I thought it was good. It was good. A lot of those plays were outside plays. I mean, you and me could’ve been playing center and guard on some of those plays. It doesn’t make any difference. The ball was all the way on the edge and it was the receivers that had to do the blocking for C.P. or Phil. There’s plenty of plays we ran inside. I’m saying there were a number of plays where the ball was at the edge so fast that it was really all about the perimeter blocking. Those guys did a good job. Rob and Dwayne were out there some too.

Q: I don’t think you want me on your interior offensive line.

BB: Well, I don’t think you want to run behind me either, but if the ball gets outside that quickly, we could probably hold it for one eighth of a second.

Q: What do you think accounted for the big improvement in the run defense today?

BB: I think, again, it’s about team defense. One guy can’t stop the running game so it’s about everybody – our run force, our ends, our tackles, our linebackers, coordination, communication, playing physical, tackling well. Defensively, I thought we competed well in the running game. Covered and competed well in coverage against some big, explosive play receivers and a very athletic quarterback who was hard to rush and contain, but I think we got some pressure on him without him killing us on the scrambles. He got out a couple of times but, I mean, we hit him a few times too. It was competitive. Again, that’s just all about team defense. It just can’t be one guy. It’s everybody. Those guys worked really hard this week and I thought played very competitively tonight.

Q: Can you talk about the accomplishment’s today of J.C. Jackson and Jason McCourty?

BB: Yeah, I mean, Jason’s catch on the sideline – the interception – was a great a play. We all got a good look at that one. He timed his jump well. He made a great play on the ball. He got his feet down. It was a wide receiver type of catch. J.C. has played well for us. Jason’s played well. Those guys are wearing a lot of different roles. We switched some matchups today. Those guys are well prepared and they’re very adaptable to handle different things as we see with what our opponent was doing, in this case, Buffalo. They were running a couple of different personnel combinations, using three receivers but mixing the receivers up and the location and so forth. We made some adjustments on that. Those guys handled them well. I thought our secondary played again, very competitively.

Q: Tom Brady seemed to struggle with the passing game today. What did you see from him?

BB: Well, I think overall, our passing game will be better, could be better, but we ran the ball well and that offset it. Some days it’s the running game, some days it’s the passing game. We’ll see what happens next week, but I have a lot of confidence in our quarterback, our receivers, our offensive line, our protection. When we need to throw, hopefully we’ll be able to throw if we have to. If we need to run it, hopefully we’ll be able to run.

Q: Matthew Slater contributed with some big special teams plays today. Is there anything else you can say about a guy who you get so much from off the field combined with his contributions on it today?

BB: Yeah, well again, Matt’s been a great player for us for and a great leader, a great captain. Again, I’ve been really fortunate here to have two great special teams captains with Larry Izzo and then with Slate [Matthew Slater]. Slate’s just been tremendous. He’s unselfish and he’s a great player that can impact the game in a lot of different ways – coverage, downing, rushing kicks, matching up on key guys in the return game. He’s given us a lot of great play. But again, it was a lot of good teamwork today. He and Nate [Ebner] did a good job, I think, of stemming around on the rush. We almost had the first one and then we came back and ran a similar rush there at the end that he got a piece of. Ball-handling was tough with the punts into the wind, but when Julian got a clean look at it, we blocked pretty well on that and got him started. He made a good run there so we had some good field position plays in the kicking game. Slate, Ebner, Brandon King didn’t play today but all of those guys have done a great job for us all year. Jon Jones – I mean, they’ve all just stepped up and made plays; [Albert] McClellan in the Miami game. Hopefully, we just keep pressing it. When you rush the punt, you really never know who’s going to block it. Everybody’s got to be ready to go. You might think you know how they’re going to protect it, but I’d say more often than not, it usually happens a little bit differently than you think it will, so everybody has to go get off on the ball, take a good angle. Matt did that and was able to make the play.

Q: How much of a challenge was it to go into this game after taking a major personnel loss with Josh Gordon this week?

BB: Well again, it’s the National Football League. Unfortunately, there’s an attrition in this league, for one reason or another, and when it happens then it creates opportunities for other people. Again, I think we have a team that has good depth. We had a lot of players that maybe got a little more opportunity today and they stepped up and tried to make the most of it.

QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018

Q: How important is it to clinch your 10th win of the season and the AFC East title?

TB: Yeah, it was a great win all the way around. I thought defense played great and gave us a bunch of chances. Just happy we won. It’s a tough team. They play hard and glad we won.

Q: You guys are obviously still trying to develop whatever identity your offense might be as you go towards the postseason. Do you feel as if today was maybe an indication of where you’re headed with the amount of production on the ground?

TB: That was huge for us. Obviously, when we can do that, it’s going to make things a lot easier on everyone. The line really took the physical challenge to heart and we outgained them by a bunch of yards in the run game. You know, whatever it takes on a week-to-week basis, I think that’s what we’ve got to do.

Q: So maybe the notion of identity is overused and it’s just whatever it takes is closer to the identity?

TB: You know, this time of year, I think whatever it takes to win, that’s what you’ve got to do. We did a great job in the run game, and that was great to dominate all the way around. We stopped them in the run game too and made it tough on them.

Q: Is it safe to say that the passing game was struggling to find its rhythm in the first half?

TB: Yeah, we didn’t have our best game in the pass game, but we won. So, I think everyone’s feeling pretty good about winning.

Q: You just won your 10th-straight AFC East title. What was the struggle like for this one in comparison to the last nine, and where does it rank in your career?

TB: I think they’re all pretty tough. I think we just have grinded it out. I think part of playing in the NFL is over the course of 16 weeks, you see how things shake out – not after September, October, November. It’s really after the end of December. We’ve still got one hugely important game left and we need to finish strong.

Q: Were your surprised when you were taken out of the game with more than 6:39 remaining?

TB: No.

Q: How are you feeling physically at this point in the season?

TB: I feel great. I feel 100 percent.

Q: With the two interceptions, as frustrating as they were, how big was it for the defense to hold Buffalo to three points?

TB: Yeah, the defense played so great. Held them – they moved the ball pretty well at times, too, this year – and I thought our defense played great, played great on third down, stopped them in the run game and got us a bunch of turnovers, too.

Q: So, you did not have an injury when you were taken out with 6:39 to go?

TB: No, I’m not injured.

Q: When Julian Edelman scored his touchdown, and then on the ensuing possession when Malcom Brown ran down and recovered that forced fumble, are those the kind of plays that can trigger you guys and maybe provide a spark?

TB: Those were big plays, and I think we’re going to need those – you know, a fourth-down play for a touchdown and played well there in the fourth quarter. I thought our defense did a great job really keeping their offense from scoring up until the very end. So, you know, it’s a lot of critical plays, a lot of timely plays and it was good to get the win.

Q: With the Texans’ loss today, you have a first-round bye in your control now. How big is it knowing you go into next week’s game with a chance to clinch that first-round bye?

TB: It’s just hugely important to finish strong. We’ve got a great opportunity. We’re playing against a team we know pretty well, but they played really well today and it’s going to be a tough game. So, get our minds right for a very important game that’s huge for us and I’m sure they’re going to play hard. We’ve got to grind it out and figure out how to win.

Q: At your age, how much do you have to remember not to take these division titles for granted? How special does it feel?

TB: Yeah, I certainly don’t take it for granted. I mean, I know how hard it is. I just have a great deal of appreciation for my teammates and coaches that work extremely hard to put us in a position to do a great job. I think when you have a lot of perspective, like I certainly do, I realize that it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, and I’m just very grateful.

SAFETY DEVIN McCOURTY

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018

Q: Talk about the defensive effort today.

DM: I think as a defense, we’ve just been building, just trying to get better each week. I think we hit our keys today. We talked a lot about the running game and whenever you’ve got to face a guy like [LeSean] McCoy and then especially with Josh Allen, what he’s been able to do in his first season in the NFL, I thought we did a good job of coming out and not letting the run game get us and then handling the different shot plays. So it was a good effort from us defensively and as always, when we get turnovers, that helps us out a lot.

Q: How happy are you for your brother Jason McCourty finally getting to win a division title?

DM: I’m ecstatic, man. We’ve been telling him for three weeks now that we’re going to try to get him a hat and t-shirt. So I was happy it came through and he played great today – interception, forced fumble down by the end zone – really two key plays that helped us win the game so he’s been just a consummate pro all year. Leading the rookies between J.C. [Jackson] and Keion [Crossen] and Duke [Dawson Jr.] and helping those guys out, being a leader on the field defensively when it comes to communication. Everyone can feel his career, what he’s been through, what he’s learned, he kind of pours that out on us daily. It’s been a pleasure having him in the locker room.

Q: Is there any brotherly ribbing going on with it being his first divisional title when you’ve been a part of so many?

DM: No, I mean I think you guys see it. This is my ninth one but you go down to Miami, you’ve got a chance to win a hat and t-shirt, you lose on the last play. You go to Pittsburgh, had a chance to do it, you lose on the last play of the game really again. We never take it for granted. It’s hard to win these division championships, it’s hard to win games period in the NFL. So as much as I want to make fun of him, we are all a part of the journey this year and know how hard it is to go out and win these games. It’s just been a lot of fun with this group of guys.

Q: There was a huge eruption in the locker room when Philadelphia beat Houston today. How important is it to win next week now that you’ve moved up to that second seed?

DM: It’s good. I think that’s a part of it, that’s definitely important but I think this time of the year, just playing good football. We always talk about playing well in December and winning games and coming off two games we lost, we want to put two good games back-to-back and see where that takes us. I think Bill [Belichick] told us last week, ‘We come in, it’s up to us. How we play determines our future.’ How many games we have left in our season, we’re guaranteed one, play well, we’ll have another. If we don’t, that’ll be it. I think guys realize that and we know this time of year, every time we take the field, practice or games, we need to put our best out there if we want to keep playing.

Q: How important is it to have the two qualities you want to have in playoff football exhibited today with good defense and a good running attack?

DM: It’s huge. I think the hard thing in the NFL is you’ve got to do it week-in and week-out. It doesn’t just carry over if you do it one week but that’s the style we want. Bill [Belichick] always talks about a tough team is stopping the run and running the football and covering kicks. We did that today and then you add in Jules [Julian Edleman]’s big return on punt-return. Guys are really working their butts off, we’re trying to put our best foot forward each week and it’s been starting on Wednesday in practice. I think we’ve just got to continue that kind of blueprint and way we’ve been working for the rest of this year.

Q: Once again, we saw a mix of that playground defense with one down lineman or in one case, no down lineman. As confusing as it is for the offense, what does it take as a defensive play-caller to make sure that everybody’s on the same page?

DM: I think it comes a lot from us studying and us talking. Studying together and then talking about different looks. Like if we get a very vanilla two-by-two or three-by-one, we’re set, but whether it’s somebody watching film on their own or watching something in meetings, guys will come like, ‘Did you see this play? What do we want to do here?’ I think that constant communication in the meeting rooms and the locker room helps us. It helps us prepare for what we might get. And then the things we’ve seen throughout the season, that experience carries over each week because we know things that have hurt us will keep coming back up no matter who we play.

Q: What kind of performance did you see from J.C. Jackson again today? Can you speak on the interception he had and read he made to make that play?

DM: Oh yeah, he has very good ball awareness. I think the good thing about J.C. is he’s very athletic, can play the cornerback position very well covering guys. But’s been cool to see as a rookie, him starting to just learn more concepts, football, the defense, just covering his guy and he sees his guy in the flat like, ‘Let me look back at the quarterback,’ opens up, turns around and makes a great interception. Between him and Keion [Crossen], I think the experience that they’ve gotten throughout the year in practice and in games, you see them growing, you see them getting better, you see them having a heightened awareness. That’s been pretty cool as an older guy to see.

RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 23, 2018

Q: You’re a guy that hasn’t had as many carries since Rex Burkhead returned to the lineup, but it seems like you have fresh legs and you’re ready to go at the critical time, especially with that 27-yard touchdown run?

JW: I mean, for any of us, we just try to make the most of the opportunities that we get. It was a great play call. C.P. [Cordarrelle Patterson] was having a lot of success on the fly sweeps and stuff, so it kind of gets the defense displaced and offensive line did a great job blocking and just tried to get the ball in the end zone.

Q: With your effort at the 2-yard line, did you know that Micah Hyde was going to go high? Were you focused on keeping your feet in bounds?

JW: Yeah, just kind of dive without reaching the ball out is something that I’m used to doing. Just trying to fight to get in the end zone.

Q: This team has for a number of years leaned on the arm of Tom Brady. How nice was it for you guys today to be able to use the running game and maybe take a little bit of the pressure off him, especially against the Bills who have the best pass defense in the NFL?

JW: They have a good defense over there, and it’s always tough every time we play them. I think the offensive line, it starts with them and they did a great job today of being physical, the tight ends, receivers. It’s not easy as much as we ran the ball today to keep doing the right thing, keep being physical for that many plays, but they did it. We had a lot of rushing yards. Sony [Michel] ran hard, Rex ran hard and I tried to run hard when I got the ball. I mean, just a great team effort.

Q: In addition to the offensive line, we know what James Develin has meant...

JW: Yeah, can’t forget J.D., too. I’m sorry about that, J.D.

Q: But what about the return of Dwayne Allen, as well, and his role today in particular?

JW: Dwayne’s awesome. He’s also one of the guys similar to James Develin. I mean, he might not touch the ball a lot, but when he’s out there, he’s blocking, trying to block hard defensive ends. It’s tough to block defensive ends in this league, especially as a tight end, and he does a great job of it. He fights and he’s willing to work and he’s just a great team player.

Q: We’ve heard the cliché many times that you’ve got to have a running attack come playoff time. Was there an attitude, especially in the first half, that ‘we’re going to run the ball,’ even though Buffalo has a great front?

JW: I think that’s always the attitude for us. When we run the ball successfully, it opens everything else up. So, you always want to get the running game established and we had a lot of success from the beginning of the game and we just kind of kept it going. You just want to be tough and physical. And, like I said, the offensive line did a great job of setting the tone.

Q: How big is it to know that if you win next week against the Jets, you secure a first-round bye in the playoffs?

JW: Yeah, we’ve just got to prepare hard and beat a tough division opponent. I mean, even whatever their record is, it’s always tough every time we play those guys. So, definitely can’t take the game for granted. Got to go out there, have a good week of practice and just play hard for four quarters. Obviously, it was still sloppy out there today for us and we know we’ve got to be better. We still have a lot to improve on, so I think that’s enough motivation for us in itself.

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

David Andrews, C

(On the James White touchdown run)

“It was a great team win. The receivers, I thought they blocked hard. That’s really where you get those big runs. We get them going and then the receivers finish it and they allow them to get into space. Everyone did a good job and we were the most efficient team today.”

(On establishing the run game)

“We were able to play from ahead, able to play ahead on down and distance for the most part. When you do that you can run the ball and we were able to do that effectively. I thought the whole team played physical; receivers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends. It was a good overall team win.”

(On having 275 rushing yards and controlling the line of scrimmage)

“There’s so much that goes into it. Like I said, staying ahead on down and distance and not playing from behind. When we’re able to do that we can be pretty good.”

Rex Burkhead, RB

(On the offensive line doing a good job today)

“They did a tremendous job from the get-go being physical. That’s a great defensive front there with the Buffalo Bills. They opened up holes for myself, Sony [Michel], James [White], and CP [Cordarrelle Patterson] going around the edge. Also the receivers laying it out on the line with their blocks as well.”

(On the importance of being physical and taking back the line of scrimmage)

“We have to. Especially this time of year games are tough. You’ve got to really have that mindset that it’s going to be a physical game. This is when real football begins. It was definitely one of our goals going into the game and I felt like we established that early on.”

(On the 10 straight division titles)

“I think that’s the program that’s been established here. Just the expectations year end and year out. It’s very neat and humbling to be a part of. Hopefully we can continue to reach our goals this year.”


Julian Edelman, WR

(On how it feels to put on the AFC East champions hat)

“It feels good. Any time you go out and win the division that’s big. It’s an accomplishment for this team, we’ve put a lot of work into this and we’ve got to go out and keep on improving because there’s a lot of meat on that bone left.”

(On if getting a win after a couple losses has helped get them back in rhythm) 

“I mean there’s a lot of stuff we can do, I’ve got to watch the film. It definitely feels great to be back in that column, it was a long two weeks. But with the win, just like a loss, you have got to have a short memory and we’ve got to start getting ready for who we’ve got next week.”

(On the frustration of not getting the passing game going)

“I mean anytime you don’t execute the way you want there’s always a little frustration. You’ve got to have a short memory after each drive, you have six seconds to think about it and then move on. And that’s what we’re going to try to continue to do is just try to improve, improve, improve. Take these practices very seriously and really focus on that because practice execution becomes game reality.”

Trey Flowers, DL

(On the team being in position to clinch a playoff bye next week)

“It’s one of the things that you can’t take for granted. Just to be able to be in the position where you have an opportunity like that is definitely a blessing and something you work hard for. You got to continue to work, come back ready to work and play the Jets.”

(On the defense making improvements throughout the season)

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is points [allowed]. Whatever position we get caught in, whether they get down [in the red zone] on a penalty, turnover, long pass or anything. As long as we keep points off the board, we’re that much closer to winning the game. Red area stops is one of the things that we pride on a lot.”

(On the Eagles beating the Texans this week)

“We still got to take care of business and take care of the Jets next week. We’re not looking too far ahead and whenever their time comes around, we also got to be well prepared. Nothing is really won today. The ultimate goal is not won today, but as long as we keep doing our job, we’ll be where we want to be.”


Stephon Gilmore, CB

(On the feeling of getting to wear a division hat)

“It means a lot. It is a blessing being the second one. It took a lot of hard work and definitely is not easy. You do not come passed these opportunities too often so you have to take advantage of them.”

(On Jason McCourty’s play)

“It was a great play. He has great ball skills and got his feet in so it was a great overall play.”

(On ‘clinching’ the division at home)

“It was big and you know we did not take care of business the past few weeks but to we knew we had to come out here and take care of business this week and come out with a win.”

Rob Gronkowski, TE

(On moving to the number 2 seed going into the final week)

“You can’t really control that unless you go out and you get wins. We’re going to have another big game next week so we’ve just got to focus and finish out the year strong.”

(On what it’s like when the team is running the ball as much as they did)

“Games like that happen. I’m on year nine now, and I’ve been in games where we just run the ball the whole game if it’s working. I’ll just tell you this, whatever it takes to win a game that’s what we’re doing.”

(On Julian Edelman’s touchdown)

“That was huge by Julian. Julian is a guy like that who comes through all the time. He works hard, always hustling, and always busting his tail. It was an awesome play by him that helped boost us to get the win.”


Duron Harmon, DB

(On wearing the division title hat)

“This one feels a little different because we had the opportunity the past two weeks to wear these hats and these t-shirts. It just shows the resilience in this group not to fold under pressure and just continue to come to work each and every day. When things don’t go your way never quit, never fold, and just keep fighting until it does.”

(On the Eagles beating the Texans and getting back the control of the bye week)

“The main thing for us is just to win football games right now. We have to make sure that we’re playing our best football, next week, the week after, and whenever we have to play. That’s the main thing we’re worried about, just us. Thank you Nick Foles for getting the win, but I’ll take our team against anybody. We know how good we are and we know how good we can be. We just have to worry about ourselves and make sure that every time we step on the field from now on that we’re ready to go and play our best ball.”

(On the irony of Nick Foles helping the Patriots by beating the Texans)

“Nick Foles plays his best ball in December and he’s a competitor. We’ve seen that in the Super Bowl, we’ve seen it leading up to the Super Bowl when he had to take over for the Eagles at the quarterback position last year. We know the type of player he is. Now he’s doing it all over again. Like I said, thank him for leading that offense today and especially on that two-minute drive. That takes guts. He did that against a really good team, the Texans, a defense that’s as good as anybody out there. We’ll definitely take it.”


Chris Hogan, WR

(On today’s win)

“Proud of this team. We had to battle for a couple of weeks and a couple of frustrating losses. We came out here and got the job done.”

(On whether the AFC East division title means more after the two straight losses)

“I’m just really proud of this team and the way that we fought today. It wasn’t perfect, it never is, but everyone really worked hard and came out here and played a good football game.”

(On whether it was superstition for him to be sitting at the end of the bench)

“Yes. We were playing well while I was sitting over there, so I thought I’d see if I could continue it.”

(On whether the execution of the offense was better today)

“I thought so. I thought the offensive line played really well. The running backs ran the ball well. Julian [Edelman] played awesome. The defense got a lot of stops and stopped a pretty good offense that’s playing well. I thought the defense played really well. I thought all and all we got good plays out of the kicking game and that’s what we ask, all three phases playing well together.”

(On the team’s lack of production in the passing game)

“I think the run game was really key today, so I think we kind of stuck with that. The offensive line was blocking really well and we were able to run the ball. I think that was kind of something that we wanted to do, which was be physical in the run game and establish that and I think that’s kind of why the numbers were different.”

J.C. Jackson, DB

(On his interception)

“I just happened to look back at him and I read his eyes the whole play. He actually threw the seven route and I jumped it . . . I was really in man and the tight end ran to the flat, so I had my eyes on the tight end and the quarterback. The tight end was my man, but I saw him though. I was like, ‘[Josh Allen] isn’t going to throw the flat,’ so I read him. He threw the seven, I jumped on it and it was a pick.”

(On consistently being a starter and making progress)

“It doesn’t mean anything. I just come to work, keep my head down, keep grinding and try to get better each and every week. Each week I’m making plays and gaining confidence in my teammates, coaches and myself.”

(On the defense winning the turnover battle against the Bills)

“We came out swinging. I think we had two or three turnovers today. If you get turnovers like that, you’re going to win the game. That’s the goal when you’re playing corner, to get your hands on the ball each game. That’s my goal.”

Shaq Mason, OL

(On past few games)

“There was definitely frustration but we knew that we are capable of running and moving the ball well to execute.”

(On James White’s touchdown)

“I kind of just fit in and James cut off me and made me look good so it is all on James.”

(On Philadelphia Eagles field goal to beat Houston)

“Yes you know I did not see that but at this point we just have to take care of our own business.”

Jason McCourty, CB

(On first time winning the division)

“I am excited about that. Matt Slater said it to us at the end of the game that there is a lot more to our story but you do not take any moment for granted. It took me ten years to be able to say that I have won my division and you put a hat and shirt on.”

(On the next steps after this win)

“Definitely going to come in ready to win and ready to fight. With Christmas coming up I am looking forward to enjoying some time with the family then getting right back into business.”

(On team encouragement) 

“You know a lot of guys in this locker room experience different things. You know for my brother he has won his division every year so not that he takes it for granted but he goes into every season with that expectation. Other years we strive for that but I can not go as far to say it was expected. I think every step you take moving forward and any type of success you have you just want to cherish it for a second before you move on. Especially for me, ten years you know how hard that journey is. Being so close sometimes letting it slip through your fingers so I will enjoy the rest of today then get ready for playing the New York Jets.”

Sony Michel, RB

(On the team being undefeated this year when he goes for over 100 yards)

“It’s not really about me. I think it’s awesome when you rush for a lot of yards whether it’s me running the ball, James [White] running the ball, Rex [Burkhead] running the ball, even [Cordarrelle Patterson] running the ball. As long as we create positive plays it’s always great for this team and this offense.”

(On being the number 2 seed in the AFC again)

“I think it’s always a good position, but at the end of the day we still have to control what we can control. Get back to work and just focus on our next opponent.”

(On how satisfying it was to punch it in at the goal line)

“It’s always satisfying. My focus is to finish each drive, finish each play. That was a great representation of finishing.”

Danny Shelton, DL

(On the defensive performance against the run)

“It started with the defensive line. It felt like we all did our job and we did a great job at helping out on defense. We just had the mindset coming into this game of dominating the line of scrimmage and we executed . . . I’m just doing my job and executing and that’s all I want to do out there. That’s my way of contributing to the defense.”

(On how it feels to be an AFC East Champion)

“It feels good to be in December and winning. I’m excited to finish off this season. We have another opportunity to play the Jets and we look forward to that.”

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