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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 12/9

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Quarterback Tom Brady and select players comment on their 34-33 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Opening Statement:

BILL BELICHICK: Obviously, it's a real disappointing ending for us today. There's a lot of things we could have done better. It came down to one play, but there were a lot of things besides that. In the end, we've just got to do a better job than we did. Miami played hard like they always do, and they just made one more play than we did.

Q: You left a lot of points on the field there.

BILL BELICHICK: We missed opportunities. We've just got to do a better job.

Q: With TE Rob Gronkowski on the field on that last play, did you anticipate a Hail Mary. His job on that play is what, as far as Gronk, being on the field?

BILL BELICHICK: Yeah, well they could throw it deeper. They could have run the Desperado-type play, which is kind of an in between 20-yard pass, then it turned into a Desperado.

Q: A lot of teams work on that play all the time, as I'm sure you do too. Do you work on that play defensively as well all the time?

BILL BELICHICK: Unfortunately, we didn't do a good job on that today. We need to obviously coach it better, play it better.

Q: Can you talk about how this game went back and forth and all of that, a bunch of lead changes in this game?

BILL BELICHICK: A lot of points scored in the first half and not so many in the second half, but that's the National Football League.

Q: What happened at the end of the half there on the 2-yard line on that play with the sack?

BILL BELICHICK: Yeah. Time ran out on us. It's obviously not what we were trying to do.

Q: QB Tom Brady was in the pocket, so he felt he couldn't ditch it because he wasn't outside the pocket?

BILL BELICHICK: It just wasn't a good play. It's not what we were trying to do.

Q: It looked like it was tough to run the ball. Was that a little disappointing because you couldn't get the run game going?

BILL BELICHICK: They're a good front. They played good on defense. We had a few opportunities. We'd like to make more with them. We had a couple of runs called back; but yeah, they played it well.

Q: Did it feel at all ominous leaving that touchdown on the field at the end and with K Stephen Gostkowski missing the extra point, just things that don't normally happen. Did it feel kind of ominous letting them hang around a little bit?

BILL BELICHICK: I don't know. We just tried to make enough plays to win, but we didn't.

Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Q: How did you see that last play unfolding?

TOM BRADY: They made a good play. I think we all have plays on offense for kind of those desperation plays, and I thought they did a good job executing it. They got it to their fast guys. Football is a crazy game. It shouldn't have come down to that. I think we left a lot more points on the board offensively. That's football.

Q: Speaking of which, at the end of the first half, did you feel like where you were caught in the pocket and you couldn't ditch the ball on that last play before halftime?

TOM BRADY: That was a terrible play by me. That should never happen. I lost track. I thought we had one time out. We called the one, and we ran a couple plays, and I was just not thinking on third down. So it was just a play that should never happen.

Q: Early in this game, as far as your mechanics, it looks like WR Julian Edelman is real close to being back at full strength. TE Rob Gronkowski really got it going in this game. As far as your timing, it seemed like you guys were hitting on all cylinders at points in the first half, then you got it back at the end of the game. How did you feel playing that? It seemed like you threw the ball extremely well.

TOM BRADY: We had some productivity. I thought we did a good job in certain areas. We left some out there. With the run game, we've got to make more yards in the run game and control the line of scrimmage that way too. They've got a good defense. They play well at home. We said it's tough to win here, even though it seems like we should. We figured out a way to not finish it the right way. Give them credit. They made a great play at the end. They made some other great plays.

Q: One win in six tries down here. Is this place turning into a dungeon for you guys or what? You all played well enough, obviously, to win today, but you still walk in losing 5 out of 6. Is it something you can put your finger on?

TOM BRADY: They play well here. We haven't. I think it's just that simple.

Q: Have you experienced a loss like that before in your career, last second, last play of the game like that?

TOM BRADY: I've had some pretty tough losses in my career. I've had a lot of tough losses. We've got a lot of football left. We'll see if we can go play a lot better next week.

Q: Tom, for some of the younger guys who haven't experienced a tough loss like that, what do you say to them to help them get over it?

TOM BRADY: Well, we get back to work. We get back to work. If they didn't make that play at the end, we'd do the same thing. It's disappointing when we lose games. I think we all realize we could have done a better job in certain areas. I wish I could have done a better job on certain plays, but that's football. We'll just get back to work this week and try to go beat Pittsburgh.

Q: Is this more of a mental thing at this point for New England with all of the losses in Miami? Does it play a role at all mentally for the younger players in New England?

TOM BRADY: In terms of what?

Q: As far as all the losses in Miami, all this time. Does it affect them at all? Like coming to Miami, all the media talk leading into the week.

TOM BRADY: Like I said, they play well and we haven't. They made some great plays today. They made one more than we did. That's the way it goes.

Patriots Wide Receiver Josh Gordon

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Q: It's never just one play that loses the game, but in the grand scheme of things, is that about as hard to take a loss?

JOSH GORDON: Yeah, that's as tough as it gets. A buzzer-beater like that type of a game, or a way to end the game, I've never seen anything like that in my career. Maybe in college, but it's a crazy game. It's a crazy game.

Q: Are losses tougher here?

JOSH GORDON: I think, when things are going your way for a period of time, the season ebbs and flows, and when things are going great, you're feeling good. When all of a sudden they're not, it just depends on how you're going to bounce back. Being here, I think we've got a tough group of guys. We can handle it. We can bounce back. We're on to Pittsburgh now at this point. It's a tough way to leave Miami, but we're here now.

Q: You've been in that last line of defense in the Hail Mary defense before. Can you sort of relate to TE Rob Gronkowski and how difficult it is to kind of make that last stop?

JOSH GORDON: Yeah, I'm sure he was definitely probably expecting like a pass or something downfield, something he could jump up and go get, as opposed to pursuit, something that no offensive player has too much prowess of. So that's unfortunate, but you live and learn.

Q: TE Rob Gronkowski had talked about how galvanizing he thinks a game like this can be moving forward. Is it hard to process that, though, in the moment?

JOSH GORDON: You know what, at the end of the game, I thought it was a momentum shift for us in a positive way more so than a negative way because we, I think, performed offensively pretty well. I know how much work we put in leading up to this game. So for it to end that way, it just doesn't seem like that's the end result for us, like that's not the end of the story. We know we've got more to prove and more to offer. So going into next week, we hope we can get it done, and I think we will.

Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Q: That last play there, you were back there in anticipation of maybe a Hail Mary. Instead the guy ran it?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Yes. I mean, we practiced that play a few times for the Hail Mary. You guys have seen it before. Go up and get the ball. But they changed it up a little bit. It was just kind of sucky.

Q: So to be clear, you're in there for the purpose of the Hail Mary, not that kind of a play?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Every time we practice it, it's for the Hail Mary. You've got to be ready for anything. It's football. Just the way it ended, I mean, it sucked. I mean, I've never really been a part of anything like that. I feel like it's going to test our character big time, how we bounce back from something like that, and I've just got to make that tackle.

Q: Did you feel you would have a shot if you didn't slip a little bit in the end?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Yeah, I did trip a little bit, but that's football. That's why they say it's a game of inches and a game of a split second there and there. That just gave me a lesson that it shows that that's true with the game of football.

Q: In walking back the last half of that play, what are you seeing, and at what point are you thinking I might be in trouble here?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: I mean, I just saw the ball going lateral, hook and ladder and stuff. I didn't think it was going to get to me, and then just saw the guy trucking down the field. I mean, it would have been … You saw what happened from there.

Q: In talking to DB Devin McCourty and a couple of the defensive guys, he said this will be a chance to show the mental toughness of the team and how you respond because you still have a lot of things you can accomplish this year. Do you agree with that?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. That's what I was just talking about. It's going to test our character. It's going to test our mental toughness. I mean, I feel like I've been going through that all year, and now to get to this point now. We've just got to keep working hard. We've just got to keep grinding. We've got to keep focusing and just come together as a team more. It's definitely, definitely going to test our mental toughness.

Q: Do you have to remember that you played a really good game, also to take away from positives, like your third touchdown catch of the season?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, that's good enough; but it just shows what happens when you lose. You can have a great game, whatever, but if you don't get the W, it really doesn't matter. We've just got to always find ways to do more and just be ready to play 60 minutes of football every single time you step on the field.

Q: Is this the best you've felt this season or since the beginning of the season?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: I felt good out there, definitely. I'm making plays, blocking, getting some chemistry built back up. So overall, I mean, on the offensive unit, we're moving the ball. I wish we could have put up more points when we could have in the red zone; but as a unit, we were playing well, moving the ball, and we've just got to continue that positive streak going of moving the ball on the offensive side.

Q: Do you start to wonder why things happen the way they happen in games down here against this team?

ROB GRONKOWSKI: I mean, that's a tough one to figure out, but it is what it is. We worked hard all week to have a different outcome. We've just got to keep on grinding. We've got to keep on going. That's all you can do. (We) just (have to) keep on putting good practices together, come together as a team, and just keep working.


Center David Andrews

(Are you still stunned after that?) – "It's the NFL. It's just highs and lows. It is just the way the game goes sometimes. There's a lot of things we can do better, situations we can do better in – offensively – that we could have done better and that's just what we have to do."

(As the final play is going down, what do you think? Is it going real fast? Is it going real slow? Were you like this is slipping away?) – "There's nothing you can do at that point."

(How do you bounce back from this?) – "We've got to come in and go to work on Monday. That's all we can do. We've got a big challenge this week with Pittsburgh. We've got to come in, go back to work and get this ship corrected."

(Is this perhaps the biggest test of character of this team of this year?) – "It is just the game of football. There are ups and downs. You learn a lot about your team in these moments and we've got to rebound and get this thing going back where we want."

Defensive End Trey Flowers

(Did you go into the last play basically thinking you guys had won that game?) – "Yeah. We knew we had one more play left and they scored, so yeah."

(How difficult is a loss like this to swallow when you think about what transpired on that last play?) – "It's going to be tough, but we still have a lot of games left. We just have to bounce back."

(Do you recall a game you played that ended like that? In high school or college?) – "Yeah, there have been plenty games that come to an ending like that. I can't recall, but yes.

(High School, college?) - All through high school and college, there have been a lot of games. That's football, you play until the clock hits zero."

Safety Devin McCourty

(How challenging can a play like that be to defend when it is unpredictable for what is going to happen?) – "It's not that hard. We just have to do a better job (with) leverage, tackling. Seven seconds (left), we just have to make that play."

(Was it just a matter of guys getting ahead of themselves?) – "I don't know. We'll have to see."

(Do you think exhaustion was any factor?) – "No. We probably played our best at the end of the fourth quarter until the last play."

(What was it about their running game early on that gave you guys a hard time?) – "I'm not sure. We will have to watch that and see. I'm not 100 percent sure why. They had some plays where they just broke right into the secondary right away. We will just have to see how that shows up scheme-wise and what we could've done better."

(The way they shift in motion, does that complicate things in terms of you guys knowing which gaps to be in?) – "No. By this time of the year, a lot of teams do that. We see it from our offense, so I wouldn't say that's brand new for us.”

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore

(Is that one of the tougher losses you have been through?) – "Yeah. Down to the last second. That was tough."

(Are you supposed to be waiting, kind of, for cutbacks on that last play when they were lateraling like that?) – "I don't know. We'll see on film."

(Is it difficult on those types of plays because those in-the-game scenarios that are not really something that you have the opportunity to practice. Usually when you are facing it, you are dealing with those kinds of situations for the first time, right) – "No. We practice it. We just didn't execute it right."

(Is there an element at all of you guys basically feeling like you had already won before that play?) – "No. It always … You never know in this game. You just have to keep playing until the last play."

Defensive Back Jonathan Jones

(The play after the catch when you know that he's trying to whatever he can to keep the ball alive and you're trying to go and make the tackle to prevent the lateral, all that stuff. What are you trying to process?) – "Just tackling, trying to tackle and stopping them from, like you said, lateraling or continuing the play and they were able to get it off and continue the play. But we have to fly around to the ball and make those plays."

(When did you process the thought the fact that it was starting to get away from you guys and he was actually going to score?) – "I think it just happened quickly. I think he was able to get to the sideline, get some open space and turn it up."

Defensive Back Duron Harmon

(DB Devin McCourty called it a "helter skelter" kind of play … You know what they're going to do but, it's just, the execution kind of breaks down somewhere along the way. How would you describe what happened?) – "Exactly. We just didn't tackle him. For whatever reason, he didn't go down. We didn't execute the play and they won."

(You had that situation earlier in the year, kind of similar in Chicago. You guys were able to keep them out of the end zone. Did they do anything different here this time around on this play that surprised you guys? I know you guys practice that end of game scenarios.) – "No, not at all. I mean, we knew what was going to go down. They're too far to throw a Hail Mary so we knew it was going to be a lateral situation. Like I said, it just came down to just executing the way needed to execute, obviously. We didn't tackle and that was the main thing."

(I know you guys in your past have used different guys in the safety position. WR Josh Gordon has been back there. Any surprise in seeing TE Rob Gronkowski back there, given that situation?) – "No. He goes back there all the time, when he's healthy. So there was no surprise there. That's what was called, that's what we had to do. It just comes down to execution. We didn't execute, so we lost."

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