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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 1/12/2008

New England Patriots players comment on their 31-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 12, 2008.

Laurence Maroney, Running Back
*(On the screen pass in the beginning of the game)
*It was basically a little screen pass and everyone knows Faulk for doing them and hopefully I was going to catch them sleeping, and I did and the linemen gave good blocks.

*(On his performance tonight)
*I felt very comfortable today and the offensive line and receivers did a good job blocking once again downfield. I just tried to get into a rhythm and run hard.

*(On the offense balance between the passing and run game)
*We knew that the running and passing game both had to work and we just tried to mix it up with different formations and personnel to keep them guessing.

*(On the running game tonight)
*Like I said, sooner than later the running game had to kick in and when we did turn to it I knew we had to be prepared. We have been here and worked hard and knew we would finally get a chance to show the world that we do have some type of running game.

*(On gaining experience in his second season)
*I feel a lot better, having a whole year on me to know what to expect, how to manage my body, how to take care of my body. Coming in last year, I had to deal with a college bowl game, the combine training, the actual combine, then the actual pro day, then your draft, then you've got your mini camps then you've got your training camp, so it was a long process.

Benjamin Watson, Tight End
(On tying the Patriots record for touchdowns in a postseason game)
*It was just my chance to make some plays. I'm just glad Tom [Brady] found me in the end zone. That's what you work for. That's what you work all those weeks for, just the chance to come out here and play. I think we put forward a great team effort.

*(On if the Jaguars were more focused on stopping Randy Moss and Wes Welker)
*I don't know. They have a good defense. They're good up front, good in the secondary. I was just able to get open. That's all you can ask for. Tom [Brady] does a good job getting the ball to the open receiver.

*(On what he did on the first touchdown pass)
*I didn't even know it was coming to me. I kind of ran a flag route and looked back and everybody was covered. Tom kind of gave me the nod to come back and [I was] uncovered and he put it right there.

*(On his second touchdown reception)
*The second one, I don't know. I think the DB fell down or something. It was actually a play designed to get somebody else open but you never know who's going to open up. That's why you play every play like it's your last one. You try to get open on every play.

*(On Tom Brady's performance)
*It was the usual. That's what we've come to expect. He's a great leader, a great friend, much less a great quarterback, obviously. He does a great job out there every week.

*(On playing in the AFC Championship game for a second straight year)
*It seems like it was just last week we were in Indy playing in that game. It seems like yesterday, so we're excited, we look forward to whoever we're going to play come next week.

Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On the touchdown pass)
*I don't know what you would call it but it was a play we felt we could take advantage of because of the aggressive plays by their safeties. I was able to get behind them and Tom Brady was able to find me for the score.

*(On the Jaguars forcing the Patriots to throw in the middle)
*I will have to look at the film and see for sure what they were doing but there were definitely some opportunities up the middle and we were able to take advantage of it.

*(On his first playoff game)
*There was more intensity out there and focus and it took a couple of series to settle down. In the end we were able to put our execution together and were able to come up with some plays.

Heath Evans, Running Back
(On the strong running game by the Patriots tonight)
*It's always great to have a strong running game. For half the year Tom Brady was doing it all by himself with the receivers and during the most important time of the year [Laurence] Maroney stepped up. That's my praise for him, its good coaching and listening on his part. He ran hard and he has a lot of talent and I'm proud of him.

*(On next week's game)
*I don't really care who we play. I think it's going to be a real good football game because of past experiences with the both the Chargers and the Colts and we are going to have our hands full with either of them. I just want the team that will give us the easiest opportunity to win next week.

Tedy Bruschi, Linebacker
(On Tom Brady's performance)
*[It's] what we expect of him, and he also expects that of us. If he has a good drive coming off the field, we say, "OK Tom, it's our turn," and we go out there and try to get a stop or try to get a turnover. We expect each other to do that.

*(On if Tom Brady could surprise him)
*Yes. A 50-yard touchdown run would surprise me. [Laughter] Besides that I expect him to do well and he expects the same of me.

*(On the lack of celebrating after the victory)
*Some guys in here, this was their first playoff victory and I'm happy for them. But we have playoff veterans in here that have been in a lot of big games and a lot of big regular-season games as well. It's always, "what's next," and especially in the playoffs. You're happy to survive and move on, but it's who you play next. We've got a game to watch and I'm going to have fun watching it tomorrow.

*(On breaking NFL records )
*Records come along, individual recognition comes along, team recognition comes along. We've done that consistently this year and when you can win consistently like we have it's going to happen. We aren't shooting for anything. We've got to just focus on who we have in front of us. We're not going to worry about what records we're going to break because that's how you have success.

*(On the defense appreciating the offense's improved running game)
*In terms of being a member of the defense and the hard-nosed type of guys we are, we appreciate good running. We know it's the ultimate sort of insult when someone can run it down your throat. That's happened to us this year - so to see our offense do it, we recognize what they're doing in there. A lot has to happen. Those offensive linemen have to open up holes and our running backs have to hit those. [Laurence] Maroney had two big runs and that's just as enjoyable if not more enjoyable than a Randy Moss bomb.

*(On the improved red zone defense)
*We've just been emphasizing it every week, talking about how we were at the bottom of the league in some statistical categories. There are a lot of prideful guys in this locker room and when you tell us we're doing terrible at something, we want to fix it.

*(On winning)
*You've got to do whatever you can to win, have more points than they do at the end of the game and the clock strikes 0:00. And that's all this tournament is about.

*(On making adjustments)
*At halftime, you come in and make a few adjustments. And even in the second half, you've got to make some sideline adjustments. You've got to trust your ability to adjust, trust the adjustments that the coaching staff gives you and hope we go out there and have a different result [than the 14-14 tie at halftime]. And I think we held them to six points in the second half and that's the bottom line – did they get into the endzone or not.

*(On red zone defense)
*It was big. Our offense was having success. You know they had a lot of drives that they were able to get points on the board. So knowing that we could get a stop and possibly the chances were good that our offense was having success and could possibly get seven points on there, I mean, that's a small victory. When they get to the red area, we want to stop them. We want a fourth down stop, a missed field goal, a blocked field goal, something like that. But if we can hold them to three we'll take it.

*(On the Jaguars' running back duo)
*That is the best 1-2 punch running back tandem we've faced all year. [Maurice] Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, those guys run hard. They run in between the tackles, they're driving for extra yards. Those are two great backs. I really respect those two backs, that offensive line, and just the mentality they have to, even if the holes not there, just keep pushing the pile. You saw that a couple times, too. So we had to buckle down, sometimes and try our best to get more than they were, and do our best to contain them.

*(On the play of Tom Brady, his completion percentage, and how it motivates the rest of the team)
*It was awesome. I mean that's an unbelievable statistic. 26 of 28. Tom plays his best against teams in the biggest games and it's fun to watch for us. We don't get to see every play, but when you hear a stat like that you know that your quarterback was on his game and that makes you want to be on your game even more.

Donte Stallworth, Wide Receiver
(On getting caught from behind on his 53-yard reception)
*I was too worried about where he was [instead of] just running. I've already got like 15 texts from guys back home and guys in the locker room have been killing me. It hurts, but we got the win and that's good.

*(On the first-down catch)
*It was a funny play but I knew two things: I knew I was one-on-one with the guy and I couldn't let him bring me down before I got a first down, and they had no timeouts and it was before the two-minute warning. I just wanted to get the first down and stay in bounds.

*(On Tom Brady's performance)
*Tom played great. That's nothing new for him. He shows up to every game. He works hard, and that's the reason that he's the MVP of the league this year.

*(On his 53-yard reception)
*I don't even remember. I just know I stuck one hand out there and I tried to tip it to myself and I was just thinking, 'Run Forrest. Run.' But obviously I wish I was Forrest because Forrest never got caught.

*(On being one win away from the Super Bowl)
*It's nothing to talk about right now. We're going to enjoy this one, but we've got another big game coming up. You know it's going to be a tough game regardless of who it is. Jacksonville played great. We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in with them coming in here and the way that they've played all season. You've got to tip your hats off to that team.

*(On the locker room atmosphere at halftime)
*It's typical playoff football. You knew it was going to be a close one. We knew that we were going to have to continue to grind it out every series and try to put some points on the board because… It's funny. I was trying to tell the guys, after the first quarter, that this game was going by fast. We've got to try to put some points on the board every time we get the ball and that's what we tried to do.

*(On Tom Brady)
*Tom's always going to find the open guy and whenever there are teams that want to pay a certain attention to certain people, then the other guys have to step up. Ben [Watson] played well today. Obviously, Tommy had a big game, too.

Adalius Thomas, Linebacker
(On playing against David Garrard)
*He's big. He's my size so he's a very big quarterback. There were a couple times that we could have had him, even on the touchdown, we probably had him down, but he threw the ball. He's a big strong guy. You knew he presented the threat to run, pass so we just wanted to get some pressure on him, but he did a great job tonight. Luckily, we made more plays.

*(On playing in the AFC Championship)
*It'll be exciting. It'll be very exciting. It's another opportunity to go out there and get another win so we'll look forward to whoever we play. [We'll] take some time off to rest — it's very much needed — and then move forward.

*(On the red zone defense)
*It's big. That wins games for you. Definitely I think over the past couple of weeks stepping up big in the red zone has helped us. It's a momentum shifter, especially when you go for it on fourth down, you go down there deep and don't get any points, that's a big momentum shift for our offense and our team.

*(On striving to go 16-0)
*It doesn't matter. This game doesn't change anything, the ramifications of it don't change anything. You just have to focus on your job, that's how you really have to look at it. The goal is to go out and perform week in and week out. Of course you don't want to lose at this point and that's the ultimate goal, so you just want to go out there and prepare week-to-week. The goal is to go out there and beat the Giants and move from that point on.

*(On big hits by Rodney Harrison and James Sanders)
*It sends a message that it's going to be a physical day. They were sweet. They left a bitter taste in your mouth. It makes guys go over the middle and when they go to look for the ball maybe make them take a double take. I think it just shows you the physicality of the secondary, that guys went out and hit people.

Kyle Brady, Tight End
(On the Patriots' short passing attack)
*Coaches will talk about how they're very wary of letting people beating them over the top so the underneath routes are left open sometimes, certain parts of the zone or that kind of thing. I think as the game goes on, our coaches are very good at adapting to whatever may be available and they've always been very good at that.

*(On the balance of the offense)
*I think that's the ideal situation. Our Offensive Coordinator, Josh McDaniels, I think he likes it best when we have that versatility. Different guys get injuries at different positions, that makes it more difficult at sometimes. It's good to keep a defense on its heels by various personnel groups and various formations. You never want them to get comfortable and I think that's one thing that type of exchange continually can do.

*(On how special Tom Brady's performance was)
*I think we get spoiled sometimes though because that's kind of been the status quo for him this year. Some places you go, it's not that way and when a guy has a game like that, it seems unusual, but he's had those types of games very consistently this year so I wasn't aware of it until you made me aware of it. But it is incredible.

*(On the opportunity to play in the AFC Championship Game)
*The word opportunity can mean so much to so many different things to these guys. Junior [Seau] talks about it. He talked about it before the game to all of us. It's all you really want as a player is the opportunity to play in the big games and have the opportunity to potentially go to a championship, which is what this game would lead to.

*(On Junior Seau's pregame speech)
*He pretty much always addresses us, talks a little bit after Coach Belichick says a couple of words. He's a fiery guy. He has a passion about playing the game and he always has a few passionate words before the game and he did it again today. He talked a little bit about opportunity and how this is a great opportunity for all of us.

*(On Benjamin Watson's first touchdown reception)
*He's got such a physical advantage on some of the defensive backs. They can't put a linebacker on him because he can usually outrun those guys, so they put a defensive back on him. That particular defensive back that play was not a big guy he was about – Scott Starks number 20 – and with his size and his strength it's hard to match up with him, with a defensive back.

*(On what changes the Patriots made in the second half)
*Offensively, nothing really. We were moving the ball. We had not punted the ball at all in the first half. We had 14 points [but] they had possessed the ball a good while. That's probably one of the most effective things to our offense, to keep us off the field. They had a 95-yard drive and that kept us off the field. Nothing that we had done – We were not necessarily stopped or discouraged by any of our game plan, we had just talked about utilizing our entire game plan in the second half and we tried to do that.

Matt Light, Offensive Lineman
(On the game)
*It wasn't anything that we didn't expect. We knew they were going to come out and be a physical team, and I think it was a really physical game.

*(On the running game)
*I think that we took what they gave us. We wanted to mix and match and we got some tight ends back who are healthy. It was great to have them in the game plan and to be able to utilize what they do. We were pretty balanced. I don't know what the numbers were exactly, but I felt like we were pretty effective on both the run and the pass. We would have liked to finish a couple more of those drives, but overall when you only punt once at the very end of the game, it's a pretty good offensive [performance].

*(On Tom Brady completing 26-of-28 passes)
*He's pretty good. When you have a guy that can do that it's good. When you have a group of receivers and a quarterback that work as well as these guys do, that's not unexpected. That's kind of the way that it is around here. Those guys have worked hard all year. This playoff game, going into it, they put in the hours. We obviously had an extra week of practice and they worked on all those little things to make themselves better. You know [number] 12 is pretty good.

Rodney Harrison, Safety
(On the defense's slow start)
*That's football. At times that happens. You hope that it doesn't happen, but sometimes it happens. The thing you look at is the way that you come back. Just like with adversity you judge the way that you come back from it. Obviously, we wouldn't want to come out and play a [bad] first half, but sometimes it happens and you have to step up in the second half.

*(On executing in the second half)
*Well we didn't play particularly well in the first half, offensively or defensively. We left a lot of plays out there. But in the second half, we just came out and executed better. We were able to make a couple plays and, at the end of the game, we just made more plays then [they did].

*(On Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard)
*He's a good player. I mean, he played well. He's a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. A very efficient, very smart, intelligent quarterback that can take the game and control the game. He's a great player.

*(On stopping the running game of the Jacksonville Jaguars)
*That was a big emphasis. Obviously, that's their strength. But like I said you've got to give [our defense] a lot of credit. I mean our guys up front, those guys played terrific. They made a lot of plays in the backfield, they were very physical, and like I said earlier in the week we can play any type of game you want to play, whether it's physical, finesse, however you want to have it. But we have a lot of respect for Jacksonville and we are looking forward to getting better.

*(On the next step)
*We've got an opportunity and that's all you can ask for, the opportunity to play in a big game. And we're going to relax, we're going to rest, and we're going to get back in here on Tuesday and we're going to learn from all of these bad mistakes that we made. And we're going to get better. We're going to prepare for whoever.

Kevin Faulk, Running Back
(On the offense's diversity)
*What makes this team so special is the guys trusting the coaching staff and the guys trusting the guys on the side of them playing. No matter what the situation is, and no matter how tight the game gets, you know that that guy beside you is going to do his job and the coach is going to do his job. You just play to win because you have no worries. You just play the game.

*(On paying attention to Tom Brady's passing performance in the game …)
*You're playing against a playoff-caliber team and you're worried about the situations that are coming up. And you're worrying about the next time that you get the ball. You think about that after the game.

*(On Laurence Maroney's performance)
*That's what you expect from a running back in general. Him doing his job: running the ball, finding the holes, [and] doing what you have to do to make yardage.

*(On what it means to be in another AFC Championship game)
*It's a chance to play another week. That's about it.

*(On teamwork)
*[It's about] trusting that guy on the side of you, knowing that he's going to get his job done. They take one guy away from us, the other guy has to step up and do [his] job.

*(On Tom Brady's completion percentage)
*It was a good game by everybody on offense. I think the offensive line did real well. If it wasn't for the offensive line, he wouldn't be able to complete those 26, 27, whatever passes he made.

*(On moving forward)
*We'll look at the film and we'll determine the mistakes we made. Coach will point them out and we'll go from there.

*(On Laurence Maroney and the offensive line)
*The way Laurence ran, the way the offensive line blocked, it just gave them confidence to go on and continue on running the ball.

*(On Tom Brady's fake for the touchdown pass)
*It was a play they came to the meeting with and said "Hey look we have a new play that we want to work on." And we worked on it. It looked pretty good in practice and we put it out. We put the finishing products out there tonight and it was effective.

Jabar Gaffney, Wide Receiver
(On Tom Brady's performance)
*Tom did a good job of reading the defense and taking what they were giving us and spreading the ball around; getting the ball to the open man.

*(On the Jaguars attempts to shorten the game)
*I don't know how many possessions we had. I know the game went by kind of fast, so it was a good thing that we made the most out of every drive that we had.

*(On Randy Moss only having one catch)
*They were trying to take Randy out of the game. We have other options and Tom went to the other options tonight and we were able to make plays. If you take Randy away, everyone else has to step up.

Ellis Hobbs, Cornerback
(On the team's pass defense)
*All of our individual players, hands down everybody, we just didn't execute the game plan well enough. Sometimes it wasn't even that much of a game plan, it was more of a thing where we weren't sticking on to the receivers long enough. [David Garrard] knows how to make plays back there and improvise. He waits, breaks out of the pocket a little bit and throws to the open receiver.

*(On improving the pass defense)
*It's something that's correctable. We're out there, just kind of slapping it around and not doing our jobs for the most part, but it's something that's very correctable, getting back on the practice field – getting guys healthy first off– then getting on the practice field and executing.

Junior Seau, Linebacker
(On playing in the AFC Championship Game)
*It hasn't sunk in yet. It really hasn't. Being part of this journey is definitely something special, but we'll go back to work and keep plugging away. Hopefully at the end of the rainbow we can look at something that we're proud of. You never can dream this. This is beyond all that. There's a lot of hard work, a lot of perseverance and a lot of prayers that come into play.

*(On the rushing tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor)
*They're two great complements. Whenever you have two talented running backs out there, obviously there's going to be an emphasis on stopping the run. I take my hat off to those guys. Those guys ran the ball very hard.

Richard Seymour, Defensive End
(On getting the win and moving on)
That's what it's all about this time of year. No one care how it happens. The main thing is that we're moving on. We're going to take time to look at this film but it's in the past now. We're going to enjoy this win tonight and we're just thankful to be playing again next week for the AFC Championship and [we'll] try to get this one.

*(On whether Coach Belichick cares how the team won)
*I'm sure he's glad to be moving on too.

*(On if the team knows what to expect in the next game)
*Obviously, we'll have to wait and see who we're playing. As far as the game is concerned we know it's going to be a good football team. A team that's balanced, that can run and throw the football. Our work is going to be cut out for us either way. It's good to sit back tomorrow, watch the games and already have it sealed up that we'll be in the game. We'll just try to rest up, we're going to need everyone and just enjoy this win.

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