BILL BELICHICK, HEAD COACH
BB: I thought it was a great job by the staff and the players this week. Two games in five days, two division games, I know it's tough, but I thought the staff really did a good job of grinding this one out, trying to get ahead on Miami as we closed out the Jets week, knowing how quick this would be on top of us. The players came back Monday after a good win against the Jets and dug right in on the Dolphins. We had a really good week. It was an intense week. It was a tough week mentally. But they really pushed themselves. I thought our preparation was good and they played hard tonight. I thought there were a lot of good things out there. Obviously, we left some plays that could have been better, but they did a real good job. Players, coaching staff did a great job tonight and it was a good win. We got contributions from everybody, turnovers on defense, had good production on offense and more balance in the running game and the passing game. And we played against a good front – those guys are good. We competed and blocked them. We did a pretty good job on special teams with our coverage. [Jarvis] Landry split us one kickoff return, but we had some good field position plays in the first half that really pinned them back and helped us out. Still a lot of things we need to work on, but there are a lot of positive things out there, too. The players did a good job tonight.
Q: Can you talk about the play of your front seven tonight, especially in the first half?
BB: It was good team defense, which it always is when you play good. We had a couple good negative plays, put them in some long-yardage situations. That was helpful. And I thought Matt [Patricia] did a good job mixing up the calls – pressures, man, zone. But we had a lot of good plays by our front, linebackers were active, secondary was active. I thought we tackled well for the most part, and that was a really important part of this game because these guys make a lot of yards with the ball in their hands. They're really good runners – Landry, [Lamar] Miller – guys like that. Again, good team defense. No one guy can stop that type of offense. You've got to have all 11 guys doing their job and we had that.
Q: It was another good night for your special teams. How important was it to have good special teams play tonight, especially when the offense was struggling in the first quarter?
BB: Our special teams gave us great field position. Even the play by [Brandon] King at the end of the game, I know the game was not really in doubt at that point, but Landry had a lot of space and Brandon went down there and made the play for almost no gain. We've gotten great play out of our special teams all year. Those guys work hard and they take a lot of pride in what they do. They work well off each other in terms of communication and filling lanes and that kind of thing. Ryan [Allen] punted the ball well. But that kick by Stephen [Gostkowski] – that was a tough kick. I wasn't sure about that one – not the distance, that wasn't a problem – but the way the wind was blowing just to get it between the uprights. But Steve is a great kicker and he hit a good ball and it was true. Our specialists performed well, which if they don't perform well you can't be good on special teams, so it all starts with them. But our core guys, we had good coverage, good protection, had some good field position, and that certainly helped our defense out. Even the punt return late in the second quarter, I don't know if we took advantage of that, but the one we had we ran it back to midfield or so. We had some opportunities to put the offense in good field position and they capitalized on most of them, so that was good.
Q: Can you talk about the spark Dion Lewis brings to your team?
BB: It was good to have Dion back today. He made several plays. That third-and-whatever – 15 or whatever it was on the screen pass – he made a great run on that. He's a tough guy to handle in space and he's a tough kid in-line. He runs hard. He puts his head down and runs with good pad level and can make some tough yards, too. It's not all just space plays, but he helps us in the running game, he helps us in the passing game. So it was good to have him back.
Tom Brady, Quarterback
Q: What does Dion Lewis bring to the offense?
TB: Yeah, he played great. He makes a lot of guys miss out there. He's dynamic in the run game and the pass game, and he's tough to tackle. So that was really smart in there. We've got a lot of good backs. LG [LeGarrette Blount] ran great tonight. We've got a lot of confidence in James [White], Brandon Bolden, so it's a great group of backs. I thought Dion did a great job.
Q: Did you get a good look at when he made [Koa] Misi miss out in space?
TB: Yeah, I threw it out there. He had to run to the flat. And I tried to get it to him, and he kind of just, I mean he's so quick in space. It would be a miracle for anybody to touch him more or less tackle him. He's just a dynamic player for us. He keeps making them miss, and he's just got to ... We're only seven games through, so we've still got a lot of work to do.
Q: What were you thinking during the play near the end zone where you spiked the ball on the ground after a sack? Did you know that the next play would be a touchdown?
TB: I thought I made a bad read, so that's kind of, I shouldn't have taken a sack there. We had a great chance to ... It was like on the 9-yard line or something like that. Then we came back to a similar call, and Julian [Edelman] made a great play. And I just found him in space right there, so he played great. He's been playing great all season, so he's just an incredible player, teammate. Everything you could say about him positively is what Julian is all about.
Q: What is your feeling about how this defense is able to get you the ball back?
TB: Yeah, they did such a great job to really allow us time to kind of start executing better basically. I thought we did a lot of things. We'd go forward, then go backward, and forward, then go backward. We just weren't as clean as we needed to be. Offensive football, you've got to string a bunch of good plays together. And we were making some good plays, and then we were doing things that we don't typically do. So it was tough to kind of string together enough plays to score points, but every time we punted them the ball, the defense got hold and got us the ball back. So they got us a turnover which was big, and the score before the half was huge. We came in feeling pretty good at halftime, and then they did the same thing in the third quarter. They played really well, and there was just. They played great tonight, great to see them out there playing so well.
Q: When you get in the rhythm does the offense feel more simple?
TB: I don't think there's ... It's not simple. I think it's a lot of guys working really hard to kind of be on the same page, stay on the same page, the communication, really getting everyone going in the same direction. We've got a lot of people coming in and out of the offensive line, some different receivers in there, different backs, so we're just trying to find a way to make it work. And guys I think did a great job tonight on a short week. We put a lot into it. It was an intense three days of preparation, and it felt like we were really ready to go tonight. And we went out and executed pretty well.
Q: Was there a moment before the Rob Gronkowski touchdown where you knew it was going to be six points even before you threw the ball?
TB: You're not sure because he gets into the defense, in the middle of the defense, and I mean, he had a safety right there and he kind of made the guy miss. And I mean, he's got such deceptive speed once he gets an open field target. Got a great block from JoJo [Brandon LaFell] on that down the sideline, and it ends up being a walk-in. But he's, what a playmaker he is. So he's just an amazing player. It's a privilege to play with him. He's phenomenal.
Devin McCourty, Defensive Back
Q: How confident is this defense right now? You seem to be playing extremely fast.
DM: I think we've got a group that's dialed in right now, just to the game plan. We came in leaving Sunday's game, and we talked about third down. If we could just get off the field and get these guys back on the field and let our offense do the work, we'd be good. I thought we started off, I think we gave up a first down, and then we just kept getting off the field on third down. And that's huge - third down and turnovers, which we preached all week. And it showed tonight.
Q: Last week Dont'a Hightower said that this defense understands its identity, and it seems like we see more of that every week. Your thoughts?
DM: I think this whole teams knows each week we've got to get better, and it's no different – offense, defense, special teams. It's the same thing. We've just got to keep getting better each week and improve throughout the season. And to me, that's what we're showing. We're doing that each week, getting better. Different offenses, different schemes, but when we dial in and adjust each week and go out there and play, we do alright.
Q: Did you feel any of the grind from the short week? Do you put that all in the back of your mind?
DM: Yeah, I mean the short week doesn't matter as soon as that kickoff. We talked about that all week. There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves. It's all about going out there and trying to out-prepare them for the couple of days we had, and I thought that's what helped. Guys were locked in. It's hard to make a lot of changes after playing Sunday and then you know you've got to play Thursday. So if you can get ahead on the film, you've got a good chance to come out here and play well, and I thought we did that as a team.
Q: You had your first sack in quite a long time.
DM: Yeah man. I don't get many chances. But obviously if I get a sack, it's probably all because of Matty P [defensive coordinator Matt Patricia] drawing it up and me coming free because I'm not a great pass rusher.
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver
(On if he felt rested)
"Yeah, we felt rested. We felt prepared. We felt ready to go."
(On the extended rest until next game)
"We'll take the next day or so to rest our bodies and get back to where we should be and get ready to go next week."
(On how he felt the team played with the short turnaround between games)
"I still feel like we can play better. There's still room for improvement, but we put some points up. The defense played lights out and we played well enough to win."
(On the team committing penalties)
"Not a lot of excuses for penalties. That's just bad football. We got to fix those and, you know, play smarter."
Alan Branch, Defensive Lineman
(On what the run defense has shown in the last two games)
"I want to stop the run every game, man. My goal is to stop every game and I think our defense is definitely focused and turning the focus on stopping the run and its paying dividends. We're putting teams in third-and-long and trying to make it difficult for them to continue the down."
(On if slowing down Lamar Miller was an emphasis tonight)
"Yeah, just stopping all their running backs. We had Jonas [Gray] over there. He used to be here and he's a tough runner as well. Whoever was back there, we're ready to put some pads on them."
(On the importance of stopping them early to prevent any momentum)
"Yeah it's definitely [important], I mean the last two games they definitely started quick. They started basically landsliding for the offense, getting a lot of yardage any way they want – passing or running – so we knew we had to go out there and stop them on the first couple series and set the tone for the rest of the game."
Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver
(On getting consecutive divisional wins)
"Yeah, especially coming out there and playing the last two opponents. They've been tough opponents and
they've all been playing very confidently. Miami came in off of two huge wins and we knew it was going to be a tough week and we said let's just try and go out there and out-prepare them and do everything we can on a
short week to out-prepare them. I think we prepared well."
(On the team's gameplan)
"We wanted to start fast and we wanted to get some turnovers. We didn't want to turn the ball over. We wanted to do well in the red area and on third down. We won the turnover battle. Red area, I don't know, we were probably two-for-three. Third down, we've got to get better. It's one of those things where we did some good things, but there are plenty of things that we can work on. It's a work in progress at this point in the season."
(On if the team feels pressure to go undefeated)
"No, it's more about just going out there and hammering the nail away, all the way in. That's what Coach [Bill Belichick] Qlways says. Just hammer away, because if you don't, you're going to be stubbing your toe on the floor with the nail coming out. We're just going to try and hammer away, take care of all the little things, take care of your fundamentals, come in and take care of your nutrition, the weight room. You've just got to stay in your same routine. We've got a good coaching staff and leaders that show us how to do that."
Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker
(On what breaking the Patriots' record of 26 straight field goals made means)
"It's just fun to be on a team that wins and scores a lot. You know you're going to get a bunch of extra points and a bunch of opportunities because your team moves the ball. It's almost like being on a baseball team with a bunch of guys who can hit. When everyone else gets a hit, you want to get a hit too. Kicking is one of those things where when you've got a good thing going, just keep on riding it. I'm just trying to do everything I can to stay in the groove and help this team score points."
(On how much of a draw he had on the 52-yard field goal)
"It was super windy, sometimes you're at the mercy of which way the wind is blowing. I probably aimed it out a little more than I wanted to, but you've got to trust enough to know the wind is going to pull it back. When I hit it, I felt like it had a really good chance. One of the [Miami] guys was saying 'he missed it, he missed it.' But then our guys said 'no, he didn't,' so that was pretty cool."
(On the faith Jonathan Kraft expressed in the kicking game)
"You work hard to get the respect of your teammates and coaches. It's nice to be confident, have fun and go out there and feel like you're going to succeed. The times I've missed around here, everyone has been nothing but supportive. You can't lose your confidence when you play a skill position. Stuff is going to happen every once in a while. You just have to trot out there and make the next one. What I pride myself the most on is not turning one bad kick into multiple bad games and bad kicks."
Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
(On the team win)
"Yes, we definitely did come together. Our defense played unreal tonight. How many sacks? They had interceptions. They were setting up field position for the offense. We struggled a little, but sometimes on offense but we picked it up. We did what we had to do and it was a great team win."
(On his touchdown)
"I ran a great route. It was a little play-action. We were running the ball great; that's what helps the passing
game out, when you run the ball too. It was just a good throw, a good play overall, and we executed on offense as a whole. Made a nice play and got the touchdown."
(On Dion Lewis)
"He's a dynamic player. The dude is unreal with the way he can move. I don't know if anyone else can move like that. The way he can cut. He's great to have on the team. He's a great guy and it's amazing to have him out there with us."
Duron Harmon, Defensive Back
(On holding the Dolphins to seven points)
"They came in scoring a lot of points so one of our main objectives was just to slow them down. We wanted to stop their running game and try to make them throw the ball and I think we did a good job of that."
(On the interception)
"I just saw the ball. I was tracking the ball and watching the quarterback the whole time. When I saw him release it, I just tried to get to it and make a play."
(On taking away Miami's successful screen plays)
"It really starts with tackling. If you look at [Miami's] game last week, Houston missed a lot of tackles on those bubble screens and different type of look-passes, so we knew we just had to get to them. Everybody did a great job of running. We had a relentless pursuit out there."
Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker
(On the defense)
"It's not always about stats and tackles. Our job is to keep the other team from scoring and give the offense the ball back. Sometimes it's pretty, sometimes it's not."
(On how much has been accomplished the past five days with two AFC East wins)
"We had some bad plays, but overall, I think we did a decent job against an offense that's really been playing lights-out the past two weeks."
(On how quickly the defense has come together this year)
"We're still building. We're not where we want to be at yet, but we're definitely growing and it really helps being able to plug in guys like Malcom [Brown] and Dominique [Easley]."
Chandler Jones, Defensive Line
(On the defensive performance)
"A lot of that credit goes to the coaches, honestly. We had a short week and only had a few days of practice and guys just went out there and executed and bought into what the coaches were saying – Coach [Bill] Belichick, and the Defensive Coordinator [Matt Patricia] and the coaches preaching, 'Just execute,' and that's what we went out there and did."
(On keeping the energy level high throughout the game)
"The energy is within us. You know, we feed off of each other. Special teams feeds off the defense, defense feeds off the offense, and vice versa. Whoever is out on that field is just making sure they're giving 110 percent and that's what we did tonight."
(On limiting the Dolphins' offense, which led the NFL in scoring the last two weeks)
"Congrats to our defense as a whole and to our team. That's a good team; actually, that's a great team. They put some good things on film and have some tremendous players. You saw a bunch of those guys tonight, but we'll see those guys again and we'll have to be ready for them."
(On the defense being able to get pressure on the quarterback)
"We were just studying film. Like I said, that goes back to the coaches – Coach Belichick called some great plays and we went out and we executed."
Brandon Lafell, Wide Receiver
(On his performance)
"It felt a little better today, but still not fully back to myself yet. I feel like [you need] more time to practice with a short week. Next week we'll have a little more time to practice, more time to get my timing better with Tom
[Brady], and go out there hopefully play a better game next week."
(On the impact of timing in his routes)
"Pretty much, that's all it is for me. I [only] had three practices really. A couple walkthroughs. But you know, next week, longer week, a bit more time with Tom, spend some more time at practice. Real.ly get to throw with him, instead of just a walkthrough, saving our bodies like we did this week. Hopefully next week will be better for me."
Dion Lewis, Running Back
(On how helpful it is to have other weapons that require some of the defense's attention)
"It's great. Those guys are great players, especially [Rob] Gronkowski. Everybody sees the touchdowns and stuff, but you don't see all the attention he gets from the defense and [he] opens everything up for everybody else, so having guys like that definitely helps the offense."
(On what the energy level was like out on the field)
"I'm just excited to be back out there. You know, missing last week, I was eager to get back out there with my guys and try and help the best way I can. Everybody was well prepared for this game coming off a short week, and we came to work."
(On if he felt one-hundred percent at the start of the game)
"I was out there. It doesn't matter what your percentage is. If you're out there playing, you're expected to make plays."
Logan Ryan, Cornerback
(On defending the running game)
"Yeah, I mean those guys have been doing a good job all year and they continued to do it so it makes our job in the back end a little easier."
(On the confidence level of the defense before the ball is snapped)
"I'm just personally trying to do my job, and I think everyone's taken that approach and buying into that and when all 11 players do it right, good things happen."
(On if turnovers are contagious)
"Yeah, turnovers are contagious. That's how it is. They're a big, energy, momentum swing, and when the offense is making a ton of plays you want to go out there and make some plays yourself. We know that turnovers are contagious."
Sealver Siliga, Defensive Lineman
(On the mentality of the defense and how good they thought they could be this season)
"We knew we could be a good defense, but it's all going to come down to if we can put it all together. Every week we strive to try and put it together and outdo what we did the week before. As long as we get better that's all that we can ask for out of our defense."
(On the importance of stopping Lamar Miller tonight)
"It's very important. He's a good back; real shifty and has a good o-line [offensive line] in front of him, so the biggest thing for us going into this game was trying to match up with their run game and stop the run."
(On the pass rush tonight recording five sacks)
"Going into this game, we knew that if we stopped the run that would help us with pass rushing."
(On if it feels like a successful night for the defense)
"Yes, it does. It feels good to go out there and put a game out there like that and put it all together."