Bill Belichick HEAD COACH
OPENING STATEMENT:That was quite a game. There were so many elements to it, back and forth, offense, defense, special teams, turnovers, big plays, penalties. There were a lot of things. In the end, guys made the plays that they need to make. We had a big stop down there on the goal line. When the Giants got down there, they tried to run that roll out... that kind of pick play that they like. We got the ball back and barely had enough time to get into field goal range and Stephen [Gostkowski] made a great kick. Give our players the credit, they really stepped up. Obviously the Giants are a good football team... it was good to come down here and win.
Q: Stephen [Gostkowski] said that he hums a song in timeouts before field goals. Do you sing any songs on the sidelines?
A:I am just trying to coach a game.
Q: How emotional was it to play the Giants, given your history against them?
A: I don't think about it a lot, not before the guys that are here on the team. We put a lot into this game; we played hard, they played hard. It was a good win.
Q: Did you think that the Odell Beckham catch would stand?
A: It looked like a close play. There were a lot of close plays in that game. They certainly reviewed it.
Q: Outside of playoff games, have you been in many better games than this?
A: It's always good to win. I don't rank them. It's good to win.
Q: Could you tell Gostkowski's game winning kick was good?
A: Looked pretty good. Looked pretty good. Looked like it was going to be inside the left upright. I thought 53 [yards] for Steve, especially kicking that way ... there wasn't a lot of wind but what little wind there was it was tending to blow that direction. I think there was a little more wind earlier in the game - I think it died down – from their bench to our bench. So if anything, I think the wind was kind of blowing it to the kicker's left. Stephen hits a true ball. I've seen him hit so many of those, in practice and in games. The way it came off his foot, it was straight; there was no tumble, it was true. That's the guy you want out there. You want your best player in that situation - an opportunity to win the game for you - and he did, as he's done many times before.
Q: On Malcolm Butler's play against Odell Beckham Jr.
A:They competed. They're two good football players. Beckham ... can't say enough about him, how competitive he is. Those two guys probably have a lot in common in terms of their competitiveness, their toughness. They may both be a little undersized but [with] big hearts and big competitors. Beckham is tough, he does everything well. We talked about him all week. He was impressive today.
Q: What made you decide to use your timeouts before the 2-minute warning?
A: We just thought that was the best way to handle it.
Q: Were you relieved when Manning threw to Harris for 18 yards to get inside the 10-yard line?
Q: Does the game plan change when you lose a guy like Julian Edelman?
A:The game plan is the game plan. We can't draw up 20 new plays because something happens. Guys practice and we have to backup every position; every player has to be ready to go, we don't know what's going to happen in the game. They hit them on their side, we hit them on our side, that's the NFL, that's pro football.
Q: Were you surprised by the Giants play calling before the 2-minute warning?
A: You'd have to ask them that. We were just trying to defend what came up.
Q: On Malcolm Butler's continued development.
A:It's been like that all year for Malcolm. He's played against great receivers every week going back to [Antonio] Brown in Pittsburgh. He competes hard every week. He's getting better. Beckham is a tremendous player. He competed well. He made some plays, Beckham made some plays. That's what happens when you put a highly-competitive corner against a good receiver and a good quarterback.
Q: Coach, you've seen a lot from Tom Brady. But his competitiveness to come back after the game he's had – the interception, then to lead that last drive. You have to be proud of how he bounced back.
A: Yes, I'm proud of all the players. But Tom, that's the way these games are. You can't worry about what happened in the first 58 minutes or 59 minutes or 56 minutes or whatever it is. The game comes down to a certain point. It's how these two teams play from there on in. It's the last minute, the last 30 seconds, the last three minutes...maybe he can see when that time's gonna come. That's what it's all about. Tom did a great job. The receivers and Danny (Amendola) did a great job of getting those few extra yards on that last play and getting out of bounds. Just being able to get the ball down there, we were trying to get to the 35. And Stephen's kick went a few yards further than that, but that was our target on this particular game and the situation and conditions and so forth. We got it there with six seconds on the clock. It's not the way we wanted to do it. Of course, you can talk about that situational football all you want. It means nothing if you don't make the kick. Joe (Cardona), Ryan (Allen) and Steve – I give them all the credit in the world. That was a tough kick in that situation and they hit it.
Q: Bill, you talk about the little things - the sack that Rob (Ninkovich) had, I think it was a 13-yard sack – it saved three points, and the block that sprung Danny for the big punt return. Can you talk about those two plays?
A:Rob's sack was huge. They were in field goal range there and that pushed them out. They still had a couple of more downs, but we were able to keep them from getting close enough. There were two great kickers on the field today – Brown's another great kicker – I'm sure his range is 53, 54 or 55. I don't think anybody has made more than him or not many more anyway, so that was a huge play that saved us three points. And then Danny obviously faked the Peter call. It was a sign that he wasn't going to handle the ball, and then he did. It looked like he caught them by surprise, got outside and got a couple good blocks there. It's a shame he didn't score on the play there, but it was good that we were able to punch it in from the six and get the touchdown. The clock had stopped there and we had that kind of field position. The offense finished it off. Yeah, that was a big play for us when Danny got us going. It put us on the six. We got good hustle and good effort from the guys on the return team after the rush had pealed back around. We got some space. Those were two huge plays in the game. But the 3rd and 5 or whatever it was, when Manning couldn't throw it, or he slipped or was sacked – that was a big stop in a big situation.
Q: Do you sometimes need a game like this over the course of a long season ?
A: Look, we have to be ready every week with a two-minute offense, a four-minute offense, a two-minute defense, a four-minute defense, whether we are going to be ahead or behind, whether we need to make a kick, block a kick, there's a million plays; situational plays. So we work on those every week and the ones that come up, we're prepared, we're prepared to execute. Could have been the last play of the game, you know, we talk about that play, too. We have to watch the film, but look like we had the throw well-contained. You know, they did a great job of keeping that ball alive. Looked like they were past the front line but [Dwayne] Harris got ahead and they started moving around and got it to their skill players there.. Give our guys credit for finishing the game. That was a final act but it was a tough one.
TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK
Q: Tom, you've played in some pretty big games, statement-wise. Where do you rank this one?
A: There were a lot of game-changing plays. I'm glad we came out on top. We fought until the end. That's a tough team. It always comes down to the end with them. We talked about it before the game that we just need to play hard for sixty minutes and it took every last second. I'm proud of our team and the way we fought, but we can do some things better than we did today; I certainly can. I'm glad we're 9-0.
Q: On the final drive, the fourth down completion – what did you see there and what happened?
A:Just trying to find some space, and we got it in breaking route, and I threw that to Danny [Amendola]. He always makes big plays. He's a great player for us and he always comes up big when we need him. It was a great play by Danny.
Q: Did you see him uncovered there at the line of scrimmage – is that the reason why? You turned your head and saw him right away?
A:Yea, I was just trying to find anybody who had a little space, and Danny [Amendola] got it. Gronk[owski] was trying to run free and Danny sprung free. That was a big play. Then, he made a big play there on the blitz – made someone miss and got some yards, so that was a great play.
Q: There was a lot of talk this week about how the Giants' defense wasn't what it used to be in the previous matchups, but they certainly seemed to come to play today. What'd you see from the Giants' defense overall?
A:They played great. I think they've always had a good defense. They're well coached. They're a very good football team. We didn't play our best, but we made enough plays.
Q: Tom, when you take the ball in that final drive, and you've struggled throughout the game, what is your mindset? What's going through your mind as your trying to get your team down the field for one last attempt?
A:The defense made some great plays there to give us some opportunities. I'm glad they hung in there all day against a very good offense. Eli's had a great game and they have a very good team and a very good offense. It's just that our defense came up big and made them kick a field goal there at the end, so we have just enough time to get it down field. Obviously, the execution was okay. I thought it obviously could have been better, but we made enough and got enough yards. Steve [Gostkowski] is such a clutch kicker so it was great to see the ball go through those uprights.
Q: Did your mind flash to the Super Bowls at all during the course of this?
Q: What do you like about this team? You've been around this game for a while. Last year, you guys seemed like a hard team and that road win out in San Diego seem to galvanize you. You guys are 9-0 and you keep talking about executing and executing, but the bottom line is that you're undefeated. What do you like that you see about this team?
A: We've got to find different ways. Guys stepped in when Julian [Edelman] got hurt. We're down a bunch of tackles and guys are playing out of position, and I think we just keep grinding our way through it. You've got to find different ways to win. The defense came up big when we needed it to. The offense made a few plays when we needed it to.
Q: What happened on that interception on the goal line?
A: It was just a bad throw. A terrible throw.
Q: Not a miscommunication or anything?
A:It was a terrible throw.
Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker
Q: What was going through your head when the Giants called a timeout?
A:You've got to expect it. I have one job to do and if I let anything get me off focus, I have a good chance of missing the kick. I think me, Joe [Cardona] and Ryan [Allen] just felt eerily calm out there. Me and Ryan were looking at each other smiling on the sidelines. It just felt like I was going to get that opportunity. I think it's a little easier thinking that you're going to get it and going out there and getting it is a lot easier. I go out there and attack every kick to try and make it. I don't worry too much about results. Obviously, if I would have missed that kick, we would have lost. That's the name of the game. It's fun to be in those situations. They don't come up very often, especially long kicks like that. It's all about the team here though. [Danny] Amendola's punt return, Tom [Brady] getting us into field goal range. Joe snapping. Ryan holding. The guys blocking. It's fun and we all get to celebrate together as a team. That's what they preach, that's what we do around here. It's fun, especially to beat a good team like the Giants on the road. We get to fly home happy.
Q: Outside of Super Bowl wins, where does this one rank?
A:We don't rank wins. We're 9-0. It was a fun game, don't get me wrong. Obviously those guys have had our number. It counts as one win. We're going to move forward and look forward to beating the Bills. Anytime you can beat a good team on the road and have the fans go home quiet, it's a blast.
Q: Is there a feeling of inevitably at this point? Invincibility so to speak...
A:You're one kick away from being public enemy number one. That's why my job is very humbling. No matter how many kicks that I get, how many games that we win, I'm always going to try and stay humble and have humility because you're one play away from being trending on Twitter as the number one loser in America. I just try to go out there, have fun and do my job. It's fun to be on a good team. When everyone else around you is doing well, it's kind of like being on a baseball team where everyone is getting a hit and you want your opportunity to get up there because you feel like you're going to get a hit, too. It was a fun game. I still have to go out and make a lot of kicks the rest of the year.
Q: That kick made you the all-time record holder for field goals as a Patriot. Any thoughts now in retrospect?
Q: Do you subscribe much to the icing the kicker approach?
A:I mean, we practice it every week when we get into two-minute situations. Sometimes they will call a timeout, sometimes they won't. Sometimes we're taught to snap and kick it anyways. I didn't feel like I wanted a free kick, I felt good to go. I was ready to go. Whether they call a timeout or not, I'm still going to have to go out and make the kick. Thankful we had a smooth operation. Joe and Ryan did a heck of a job and it was just a clean kick. I hit it pretty good, it's just fun. We celebrated in the middle of the field and it was a blast.
Q: How are you keeping your focus while the drive is happening?
A: I look forward to the opportunity. I think if you're shying away from the opportunity, you have a good chance of going out there and second-guessing yourself. I sing a song in my head.
Q: What song?
A: I keep that between me and the song. I sing a song in my head to distract everything else. It's cool. The noise, them yelling, it's fun. I just try and get in ultra-focus zone. There are times where you're in the zone and everything moves in slow motion and there's sometimes when everything goes really fast and you have to slow yourself down. All I really think about is don't try to kick the ball too hard, because a lot of the times when I missed kicks, it was because I tried to kill it. I just try to think of a smooth swing, thoughts of just being slow and under control, going out there and making the kick.
Q: What sense did you have about your range going in that direction?
A:The ball definitely carried better that way. It was a pretty calm day for this time of year, especially in the Northeast. It was a good night to kick.
Q: Did you think on the sideline that you might not have a chance when Beckham caught that ball at first?
A: I try not to follow the game too much. They're not going to be asking my advice for any play calling any time soon. I just try to focus. When they got the ball back when we threw that interception, I started warming up because if they go down there and make a field goal, I've got to be ready to go. That's when I kind of turned it on to try and get ready and get prepared in my mind that I have to go. I think if you wait until the last minute, it can sneak up on you really fast. I told Ryan we're going to get a game-winner, you guys be ready. He made me look smart. Tom got us in range, guys made a lot of good catches.
Q: Is it the same song every time?
A: You guys can guess. I will leave it a mystery.
ROB GRONKOWSKI, TIGHT END
It was a nice kick to seal the deal and was an unbelievable win. We fought hard the whole game. They played great and tough. We just played 60 minutes and got that W.
Q: What did you see on that touchdown run? It seemed like two guys kinda run into one another and you looked around to see if you were free.
A:I just had a seam. I ran up the middle and tried to get open. Tom made a nice throw. I saw the safety coming and made a little move. He missed and I was free from there on out. So it was good execution on the offense and I just finished the job.
Q: Were you surprised there was no one there when you caught it and made that move?
A:Yeah I mean, I never had that before, so it was just a great execution play overall. When the ball is thrown to me, I just have to go and make a play.
Q: Rob, how much does Julian mean to this offense and how much tougher did things get when he went out?
A:He means a whole lot to this offense. Hopefully he comes back ASAP.
Q: Slater said this was a character building game for you guys the way you had to battle back.
A:Definitely. That game definitely built some character, being down, being up and then being down again with two minutes left. We just showed some resilience. The offense didn't give up. You gotta give it to Danny with his punt returns and making crucial catches in that two minute drive. Tom made some good calls and good throws. So it was a good solid team win and we played for 60 minutes.
Q: What did Tom say in the huddle before that game winning drive?
A:Let's just go! We gotta go. We gotta do what we gotta do. This is all or nothing on this drive.
Q: Since you guys have been in this position before, and have one of the most veteran quarterbacks in the game, how much confidence do you guys have in a situation like that?
A:You gotta have confidence on drives like that. With two minutes left and you're down - you need a field goal or a touchdown, you gotta be ready and be focused. You have to be locked in that you're gonna get the job done.
Q: You have a kicker like Steven Gostkowski coming in a situation like that, what's going through your mind?
A: He's gonna hit it. He works hard, he practices hard and he's always working on his kicks. You saw that, it went right down the middle. It could've gone for 60 yards easily, so he's got a great leg. He's the best out there.
Q: Every time you guys meet up – the Patriots and the Giants – it's always seems to be one of these types of games.
A:They're a tough team. They play hard. That defense is tough. It's always a close game and down to the last second. You have to play 60 minutes.
Q: How much do you embrace being a part of a game like this?
A: It's unreal. This game was so fun today. You just gotta love the game of football. Being part of it just shows how football is so much fun. I love playing the game. Games like this, down to the wire and getting that W is awesome.
Malcolm Butler, Cornerback
Q: When you knocked that ball out in the end zone, how confident were you that they were going to overturn it?
A: I mean, look how the rule is. I mean, you can catch the ball and fall and come up. I mean, that's not a completion but that's what's different. You're just standing up. I've got to believe that we were going to get the call.
Q: You had quite the performance out there, what were your thoughts after the initial play - the 87-yard touchdown?
A: You know, I probably just had to get a feel for him. We missed a tackle. If we made the tackle, it could have made a difference in the game. That was a great play by him. Good player.
Q: ...this as character-building for the defense with the way it played out and you had to come back. How would you describe it?
A: Determination. Situational football. You know, it was a great win. It's all I can say about it - great win. You know, it was one of, the second-toughest comeback I've ever been in.
Q: How much fun was it to play that well against one of the best receivers in the NFL?
A: It was a good feeling. It's a week to week league. You've just got to be on it. Keep moving, keep moving and improving.