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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 11/24/2013

New England Patriots players address the media following their regular season game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, November 24, 2013.


(On whether anyone in the locker room was down after the first half)
"Of course not, man. We're grown men, that's our job. We know you've got to play two halves of football, so that's what we did." 

(On what the turning point was in tonight's game)
"I don't know. One minute we were down 24-0, the next minute we were kicking the game-winning field goal. I don't know. It went fast, man. Play after play, defense made plays, offense made plays, and we were kicking the field goal." 

(On head coach Bill Belichick complimenting the cornerback group on their play tonight)
"Thanks Bill, for the [recognition]. We want to thank Bill for that. I mean, we just tried to go out and make plays. We tried to take it one play at a time, man. We take it from practice to the game, just one play at a time. [If you] mess up, just forget about it, on to the next play. That's just how we try to play." 

(On whether he expected the Broncos to run the ball as much as they did)
"Definitely, man. Peyton [Manning is] a smart quarterback, man. We knew we were going to come out and show that two-high shell. He sees that two-high shell, he's going to run the ball. That was our plan, to get him to run it more than he throws it."

Kyle Arrington, Cornerback

(On the team's comeback)
"A lot of things happen sometimes that you can't control. The main thing is to stay focused, stay together, and take one play at a time."

(On the Denver offense)
"That's a terrific offense that we just played. First, they almost [beat us] in just about every category there is offensively, and [I'm] just proud of the way we came out and battled. We've got a couple guys who aren't 100 percent and we just battled through. [It was] an extremely valiant effort across the board."

(On matching up with Wes Welker)
"[There is] some familiarity there. Obviously he knows my techniques as well, so it's just going to come down to one-on-one battles and just trying to execute whatever defense we happen to be in for a particular play. I can't say enough great things about Wes [Welker] and that offense in general. We'll take it, but we've got a lot of work to do, obviously. We're going to celebrate this one tonight and then get ready for Houston next week."

Marquice Cole, Cornerback

(On if he knew that he was getting close to Denver's punt returner Wes Welker on the final punt)
"Yes, but I'm going to the returner, so that's on him [Tony Carter] to make a judgment call on, 'It's over, I didn't get the block and get out of the way,' but he was trying to make a play and get Wes going and the ball just hit him."

(On if he was consciously trying to send Tony Carter into Wes Welker)
"When I get down there I'm going to the returner, so like I said, it's on him to make a judgment call on, 'I didn't get the block and get out of the way, so he can field the ball,' but he stayed with it trying to make a play for the team I guess."

(On how the comeback win speaks about this team)
"Just resiliency. We came out not how we wanted to in the first half and to come in [during half time] and make some adjustments and go out and just make one play at a time and not try to score 24 points on one play and just go out play after play and make a play, make a play, make a play and just let the score work itself out."

Nate Ebner, Defensive Back

(On recovering the live punt late in overtime)
"Everybody jumped on me pretty quickly, but I was just doing what I'm supposed to do in that situation. Your instincts take over. I don't want to make too much out of it. I was just covering down on the punts like I always do. The punt returner was waving it off. Marquice Cole made a great play, pushing his guy into the ball and I was just watching. Ryan [Allen] has been putting up some great punts, so it really goes to them. Just seeing the returner waving at it and then [Cole] pushing him in there. Just right place at the right time."

(On if he's looking for the ball to hit another player)
"In the case where the returner is waving it off, yeah, I'm looking for it to hit somebody."

(On what he's thinking during each punt)
"I don't know, you've just got to be ready whenever it comes up and whenever your number is called. You've just got to be ready to make a play. [The returner] is waving, and I can't hear [anything]. Just going off gestures and a fair catch or if he's going to catch it."

Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker

(On kicking the game-winning field goal)
"Just winning in general is fun. When you get to touch the ball last it's even sweeter. What a crazy game and what a fun finish. To come back and win like that is definitely special."

(On how much the wind affected the game)
"The wind was pretty good and anytime the temperature is lower and the wind is higher, the harder it is to kick. Luckily we had the wind behind our back on that last kick. Obviously you could tell, kickoffs going one way were going five yards out of the end zone and they were going to the 10 [yard line] the other way. It's tough, but it was a lot of fun. Ryan [Allen] and Danny [Aiken] did a great job on the last kick, the line obviously blocked really well. It was just sweet. Definitely going to enjoy this one for a couple days."

(On if he was surprised that the Patriots got the ball back at the end of overtime)
"Yeah, you always have got to be ready. In a game like that, you just have got to keep your composure. I've had times where you kick off and then we get a quick interception turnaround. I wasn't just going to sit on the heated bench, I was keeping my mind ready because there was a chance for one more time to get the ball back if [the Broncos] had to punt back. That's what you practice for, that's what you play for, for that opportunity to come through and win it for your team and we did a good job of it tonight."

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End

(On where this game ranks among the craziest games he has been a part of)
"It was definitely up there man. What a crazy game. It was unbelievable; a lot of fun to be a part of. It was a great team win overall."

(On the message to the team at halftime)
"Just to take it as a new ball game. Take one play at a time; you can't do anything to the scoreboard. The only thing we can do is take one play at a time and just keep on driving. Don't think there is going to be a miracle where you can score a touchdown and it counts as more, so just take it one drive at a time, one play at a time and don't worry about anything else. The message got across, and it was a great second half on both sides of the ball."

(On whether the team was discouraged at all going into halftime)
"I mean, we've been done many times at halftime by a lot. You've got to play four quarters of football. I man, that was a pretty brutal first half – maybe one of the worst I've ever been a part of. I'm not really sure about that, but it was bad. That's what halftime is for – [to make] adjustments and go out and play the second half. The team did a great job, the defense did a great job and Steve [Gostkowski] made a great kick at the end of the game to win the game."

(On what he thought about Coach Belichick's decision to kick the ball to Denver at the start of overtime)
"Great decision. He is our coach [and] we're behind him with everything, especially Coach Belichick. Whatever he has, we're behind him. So it was a great call because we won."

(On if the weather affects the football and makes it more slippery)
"Oh it's crazy out there. It was like five degrees with the wind chill, but both teams are playing with it. We've played in it many times before and you've just got to adjust to it. You've got to be ready for it, and it is fair on both sides of the ball. So, you've just got to play and play how it is."

(On Tom Brady getting pumped up after Gronkowski's touchdown catch)
"Yes, definitely. It was a third down. It was a very big play and it was a great throw by him. He put it right on the money – you couldn't ask for a better throw coming right out of the break. He got pumped up. He always gets pumped up on that play, that route. So, you can ask him what he said. I don't want to repeat what he said. It was nothing bad at all. It was really positive, really good. It got the juice flowing for everyone, and it was cool. I like moments like that."

(On what this win means for momentum moving forward)
"We take time right now and enjoy the win. But I mean, come this Tuesday, come this Wednesday, you always flip the page. You've got a new game, you've got a new opponent coming up. It definitely helps; the positive momentum. We've just got to keep working hard throughout the weeks and keep focusing."

(On whether the win puts the Patriots back on top as the elite team in the AFC)
"We're just out there to compete every game and play every game our hardest. It was a great team victory and our teams played our hearts out tonight. We're not here to say anything like that, we're just here to play every game and play the best we can."

Devin McCourty, Defensive Back

(On the importance of winning a game like this)
"I think it was big, just for the fact [that] it's the next game. It's an AFC team on top of the AFC, it's a home game, and I think as the season starts to dwindle down it's important that we keep playing well at home and protect our home field. And I mean, it was the Broncos: Peyton [Manning], [Tom] Brady, everything, Sunday Night Football – these are the games you want to come in and [win]. We didn't come out and play well in the first half, and I think all year this team has shown how tough we are, and there was no quit in anyone. On the sidelines, in the locker room, we came in and it wasn't a big going crazy, it was, 'We've got to play.' I mean, we dug ourselves a hole, let's just play and see what happens, and we were able to make a good comeback, score some touchdowns, get some stops, and a fortunate bounce right there, and [we were] able to win the game. Steve [Gostkowski] still has to go out and do his job, and he's done a great job all year."

(On whether their experience being down in games helped them tonight)
"I think so. And I think Coach [Belichick] does a great job putting us in situations. I mean, you guys know, it's not an easy place to play, and he puts us in different situations throughout practice, throughout the year, OTAs, anything. There's times in OTAs where the season's months away and we're out there playing and practicing in a downpour. Some people think that's not a big deal, but that goes a long way to just being mentally tough to go out there and practice, so that's why when we get down, we don't think too much. We just come and keep playing."

(On whether it was difficult to not over-commit to the Broncos running game)
"Can't. I mean, [you're] talking about Peyton Manning. I truly believe what we practice against every day helps us. There's not a time in practice where we say, 'We've got to stuff the run.' In training camp, it's us vs. them. That's what we do, and there's no time we say, 'Hey, forget the pass, forget what Brady can do, let's defend this run.' So you kind of take that same mindset into playing Peyton."

(On Belichick's decision to defer in overtime)
"Bill's a genius. He's a genius. I mean, even the captains didn't know. We [were] like, 'Defer? Take the wind?' And, it was obviously the best call, and it was a great call by him."

Rob Ninkovich, Defensive Lineman

(On his thoughts on the game)
"I think this goes back to even the beginning of the year. Just coming out and not playing the way we need to play is something that we're trying [to fix]. We need to play four quarters, come out fast, come out in the third quarter and play fast, so the first half of this game just wasn't the Patriot football that everyone was accustomed to seeing. You just had to come in the locker room, look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'Hey, we're going to win this game with individual guys doing their individual jobs, and all working together one play at a time.' You can't go out there and score 24 points in one drive, so you just have to have a drive and a stop. A drive, score, stop, stop, stop…get the ball to the offense and let them work, do their thing and get in the groove. That drive to where they tied it up, as a defender you want to stop them right there. That [pass interference], I'll take that. I really didn't see it. I'll have to watch the replay on that, but I was just trying to reach across and get to the ball. Again, going to overtime and having the mental toughness to start out on defense and give our offense the ball. Having the confidence to play well and knowing that the guy next to you is going to do his job."

(On if he agreed with Coach Belichick deferring in overtime)
"Definitely. I think that we were doing a great job there as far as when they were going into the wind. They had trouble getting the ball down the field. They were just trying to work the intermediate routes and run short little flat routes and crossers at the sticks. So it would be first down, second down, run, run. Getting the third and five manageable situation to throw a short route." (On the weather) "You've got to deal with it. If it's windy, rainy, snowing, whatever it is, you have to play in it. I'm not a quarterback. I don't know what it's like to throw the ball into the wind but I'm sure it's not as easy as when it's at your back. The elements are always a factor with how somebody plays."

Stevan Ridley, Running Back

(On his thoughts on the running backs who came in and had success after he and LeGarrette Blount struggled)
"It shows the strength of our run. We've been talking about that since early in camp and for us, we need to have players step up when somebody goes down, so we did some things and shot ourselves in the foot and they did [Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen] exactly what I expected them to do. If they have to go with another guy and those guys stepped up and got it done and that's what a team is about. And that's what we have here is two guys that stepped in and played the role exactly how they're supposed to."

(On the difficulty he felt after fumbling knowing that he may spend the rest of the game on the bench)
"It's really about the team and how they came back from this deficit tonight. We were down 24 points and they fought back. For me, I think my team deserves better than what I'm doing out there and putting on the field. It's been consecutive weeks with putting the ball on the ground and, as a running back, you can't do that. I've said that multiple times. I work too hard to make the small mistakes and I keep setting myself back and setting this team back. The offense depends on me and to go out there and get the job done and when I put the ball on the ground they have no option but to take me out and it's sickening, honestly, I'm frustrated, but it's part of the game. I think that as a player you're going to have your ups and your downs, but the main thing is you just have to stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize at the end of the day. I'm not going to get too far down. I'm going to put a little more pressure on myself to go out there and practice and try to change up some things because I can't keep doing this and it's sickening."

Shane Vereen, Running Back

(On if there was any particular aspect of the game that the Patriots addressed at halftime)
"We just had to stop turning the ball over. We just had to start playing our game as an offense and we were able to do that in the second half and we were able to move the ball."

(On how the team regroups mentally after turning the ball over)
"You've got to have a short memory. And that goes [for] offense and defense. You hear it more on defense. But offensively, a couple turnovers, 'We have a whole 'nother half to play,' that's what we said, 'A whole 'nother half.' We went out there on the field and were able to put it together."

(On what Tom Brady is like once the team starts coming back)
"The same. The same. [Tom Brady is] always encouraging us, always telling us we need more. It's just one play at a time and that's what we did."

(On what was going through his mind as the clock was ticking down in overtime)
"I hope we don't tie [laughs]. That's about all I was thinking of. Luckily the ball literally bounced our way and [Stephen Gostkowski] was able to put it in for us."

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