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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 12/26/2010

TOM BRADY, QB

On how the team is not able to travel home tonight:
We can't (make it home). We're not even stuck in Buffalo, we're stuck in Rochester I guess. We've got a little bus ride and we'll get in whenever we can get in. I think that was kind of coming down the pipeline pretty early this morning.

On if the travel issues were the only setback today:
I thought we got off to a good start. I think we were stressing out all week because you don't want to get into a dog fight with (Buffalo) at home. We've been in that too many times. I thought we really stressed that, made some plays early. It was a good lead at halftime and we got a big turnover. Turnovers were really the story for us offensively. We were fortunate to get quite a few short fields today and took advantage when we did. It was great by our defense with all the guys they had out and we just capitalized on some of their mistakes.

On the week leading up to the game and overcoming injuries and illnesses:
I think that happens and I think every team has those weeks where some guys are in and some guys are out. There are injuries and this week quite a few guys got sick. I think the guys fought through it and showed some mental toughness. That's been a big word for us this year. It led to a really big win for us today.

On setting the NFL record for consecutive passes without an interception:
What's my reaction, I'm glad I'm not throwing interceptions. I think our team has done a really good job this year of not turning the ball over in general. All the guys who have handled it this year are doing a good job taking care of it. I'm very fortunate, believe me. I've had plenty of plays that definitely could have gone to (the opposing defenses). It's a good trend for us to be on and hopefully it continues.

On winning eight division titles in 10 years and what this year's means to him:
It never gets old, I'll tell you that. We never get tired of winning, that's what we have been preparing for all offseason and training camp. To have a chance to do something pretty special today, in a tough division, we have the Bills twice in these conditions, the Jets, Miami with how difficult of a time that they give us. It's a good division and to come out victorious, obviously everyone is very proud of it. The season's not over yet. We've got a game against Miami this coming week that will definitely challenge us and it's great to to come in here and beat the Bills today. It was a great effort by the guys.

On if he has seen a Patriots team improve as much from spring to this point in the season:
I think that we've added a lot of different guys who have brought a lot of different elements to this team that allow us to be that way. The way the tight ends have played this year, a guy like Danny (Woodhead), a guy like BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) who really wasn't much of a part of our offense last year. The offensive line has really come together and with adding Deion (Branch) it's an entirely different team. Defensively, there have been just as many changes. Our coach is tough on us. As I said earlier in the week we take the coaching from him. He's a pretty smart coach. I think when we can understand what he is teaching us and the way that we need to do things it ends up turning out pretty good.

On how they have dealt with the uncertainty of new players on the team and their buy in to the system:
There are a lot of younger guys, and the expectation is for the position, not for the the player. If you're an outside linebacker on this team you're expected to play like Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel. If you're a running back you're expected to play like Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk. It's just the way it is. I think (Bill Belichick) rides us all day and all night to get the job done in that sense. Like I said, the guys need to be able to respond to those things and we've shown enough mental toughness throughout the year to respond.

On if there is a specific way to get the younger players to buy in:
There are quite a few rookies, but the rookies don't know anything. Really what you tell them is what they believe. They don't look two weeks ahead. They're just not smart enough or experienced enough to do that. (The veterans) are just like this is what you do and that's what they do. Having those guys like Aaron (Hernandez), Rob (Gronkowski) and Devin (McCourty), they just think this is just the way it is. They've really listened to the veterans, listened to the guys at their positions and listened to our coach.

On TE Rob Gronkowski's Performance:
(Gronkowski) had a great day today. He's had great days all season and he's been a great player for us. I just think when I was a rookie of how hard it was for me. And then to see Rob (Gronkowski) and what he's accomplished and to see what Aaron (Hernandez) has accomplished it's so impressive because it's so hard. It's so hard to understand what it takes to be successful at this level. They're doing it. They've got to keep doing it and they have a great role model in Alge (Crumpler) at their position. He is someone who they can always look to who made some huge plays today. That's a hell of a group for us.

On the running game:
I think we talked earlier in the week. One thing (Buffalo) has been struggling with has been against the run. We knew coming in that we had to establish it, get things going on the ground, possess the ball and we sure did. I think that takes a lot of pressure off the pass game when you can hand it off all the times that we did and gain those yards. It was a big effort by (Green-Ellis) and (Woodhead) almost had 100 yards. The offensive line blocked great and there were a lot of positive things.

On if he wants to play next week:
Yeah, I want to play. Whatever (Coach Belichick) asks us to do we're going to do. Miami is a good team. We struggled with them last time offensively, so hopefully we'll go out and play better.

TULLY BANTA-CAIN, LB

On how the Patriots offense has been mistake-proof:
We talked about that on the sideline today, saying 'Those guys don't fumble; those guys don't give up the ball.' That's a great credit to our offense. Staying on the field and not turning the ball over and giving us chances on defense to go out and turn the ball over and give it back to them, so it's a hand-in-hand thing.

On being division champions and clinching home-field advantage:
It's a huge accomplishment. To win our division and know that we're going to be first seed and home-field in the playoffs, it's something where you can't ask for a better end of the season because it puts you in good position to where you want to go. We're definitely happy about this one, but we're going to stay hungry and stay humble.

On if he thought the team would be in this position back at the beginning of the year:
We stayed positive, and we have high expectations and high standards as a team, so this isn't something that we're overly happy about because it's just a stepping stone into where we want to go. It's a huge accomplishment and it's not something that we knew was going to be easy. And it was hard. It was a tough year. To be where we're at now; great feeling.

DEION BRANCH, WR

On QB Tom Brady breaking the record of most consecutive passes without an interception:
It speaks volumes of what he does in the classroom. He's a perfectionist. Things that we do in the classroom, I think that is how we play.

On what the stat means to the receivers on the team:
I want to help him set every record he can. If I can be a part of it, I would love to. I don't think we go into games focused on that. I didn't know what record it was, he's set so many records so, it's like 'What record was this one.' Like I said, I'm just glad to be a part of it. These guys just want to go out and win games and make sure we execute our offense.

On being division champions and clinching home-field advantage:
It's good. I think it's so mellow in here, you would think that we were in a weird situation, guys should be happy. The game wasn't as good as the score looked, it was 34-3? There were a bunch of plays that we messed up on that we're not proud of. Third quarter was terrible by the offense. The defense did a good job of keeping us in the game.

ALGE CRUMPLER, TE

On clinching the AFC East and home-field advantage:
We've put ourselves in this position, and we've earned it. Now, we can focus on Miami, play those guys, then a little break, and then whoever we have to play we'll prepare for.

On Gronkowski's contributions to the team:
I don't even know if he knows how many touchdowns he has, he just enjoys playing the game of football. Rob's just awesome. He keeps our meeting room going, him and Aaron keep our meeting room going every single day. I'm just glad to be working with the young fellow, the young big fellow.

On the group of tight ends and how they've been performing all year:
We break down every day by saying that we're the best, and all it takes is the guys on this team and the guys in my room to believe that. I think that we've gotten better, we look back at some of our games earlier in the season and just watch how we play, and just see constant improvement. That's all we ask for is just play your best ball this time of year.

BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS, RB

On how it feels to get the win:
It feels good to win, we had a plan that we wanted to execute and I think we did a good job doing that.

On his thoughts on the offensive performance:
That's one of the things we try to focus on, we try not to beat ourselves and turn over the ball.

On the Buffalo run defense:
We were hoping that there would be some opportunities, there were in the passing game and in the running game.

On the only setback being not being able to travel home:
It is what it is; playing up here in the Northeast and in the New England area you're going to have times where it's going to be a snowstorm and things like that.

On what his plans are for tonight:
Get some rest, I really don't know what's going to happen, it's going to be the first time for me.

On his potential to get 1,000 yards next week:
Right now we're just focusing on whatever it takes to get games won and to get that W in the column. Whatever it takes, we're going to try to go out there and do our best.

On the New England defense making it easier for the offense:
We always want to play good complimentary football. When the defense gives us the ball on a short field or gives us the ball back impromptu we want to do our job and punch it in for them. It's a big momentum swing when they (generate turnovers) and we can take the ball down and put some points on the board.

ROB GRONKOWSKI, TE

On enjoying his homecoming:
Yeah definitely. It was great. I got to see my family, I got to see my friends. A lot of fun, especially seeing my family. I spent some time with my mom, my dad, my brothers last night. It was a real good moment, we exchanged presents, it was fun.

On how many friends and family members were in the crowd:
I don't even know, because I told everyone to get their own tickets and stuff. I know my family was there, a lot of my friends, but I don't have a count at all.

On the first play of the game, having a play called for him, but Brady wasn't able to connect:
I mean we just didn't complete it, we didn't execute it well. That's what we've got to do in practice is keep working at it, and just execute every play in practice, so stuff like that we complete it and we get the first down.

On being excited on scoring a touchdown in front a hometown crowd:
Yeah, mad excited. Being home, kind of like a homecoming in front of the family, it's just great going home and scoring twice in front of them. It's a dream come true. I would've never thought this was going to happen, when I was back in high school and college, this is amazing.

On the Patriots' tight ends getting a lot of action and executing throughout the season:
Yeah, Alge man, I'm so glad he got one. He's been a great leader. I love a man who leads by example with everything, it's great having him on the team. We're just out there working hard, whatever role us tight ends get, we're going to go out there and do our role and do our own job. Hopefully it's always a significant role.

On being able to seal home-field advantage, and closing the season out in such a way in his rookie year:
It's great. It's just a little step forward to the big picture. But we're just staying humble, we're staying hungry and we're going to take every practice week hard, on and off the field. In the weight room we've got to get stronger and everything, we've just got to keep working hard.

On his one-handed catch:
It just happens with natural reaction. You're not thinking 'Oh I'm going to one-hand this,' it just happens like that, real quick. It was cool, Brady put it where only I could get it, which was a great throw and I just made a play on it.

LOGAN MANKINS, OL

On how important it was to get the win today and clinch home-field advantage a week before the season ends:
I don't know if we have a few weeks off. We've got a big game next week against Miami, who always plays us hard, then we have a bye week, and we won't be sitting around thinking that we have all the answers, which we don't. You saw that third quarter out there tonight. We still got a lot of things we can work on, and I don't think anyone in this league is perfect so we can always keep practicing.

On how former Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi used to call these playoff clinching games 'Hat and t-shirt games' and how it feels:
You know it can happen before the game usually, when you can clinch something. I don't know if the hat and t-shirt really mean anything, but we like to yell that we got a 'hat and t-shirt' so we know we've accomplished something when we get that.

On how important it will be to get RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1,000 yards:
For me, it makes me happy for Benny. He deserves it, he's worked hard since he's been here and he ran hard. He's one of those guys that you truly appreciate, and you like to block for, so that would be great for him to get that.

ROB NINKOVICH, LB

On the amount of turnovers the Patriots were able to create today:
Turnovers win games. I don't know what the exact total or how many turnovers, I think it was six? It just helps you out a ton. We had good field position for the offense, so it set them up for some of those scores.

On how the Patriots defense once again held an opponent without a touchdown:
I think that as a whole is the defense really getting to the ball, and that's where everything happens. That's where a fumble is on the ground, somebody picks it up, or a ball's tipped in the air and somebody grabs it for an interception. It's just everyone getting around the ball and playing fast team defense.

On being division champions and clinching home-field advantage:
Yeah, but we still have a lot more to go. It helps to have that bye and home-field advantage, which is good for us. We're going to get our bodies back, and we're going to be ready to go for whoever we have to play.

VINCE WILFORK, NT

On if the only setback is not being able to travel back home tonight and getting the win:
Yeah, that's about the only thing, to have to stay out here and not get back to your family. With a W, to win the (AFC) East, we won this week knowing that we've got a really good chance of doing something special. All week we talked about coming out and playing, and just winning. We knew Buffalo had a pretty good team; it's not the Buffalo of old. They've got new faces from the staff to the players. They have great players at the skill positions everywhere and the offensive line. We knew it was going to be tough coming in here, especially with the distractions with Christmas and everything. I'm glad we fought, this New England Patriots football team showed a lot of guts today. We had some guys under the weather, they went out and played and gave it their all. We got a W, that's our biggest present. Being able to come into the locker room and see (the division championship) hat and t-shirt is one of your goals and that's something to be proud of. We have a really competitive division, and for us to win it, I know a lot of people counted us out. All year we knew what we had in this locker room, we knew how special this team could be. We just had to start focusing and hitting on all cylinders. I think last month we started hitting on all cylinders. This football team is getting better, we're not where we want to be by any means but we are definitely moving forward. We've got to continue to get better and play better football down the road.

On if it is satisfying to know that they have proved something defensively:
Like I said, all year we knew what we had with the bunch that we have on defense. Some guys don't get credit, you're so used to hearing the bigger names like myself and Jerod (Mayo) but it's everybody who steps on that field defensively. They come in and they play their role. You see (Jarrad) Page, (Patrick) Chung making plays, you see Dane Fletcher, Eric Moore, the list goes on. I think sometimes with those guys you kind of miss them with the other names, the New England Patriots and what Tom (Brady) is to this organization. It's a bunch of guys that go out and play ball and always give us the best chance to win and we saw us today.

On the people who have been added throughout the season:
I don't think that this organization makes too many mistakes when it comes down to personnel and finding guys that fit this mold. We saw Dane Fletcher as a diamond in the rough. He was a defensive lineman and now he's making plays for us being a linebacker.

On how great of an accomplishment it is to have home field given the changes this season:
You know what? That means a lot to us. To be able to come out and just silence the critics. A lot of people doubted us, some people still might. At the same time, all year we knew what we had in this locker room. The guys did a really good job all year of just staying focused and not even paying attention to the stuff that was in the papers or media, whatever it may be. The guys just did a really good job of staying focused. We have a sign coming out of our stadium saying "Don't believe the hype". I think that speaks for itself, from being the greatest team and then being one of the worst teams, we heard it all. I think guys really buckled down and just trusted one another that we can be a really good football team if we just stay focused and outwork our opponents. Half the time that just comes with practice. If you prepare well in practice, normally you play well. The times we didn't, it cost us. We've got a lot of work to do but at the same time with this team, you've got to keep getting better. There's no doubt in my mind that we won't keep getting better. That's where we're at right now.

DANNY WOODHEAD, RB

On the offense getting a lot of help with blocks:
Including the receivers and tight ends also, they're fighting to get those blocks also.

On everyone doing their part to get the ball in the end zone:
Yeah, everyone has a part in every play. That's just how we are as a team, we work together and that's how it should be. Everyone should do their job, and everyone on this team takes their job very, very seriously.

On his big run that led to a touchdown to give New England its first score:
I just saw some open space, and I was just trying to run, trying to react and try to get the most I could out of the play, and fortunately we got in the end zone.

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