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Patriots Postgame Quotes

New England Patriots players comment on their game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, December 24, 2011.

Vince Wilfork, Defensive Lineman
(On coming back from being down 17-0 at halftime)
"We went to the sideline and talked. We said we only needed one play to get it started as a team. All the while, we never gave up on one another and never said anything negative to one another. Going down 17-0 is a pretty big deficit but once again, this team showed its character. We believed in one another and stepped up and once we got going, it seemed that all we needed was that one play. Once we got it, it opened up everything else on offense, special teams and defense. It was a great win for us and we still have room for improvement. Each week we are going to get better."

(On what the locker room was like at halftime)
"We were wondering what was going on but everybody stuck together. We had to make more plays. One play can turn into a bunch of plays for us. Sometimes it happens like that. Once we got (the ball) and gave it to our offense, they handled it very well. It doesn't matter how you win but good teams always find a way to (do it)."

(On the importance of a bye week in the playoffs)
"A bye is a bye. We still have another game to play but that is reality. We have had byes before and it wasn't pretty. At the same time, we have one more game to play."

Deion Branch, Wide Receiver
(On what the team was looking for in the second half)
"We were looking for some sort of boost and needed a big play from our guys and we got it. That's what it took to spark us a little bit. (The defense) played a 60-minute game. The offense went out and couldn't get it going. It just wasn't in sync at all in the first half. We let our defense down the entire first half. It's all about being a team. We stuck with it, came back and everything worked out for us."

(On what sparked the team to come back)
"I think it was the defense. At some point (the offense has to say) we aren't holding up our end of the bargain. We tip our hats to our defense. Once we made our final adjustments, everything started ticking."

(On what rookie Steven Ridley adds to the offense)
"I think he is doing everything he possibly can to help the team. That's one position that (requires) you to get in a groove. He has to get in sync with the front line and they have to get in sync with him. We shuffle so many guys but when he gets the opportunity, he takes advantage of it."

Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker
(On his TD-saving tackle)
"I'll have to watch the tape, but I didn't feel anyone around me and that was kind of the, 'Oh, crap' moment. You know, luckily I got myself in a good enough position to have an attempt to make a play and I'm sure there's times when he cuts up front and that guy will run right past me, but it was a big play [and] it feels even more rewarding that you know we [made them turn] the ball over right after that and ended up winning the game, so I guess that was my Christmas present."

(On 'Oh crap moment')
"Oh who knows. I have no idea how many tackles I have, but there's probably not too many open field tackles. Those [open field tackles] are hard for the real athletes to even make them, so for me to get an opportunity to do it and you know come through, you know, you get a little more respect at my position when you can do that."

(On if he swiped with his right arm)
"I don't remember. I just dove like I was diving into second base. Luckily, I caught him. I probably closed my eyes, I don't know."

(On the importance of making that tackle)
"Yeah, I mean he made a nice move. I was gearing up for him to try and run me over. He cut and luckily I guessed right, you know I had a decent angle at him and I got my palm on him and luckily he went down. I'm very happy that happened."

Donald Thomas, Guard
(On overall performance)
"I'm my worst critic, my hardest critic. I gave up that sack which I'm not too happy about. That kills me for the game, but you know I think I did okay. I can always play better. I think that's just being a competitor, but overall I think I did alright."

(On satisfaction playing against old team)
"I knew that was coming sooner or later. Yeah and no, it's a football game. It wouldn't matter if it was any team out there, I want to play well, but at the same time it was good to play them and show them, hey, 'I can still play this game and don't forget about me.'"

(On when you found out about the start)
"Before the game. Honestly, I don't know. I was sitting at my locker and they just told me to be ready to go."

Aaron Hernandez, Tight End
(On team confidence in no huddle offense)
"It just makes the defense hurry up and make a decision. We play so fast and we can do so many things that cause a lot of problems [to] a defense."

(On personal confidence in no huddle offense)
"Yeah because they can't really put who they really want on me, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], [and] Wes [Welker] and they kind of [have] to just play, so if there's linebackers on me or Gronk, there's a lot of mismatches."

(On the no huddle offense's ability to get the team back in a rhythm)
"Wes [Welker] and Tom [Brady] started clicking and when they're clicking everyone starts clicking, so they got it going and we just followed their lead."

Dan Connolly, Offensive Lineman
(On what Stevan Ridley provides as a running back)
"He's a good running back. He's a hard worker and we trust that he's going to do a good job when we need him."

(On his trust level in Stevan Ridley to elongate drives)
"Of course, we trust all of our running backs to do that job."

(On what changes were made to adjust to Miami's pass rush)
"From what I see, no changes. Guys know what job they have to fill and they step up and do it."

Shaun Ellis, Defensive End
(On the difference between the first and second halves)
"You've got to take your hats off to them. They came out, they made a lot of good plays early in the game. For us, it was just a matter of coming in and getting our adjustments and just playing with more energy in the second half. We did that and we were able to close them out to the end."

(On playing a more expanded role Saturday)
"It was just my time to step in. Again, I'm just fortunate for another opportunity. I hate that it had to come that way with Andre [Carter]. But, [I'm] playing for him and my teammates, so I just wanted to go out there and do what I could do and contribute."

(On if it was challenging to wait for his opportunity to play an expanded role)
"It wasn't challenging at all. I just told myself, 'Just be patient.' If an opportunity will come, it will come. I only can control what I can once I get in there. Today I was able to play a lot more and I was able to move around a lot better."

Devin McCourty, Cornerback
(On how it felt to get his first interception of the year)
"It felt pretty good. Finally got a chance to get one and reel it in, so it was a big play that helped the team out big time."

(On what the defense talked about at halftime after going down 17 points)
"Just keep fighting. We've got 30 minutes to go, we've got to keep playing. We can't go out there and just concede losing. Just go out there, keep fighting and see what happens."

(On if it was important to secure a first-round playoff bye Saturday)
"I think the biggest thing today was to fight. To come out and go into halftime down 17, just to go back out there and show the character of this team. I think that was the biggest thing for this team, to be tested like that and come out with a victory today."

Brian Waters, Guard
(On how the team overcame a 17-point deficit)
"One thing they say from the day you come in here is just do your job. And I think that we trust each other in that fact. There are no special things around here that are any different from anybody else, outside of everybody is just wondering about what they need to do and they take care of their business. The end result [is] we never panic. We never panic. There was no panic on the sideline. More people will probably think, 'You guys were too calm.' There wasn't any yelling, there wasn't any screaming, it was just about getting to the things that we knew we could do well and going after it after that."

(On having to come back to win the last three weeks)
"During the course of the season, you learn a lot of things, right? We had some situations where we got off to bad starts and didn't come back and didn't play particularly well in the end. And we've had some things happen for us where we've gotten off to bad starts and end up finishing well. Today is just another lesson learned."

(On if one more week of the season is enough time to correct their weaknesses)
"Oh yeah, everybody's got those situations. There's nobody playing perfect football right now. So we're no different from any other football team outside of the fact that we've got an extended season that we know we have in front of us and next week is a great opportunity for us to get even better going into that part of the season."

Dane Fletcher, Linebacker
(On what it takes to come out of the locker room at halftime trailing 17-0)
"It takes everybody as one. I think we all knew that and were on the same page. At this point, this late in the season, we know what we are playing for so its important."

(On forcing turnovers to put the offense in good field position)
"It's huge. Especially that first half, we weren't giving them any field position to work with. That's on us as a defense. We had to step it up in the second half. I felt we played pretty well and gave them some decent field position."

(On the importance of a full defensive effort for sixty minutes)
"We've been preaching it and we've got to start doing it. We know that. We've got to get in sixty minutes. That's what we're here for and that's what we've got to do to be successful in the playoffs. One game at a time."

Donald Thomas, Offensive Lineman
(On the mood of the team at halftime)
"We all knew what we had to do. We all know what we're capable of doing. We all know what kind of offense we are. We know what kind of team we are. So basically, everybody had to look at themselves in the mirror and look at each other and say 'Let's pick it up.' And that's what we did."

(On the change of momentum in the second half)
"It's huge when you have the ball (at the start of) the first or second half and come out and score. Especially being down 17 points. To drive down the field and score, and then the defense comes up with a huge turnover. For us to execute and get some points on the board after that is huge. It really kills the momentum of another team and the psyche of them. I think that's what happened today. Both sides of the ball executed well and we just got it done."

Jerod Mayo, Linebacker
(On the defense forcing turnovers in the second half)
"We have been surviving on turnovers all year. We just have to continue to grow. Those things always help our offense anytime they are struggling, which is seldom.  But at the same time, turnovers always jumpstart us."

(On whether the defense started flat)
"I wouldn't say that. We just didn't come out the way we need to come out. We always talk about putting sixty minutes together and we didn't do that. But, we put together a good thirty (minutes)."

(On whether Miami went away from their game plan after the Patriots scored)
"I don't think so. I think they did the same things. We got a little more aggressive with our calls in the second half and it turned out well for us."

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