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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 9/18/2011

New England Patriots players comment on their regular season game against the San Diego Chargers from Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

Jerod Mayo, Linebacker
(On the Chargers offense)
"They have a very explosive offense with a lot of weapons. It was a great challenge for us.  We'll go and study the tape tomorrow, enjoy the win tonight and start back up."

(On the Patriots' defensive effort today)
"We showed great mental toughness coming up with huge turnovers and playing complimentary football. Stopping the run and doing things on the goal line really shows the toughness of a defense.  I think the guys really showed that today."

(On the goal line stand and 99-yard drive)
"We always say, 'When you kick the ball off, special teams goes and makes a play, pins them deep, then the defense goes three and out, the offense goes and scores.'  That is complimentary football like I've been saying.  It's just great to go out and play like that."

Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On the importance of the defense forcing turnovers)
"It's huge for us. Any time we can get stops, it's an extra possession for us and I think we need to take better advantage of those chances and make sure we're putting points on the board and playing complementary football out there with each other."

(On the offense battling back)
"When it gets close like that and [the Chargers] get momentum going we really have to turn everything in our direction and make sure that we're getting first downs and moving the ball and able to score there in the end. We were successful with that today and I think earlier on in the third quarter we need to do a little better job of that."

(On if the Chargers made halftime adjustments that slowed the Patriots' offense in the third quarter)
"Not really, I think it was just us kind of shooting ourselves in the foot and not being ready to really go in that third quarter and it's something we definitely need to work on."

Aaron Hernandez, Tight End
(On his touchdown reception)
"Tom [Brady] threw a great ball and he alerted the call, one high safety. He threw a great ball and I just tried to make a play for him."

(On the offense getting its momentum back in the second half)
"We just had to stay with it and all of us had to just keep fighting. We kept fighting and good things turned out."

(On the production of the tight ends)
"We have great coaches that put us in the situation to make some plays and Tom [Brady] finds us and we just try to make plays when we get the chance."

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
(On the offense slowing down in the third quarter)
"Just not executing, just not doing the job. That means we've got to string it together on the sidelines, learn what we were doing wrong and go back out there and get a good drive in and put some points up."

(On his second touchdown)
"Basically just having that little post route and just got to get big, no matter where the safety is. Tom [Brady] made a nice throw, just got to go make that play wherever Tom puts it."

(On if he's surprised that the offense tends to revolve around the tight ends each week)
"It is what it is. Everyone's doing a great job, the O-line, the wide receivers. Whatever the play call is that's what you've got to do and go out and execute. And then you've just got to keep it up, too. We've got to go out and practice and keep on proving week in and week out that's in not just a one-time thing and we can keep going out there and making blocks for running backs and doing our own job."

(On Vince Wilfork's interception and return)
"That was legit [laughs]. He had great ball security, too, which is a big crucial point when carrying the ball. It was awesome and the defense did well, they had a lot of turnovers - five turnovers, something like that - and they all did a great job.

Andre Carter, Defensive End
(On Vince Wilfork's interception and return)
"The run was ugly, the pick great. The pick was fantastic. I know he was trying to high-step but I think those hips were a little tight. It looked good, though. We were proud of him. Couldn't have happened to a better person."

(On if the third-down numbers bother the defense)
"It does and that's something for us to be constantly working on because those downs are always key and always important. If you can't get them on third down, it tends to wear on you a little bit. That's something that's going to be constantly discussed throughout the weeks. Teams are going to look at that on film and be like 'Okay.' We struggled a little bit so it's up to us to eliminate that."

(On if the defense is playing with confidence on the goal line after its fourth-down stop)
"Goal line is a mindset in general. We knew that, especially during that particular series, it was a big drive. We played our responsibilities and [Jerod] Mayo was there to make the tackle. That's the mindset of becoming a big defense."

(On playing on a team with an offense that puts so much pressure on the other team)
"In general, I think that the quarterbacks that I've played with, every person that I've played with brings a certain style, a certain element and they're all great men. Tom Brady is just an elite quarterback. One thing that I admire about him is that he's constantly humble, constantly just trying to be the best each and every week. He's never stagnant. So to see him constantly develop his game, especially where he is in his career, it's impressive. We're very blessed to have him."

Matt Light, Tackle
(On the Patriots running game)
"I wouldn't say that we ran it well, but we ran it well enough. When [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] gets rolling out of the backfield, he always gets positive yardage for us.  The rest of the guys have been working really hard through camp.  We have to be able to have that as part of our offense and I think that was critical today."

(On Wilfork's interception)
"It was a magnificent feat of athleticism.  You saw Vince's speed. He is a real threat out there."

(On the 99-yard drive after the defensive stop)
"You have to take the energy and turn it into points or at least get better field position.  We have had a couple of drives now early in the season that we've gone the distance on and that is demoralizing (for the opposing team)."

Rob Ninkovich, Linebacker
(On today's game)
"The offense had a great game. Our stop on fourth down was huge for us.  But, we would still like to have more out of the defense. We still have to improve.  We still have some things to work on. I'm happy for the win and the team played great in all three phases.  We still have to work though."

(On the amount of yardage opposing teams have gained)
"You have to get off the field on third down.  Anytime you are out there for the extent that we were with the long drives, you have to get our offense on the field. We have to correct some things and get them on the field."

(On the red zone stops over the past two weeks)
"The red zone is the most important part of the field.  They are going in to score and if you can stop them from scoring that affects the game. So we are going to continue to work on that and be good in the red zone. It's a goal to be a good red zone defense."

(On today's victory)
"You have to give credit to San Diego.  They are a great team.  They are going to have a good year.  They have some great weapons on their team.  I'm happy with the victory but there are still things that we have to get done as a team to keep improving.  The season is sixteen games and every week you have to get better."

Devin McCourty, Cornerback
(On the fourth down goal line stand)
"I was just reading my key when Jeromey Clary blocked down, so I just tried to get in there to see if I could create something, which made Mike Tolbert bounce and Jerod Mayo, who did a great job, with Patrick Chung getting him (Mike Tolbert) down and stopping him at the goal line."

(On the last two games and seeing teams throwing a lot of passes at the Patriots defense.)
"When you see Brandon Marshall and then this week we had Phillip Rivers and Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd we just have to keep getting better. There are some plays which we are making the right plays on, like Sergio Brown making the big interception, and then we have a couple of good stops. Then there are plays where I was beat on two touchdowns. So right now it comes down to being more consistent and not making great plays sometimes but to keep it going and string them together, like near the end of the game with Mark Anderson making a sack and being more consistent."

(On giving up big yards but holding them when you needed)
"That is the key. The goal line stand, the interceptions, the sack at the end of the game, those are game changing plays and as a defense we have to be more consistent and keep those yards down but continue to make those game changing plays and that is our goal."

Sergio Brown, Safety
(On the interception)
"I was man-to-man on Antonio Gates and he was running an out route, I was sticking him all the way to keep him off balance and I ran as fast as I could to keep with him. When I turned and looked up the ball was there and I picked it."

(On his celebration after the interception)
"I know. 'Wow.' I was ecstatic. That was my first interception since high school. Really -- high school. I was so in the moment that I really don't remember what I did after the interception."

(On the big plays, which the defense made when they needed to)
"Well it is make the play or loose and we worked really hard this week on getting more turnovers and coach Matt Patricia reminded us all week, - - turnovers, turnovers, turnovers -- with extra drills after practice all week and it really paid off."

(On how the defended Antonio Gates)
"We hit him as much as we could because we knew we couldn't let him get started on his routes because as he builds up on his speed, he runs better routes as he gets up the field. So we try to get him as close to the line of scrimmage as possible."

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