Q: Tom, in light of what happened, did you perhaps think about the word "slide"?
TB: I know. That was disappointing because I had the first down. I was running for eight yards. For me, that is like once a season, so I figured I would try to get as many yards as I could. But the guy hit me, hit me good, and the ball came out. It was a big play in the game. But unfortunately, it didn't lead to a turnover. So next time we got it, it turned over in the game. I am just glad we made the plays there at the end there to win.
Q: Were you affected by that hit, Tom, because it looked like you almost got killed?
TB: I was fine. I was fine. No, there is not much in that head to rattle around.
Q: What were you thinking when you saw your helmet go flying one way and the ball go flying the other way?
TB: I really didn't know what happened. You know, I knew I fumbled it. I didn't realize my helmet was off until, obviously, you kind of get up and you are like, 'Where is my helmet?' That is kind of what happened.
Q: Let's talk about plays. Obviously, the big play, number 81 [Bethel Johnson].
Q: Can you talk us through the huddle and then when you had that roll out, what did you see, obviously, other than number 81 streaking past you?
TB: Yes. I mean he just made a great catch. What a tremendous catch, at a huge time, because we've got three points and are two minutes in, maybe two minutes and 15, two minutes and 20 seconds on the clock, and if you punt the ball, chances are it was at least a field goal. I think we really wanted to finish the game the way I think we are capable. The first down, we threw the ball away. Second down, we didn't run it like we would like. I got my head back in the middle of the field, and there I saw Bethel running past the free safety and running away from his corner, and I laid it up there and he tracked it down. I mean, what a great catch. What a great catch. It was a huge catch. I think it goes to show you that this team, it is more than just one or two guys, each week we are going to need everyone. Each week it is tough and we are playing tough teams every week. Buffalo was tough, Miami was tough, and Seattle was tough. The Jets are going to be tough. So we have got to make those types of plays and Bethel made it today.
Q: How does (Dan) Klecko get so wide open? He stayed so wide open on that play, what does that mean?
TB: That means I am thinking about it. A lot of times, on the roster, you have four or five guys going out, you run that play all week, there are some guys that get the ball most of the time. I am just letting him know that I am thinking about him; and then if the opportunity comes up, although it hadn't come up all week in practice, that you better stay alive because I might be throwing that ball to you.
Q: How many times did you run it in practice?
TB: I ran it a few times. We always try to run every play a few times.
Q: But he was never an option in practice until this point?
TB: Well, most of the time your first couple reads are open. You know, this time they weren't. So like I said, Bethel just out ran those guys, out running the corner that was on him, the free safety, and making a tremendous play.
Q: Did you have a feeling that he would be open, is that why you told him to stay alive?
TB: I just think as a quarterback you see the plays play off your mind a lot and the way the game is going, you know, that sometimes you have a pretty good feeling. And I mean not that that always happens because there are plenty of times where I say 'Stay alive,' and I never get to him. But in this situation, I just laid it up there for him and he ran it down. I mean it was a great catch. The throw, I thought I led him a little too much, I wish I led him less and let him walk into the end zone, but I will take it.
Q: Tom, when you win 20 straight, how do you keep from feeling you're invincible?
TB: As I said before, we'll come in tomorrow and Coach Belichick will be standing up here with a list of things that we didn't do right. Not everything went right. We had a really good first half. I think everybody was encouraged by that. We came out in the third quarter and we were very flat and we really allowed them to get back in the game. [We had] a few turnovers there in the fourth quarter and [made] just bad plays. And then you leave a good team [hanging] around, they are going to make the plays, especially a great offense like that with Shaun Alexander, and Matt Hasselbeck throwing that ball. He was finding everybody it seems. So, it is tough every week and every team presents different challenges. They see a tape and they see what we do, and those are the types of things we are trying to attack. We have a tough division opponent coming in next week. I am glad that we're playing at home. I am sure they are going to give us everything they've got too.
Q: How do you feel about Coach Belichick taking some of the responsibility? He stood at that podium and said the coaching was awful.
TB: Well, the playing was awful sometimes, too. I am standing there right at the front with the interception and the fumble. And I think any time that you play like that, you are going to let teams back in the game. We believe in Coach Belichick and I am sure he is trying to do everything right. This is a player that is trying to do everything right. I certainly wish I played better in some situations out there. And if that is the way that he feels, I am sure there are a lot of players in the locker room that feel they could have played a lot better too.
Q: You're without Troy [Brown] and Deion [Branch]. Talk about how Corey Dillon picks up the slack.
TB: Well, I mean I think they ultimately are kind of different facets of the game because Kevin [Faulk] and Corey present their own challenges and their own mismatches. But offensively, for us, we like to throw it and run. We like to be balanced. And hopefully, as the season progresses, the depth comes into play. You lose guys, you lose some critical receivers like Deion and Troy, and other guys who are good have to carry the load. And Corey has done a great job since that first game of the year. The second game of the year, he had a great game. Against Buffalo, he played well. Miami, he played really well. He just continues to play well. He is a very dependable player. You seem to get the ball to him and he makes things happen when you give him the ball. That is what you're trying to do. He's a guy that can make those types of plays.
Q: How messed up did you feel after that vicious hit and how much do you think it affected you afterward later in the game?
TB: I felt fine. I didn't think it was much of a factor at all for me. I guess I really didn't ‑‑ when I got hit, and I think I've gotten hit before, I have gotten hit plenty of times. You just sort of pop up, run over to the side line, get your bearings, and figure out how you are going to go back on the field and tackle it the next time. Then, obviously, I didn't do a great job because I threw an interception on the third play of the next drive. We had a good couple of drives there at the end of the game, which is really something that this team hasn't been very good at the last couple of years is finishing the game and playing with the lead. A lot of teams, last year, who knows if that would have been the same, if we would have scored the touchdown there at the end. But, the way we did today, I was really proud.
Q: Who handed you your helmet, though, after it got knocked off?
TB: Somebody did. And the ear pad, too. I figured out how to put it back [together], so it wasn't that messed up.
Q: Tom, you lose Troy you lose Deion (Branch), you've got (Dan) Klecko.
TB: Yes. Klecko got a ball too today. I told him before the game, 'You start catching balls, you already have enough of a "following" up here, you're going to be up on the big banners outside with the rest of the players, they're going to make them forget about your dad.' He did a great job. He does a great job in there situationally at fullback and he does a great job on defense when he is out there, and special teams. So, he is a great player. He has a great attitude. Everybody loves having Dan around. A team like this, I think that is why it has great camaraderie is because of guys like Dan.
Q: Again, for a team that hasn't had a lot of first quarter points at all this season, how important was it for your defense to get you on the scoreboard twice?
TB: Yes. That was something we talked about all week. As a team that hadn't allowed points, we got to a fast start, as soon as we could have started, a field goal and another touchdown on that first three possession. So, it was very good, and playing from the lead is critical when you play good teams. So, we are comfortable playing with the lead. Sometimes I think we would like to play better when we play with the team lead. But at the same time, you play a good team like this and you win, I think everyone is going to walk away feeling good.
Q: Tom, how do you establish the mindset that this team seems to have; when it comes to end of the game, somebody is going to make the play?
TB: You like to think that that is always the case, but I think that is the way it has turned out in some of these games, but it just doesn't carry over week-to-week. I think the idea is that they prepare us that it is going to come down to that and guys are going to need to make critical plays. You are right. We have found a way to do that consistently and that is a very great thing. There is a lot of confident in that. But at the same time, it is not like you just say, 'All right, guys, time to make a play,' and somebody goes up there and makes a play. It is too tough to do that. I think the caliber of opponents that we are playing makes it too tough. But at the same time, our team has a lot of confidence that you get into tight games and we are going to make the plays to win. But they make it hard on us and we have got to continue to go out and get better as a team and get better as an offense and try to score more points and take advantage of some of the opportunities that we had today that we really didn't take advantage so it wouldn't have been that close.
Q: Tom, you have another undefeated team next week. Do you feel any added pressure having two in a row like that? Does that kind of juice you up a little bit or do you feel more pressure than you normally would?
TB: Yes. I mean the Jets are a great team. I mean they have proven that. They were in the playoffs a couple of years ago and had a great season last year. They are tough to handle every time we play them. They are kind of one of our archrivals. So, the division opponents that we have, Buffalo, Miami and the Jets, I mean it seems like it is a toss up every time we play them, whoever plays the best wins. I am sure that is the way it is going to be this week. The Jets have a great quarterback. They have had a very good defense. They present some tough challenges. So, we are going to come in here tomorrow morning and start getting ready for them. Like I said, I am glad we are playing at home because our fans, once again, played a huge role in this game.
Q: Are you watching the Sox today?
TB: Yes, of course. We have got to win one.