JOHN FOX, HEAD COACH**
JF: I will open it up with the injury report. Wes Welker left the game and did not return. It was a back. Nate Irving left the game and did not return, knee. Any questions?
Q: Tough place to play…
JF: Yeah, they make it tough. You know, credit them, I think they had a good plan and they executed the plan. Like many times, turnovers made a difference. I think they had fourteen points there, scored in the kicking game and you know, and credit their staff and their players for playing better than we did.
Q: What about that punt return for a touchdown, you know, when he dropped the punt. I guess in theory you'd think you would have more time to go cover the kick?
JF: Well, I mean, the gunners are the only ones allowed to leave on the snap. But actually we had a penalty on the play because the lineman downfield, our guy, was going down too fast. But again, I haven't seen it on tape, but it was good execution on their part.
Q: John, it seems like when you come here and you have a mistake, another one follows.
JF: Not really, I mean, I wasn't even here a year ago. The last time I was here was in , but credit them; this is a tough place to play. They did a good job, they played well and, you know, they played better than we did. They coached better than we did. And they played better.
Q: Coach, you went down 20 in the half, what was the message in the locker room?
JF: You know, I think our guys came back and fought. I think we scored fairly early in the third quarter. But it just wasn't enough. The turnovers happened at the wrong time and defensively we couldn't get them off the field on third down. I mean, even third and longer. You know, and a lot of our third downs were of substantial distance. You know, we just didn't play as well as they did.
Q: In addition to the turnovers, or actually outside of the turnovers, do you think you played evenly with them?
JF: without seeing the film, it is really hard to say. You know, that little run they had before, in the second quarter I thought was really good. They put us on our heels. We did talk about it at halftime and made some adjustments. All in all, I don't think we played well enough. They played better than we did. And I felt third downs were a critical area without seeing the tape yet, and as well as, turnovers.
Q: Were you surprised and disappointed that you didn't get more pressure on Tom Brady?
JF: You know, he gets rid of the ball quick. Again, without analyzing the film, I hate to speak too much on that. But, you know, he's a sharp cookie. I mean, he's been around a little bit. You know, he's a heck of a quarterback. You aren't going to fool him too many times and he gets rid of it pretty quick.
Q: Of the two field goals, you were with the wind on the one field goal. He missed it, then you had a fourth down and you chose to go for it at that point. Was that because you felt like you were behind enough?
JF: Hindsight is 20/20, you know, it was a decision we made. You know, I don't know if that was the difference in the game. I'm sure it didn't help our cause, but that's what happens in NFL football games.
PEYTON MANNING, QB
Q: In the second quarter you were up 7-6, you were driving, Rob Ninkovich picked you off, was that an important point in the game?
PM: Yeah, bad play; bad play. I thought that was a critical play. Thought that definitely gave them a lot of momentum for whatever reason. We didn't recover as well as we would have liked, so they got a touchdown out of that, which…you just can't put the defense in a bad spot like that. And then they had the punt return after that and so, just a bad, bad decision and certainly at a bad time. Certainly a play I'd like to have back, really bad decision by me.
Q: On the fourth-and-six later, at that point you guys are down like 20-7, you go for it. Did they surprise you with the way they blitzed right there?
PM: No, actually, they didn't blitz. Three-man rush on that play. Any time the coach gives you the go-ahead to go for it, you certainly like him showing confidence in you. You like to be able to get it. I thought I had [Jacob] Tamme early, just wasn't sure if he had enough depth for the first down because they dropped, and so I was coming off to the second read, and they were running a little game I think and got free. You know, like I said, I'm disappointed that we didn't get that because when the head coach says go for it, he's putting confidence in you and I thought we let him down.
Q: Is it this place, this team, or some combination of both that makes it...
PM: Oh, I don't know. I mean, this is 2014, and I thought in today's game they were better than us. I thought we were just pretty dead average on offense, I thought I was very below average, didn't play well. So that's all I can speak for, is really me. I've got to play better. I've got to do that starting next week.
Q: But you don't see this having any relation to anything that's gone on in the past?
PM: I'm sure…I guess I'm not smart enough to draw that many connections. I kind of take them one year at a time. [There are] different players and we didn't on offense do the things we talked about doing. That starts with me – I've got to play better. That's pretty plain and simple. When the quarterback stinks, usually you're not going to win too many games.
Q: Was there anything about Bill Belichick's plan or their defensive plan that surprised or confused you?
PM: No. Just didn't…we had some chances, moved the ball, got down there a decent amount -- come up with the missed field goal and the fourth down stop and in the second half got down there a decent amount too and came away with no points. Third downs, I thought, we weren't very good there, went 3-for-11 and then…
Q: Was the wind a factor early?
PM: I didn't feel like it. I felt like I kind of was throwing it where I wanted to, so I couldn't say that.
Q: Could you ever imagine throwing for 400 yards and being this hard on yourself?
PM: I don't get into that. We threw it about the same amount of time as they did, that's more than we wanted to throw coming into the game. Obviously it means that you can still win a game that way, but you have to have some other things working for you. That was more than we wanted to throw. The score dictated that. The game was kind of a grind all day so I've got to find a way to be more effective when we throw it and, you know, find a way to score more touchdowns and certainly protect it. That's kind of football 101.
Q: The defensive ends usually drop, but they don't normally drop that far, do they?
PM: It's a zone blitz. Like I said, [Rob Ninkovich] was in the right place at the right time [on the interception]. I give him credit; I give them credit. I can't make that throw – first down play I'm starting to get going – we just got the first down I think before that. It was bad, bad football right there by me.
Q: On the Ninkovich interception, was that a matter of being fooled by the coverage or did you just make a bad throw there?
PM: I don't think I can say it much plainer that what I've been saying, it was bad, bad football. I guess take it as you want to take it, I guess. I don't know if I was necessarily fooled, it was just a bad decision I guess. It was certainly like I said: a throw you would like to have back.
Q: The last couple weeks it looked like you guys were the team to beat. Do you think this is maybe a little ego check?
PM: I mean you've got to do it every week and we have been doing it pretty well every week. We've been executing on Sundays and making some plays, and doing what we've been taught to do, but you've got to do it every week. I've got to do it every week, it's not – I was talking to [Broncos radio play-by-play broadcaster] Dave Logan and he said, 'I've never heard you say you stink before,' and I said, 'I don't usually stink, but I stunk today.' I don't make any excuses and I don't say what happens every now and then, like I said, you don't need to let it happen, and you've got to play better, got to practice better. I don't know, how did we practice all week? I thought we practiced OK. I thought we would have played better. I give them credit; they made some plays and did a number of things good on their side of the execution part of it. [They] probably executed better than we did overall. I still think that I need to play better and overcome some things and I didn't do that today.
Q: What did they do to take away Julius Thomas? He wasn't targeted in the first half.
PM: I don't know. I need to see the film I guess – they put a corner on him every now and then. They put [Darrelle Revis] and [Brandon Browner] every now and then. He made a nice play on his touchdown play, and that's something I'm sure that we need to take a look at – how to get him more involved. We've always done a pretty good job at getting guys involved which helps them throughout the game, so that's on me too. I need to find a way to get him the ball – he's a playmaker and so I probably should have gotten the ball to him more with some different things. Whatever plays were called – if I could just get him involved – that's something that I could have done better. I feel like we're at our best when I'm getting him involved.
Q: Do you think you might see [the Patriots] again in January?
PM: I can't speak that far ahead. Like I said, I'm not that smart. We've got Oakland next week – a division game – on the road again. We've got to be better on the road, what are we, 1-2 on the road? We probably didn't play our best out there in New York, so we've got to play better on the road and division games are always tough. [There's] familiarity between us and the Raiders, so we've got to kind of regroup and it's something that we have done in the past – we have bounced back and played better. It starts on the practice field, so that's what we expect to do, [we'll] go practice well and hopefully play better next week.
Q: Is the disappointment in yourself or frustration with the result, is it any more because it's against a premier AFC team or does it not matter whether it's New England, or Kansas City or anybody else?
PM: I think it doesn't matter who you were playing. If I played the way I did today and we got beat like we did today I'd like to think I would be just as disappointed, so I don't really feel it's more because it's one particular team, I guess. It's your job to execute and perform and that's what I expect to do myself and when I don't I'm disappointed, so I'm going to do my job better no matter who we're playing. So hopefully we can do that starting next week.
Chris Harris Jr., Cornerback
(On Tom Brady)
"Tom Brady makes plays; he makes more plays than we do every time we come here. You've got to tip your hat to the Patriots. We just got to get back to the drawing board. We've got the Raiders next week, and try to come back and beat them."
(On the importance of the game)
"It was a big game because it always goes down to the playoff picture and now we're even; we have the same record. I think the Chargers lost today, so we are still number one in the division. We still have all our goals in front of us. We are going to be disappointed about the way we played today, but we're still good in the rankings."
(On the defense)
"We just didn't play good on third down. That's usually one of our strong points. [Tom] Brady, man, on third and long he killed us. They just did a lot of hurry up and our communication wasn't like it usually is. They just out played us. You can't make any mistakes out here and he makes you pay when you do."
Ronnie Hillman, Running Back
(On the game)
"[The Patriots] are a good team and they played us good tonight so there is not much to say about it. They had a great game and played better than us tonight. They are a good team and when you make mistakes against them they make you pay and we paid."
(On what the Patriots defense was doing)
"It was just filling gaps. They made it hard to run and they stifled the run tonight. Hats off to them and they did a great job. It is very disappointing; whenever you lose it is disappointing. So lesson learned and we go back watch the film. The good thing is we can get better after tonight."
(On the way the Patriots played)
"[The Patriots] play a great team ball. They rally to the ball. They are very savvy and they are the Patriots you always know what you are going to get form them. They have a great coach and they are a well coached team. We knew we were going to have to be on our 'A' game and we didn't bring it tonight."
Malik Jackson, Defensive End
(On what the game plan was and whether they were able to execute it)
"It didn't go exactly as planned as you can see by the scoreboard. We tried to go out there and make them one dimensional. They have a healthy run game, and a good passing game and we really couldn't stop them. We have to do better in all three phases. We're going back to Denver tonight and lick our wounds and get back to work."
(On what they need to do better to stop this kind of offense)
"Doing our own thing and making sure we are communicating, talking and giving our signals. All on the same page, we really need to make sure nobody is lost and nobody is out there who doesn't know what they are doing."
(On whether communication was a problem today)
"Yeah, it was a problem. I'm not going to lie to you guys. There was just a lot of things we could have done better."
Terrance Knighton, Defensive Tackle
(On the game)
"They played better than we did. The coaches were calling the defense but they were making plays, it is that simple. They have tendencies. They ran a lot of plays we expected to see. They out-executed us today."
(On the Patriots offense and abandoning the running game)
"That is what worked for them last year when we played them. We were up 24-0 and they came out after halftime and played the way they did, coming out in the spread and getting rid of the ball quick. That is something they tried to do in the second half when we played them in the playoff game. They got back to their bread and butter, putting the ball into [Tom Brady's] hands and finally it got us. It is disappointing that we lost. I am not worried about anything statistical."
(On the crowd)
"The crowd didn't play. It is eleven on eleven and their eleven played better."
Brandon McManus, Kicker
(On the missed field goal)
"I thought I hit the ball well but unfortunately I left it open a little bit, so I didn't hit it as well as I wanted. The wind may have pushed it over there to the upright."
(On the wind)
"It was a tough, windy day today, but as long as you hit the ball true it should cut through the wind pretty handily. Some of the kickoffs went pretty far, so as far as you stay true to the line it was okay."
Von Miller, Linebacker
(On the game)
"They played really well. We have to get that laser focus back and continue to grind. It is too early to know right now. We have to watch the film. It's a tough loss. They are a good team. We have to get our laser focus back. We have got to watch the film. It is too early to know what exactly happened. I have got to play better and get that laser focus back. We have to get ready for the next team coming up. We have to play better on defense and I have to play better."
Manny Ramirez, Center
(On the game)
"I have no explanation right now. We put ourselves in a situation where we had to pass and that is how the game played out for us. We have to do better as a team. We can't put our defense in certain situations like we did today. We just have to play better overall. We just have to improve our running game. That is all I have to say."
Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"Tonight we definitely did not play our best and we can't come into Foxborough and play like that and expect to get a win. We are going to go back to Denver and review the film and this is a chance to get better. This was definitely embarrassing and the expectation for this team is to go all the way and win it all. Tonight, we were not at our best. If we want to get where we want to get, which is the Super Bowl, we got to get better and bounce back. I think we have got a great nucleus of guys in this locker room that are more than capable of doing that."
Aqib Talib, Cornerback
(On the game and tonight's defensive performance)
"It is bad and we didn't like the performance. We have to watch the tape and get better. It is too early to answer that question because we have to watch this tape and see where we messed up and get better. It is frustrating and any time we lose it is frustrating. We just have to watch the tape and get better."
(On being back in New England as a Denver Bronco and where Denver goes from here)
"It was a football game and from here we get on the bus, get on the plane and then we are going to watch the tape and get better."
T.J. Ward, Safety
(On the loss)
"We couldn't get off the field when we needed to. We didn't play our best football at all today, far from our best, it may have been our worst, honestly."
(On Tom Brady)
"I give him a lot of credit, they had an excellent game plan. They came out and executed it on us and they got the job done. They ran what we expected, we just didn't execute. We expected a lot of hurry up, and we just didn't execute."
(On this being a step backwards)
"I wouldn't call it a step backwards; it may be a step forward for us. We need to look in a mirror and see some of the imperfections we need to improve upon and I think we will get a lot better for this."
DeMarcus Ware, Defensive End
(On the defense)
"Guys were in place to make plays, but you have to make those plays in key situations, especially on third down. Especially if they get an interception or forced fumble. Those change of possessions on defense; we have to stop them to field goals and not let them score points."
(On Tom Brady)
"I didn't think he had us tonight. I just know he was converting on third down. Guys were where they needed to be, but you have to make those plays, knocking the ball down, getting more pressure on him on third down and rattle him in the pocket. We've got to get better from this situation."
Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On whether he sensed the hit coming on the interception)
"I don't know. It was just kind of bang-bang I guess."
(On how tough it is to play here)
"Yeah, it's a tough place to play. We knew that going into it and we didn't play our best."
(On if it was more frustrating that they lost because they didn't play their best)
"It's always frustrating either way. We just have to regroup and get back to work."
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