CHARGERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCOY**
"Against a very good football team coming in here. Close game at halftime obviously; second half we didn't play well enough to win, so we've got to do a better job coaching, executing certain things. I think our defense did a nice job coming out, getting a number of three and outs to start the second half and offensively we didn't capitalize on that. We've got to do a better job there. Gave up too many big plays at critical times, and that's what happens against a good football team. The way they play, the style of their football, they're very well coached and coaching players is a great lesson to learn playing a good football team like that. You can't give them these opportunities. We played the field position battle there the second half and we were pinned deep often with where the ball was punted to and things like that. We've got to make some plays. That's a very good football team and we're going to have a short memory, learn from the film tomorrow and move on."
On the decision to punt in the 4th quarter:*
"I thought that was the best thing for the football team with the time-out situation and knowing what we had to do. I did what I thought was best for the football team with the time-out situation, what I thought was best for the team."
On standing by the punt decision:
"Yes. I called it. I told them to punt it. I'm the head coach. I did what I thought was best for the football team."
On offensive line attack in second half:
"I'll go and watch the film tomorrow. There were some breakdowns there at certain times. There was a breakdown early in the game on a sack. Protection has got to be better the entire game. At times it was good, but not good enough to win against a good football team."
On the number of screens today compared to last week:
"I think you look and evaluate what you think you need to do as an offense scheme-wise versus a certain team. Those aren't good versus every single coverage. There are certain times where you check certain plays for certain looks, and you call it for certain coverage and certain looks. It might not have been the best day to run them."
On the level of separation from receivers:
"I think at times, yes, but that's something that we'll go look at the film and see every picture, look at why certain releases, what we were doing. We'll evaluate that when we watch the film. I could say from at the sideline, at times, that was an issue."
Updates on injured players:
"Just the same that we released. The two injuries we released were the same as they are right now."
On the strong defensive playing:
"It's all about winning and losing. It's a team game, so that's what it comes down to. I think the defense did a lot of good things at times. We go for a big play, unfortunately for the touchdown, which was disappointing. I think the way they started the number of three and outs they had during the game, and the interception at the end of the half was big, so I think there's a lot of good things we're going to look at this game for also. The only thing that matters is winning and losing in this game, so we'll evaluate, learn from it and move on. We have a good football team coming in next week, and we've got to prove and play a lot better next week."
On struggles in pass-protection on offense:*
"I think we should have pass-protected better, but I'll look at the film and see exactly why and what happened. I like perfect protection to be perfect every play to be honest."
On communication issues with Chris Watt in at center:
"Zero. Zero, he's played plenty. There are no communication errors. We're fine there."
Update on Mike Scifres:
"We released what we said earlier and I'll leave it at that."
On the biggest disappointment of the night:
"We lost. We didn't play well enough in all three phases. There are a number of things in each phase that we could have done better. We didn't play well enough as a football team. We didn't coach well enough as a coaching staff. Everyone's got to do better against a really good team. They are very well coached and we gave them too many opportunities. We didn't capitalize on enough opportunities we had."
On Nick Novak's performance under the circumstances:
"He did a nice job. It's a tough situation, but that's always one of those things you always work on. As you guys are out there during certain periods during practice, you see them out there doing it for this reason. I think he did a nice job overall."
On the team bouncing back:
"We'll bounce back. We'll have a short memory. We'll be fine."
QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS
On your conversations with Chris Watt and D.J. Fluker, how much was protection and communication an issue up front with what you wanted to do on offense?
"Early, we just didn't make those adjustments that we needed to. [It was] a misunderstanding in a couple of those protections, but those are things that can happen. But those are a couple of many reasons why we lost, why we weren't very good on offense. Those aren't the reasons. They just outplayed us. I didn't play very well. We didn't play very well. They were the reason for a lot of that, but we had some things that were self-inflicted as well. It wasn't our best day. Obviously, anytime you score seven points in this league you're not going to win many games."
Was it frustrating the way the defense was playing that you weren't able to get things going?*
"Yes, especially that third quarter, really for the whole game. If you would've told me that they were going to hold them to 23 and score a touchdown for you, I would've thought we would've won the game. But again, we just didn't play very well, and give them credit because they outplayed us."
What to do you have to do next week to maintain or build off of this, and not let this snowball?
"There's just not time to feel sorry for ourselves and to mope around much. We knew what this stretch starting last week – and they're all tough – we know what it is and how hard it's going to be, but that's the NFL right now all the way across the league. We got the division champs and leaders coming in here next week and shoot, we know the challenges they present and how hard it is to beat them, but we do know how to beat them. It's going to take our best to get that done."
The team has played five different centers and a number of different offensive line combinations. Do you feel like that is catching up with you now?
"No, I don't think so. I just thought our communication in Baltimore was so good and even when Trevor [Robinson] got thrown in there, and Chris [Watt] was so good in St. Louis so I don't think so. I don't know really the reason for a couple of those tonight. Shoot, we're all accountable – all of us, the whole offense, and our offense tonight scored seven points. I think the first game you look at as quarterback, and I can stand here and say I didn't play up to par. That's probably pretty clear watching it."
On not having Ryan Mathews in the second half, how much did it change what the team wanted to do?
"He was going pretty good early. It's always easy after losses to go back and try and pick what we should've called, should've ran, where I should've thrown it. When you're in the heat of it, it's not that easy. It was just an overall below average day for us on the offense side."
Do you feel frustrated about not being able to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots?
"It's frustrating anytime you lose. That Patriot team we played today is the first time we ever played them, and they were better today."
Was this the most physical team on both sides of the ball that you've played this year?
"It's hard for me to answer that. There are a lot of other guys that are playing in a more physical manner than I am. I would say that would be hard to say that that was the case."
This team has always played well under do-or-die situations. Do you feel confident that you can make that type of run again?
"Yes, I think so. I think it's our veteran leaders and then we have a lot of young guys who are eager to follow. We fight and care for one another, and love one another. We're going to rebound and bounce back, and play like crazy next week. We knew this was a big one, but win or lose the next week was going to come, and it's the same this week. We've got to play them all one at a time, leave it all out there, and find a way to win. When you don't like we didn't today, you regroup and go again because there are a lot of teams in this league that feel like we feel right now at the end of today, and they've got to regroup and go again on Sunday."
On the energy of the crowd on both sides and it feeling like a playoff atmosphere:
"It was a lot of energy even pregame. It's usually not that full pregame. It definitely had that type of atmosphere. It was a 14-13 game there in the third quarter. However it got there…the defense scoring touchdowns and maybe we weren't playing as great on offense…it was 14-13. That's kind of what you expected. It's going to be a one-score game the whole way through. We just couldn't separate or get ahead a touchdown, or do anything there offensively in the second half. We didn't do anything, so that part of it was disappointing."
WIDE RECEIVER EDDIE ROYAL
Philip Rivers seemed to have a lot of time back there, was the coverage just that good?
"That's one of the best defensive back groups in the league, in my opinion. Those guys get in your face. They play tight coverage. Every ball is going to be contested. I don't know what it was. We just have to look at the tape and get better."
Is that something this team can overcome or is it insurmountable?
"Whenever you play a team like New England, it's going to be close at the end. You just have to do the little things to close it out. They did a better job of that today. Give them a lot of credit."
How hard was it to get something going consistently in the second half?
"It was tough. They did a good job getting stops in key situations, such as third downs and getting us off the field. Like I said, their secondary is one of the best in the league. They did a good job of stopping the run in the second half. They just played better than we did in the second half."
On the mindset of controlling their own destiny:
"Win them all. There's not much to it. That's it. Just go out there and win the rest of the games and we'll see what happens."
FREE SAFETY ERIC WEDDLE
What is your reaction following today's game?
"Disappointed and hurt. We had our opportunities but shoot, we fought. I'm proud of our bunch. They gave it all they got out there and we just got outplayed in the second half. Give credit to them. They out-executed us and made plays down the stretch to win. We gave it all we got. It just wasn't good enough in the second half and that's unfortunate. We got three games left and a huge game coming up so the more we can remember this feeling and continue to make strides we'll be okay. We are still a really good football team and it just didn't show."
How frustrating is it when your defense plays this way and you're still not able to get the win?
"It's a team effort. By no means is it one side or the other. We just didn't get it done as a group. We didn't play good enough as a whole on defense through the whole four quarters. We got some stops in the third quarter but the big play killed us on the little angle rout for a touchdown. Those are backbreakers. If we just make that tackle somehow we give ourselves a chance. We are still in good field position there so we could have held them to a field goal or held them to a punt because we were playing really well in the second half. But we need to give them credit. We just, as a team, didn't get it done. We got to tip our hat to Novak for coming in there to punt for us. Defense made some plays; scoring on defense is bigtime. That's something to hang our hats on and make us better and we'll try to win as many as we can."
On the defensive performance against Rob Gronkowski:
"Shoot, he is a tough matchup. He caught one ball against me when I was on him and I was on him for a majority of the game. He's a load. They got us a couple times when we were in zone coverage where he beat us just by our play call. He had a 30-yard catch when Dwight (Freeney) was dropping out. It was a good check by Tom (Brady), figuring out what we were doing. The one ball against (Brandon) Flowers was a great catch and a couple little five-yard out routs. But at the end of the day we just battled as best as we could against a guy like that. There were some plays where the ball was thrown to him where he could have made the play but we took them away from him. It was a battle out there. It was physical, the atmosphere was amazing, but it is what it is."
FREE SAFTEY DARRELL STUCKEY
On what he took away from the game:
"For us as a team, it hurts. It's one of those things where we just didn't make enough big plays, collectively. I think there is a lot to learn from today and we will come back stronger. We have no choice. We can't keep moping on it. We don't have time for that. We have to be ready for next week."
On what things stood out the most to him from the game:
"We'll watch the film and we'll find out then, but overall we can't just go off of what we feel on the sideline because that is too early to decide."
On his fumble recovery for a touchdown:
"Jahleel (Addae) made a great play to get the ball out and I happened to be there in the right place and at the right time. (I) got the ball up off the ground before he made contact and got in the endzone."
On how he felt when Mike Scifres had to come out of the game:
"It hurts. That's my guy. For a player of that caliber to go down and at this point in his career at least, having a good year too, like he always does, but it hurts me personally, and it hurts him obviously, and it hurts our team."
On having to step on special teams with a new punter:
"The biggest thing is to step your game up and make sure you try to adjust because (when) a new punter comes in I think it was big on us to make sure that with their two great returners, we had to find a way to get the job done, regardless."
CORNERBACK SHAREECE WRIGHT
On the Patriot's offensive scheme:
"They do a good job with their scheme, keeping you off balance, keeping you moving, and keeping you in motion. They don't really let you sit there and just line up and play, especially when you play a lot of man to man. They do a good job with their scheme."
On how he looks at the game being a loss:
"We just didn't make enough plays, defensively. We didn't get enough stops, obviously, and they scored more points than we did."
On having a small margin of error against New England:
"They're a great team. (Tom) Brady is a great quarterback and he knows how to score points. It is just part of the game. You can't afford to make mistakes and (have) blocked punts. It takes a team (effort) to beat a team like that."
On the game being more physical:
"It was competitive. The atmosphere was incredible in the stands and the crowd noise. We were into it. It's Sunday Night Football. We were competing all night. It was a competitive game."
On if the loss shakes the team's confidence:
"No, not at all. We know they are a great team and we know what we have got to do on our side. We are putting it all on us. We have got to watch film tomorrow, improve and get ready for next week."
On the performance:
"We allowed them to score more points than the offense. Although we had a good game and made good plays, it didn't matter because they scored more points."
How do you recover after a loss like this?
"Tonight I'll let it soak in a little bit, In the morning by watching film and learning we'll think about it but after that we need to move on. You can't just let it linger too much."
Are you proud of how the defense played?
"We definitely are proud of how we played but it just wasn't enough. When you lose games and their team scores more than our team it's on the defense. We need to play better. We need to make one more play and we didn't. That was the difference. We just needed one more play. We had four straight three & outs and it still wasn't enough obviously."
On New England's offense:
"They have a great scheme. They do what they do well. They don't do a lot, but what they do they do well. They were prepared."
On the blocked kick that was called back:
"I thought I got a good jump on the ball but obviously I didn't. It would have been great but it didn't work out."
INSIDE LINEBACKER MANTI TE'O
What's the feeling after this loss?
"Stay together. I've always learned that you learn more from the losses than you do the wins. We're going to bounce back. We are going to learn from our mistakes, move forward and get ready for Denver."
What's the immediate lesson from this game?
"You can't give a good team too many opportunities. We played a good team today and we just gave them too many opportunities."
On first interception:
"It felt good. One should have come earlier. That's one of those opportunities that I have to capitalize on."
On the play of the defense at the start of the second half:
"That's what we have to do as a defense. We have to come out and execute. That's how we did well at times. There are other times we didn't do so well. We have to come back look at the film and make sure we are executing as often and as consistently as we can."
On Corey Liuget:
"Corey is having just a tremendous impact on the game; Melvin (Ingram), Dwight (Freeney) as well. You have to be able to put pressure on a good quarterback. If you give him too much time back there, he is going to hurt us. I definitely appreciate all the pressure our defensive front gave us."
Despite the loss, you still control your own destiny:
"We are going to go back and look at the film, analyze everything, correct the mistakes and learn from all the good and bad things. We have a good team coming in next week. We have to rebound and go through the cycle again."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER DWIGHT FREENEY
On what he took away from the game:
"I think they made more plays than we made. I think that's what it comes down to. That's a really good team, obviously. They've been winning for a long time and there's a reason for that. They maximized the mistakes that we made. They just made one more play than we did. We fought in there. That's a good team."
On the performance of the defense not being enough to win the game:
"That's what it comes down to. We have just got to find a way to make one more play than they make. And that's the game of football. Sometimes the offense isn't humming the right way, but that's why it's a team sport. Sometimes we're not humming and that's why the offense lifts us up. There are no excuses around here. We didn't do enough to win the game and they did."
On the how difficult it is to defend New England's short passing game:
"It's tough and frustrating. They do it for a reason. They throw those quick passes so the blitzes don't get there, the quarterback doesn't get hit, and they dink and dunk their way down the field. We did a pretty good job for about three quarters."
KICKER NICK NOVAK
How much practice do you have punting?
"We work on it every week at practice. I tried to get as much work on the sidelines as I could; handling the ball, drops and just trying to get better."
"I really just tried to work on it on the sidelines and just try to get in some kind of rhythm. I was rushing myself in the beginning. I was just trying to get it out because it's been a while. I think the reps helped. I was just glad our defense did such a great job of stopping their offense when we had to punt."
What was going through your mind when you realized you had to punt?
"The switch just turned on. I knew it was something I spent a lot of time on when I was a kid and in high school and practicing in college. It's something I knew I had in my back pocket that I hadn't practiced in a while in a game. I knew it was in there; I just had to work on it. I'm sure I got lucky a little bit too."
On first punt:
"I rushed myself catching and thinking about the rush. As they went on, I kept my eyes down, tried to get a good catch and make sure my drop was flat."