HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 13, 2013
BB: It's good to be able to play in the AFC Championship Game next week. I'm really proud of our players; I thought they worked hard all year. Today was a big win for us. The Texans are good football team, they fought hard, they battled us all the way to the end. They have a lot of good football players but fortunately we had a bunch of guys step up today and make the plays we needed to make. It wasn't perfect and there were certainly a lot of things we can do better but it was a good win. I'm happy for the players. I think they really earned it. They had a good week of practice. I thought they really did a good job preparing for this game. It was good to see us make enough plays here to win. We know Baltimore is tough. We had a great game with them down there earlier in the season. We know that will be a great battle. We'll enjoy this one for a little while and then get on to the Ravens tomorrow.
Q: You lost Danny Woodhead and Rob Gronkowski early in the game. How much did that impact you?
BB: Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui] and Shane [Vereen] stepped in there and both did a good job for us. Shane obviously made a lot of big plays but Hooman did a great job too, as he's been doing for the last month. These kinds of games, you never really know when the dial spins, where it's going to wind up, who it's going to end up on. Those guys were prepared. Offensively we were able to move the ball, put up some points. It's a credit to everybody to be ready.
Q: Did Rob Gronkowski break his arm again?
BB: I'm not sure.
Q: Did he go to the hospital?
BB: I just walked off the field, I don't know.
Q: How big was Devin McCourty on the opening kickoff?
BB: Yeah, it was a huge play. Devin has done that a couple times for us. He has great speed, tracking [Danieal] Manning down. Obviously Manning did a great job. They had used him on kickoff returns all year until last week. He led the league in Chicago. We have a lot of respect for him; we knew what he could do. We didn't do a very good job of it most of the time, but that was a huge play by Devin to really end up saving [four] points. The defense went in there and had a big stop on the sudden change on the big return. That was really a huge series in the game. [We] didn't get off to a good start but at least minimized the damaged and held it to three points.
Q: Was there any question whether Rob Gronkowski was ready to go?
BB: He wouldn't have played if he wasn't.
Q: Do you have any regret in playing him, seeing as he has the same injury as before?
BB: The doctors handle the medical decisions.
Q: Can you talk about Rob Ninkovich and what he means to the defense?
BB: Rob has been really productive for us all year. He's had a great season. His production is right up there at the very top of the league at his position. He's made big plays for us in the past – sacks, strips, fumbles, recovered fumbles, tackles for loss, all that. We know he's got good hands. He's had many interceptions before; made a great play there. We blitzed from the outside, he dropped down inside, got underneath the route and really made a great catch on the ball. It was high, tough catch but Rob's a good athlete. He makes it look easy; he catches the ball well. That was a huge play for us, big stop and we were able to convert that into points offensively. That was a big key play in the game for us.
Q: What did you do schematically to control J.J. Watt during the game?
BB: I think you have to give credit to the guys up front. It's not about ‘Xs' and ‘Os' – somebody has to block him. Whether it was Dan [Connolly] or Wendy [Ryan Wendell] or Logan [Mankins], of course he moves around a little bit and then when they stunt, he could end up on the tackles; Sebastian [Vollmer] had him a bunch. Whoever has to block him, just has to block him. They run games and they move him around a little bit. He's a great football player but the credit goes to the players. It's not blocking him on the chalkboard, you have to get out there and block him. The credit goes to the offensive line and the backs. The backs did a good job reading the holes and getting through there. We tried not to dance around. We found some daylight and Stevan [Ridley] and Shane [Vereen] hit it. That's good execution there in the running game at times, too.
Q: Can you talk about Tom Brady passing Joe Montana for all-time playoff wins?
BB: Of course Tom has meant a lot to us since he's been here. He started winning playoff games the first year he really got a chance to participate in them. Tom is a great competitor. He had a great week of preparation as he always does for every game but especially the playoff games. He's our leader and we all follow him, we all respect him and he led the team today, along with a lot of other guys but he certainly did his job, as he's done many times before. There's no quarterback I'd rather have than Tom Brady.
Q: Can you talk about Shane Vereen? You guys had him outside a lot. Did you see a mismatch with the linebacker or did you just want to get him in space?
BB: We used some different formations to try to move some people around. As Tom [Brady] usually does, he finds the best matchups depending on the route and the coverage and so forth and getting the ball to the guys that have a good opportunity to win on those routes. A lot of credit goes to Tom for finding him but also to Shane for running good routes, catching the ball in tight coverage, running after the catch, all those things. Obviously it's something we worked on during the week. When Tom saw matchups he liked out there, he was able to take advantage of it.
Q: It looked like you matched up Aqib Talib with Andre Johnson. How beneficial is it to be able to match up a corner with a receiver like that?
BB: It was a great battle; it's two good football players. Johnson is a great receiver. He's arguably one or two all-time, he's tremendous. He's big, fast, has great hands, good route runner. Aqib competed with him every down, just like he did the first half of the first game. That's two good football players and that's a battle. We didn't give him a lot of help. Johnson caught a few but Aqib battled him pretty well there. It was a good matchup.
Q: Can you talk about the job you did on third down?
BB: We had him in some long yardage situations, which are good. We had them in the third quarter in a couple long yardage situations before Rob's [Ninkovich] interception let them off the hook. Third down starts on first and second down. It just comes down to team defense – good pass rush, good coverage and keeping the yardage longer by playing better on first and second down. I thought we did a good job in the running game until we got to the last drive in the second quarter and [Arian] Foster hit a couple long runs to the weak side on us. They scored right before the half. Because we were able to hold off a few of those runs, that put them in some third-and-long situations. It was good team defense; I don't think it's any one guy. Third down obviously is critical for us and our red area stop was big too.
Q: You did a nice job on Arian Foster. Is he quite different from Ray Rice who you'll have to deal with next week?
BB: They're both great backs. Foster is fast, he's really fast. Not that Rice isn't, unfortunately we've seen the back of his jersey a couple times. Foster does a good job of hitting the crease and he gains a lot of yards with his speed running away from people. Similar to Chris Johnson, I'm not saying that fast, but that type of guy. They're different; they're both good.
Q: You seemed to rely on Wes Welker a lot early in the game. It was a big catch down the sideline.
BB: Yeah, it was a great catch. Wes is a tremendous receiver, a great competitor. Again, we felt like at times there was a good matchup with him in the slot. He did a good job in there. Again, Tom made some good throws. Wes is quick, he's tough to cover. Tom had some good weapons to work with and he was able to move it around and get it to a bunch of them. I thought we had good balance offensively, overall it was pretty good.
Q: Another matchup with Ed Reed next week. How much do you look forward to playing him?
BB: I don't look forward to it at all. I'm glad we're [in the game] playing him, let's put it that way. Ed is a great football player. Ravens have obviously an outstanding team – defense, special teams, offense. They're good all the way around; very well coached. We thought they were as a tough as anybody we played all year. We had a great game with them down there at the beginning of the season. Now it comes back to a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game. We know it will be tough and hopefully we can play our best game next week.
Q: It looked like Arian Foster was short. What was told to you?
BB: That it wasn't short. I thought we had the ball out there in the third quarter on that fumble and they ruled forward progress so we couldn't challenge the play. They ruled him down by forward progress. That was a tough call. Then the fourth down call, which we were able to stop them on the following sequence, but still, that was a huge play there. I thought when his elbow went down, the ball hadn't crossed the line but evidently they didn't see enough evidence for that. Those were a couple calls that...one we would have challenged but we couldn't because it was forward progress. And the touchdown catch, the official right on the spot thought it was moving and called it incomplete and then that one got overturned. You'd have to ask the officials exactly what they saw but that's kind of what we saw.
Q: How would you describe this playoff ride you've had with Tom Brady?
BB: I don't know. I think right now our focus is just happy to win this game and get on to Baltimore. We can reflect back on some other years some other time.
Q: The Ravens are on an emotional high. Do you try to match their intensity emotionally or is it all ‘Xs' and ‘Os'?
BB: They're a great football team, they're well coached. They have a lot of outstanding players; they have some great veteran players. They have guys that can score, guys that can rush, guys that can defend, guys that can return, guys that can cover. Look, that's why they're here. When you're playing at this time of year, each game gets tougher, each game gets bigger. I think the Ravens certainly showed how physically and mentally tough they were to go out there and come from behind and beat Denver in a tough environment. That showed a lot of character, resiliency and toughness. Our game with them this year, our game with them last year, went down to the last possession, the last play, however you want to look at it. Our other games with them over the years have usually come down to that too – the final possession or sometimes the final play – even going all the way back to '09, unfortunately not the playoff game but in the regular season. That's what we're going to prepare for this week – a tough team, mentally and physically, that has a lot of talent, that's very confident. They've gone on the road and won. I don't think that will phase them. We just have to go out there and play and coach better than they do and that will be a big challenge but that's what we have to do.
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 13, 2013
Q: Can you talk about Shane Vereen's performance tonight?
TB: Yeah, you know, there were a bunch of guys that made good plays. Shane had a great game. Really just a huge growing up moment for him, so very special. It was for everybody. There were a lot of guys that made a lot of plays. We needed it. It was a good football team with a lot of good plays, but we have another one coming in next week.
Q: What is it like for you to pass Joe Montana in most postseason wins?
TB: Well, I hope I'm around for a few more years. I know this was an important win for our team and that's always the number one goal for me.
Q: Can you talk about mental toughness this week and guys making plays? There were a lot of changes and you lost a lot of players. How hard was it to make those changes and how important was it to see guys rise to the challenge?
TB: Yeah. I think that's been the mark of our team. We've won 11 of 12. We were down 31-3 at home and battled back. I think we're going to be in it. We have a lot of tough guys, mentally tough guys. Whatever happens, like what happened on the first play of the game, you've got to overcome it. We made some key plays when we needed to. Shane made them, Wes [Welker] made them, Brandon [Lloyd] made them, so it was a great effort. Offensive line was awesome, as usual.
Q: What are your thoughts on losing Rob Gronkowski for the playoffs?
TB: I don't know anything about that. I haven't heard anything.
Q: As a kid, did you ever think you would pass Joe Montana in the record books?
TB: I love playing and I love competing. I love being a part of this team and this organization. It's a lot of mentally tough guys I think I've just been fortunate to play on some great teams over the years. I very much appreciate that and I never take that for granted. I'm always going to try to be the best teammate and leader I can possibly be.
Q: In the back of your mind, is there any disappointment that it won't be a Brady-Manning AFC Championship game?
TB: I think the two best teams are in the finals. Baltimore certainly deserves to be here and so do we, so it's very fitting. We played them early in the year; they got us. We blew a pretty big lead there at the end. We're going to have to play our best game this week.
Q: You seem a little subdued. Has your mind already clicked forward a little bit?
TB: I'm tired, man. There was a lot of emotional energy spent: it's a big build up to the week and we had four days of practice and you're up and you're down, you're up and you're down. I'm tired. I'm ready to go home.
Q: Is it deflating to see Rob Gronkowski leave the field with an injury?
TB: Sure. Like I said, we had a whole plan built for him and Woody [Danny Woodhead]. We run the first series of the game and all those plans change. I think a little of it was ‘What are we going to do now? How are we going to adjust?' But we seemed to settle in there midway through the first quarter and put together a pretty good game. Obviously it's a bummer to lose anybody, but someone of Rob's importance or Danny's importance, we need guys to step in and fill the void, whether it's this game or any game after.
Q: Did you actually change the plan you had in place, or just change the players within the plan?
TB: Well, there are adjustments – like I said, we have certain plays for certain guys and Rob and Danny are a big part of the plan. That's what Josh [McDaniels] does best: he gets guys in the best position to make plays and always comes up with a way to adapt and scheme things up and third down and red area, there's' no one better in the league.
Q: What was the explanation on Stevan Ridley's forward progress call?
TB: I wasn't happy. He wasn't happy either. You know, that's part of the game. He's a good official. All the best officials are working this weekend. I think it's just the heat of the moment and I get excited.
Q: That's good.
TB: Yeah, it's always good.
January 13, 2013
(On where he thinks the offense is at this point in the season)
"I think we are just where we are. We made a lot of good plays, had a lot of good drives out there and then we had some bad ones too. So it's kind of back and forth. We played well, but I feel like we can be a little bit more consistent."
(On what it means to go back to the AFC Championship)
"It's one step forward in the right direction. It's one thing done that we have taken care of and now we're moving onto the AFC Championship and [we'll] get ready for that."
(On losing Rob Gronkowski to injury)
"It's unfortunate, but guys have to step up. Guys have got to come out, make plays and make up for his absence."
(On if there is a silver lining in the fact that players stepped up when Rob Gronkowski missed time earlier in the season)
"I think we've shown that guys can step up and play that role. Everybody kind of upped their game and knows that we've got to step up."
(On what he expects from the Baltimore Ravens next week)
"It's going to be a tough, physical football game. They're a really good team. They really battled in that game against Denver. So it's going to be a tough, physical game and we've got to get ready for it."
(On his interception)
"It was just good execution on the play; me coming inside, reading the quarterback, dropping back into coverage. It was just a good play overall. (Jerod) Mayo made a good call, telling me to do that. I'm happy it worked out for us."
(On adjustments made at halftime)
"You come in, see the things (Houston) did well because they will go back to that. So come in, settle down, try and stay under control since you have another two quarters to play, then go out there and play tough."
(On the quick turnaround for next week)
"Pretty much, come in tomorrow, get a workout and look at some of the things we didn't do well. We are able to have home-field advantage so it's good for us."
(On whether he expected to play as much as he did)
"I don't come into the game knowing how much anyone is going to play. I come into the game ready to go and if my number is called I do my best for the team."
(On losing Danny Woodhead to injury)
"We hate to lose Woody. He is such a key part of our offense, but at the same time all of the running backs hold ourselves accountable to be able to step up when somebody does go down."
(On whether he gets excited to match up against a linebacker)
"Yes and no. I knew that the matchup was in my favor. But at the same time they are great defenders as well. So I have to do a great job at getting open. "
(On playing the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship)
"It is going to be a great match up. It always is between us and the Ravens. We are going to have to go to work this week and get ready to play a great team."
(On the big returns by the Texans)
"I guess we have to go look at it on tape and see what was happening, but it's disappointing. The defense bailed us out. The offense bailed us out. If we keep playing like that we're not going to get very far, we're not going to be playing a lot more football. We can't give the opposing team field position like that and all, so we just got to look at the tape and see what's happening and see where our breakdowns were and try and get it fixed."
(On if the breakdowns were due to Danieal Manning having a hot day)
"I'm sure that was part of it, but we've been too good all year. We've played a lot of good returners and we know Manning is a good returner, but we've got to play better than that. We got to go look at the tape and see what was going on."
(On the forcing timely turnovers today)
"It was huge. Obviously anytime we can get the ball back in our offense's hands, we're stealing possession for a great offense. Tom is really leading those guys and they are putting a lot of points on the board. So it was huge for us."
(On playing the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship)
"Great team. These are the two teams that deserve to go to the AFC Championship Game, Baltimore and us. They are a great team, a lot of good players on both sides of the ball. It will be a challenge for us."
(On the team mentality regarding overcoming injuries)
"Obviously we have that next man up mentality, no matter who gets hurt. My rookie year Tom (Brady) got hurt and we won 11 games. It's always been that next man up mentality no matter who it is."
(On the possibility of losing Rob Gronkowski to injury)
"Anytime we're not at full strength and we don't have all of our guys that we want on the field out there, it's obviously disappointing. But at the same time, like I said, we have other guys who are waiting to get an opportunity to play. Hopefully those guys step in and fill in nicely."
(On if the Patriots were surprised by J.J. Watt)
"I don't think we were surprised; we kind of know what he is. Obviously, he is a good player and he's an impact player. I think he had some plays today and you know to try and contain a guy [like him]– give him credit as a player, he's special."
(On the big touchdown drive to open the second half)
"I think it's very important. You obviously want to score every time you go out there. You never know what's going to go, so once you have a lead you want to keep that cushion, but it obviously doesn't always work out that way, but today it kind of did, so I think it was good."
(On the performances by running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley)
"It was great. I think they both ran pretty well. Once again, they didn't disappoint. They kind of do what they do and all have different talents. Again, I think they played a great game."
(On if we was surprised by Shane Vereen's performance)
"Not exactly. You practice certain things, so you know the qualities of the runners you have. Once again, I'm happy for him and I think he produced today and we see that at practice."
(On if he was excited to play the Texans)
"We're always ready for who we line up against, but anytime a team says, ‘they want you again,' we're always up for the challenge."
(On if the game plan changed after the injuries to Danny Woodhead and Rob Gronkowski)
"Well, I think we did a few things different than if it was the whole clan, but [Michael] Hoomanawanui came in and did a great job replacing Rob and we still put up 41 [points], so I think the offense did pretty good."
(On the performances by Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley and the confidence he has in both)
"We have a lot of faith in those guys and they did a great job. Vereen had some nice runs and that awesome catch – that was a heck of a catch. You see Ridley how hard he was running in the fourth quarter trying to move the pile, trying to get first downs, so those guys did a good job."
(On the Texans defensive line and J.J. Watt and if the offensive line must perform as a unit)
"They move Watt around everywhere; he's an end, he's a tackle, he's on the left, he's on the right. Whoever draws that card has to do a good job on that play. I don't know what his numbers were, but I think for the most part we did a good job."
(On tonight's win and heading back to the AFC Championship)
"It's an honor. We still have one more to go to get to the big dance. So we've got to keep playing and come to play next week."
(On losing fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski to injury)
"It's hard to replace a player like him because he's a freak of nature. Everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling."
(On how Rob Gronkowski's presence on the field helps him)
"It definitely helps me out because so much attention is on him. But like I said, everyone has to step up. It's a big loss and you can't replace a player like him."
(On how much he was impressed by Shane Vereen)
"He's done it in practice and he's the person that works hard and does his job. When his number was called, he made a play and showed what type of player he is tonight."
(On making the AFC Championship game in his first two years in the league)
"As a guy two years in the league, I guess I just assume it happens every year. But I know that's not the case so I feel honored and blessed to be here."
(On the teamwork displayed by the Patriots)
"Well it's all about teamwork. The line has to work together because I feel like I let my part down several times and guys picked me up and my teammates helped me out."
(On facing the Ravens in the AFC Championship game)
"[The Ravens] are a great team. They beat two tough teams to get to where they are now and it's going to be a great challenge for us."
(On the challenges that Houston brought to the table)
"It's tough, [the Texans] are really similar to our offense. They have a lot of multiple tight ends and different formations and things like that, some great receivers. Obviously [Arian] Foster in the backfield, he's a heck of a back. They have a lot of different threats and a lot of weapons on that side of the ball."
(On Aqib Talib matching up one-on-one with Andre Johnson for the whole game)
"It's great, it's great. When you can get someone who can line up with a number-one receiver and you know he's going to play well and compete against that guy, it's great to have a guy like that on your team."
(On holding Houston to a field goal on the opening drive)
"[The Texans] opened up with a big kick return and our motto was just to hold them to three. They got down there but we did a good job of buckling down and holding them to a field goal, so it was good for us."
(On how much fun he had chasing Andre Johnson the whole game)
"I had a lot of fun tonight. Probably the funnest game I've ever played in. Thus far, this is definitely the funnest game that I've ever played."
(On if the thrives on taking on the opponent's best receiver)
"Definitely. If you're a cornerback and you don't want to go after their best receiver, you're in the wrong business."
(On how excited he is to be on a team that's making a run in the playoffs)
"Oh man, this is what you play football for. You don't play football to play 16 and go home. You play to get in the tournament and try to get the trophy. We're just going to go one week at a time and Baltimore's on the agenda tonight."
(On if he lobbies to match up against the opponent's best receiver like Ty Law used to do)
"Nah, I've been here for two months [laughter]. I'm definitely not in Ty Law's shoes. Whatever Bill [Belichick] asks me to do, that's what I'm going to try to do to the best of my ability."
(On the team's play against Houston's defensive line)
"Their whole front line is obviously filled with playmakers and we were able to neutralize them as best as we could. (J.J. Watt) is still going to give us plays like he did tonight, but overall I think we did a good job and came out with a victory."
(On if he has nerves in a playoff game)
"No. If you have jitters then you're going to be a step behind, so just treat it as another game. Obviously everything goes to the next level but you can't think about that. To us, it's just another football game. You've got to execute offensively, defensively and on special teams."
(On how he and Shane Vereen stepped in for injured players)
"It was a great team effort. Whether it was guys going down and another one stepping in, our job (entails) some guy going down and the next guy being able to step in and perform."
TEXANS LOCKER ROOM
January 13, 2013
(On the game)
"We didn't play a good game and they played a very good game. They are moving on and we are not. We came in here at halftime feeling pretty good obviously the long field goal by Shayne (Graham) was a heck of a kick. We came out in the second half and didn't perform and it is plain and simple. We just didn't do the things we needed to do to win. We needed to create turnovers on defense and we didn't do that."
(On the most frustrating thing)
"Losing, I can't stand it. I can't stand any aspect of it. The taste in your mouth is terrible. We lost, we are going home and we are not moving on. Congratulations to them (Patriots) and they deserve all of the credit and it is frustrating."
(On Tom Brady and the future)
"He is a very good football player and a heck of quarterback. Obviously he is one of the best for a reason. We needed to hit him and we needed to knock some balls down and we didn't do that and we lost. Obviously all we can do is move forward. We learn from this season and I am proud of all of the guys in this room and I can't wait to get back to work."
(On the end of the season)
"It is really frustrating because we have been here before and you don't just want to get back to where you have been before. You want to move on and you want to get better and move forward, we didn't do that. We are going to look at it and we are going to figure it out. We are going to come into next season extremely strong and we are not going to wait to get back to work."
(On reflecting on December)
"We are going to look at the whole season and we are going to look at everything, every aspect and we will learn from it. Obviously that is the only way you move forward. I had a lot of fun this season. I love my teammates and they made me look good all year. I appreciate them and everything they have done for me. In the end we didn't do enough as a team. It is a team game and it is never about just one person. I didn't do enough today and we didn't do enough today. We needed to do more. For the season, I appreciate everybody and I love all my teammates and I can't thank them enough for how good they made me look."
(On the turning point of the game)
"They just made more plays than we did. That's pretty much it. It's about making plays. We had some plays in the first half that we didn't make that maybe could have that kept drives alive and we didn't do that. When you don't do that at a time like this, you don't win. So, we didn't."
(On the mindset heading into the second half)
"In this game you have to play until there are all zeroes on the clock and we felt good about where we were at. We felt like we left some plays out on the field in the first half. But, you can't worry about that; you have to move on from it and just keep playing. In the second half, we just didn't make plays we needed to make."
(On winning the first playoff game but losing the second two straight years)
"I feel bad, especially for the older guys, including myself, because you don't get too many shots at this. Me and Kev [Kevin Walter] were just talking about it at our locker. You don't get many shots. It took nine years just to get two shots. I don't know. We just have to keep fighting and keep working and keep banging on that door. Hopefully it will fall down."
(On getting to the next level as a team)
"We just need to make plays. That's what it came down to today. Like I said, we left some plays out on the field today. That's pretty much it."
(On the momentum shifts in the second and third quarters)
"I don't know. Things were just going so back-and-forth. We'd do something good; then something bad would happen. Then in the third quarter the momentum had kind of swung back to us, and they go back out and make plays. That's the thing when you play against a team like this: they're capable of scoring every time they touch the ball and we knew that. We knew that we had to come in and score points as an offense. Not kick field goals, but scoring when we got in the red zone. Like I said, they made more plays than we made and they won the game."
(On the personal disappointment after the loss)
"It's frustrating. Words really can't describe it because you work so hard to help this organization, yourself, the team, everybody, the city back home – you want everybody to be a part of something special. For it to end like this, it's painful, man. We want to win; we want to keep playing. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out today."
(On the loss)
"It's disappointing, this is hardly acceptable, that this is it for us. I take my hat off to every guy in the locker room we fought hard. Unfortunately what we put out there in the second half, and the forth quarter, wasn't there in the first half. They got up on us and it's hard to get yourself out of that hole against that group. Everybody fought hard and I'm proud of them."
(On what happened in the first half of the third quarter)
"You know, you've got to make plays. We had plenty of opportunities, you know, they're still on the field. They just made more plays than we did. You keep giving that team opportunities it's going to bite you."
(On his thoughts after the game)
"Whenever the season ends, no matter when it ends, it's really, really hard. The farther along you get, the harder it is to take. It's one we wanted to win really bad. It's tough to swallow right now, but, we fought hard all season and all day today, but one team gets to have a smile on their face at the end of the season and its not us this year."
(On going into halftime with momentum)
"We felt we had kind of swung the momentum to our side. Felt good going into halftime being down four, you can't ask for more than that in this type of environment and this game. That third quarter just didn't go very well for us. We were right there and even when we got down, we kept fighting back, but its hard when you get that far down and be productive on the field and get the big plays."
(On what happened in the third quarter)
"Oh man, I think that was the quarter that we didn't make very many plays and they made a lot of plays. When you play a team like that in their home, you've got to make all of them and we didn't."
(On if they felt positive coming into halftime)
"Yeah for the most part, we knew we were still in the ball game. We cut the lead down to four and we felt our defense had some momentum. We felt like we could go make some more stops and get our offense the ball. Then they end up driving the ball down and scoring and we started playing catch up after that."
(On if they aggravated that Shane Vereen was the player who seemed to do the most damage)
"No, they were using all their personnel. He was just one of those guys that was able to make the key plays at the end. He had three touchdowns, and they were going to him, but they were throwing the ball to everybody."
(On how frustrating it was to settle for a field goal after his 94-yard kickoff return to open the game)
"That's football. They were able to make plays and we felt like we made some plays there, but
it is what it is, we got down there and got some points out of it. We had to make more plays than they did."
(On what it means to him to have a big day in the kick return game)
"Right now it doesn't mean anything. Maybe later it will, but right now it doesn't mean crap."
(On the game)
"We really wanted to win this game and move on. We had our opportunities and we just didn't get it done. It is really tough to end this way and the season is over. We just have to start back over next year and it is tough… you either win or you don't and we didn't."
(On coming out after the half)
"We felt like the game was right where we wanted it. They came out in the second half, in the third quarter and made a couple of plays on the first drive and got a touchdown. They made a few plays and scored a touchdown. We took a step forward and the organization took a big step forward the right direction. We are heading in the right direction. We just have to come back and keep building and get it next year."
(On the game)
"I don't think there was any one point where it (the game) got away from us. They made more plays at the end of the game and throughout the game than we did. To beat a team like that on the road you got to make all the plays and we didn't make them. They didn't do anything offensively that was surprising. They did everything we worked on. They just made some plays and we didn't. They execute very well. Their offense is efficient. They can do a lot with that two tight end set as far as running the ball and passing the ball and setting up play action. Their offense is definitely a challenge and they do a good job."
(On the season)
"Yes, this was a successful season. Obviously we wanted to continue it and go farther than we did last year. You can't say that it wasn't a successful season. We won 13 games and another AFC South championship. There was a lot of good, but not enough. "
(On the game)
"There were a couple swings. We took a couple shots in the first half but we rebounded and got it to within four at halftime. I think the start of the second half was big. The fact that they had that quick score, you know, that was tough. Every time we kind of got close they had an answer for us. That was the biggest thing. I think if the times we did get close we could have had better answers on both sides of the ball I think we would have been in the game until the very end. They do a lot of unique game planning stuff so we knew they would do something different but there wasn't anything that necessarily caught us off guard. They have that fast pace and they execute it so well that if you are not completely on your stuff they are going to beat you and that is what happened."
(On the season)
"Individually this is the first year I ever won a playoff game. I enjoyed that. As a team we are ready to take the next step. We are ready to get to where New England is. We have been in the second round twice now and it is time to find a way to get over that hump. I think that is the mood of the team right now."
(On the game)
"They just had a couple times where they made a couple of plays. We just kept battling all day and we weren't able to get back in to it. I think we competed and challenged them all day but there was a couple plays where they had some scores and we weren't able to respond they way we were supposed to. All in all we battled all day but didn't get over the hump. I would say it was a game of runs, but it's like basketball. It is all about momentum and things like that. You have got to match fire with fire. They got a couple unanswered points. As a defense you have got to minimize those and try to get it back to offense in a reasonable position. It is all the same, you never want to lose the game, whether you are in the championship, first round of the playoffs or first opening season game. It is all the same but right here it is just the end. Any time you don't win the big games you are in the same boat as everybody else."
(Asked if the season was a success)
"Absolutely. We ended up finishing in the same spot as last year in the second round of the playoffs but I think this team took a step forward in terms of progress with the younger players and things like that."