Bills coach Sean McDermott
Q: Why the punt on fourth and one, down seven?
SM: Yeah, just we went for it earlier in the game on fourth down and didn’t get it. The game was close at that point and wanted to come away with points early in the fourth quarter there. I think it was a seven-point game. I wanted to come away with points. Obviously, it didn’t turn out.
Q: Are you not really taking into account who you are playing against? The best quarterback of all time in a rhythm. Seems like you wouldn’t want to give him back the ball right there…
SM: Yeah, no I didn’t want to give him the ball, I wanted to come away with points. And I am very aware of who we were playing.
Q: Is there any consolation in the fact that you are still alive. You knew where you would be after this game, win or lose, is there any consolation in that going into week 17?
SM: Yeah, I mean we have done some good things. I mean, I thought today, we played well at times. And there were times where we didn’t play well. You know, you got to score points in the red zone. Then we have got to be able to stop the run and be able to run the ball on offense. And we had some special teams moments in there, good and bad, so you know, we have to learn from this. Lot to take away from this game, move forward and continue to grow and get better.
Q: How disappointed, frustrated, whatever the word, on the [Kelvin] Benjamin play? Two former heads of officials tweeted that it shouldn’t have been overturned. I know you’re not going to comment on that, but just how disappointing was that. That it was a touchdown, that they took away from you.
SM: Yeah, I am at a loss. A loss as to, I saw it as a touchdown. And other than that, all I can say right now is, I am at a loss for how a play like that can get overturned.
Q: Especially tough considering how well Kelvin played, and I know he is playing hurt.
SM: Yeah, I thought it was great, in terms of management of the clock and being able to execute at a high level in six seconds or less. And a good throw, and what appeared to be a good catch.
Q: Coach, points have been hard to come by in the second half of late. Is there anything that is keeping you guys down, in terms of what opponents are throwing at you second half-wise? Or just adjustments?
SM: Red zone. You get in the red zone, you’ve got to be able to score touchdowns against a good team. Jerry, you mentioned this, a good team and good quarterback. You have got to be able to score touchdowns in the red zone and we weren’t able to do that today. We had some good drives in the first three quarters of the game. In particular, going in before half and coming after half. We knew that would be important for us and almost a flip of the first game against New England where they had the ball going into the half and after the half, and then had the ball again. We knew those drives would be critical and then came away with, as opposed to two touchdowns, came away with two field goals.
Q: Sean, is it as simple to say that, against them, they have [Tom] Brady and [Rob] Gronkowski and you don’t?
SM: You know, I am confident in the players in our locker room. And we are going to continue to battle, grow and improve. And I thought we did some good things, as I mentioned in the first three quarters and then the game got away from us. And we have to look hard at that in particular and make the appropriate adjustments.
Q: You’ve got this team alive for the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. How hard will it be for the team to turn around and get ready for that?
SM: Well, that’s where we have got to make sure we look ourselves in the eye collectively and say what we could have done better. What could I have done better? And then make sure we move forward also, because it is a critical week for us. You know, give credit to the players, they’ve hung together, to be in this position. To be in the position we could find ourselves in, going into the last week. We would like to be in a lot better position, don’t get me wrong. That said, you know, we’ve got a critical week, moving forward here and so, we have just got to continue to grow and get better.
Q: Any update on Travaris [Cadet], Coach?
SM: Yeah, Travaris fractured his ankle. So we will evaluate that and certainly wish him the best and a speedy recovery.
Lorenzo Alexander, Linebacker
(On hanging in the game for a long time despite the loss)
“Yeah, but that's not good enough. We came here to win and we only played three quarters. Obviously, in the fourth quarter we let the game get away from us. You know how to beat these guys. It's just about not allowing – you've got to be able to execute for four quarters. First game was a half, this time it was three quarters so we've got to put a four, a complete game together to be able to beat a team like this that's this good.”
(On the Patriots ability to control the pace of the game)
“Yeah, well that's Tom Brady. Obviously, he can mix it up anytime. Obviously, coming out of the half they sped it up, switched the tempo up and they made some great adjustments. We just have to be able to follow suit as they make adjustments against us defensively. We have to understand what they're trying to do and make our own adjustments and capitalize.”
(On the two overturned calls via replay)
“It is what it is. We had our opportunities to score in that position. Obviously, any time you leave it up to the officials and New York it could go either way. You never know what they're looking at. It could look different to somebody completely else. We have to make it black and white, fine, where it's, ‘Okay, it's a touchdown’ or ‘We stopped them on fourth down.’ We have to do our job to where it's for sure in our favor.”
(On whether the air comes out of the balloon after an overturned replay call)
“No. I think as to mature in this league and understand that with our leadership that you have to stand up because things are not going to always go your way. My mindset, and I know the guy's mindset out there, is like, ‘Okay now we've got to stop them.’ Obviously, we didn't do that on that drive but that was our mentality going out there. We can't allow calls like that or big plays. You've got to stand up and play the next play and that was kind of our message leading up to this game – worry about the play at hand."
(On the touchdown that was overturned)
“The referee made the call and you have to live with that. We just had to move on and come out in the second half and try to put some more points on the board. You can only control what you can control, and you have to keep playing and move on from there.”
(On the mood in the locker room at the half)
“It was energetic; the score was basically 0-0. So we wanted to come back out and drive down the field and score some points.”
(On moving the ball but not scoring offensive touchdowns)
“I guess they had good schemes. We definitely have to do better when we get down into the red zone punching it in. It’s just something we have to work on, moving forward as a team.”
Preston Brown, Linebacker
(On his view of the fourth down play that was overturned)
“Yeah, I mean he reached the ball out. So I guess it's wherever you reach the ball out you get it. I mean I thought it was different from like a goal line or something but it is what it is. I don't know the rule per say. He got the first down is what they said.”
(On the Kelvin Benjamin overturned touchdown catch)
“It looked like some type of black pellets were moving or something but I guess they were trying to say it was like the Santonio Holmes play in the Super Bowl where his foot never really touched. But they called that one a touchdown so they should have called his one too.”
(On Buffalo's playoff chances)
"Yeah, I mean we've got to have our best game next week. We know what we have to do – go down to Miami and try to get a big win and now you've got to hope for other things to happen or whatever like that. But we've got to do what we have to do to get a win."
(On Buffalo's playoff chances)
“Yeah, we've still got an opportunity. Obviously, all of our focus transfers to Miami now. [We] played them a week ago. [We'll] go look back at that film. I know we know they're going to make their adjustments and just go out there and try to find a win that week."
(On the Kelvin Benjamin overturned call)
“Definitely shocked. I thought KB [Kelvin Benjamin] caught the ball, possessed it and had two feet in but according to the rule book they saw something differently. So we've just got to come out and play better I guess. Play hard and use that as some type of fuel for us.”
(On how the overturned call affected the team)
“I just think for the most part it just felt like guys who are now focusing on how we're going to beat the officials. How can we get them on our side? I think when you see things like that take place in the game you're better off trying to do your best to forget about it. I know it's pretty much impossible to forget about it. It's a pivotal call in a huge game for us but I mean it's just part of being an athlete. Sometimes we're not going to get calls and sometimes we will. So we've just got to learn how to live with it and let it just roll off our shoulder.”
(On whether it feels like they're always fighting uphill in regard to the officials against the Patriots)
“Yes it certainly does creep in and I can certainly feel for everybody on the sideline because it's hard not to really think about it. I felt like KB [Kelvin Benjamin] made a phenomenal catch. For them not to review Gronk's [Rob Gronkowski] one-handed touchdown catch was just kind of weird. We've got to be athletes. We've got to be stronger and just be more focused and be more determined to just let the bad calls roll off our backs and just play football.”
(On whether the Bills defense was worn down in the second half)
“They picked up and went no huddle a little bit. For us it's just we've got to be a lot more fundamentally sound when Tom [Brady] goes no huddle. We understand that we've got to get back to the huddle, get our call and get down and play. You've got to be able to read and react a lot faster. We saw it on film. It just happened a lot faster than what we expected.”
(On the Bills mindset going into the final regular season game)
“We want to go down to Miami and solidify a win. We understand that it's going to be tough. It's going to be a tough road game, especially being a division game. We know how Miami likes to play us really tough so we understand that it's going to take an all team effort. Everybody's got to be really buying in. We've got to come out and put this game behind us for sure after tonight and then just focus on Miami. If we handle business with them, who knows what might happen.”
(On frustration of second half struggles against the Patriots)
“Yeah, they get a couple calls. They get some momentum behind them and we've got to answer back. We've got to understand that for us on that fourth-and-one we stopped them but if the refs see something differently we've got to come out there and hold them to three. That's just somebody else that we've got to play against in a sense because it's going to happen in any sport. You're going to get some calls and you're not going to get some calls and we've just got to be a lot more stronger mentally and just go out there with the focus that we're going to play against them. So we've got to answer the bell.”
(On the touchdown that was overturned)
“They [officials] always seem to get it right for the Patriots, but that’s not why we lost. It sure would have helped out in the game. We battled hard; we have to do a better job finishing. We’ve been preaching it all week, at the end of the half finish hard. At the beginning of the second half start hard let’s finish. We kind of did that, if we get that touchdown, it’s just crazy because we put so much into it, to get robbed like that. Come on that was a touchdown, but it is what it is.”
(On the running game)
“Sometimes when I’m in the game, we’re not rushing well. It’s just a matter of calling the right plays, and us players going in and doing the right thing. It just comes down to focusing on the small details, and having that extra push, that extra drive to get it in. On that type of team, knowing that 12 [Tom Brady] is back there we have to put points up and compete.”
(On the game)
“It is very disappointing. We went into halftime and the score was even, and we cannot really spend too much thought on it and at the end of the half it was a horrible call. It is disappointing but you have to move forward. We cannot come out and not execute in the second half.”
(On no touchdowns from the red zone)
“The lack of execution and to get down there and not come away with seven on a couple of those drives was definitely disappointing. We have to be better across the board and it starts with me. We have to get seven points when we get down there especially against this team.”
(On recovering emotionally from the reversed touchdown call)
“Not necessarily, it was a bad call but we cannot put too much thought into it. Especially going into halftime you have to be able to regroup and make adjustments. You have to be able to come out and play ball. We were able to do it and were able to move the ball up and down the field; we just didn’t punch it in when we had to.”
(On the replay reversals)
“It’s frustrating, that was a big time play by KB [Kelvin Benjamin]. Something that we thought was a touchdown. It looked plain from the replays. It looked like he got both feet down, but the guys in New York thought otherwise.”
(On the talk all week about you and Rob Gronkowski)
“I went out there and played football, it’s a normal game. Any other Sunday I just go out and play to the best of my abilities, and try to come out and give my team the best chance to win by being in a position and doing the things I’m asked to do. He’s just a normal player, I don’t go out there and think about who it is , I just go out there and play.”
(On the frustration of the loss)
“It’s a big deal, anytime you don’t finish in a position you want, it’s disappointing. They [Patriots] do a great job of adjusting on the line, and exploiting any little mistakes we make. Any little tweak that we don’t see or that we do wrong. They do a great job of exploiting it.”
(On the reversed touchdown call)
“No explanation, it was just that he didn’t get it down. That is just something you have to get past. It looked really close and we got to see the replay about 20 times on the screen here waiting to kick the PAT [Point after Touchdown]. It looked good from our end, but hey, it is all good. You have got to get past it. We were getting the ball back with a two-minute drive and knew we were getting the ball back again after the half so we were talking on the sideline; try to get a two-for-one and go back to back on them. It’s something we talked about this week leading up to it and the last possession and first possession of each half, those are crucial. We had two good drives, but they only resulted in six points. On a team [Patriots] like that you cannot go zero-for-four in the red zone and we know that.”
(On scoring no touchdowns from the red zone)
“It is bad. We know we have to get better in the red zone, especially against these guys. They are good and we are not going to take anything away from them. We obviously have to execute better. We cannot take big negative yardage plays and obviously we have to get the ball in the end zone.”