BUFFALO BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN MCDERMOTT
Opening Statement: Okay, we’ll go ahead and get started here. I’m just going to open it up with talking about Tyrod [Taylor] here. Tyrod took a hit early in the game there. You saw him come out later in the game. He’s being evaluated and that remains the case. I’m not going to get into next week at all at this point until I know a little bit more medically, at this point. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.
Q: Was it the first play of the game, just to be clear?
Q: How was he able to continue going out if it ended up being the way it did? Was there any consideration to take him out earlier?
A: We talked about it. He said he could continue at the time. Up until he couldn’t, that’s what he did.
Q: Would you concur that, I mean [Taylor] was hurt, granted, you can’t win in the NFL with offense like that today?
A: Well we’ve got to do a better job. To score three points, we’ve got to do a better job. I’m not going to sugarcoat that at all. We’ve got to score more than three points and put a defense under pressure. I thought we had a first good drive and then we gave the ball up there. You can’t do that in the NFL, in particular in the red zone. To come away with no points I thought was – although it was a good drive, it wasn’t good enough.
Q: On that play, the pick, what happened? It looked like he was almost trying to stop because maybe [LeSean] McCoy ran the route the wrong way. Do you know what actually happened there?
A: Yeah, I’ve got to look at the film to know a little bit more. It looked like they took away his first or second read in there and then he went to his next read.
Q: That’s two straight [losses] at home [with] basically the same performance by the offense. Does this show why you did what you did after that New Orleans game?
A: I don’t know as much that, as it is that we’ve just got to continue to get better as a football team in all three phases. We’ve got to learn from this game. There’s a lot of valuable lessons in this game, some of which were protecting the football [which] was mentioned earlier and then execution and doing our job. When you go up against a team like the Patriots, they’re going to expose and exploit you when you don’t do those things.
Q: Coach, anything new on Tre White? He was a little woozy coming off [the field].
A: Yeah, he’s in the concussion protocol.
Q: What was your feeling about that play, the one that Rob Gronkowski made?
A: Well, I thought it was a good play by Tre. I’ll start off with the play itself. I wasn’t happy about what ensued after that and I’ll start with us as well. We’ve had some situations come up there, which we can’t let that happen on our side either.
Q: And you are referring to Jerry [Hughes] and Micah Hyde’s penalties?
Q: Did you understand why you got the 15-yard penalty in that situation after all that happened? Were you a bit perplexed about how the whole thing was shaking out?
A: Well, I just wanted an explanation more than anything.
Q: What did they say?
A: I’ll just leave that conversation between them and myself right now.
Q: Sean, some coaches in that situation may say, ‘alright, I’m glad my’ – well, maybe not with Hughes and whatever he did with the official, but ‘I’m glad my team retaliated or stuck up for itself in that situation.’ Where are you in terms of that moment and how you responded or didn’t respond?
A: Well, the number one thing we’ve got to do is keep our composure and our poise and execute in those situations and then after that, I understand what you’re saying. I don’t disagree with you as far as that goes. You’d want guys to defend one another within the rules.
Q: Sean, it seemed like after halftime, the first drive of the half was kind of damaging. You held them to nine points in the first half. How about that first drive, just not getting it done there?
A: I thought there [were] some good things defensively and special teams also. We did some good things in the red zone in the first half. The first drive after half, to your point, the first third down, we didn’t execute like we have. Give them the credit. They got a key first down right there and went on to score. We could do a better job in that situation to execute.
Q: You’re the first team to hold them under 13 points in a half all year. Did you feel like the game was there for the taking because of that?
A: Right. I felt like, we knew they were getting the ball after half coming out and that we had done some good things. When you look back at it, there were some opportunities in the first half. We were down there early on the first drive [and had] opportunities to get off the field defensively [and] some opportunities special teams-wise. I thought if we came out after half and got off the field early, that that would be a key drive for us.
Q: What was your reasoning behind the challenge in the first half?
A: Yeah, I just thought situation, you look at it and you say ‘hey, I thought he dumped the ball a little bit there’ and obviously the knee was down. I thought, situationally, I didn’t see too much of a downside in doing it because we were already in that part of the game there in terms of the situation. I just wanted them to take a little bit longer to look at the entire situation more than anything.
Q: So you were trying to get it to be a sack and push yardage back? There was some thought you were trying to argue intentional grounding.
A: No. I mean, again, it was just looking at the picture. Sometimes, and we talked about it on the field, those things move so fast for the guys out there that I wanted them to take a longer look at it. Anytime you can get a quarterback like that behind the sticks, it usually works to your advantage. Obviously, we ended up forcing a punt there.
Q: In the third quarter, I forget which scoring drive it was, they converted a third-and-ten and it looked like it was going to be a measureable situation. They ran up and ran a play. Were you trying to get a measurement or did they not grant you a request, or what – you looked pissed off there. What exactly happened?
A: Right. When you look at it, I was trying to get a little bit of both and any time a team substitutes and changes personnel, the defensive side is, by rule, allowed to match. I didn’t think we were given that opportunity.
Q: How does this Patriots team compare with the teams that you’ve studied in the past? Are they as dominant?
A: They are. This is a good football team and I mentioned this to their coaches before the game. I felt like it’s one of their strongest teams that I’ve seen. They’re a good team and I give them all the credit. They beat us today and now we’ve got to learn from it. There’s a lot of valuable lessons we can learn from this game today and take them forward and use them to grow and learn and build like we’re doing here.
Q: What did they do effectively to bottle up Tyrod? Obviously, that first play you talked about but what did they do overall?
A: I mean they did a variety of things, really. It wasn’t just one thing. They did a variety of things [and] had a good plan schematically there defensively.
Q: Sean, what do you think specifically of the [Rob Gronkowski] hit that left Tre [White] with a concussion?
A: Well, I mean, I just don’t think that there’s any place in the game for that, really. It was unfortunate and I know he’s a better player than that.
Q: Sean, how do you handle or how do you get involved in the play-calling strategy as you’re gearing up for an opponent week-to-week? Does Rick [Dennison] take it to you? Can you maybe give us some insight as to how you draw that up?
A: Well, we dialogue about a lot of things. Communicate not only offensively but defensively and special teams. There’s good communication, healthy communication there on a weekly basis.
Q: What would be your thoughts on revisiting how you guys do that or giving more influence or – because things have stalled out. Is this maybe time to take a harder look at that?
A: Well it’s, and not trying to get away from your question, we look at everything in all three phases. Obviously, like I mentioned earlier to Sal’s point, we’ve got to score more than three points and I expect that we’ll go back, take a hard look at it as a staff and work at getting it corrected.
Q: Coach, what did you get out of Joe Webb today in the fashion that you used him? Do you feel like you got what you were looking for from him?
A: I thought there was some creative looks that we were able to give. Joe brings an added dimension to the position back there, whatever position he plays. It’s unfortunate we had an opportunity with [Travaris] Cadet down the seam there that we overthrew, but I liked the energy Joe brought to the offense there.
Q: You used the Wildcat today, which is something that you haven’t used a lot. What was the use out of maybe saying this was the right time to do it?
A: Well, again, I just think looking at Joe and what he brings to the table and using all of our resources and their strengths and putting players in position, players in position to succeed. Joe does some good things and he’s kind of multi-dimensional at what he does. We just felt like that dimension would help us.
BUFFALO BILLS RB LESEAN MCCOY
Q: Do you guys remember what Gronkowski did as a team in a couple week?
A: So much from this game to focus on than that. We got outplayed. We have a lot we can get better on. Yeah, it was a nasty and dirty play. I’ve never seen him do it before. He’s a hell of a player and a good person too. Surprising, but there are important things to talk about.
Q: A day when your defense gets about as good as it can get against the Patriots and especially Brady. How frustrating for the offense to not perform.
A: It’s frustrating, yeah. We had opportunities to capitalize on them earlier in the game. Not sure if that will make a difference between win or loss but it will sure help it out. We were driving. Running, throwing, running, throwing. Then we had a turnover that hurt us. We can’t do that against the Patriots. Other teams yeah you might get away with it but not against the Patriots. Then we drive again and miss the wildcat that was successful for us. Then we missed that pass from Joe (Webb) on that trick play. Those two plays would have been big for us.
Q: If Nate (Peterman) is the guy going forward. How comfortable and confident is the team in the rookie quarterback if Tyrod (Taylor) can’t come back?
A: Well will see. We don’t make any decisions early. Though we are who we are. If it’s Nate. It’s Nate. If Tyrod (Taylor) can’t go, will support Nate and try to make it easier for him. Guys got to make plays. Even if it’s harder for us, let’s make it easier for him. That’s all really you can do.
BUFFALO BILLS C ERIC WOOD
Q: You guys moved the ball seemingly very well on the first drive then seemingly not after that. What was different?
A: Yeah just the little stuff. Stalling out in the middle of drives. Penalties. Taking a sack on a naked bootleg. Just little stuff, but man extremely frustrating. Though when you look back on it we had the ball inside their 10, turned it over. We had that wildcat play that was pretty close to being a touchdown. Then we get stopped on their one in twenty point game when you have three opportunities like that it’s pretty frustrating.
Q: Especially in a game like this how important is it.
A: Yeah, when the defense was holding them to three points we needed to get seven on the board at some point and we just couldn’t get it done.
Q: With how many times you’ve played this team it seems like they always got that gadget or adjustment ready to go. Though today it was you guys with Joe Webb. To have that and not being able to get it. The touchdown was there to be hit. Does it add to the frustration just a little bit more?
A: Yeah, for sure. I thought Joe did a great job. You know they’ve been good on third down this year obviously. Then we brought him in for the first third and one and we got a pretty easy conversion running power with him. Then Joe broke off a nice long run. Yeah we missed the pass, but still a good wrinkle in the game plan by the staff.
BUFFALO BILLS QB NATHAN PETERMAN
Q: Was there any different feeling this time around? Obviously, Tyrod [Taylor] leaves the game, is there any different feeling when you got out there? I don’t know if there were any difference in command of the offense or anything like that, could you tell us?
A: Not really, [you] always have to be ready. It just kind of feels the same out there, maybe things slow down a little bit, but I thought there were some things that could have been better today. We just have to keep focus on getting better.
Q: When you say things slow down, we hear that term all the time, could you explain that to us?
A: I don’t know, you just kind of see things; of what the defense is trying to do; you see the pressures more easily, I don’t know. The more you watch film, the more you get experience, you see how defenses move and you kind of expect it.
Q: How did you block out what happened in that first game when you were getting ready to take the field and walking out there?
A: I think I worked on blocking that out the day after it happened, really. [You] definitely, you don’t want to come out like that your first time, but I’ve moved on and learned a lot from it, like you say. I learned a lot from this as well, just trying to get better with all the reps. But yeah, just getting over it.
Q: What sort of nerves– Was that all gone, those first-time jitters when you ran on the field this time?
A: It felt good, I felt prepared. Obviously, the coaches did a great job preparing us all week, and I just think we left a few things out there. We could have had a couple touchdowns probably there, especially when you get down to the red zone, you need to score there. We have to get better.
Q: How do you feel about your readiness to handle this longer term if Tyrod [Taylor] can’t go, obviously not a great situation, but how do you feel you’re ready for it?
A: Yeah, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Every single week, it’s kind of a boring answer, but it’s the same thing, I’m ready because that’s my job. Wherever they want me to play, second string or whatever, I’m going to be ready, and that’s the same approach this week.
BUFFALO BILLS LB LORENZO ALEXANDER
Q: How frustrating is it once again. This team. This same old nemesis to come away with the same result again?
A: Yeah it’s hard obviously. They are who they are. They’re one of the best teams in the league if not the best because they take advantage of your mistakes. They capitalize on everything and they don’t make too many mistakes. See Tom (Brady) and (Rob) Gronkowski did a great job today and we had our opportunities we just didn’t take advantage of them. We want to be where they are and this is what we have to do. Taking the ball away, getting off the field on third down, and obviously scoring in the red zone. Then putting up points. Obviously with a team like that you got to be able to do that.
Q: Did you ever see Rob Gronkowski do anything like that like what he did to Tre’Davious White before? Did you lose any respect for him as a player?
A: I never have seen him do that. At the end of the day that is a dirty play. Dropping on a guy like that when he is clearly down. The play is over. It is what it is. I don’t know, I’m sorry.
Q: Do you feel like a team that still, we know what the math is, but after a day like this. What is the collective body of the team as a goal going forward?
A: Obviously after this will watch the film. It’s the same process every week. What we messed up at. What we need to improve on. Then move onto the Colts and get ready for them. I don’t know the mathematically math but were not out of it. We still got all our goals in front of us. We got to move and learn from it like we have been doing all year. Then prepare for them.
BUFFALO BILLS LB PRESTON BROWN
Q: What was your view of the hit on Tre? Then the thoughts on what should be done with Rob Gronkowski going forward with the league?
A: Yeah, it was unnecessary. I don’t know what they’re going to do for it. It’s not the game of football. He was obviously down and out of bounds. He decided to hit him late. There’s nothing we can do about it. Obviously we hope Tre is alright and that’s all I can say about it.
Q: How does that carry going forward knowing you got them in a couple weeks?
A: It doesn’t add any added motivation. We know we got to go out there and win games. Doesn’t matter if they hit us after the whistle. We just got to go out there and win games.
Q: What challenge did Gronkowski present as a player on the field?
A: He was just there. I mean if guys are out there making catches. Guys right there. Tom Brady throws the ball where you aren’t. Just when you think you’re in good coverage he finds a whole. They’re a great combo.
BUFFALO BILLS S MICAH HYDE
Q: [Rob Gronkowski]’s a physical player, but does that surprise you out of him?
A: Anytime someone does something like that that’s surprising. Obviously, be physical in between the lines and all that stuff, but to play like that; just touch him, he’s down [already], put your foot on him, just tap him. You don’t need to drive your shoulder/elbow into him. That wasn’t cool. Obviously, the game [already had a] big margin at that time, just no need for that in the game that we play.
Q: Jordan [Poyer] said that this is something that will be remembered in a couple weeks when you guys go play them. Is it something that will be talked about in a couple weeks before you guys play them, that play?
A: I’m sure you guys will talk about it. Building up to that game, that whole week, you guys are going to ask us about it, so this is obviously something that we’re going to be thinking about then.
Q: What was your thought when you saw that happen?
A: I didn’t see it live. I was in the middle of the field, thought the play was over, then No. 80 [Danny Amendola] comes running at me, which I still don’t know why to this point. I got a flag too for, I don’t know, pushing him back [maybe], I don’t know, I’m confused on that. Seeing it on the replay, it’s just dirty, that’s just dirty football and there is nowhere in our game for that.
Q: Does it change your perception of him as a player?
A: He’s a beast on the field. I don’t know what was going through his head on that play. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter. On him, he’s an excellent football player, beast on the field, we saw that today. But like I said, there’s just no room for that on the field.
BUFFALO BILLS S JORDAN POYER
Q: What did you see on the Rob Gronkowski play there over on Tre White when he decided to obviously drop the shoulder on his head when he was laying on the ground?
A: Unnecessary; unnecessary anywhere in this league. Tre made a great play, obviously, Gronk was frustrated. [There’s] nowhere in this league for that type of play. I understand flames are going, heat of the battle, but there is no room in this league for that type of crap.
Q: Is that something that carries over when you know you see them in a few weeks?
A: Of course, yeah, for sure. Yes.
Q: Do you feel it was a failure that he remained in the game?
A: It is what it is. I asked the ref why he was not ejected, I said ‘anybody else makes that type of play, they’re ejected’. To me, it was blatant; he WWE’d him, it’s like he was in the wrestling arena again. Like I said, uncalled for, but it is what it is. We’ll move on. Tre had made a great play and hopefully he’s okay.
Q: If I would have told you that you guys held Tom [Brady] to 250 passing [yards], no touchdowns, and get an interception, I would think that you would be pretty with that type of day against that type of quarterback. Do you take some positives away from the way you were able to play against that team?
A: Yeah you take some positives with the negatives. There was a lot of things that happened out there defensively, whether it was we weren’t in the right gap, we were in the wrong call – well, not the wrong call but got the call and the line wrong – but there were a lot of positives in that game. [We’ll] watch the film. That’s a really good football team, give credit to them, that’s a really good football team, obviously, world champs. We’ll look at the tape, we have Indy next week, so we’ll move forward and look at them.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Opening Statement: Alright, well it’s always a tough place to play. Thought that Buffalo, as we expected, played very hard. A very well coached team. It was a tight game at the half, [we] were able to, third quarter there, take advantage of field positon, make some plays in the running game and get the lead that was a very, very competitive game. Again, always challenging to come up here. Sean [McDermott] and his coaching staff really have the team playing very hard [and] very well. The running game was good for us; [we] got a lot of plays on the off tackle and the outside, our backs ran well, we had good blocking on the run plays. Defensively, you hold the team to three points, feel pretty good about that. A couple big stops in the right area. The interception on the first drive was a big play for us. It’s just one of those games where you have to grind it out against a tough football team on the road in the division. Thought that our guys did that, all 46 of them. Everybody needs everybody to step in there and pull part of the load, and they did. Coaching staff did a good job. It’s a tough place to come up here and play, again, but [I’m] proud of the way our team handled the week and the way we handled the game competitively.
Q: Bill, at halftime, [Rob] Gronkowski had two catches, and then on that first drive in the third quarter, he had I think three or four targets, one was the OPI [offensive pass interference]. How much was that at all part of the thought process at halftime, maybe to make an adjustment to have him more involved?
A: I wouldn’t say it was an adjustment, it’s the way we went into the game. Thought we handled the ball okay the first half; there weren’t a lot of possessions. Threw the ball okay, we just weren’t able to get it in the red area and settled for three field goals. We were able to get those touchdowns in the third quarter with the running game and some passes too. Rob’s a big target, he’s a hard guy to defend.
Q: Bill, in the grand scheme of the things you’ve accomplished here in New England, where do you rank or assess the importance of just how dominant you’ve been in the division, you know--winning division titles and how important that’s been, really how you’ve been able to do that?
A: I appreciate the question, I really do, but everybody’s focused on just winning this game and then, like all of the rest of the all the historical stuff really doesn’t really matter right now. It’s about this season, it’s about this game, and now it’s about getting ready to get down and play Miami on Monday night. [We can] reflect back on that some other time, but right now it’s just our team, recovering off this game and getting back and getting back on the Dolphins and being ready to go down there and play another tough division game on the road. We’ll just take it one game at a time, and deal with all that other stuff some other time.
Q: Bill, with no Trey Flowers for the day and an increased workload for Eric Lee, the interception and a couple sacks, some other pressures as well, what is it about Eric’s aptitude that’s allowed him to come in this stage of the season in two weeks and make such an impact?
A: Well, first of all, he’s worked really hard. From the first day he got here, he came early, stayed late, [and] asked a lot of good questions. He’s smart; he picks things up well. I think that his time in Houston was beneficial for him, again. I think a lot of the techniques we teach are similar to what Mike [Vrabel] and the Texans teach. Obviously, there’s some different calls and stuff, but a lot of the fundamentals, there’s some carry over on that and probably just in general, the overall way that he played down there and he was able to – some of that translated to what we do. He was able to, from a technique standpoint, pick things up. Obviously, some assignments he had were specific to what we do, but again, he’s a sharp kid. He works hard and he’s got good skills. He’s long, and he’s got good power and he can run.
Q: Are you concerned about potential additional discipline for Gronkowski based on that penalty late in the game?
A: Yeah, I didn’t really see what happened on the whole play. There was quite a bit of stuff going on in that play. It was something that the officials handled today and it’s not really anything we have any control over.
Q: Bill, the CBS broadcast showed early in the game, Tom [Brady] and Josh [McDaniels] going at each other pretty loud after the first series. Is that just heat of the moment type thing, what happens in battle?
A: Yeah, probably. You’d have to ask Josh about it. I don’t know. Just out there trying to win a football game.
Q: Is it good that for such a day, and I think last week too, you guys have been able to establish the running game? Maybe other aspects of the offense aren’t clicking perfectly, but the running game has certainly been able to pick up the slack.
A: Well, as I’ve said many times, we try to go out there and score points and run the offense, and win games. So, if we run it, we run it. If we throw it, we throw it. If we drop kick it, we drop kick it. Whatever we can do to move the ball and score points, that’s good. I’m not trying to create a bunch of stats, that’s not what we are trying to do. We are trying to win. If there are things that we can do to help us win, then that’s what we want to try to do.
Q: With the interception, there was a big play on their first drive. Did you happen to see anything else, like pass rushing in there, did you see if that affected it at all?
A: No, I mean, I don’t know who we ended up pulling out on that three man rush. Some of the passing lanes on the goal line there was a crossing pattern, so it may have been that. We’ll take a look tomorrow.
Q: You mentioned in your opening that the ability to score before and after halftime. Is that just something you enjoy as much as anything, or know when it’s valuable?
A: Yeah, I thought we had a good drive there. We got the ball with about three and a half minutes or something like that. We drove it down, Rex [Rex Burkhead] had a long run. We weren’t able to get the ball in the end zone, Buffalo stopped us there and held us to a field goal. We were able to be better in the second half on the opening drive. Driving it down, it ended up being ten point swing there, it went from 6-3 to 16-3. They never really had the ball ahead – they had a couple plays before half. It was a well-executed drive. Offensively, we had a couple of good runs in there. Again, unfortunately for us we weren’t able to get more in the end zone but Buffalo’s a good red area team. We had to settle for three but we were able to do that in the third quarter and that was a big swing for us.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Q: As you guys went into the second half it seemed like you went more to [Rob Gronkowski]. What did you see in matchups that made him kind of just not able to be covered?
A: I thought he played great. I don’t think it was anything in particular - just more of an awareness of where the open guys were and Gronk came down with a bunch of great plays. He’s been a great player for us since he got to our team, obviously he played great today. It was a great win for our team.
Q: It looked like you and Josh McDaniels had some words there the second quarter I think it was. Could you shed any light on the exchange?
A: Just football. We’ve been around each other a lot so I love Josh.
Q: You guys have to adjust to play in this league. Today, how much did you have to adjust because of the wind to playing too close to the right sideline?
A: It’s a little tricky out there but the guys made a bunch of good plays, a bunch of good catches. You know, I think as you get into the month of December, it’s a little colder, a little windier, it’s just what it is. It effects both teams and whoever handles it best usually wins. Good day to come up here and get a win in a tough place.
Q: By the red zone offense in the first half, what were they taking away from 0 to 2?
A: Yeah we got down there three times, we kicked 3 field goals. Good question. I’m not sure, you know I have to kind of look at it. One was right before the half and we were moving the ball but just couldn’t quite get it in. Did a better job of that last week and going in the second half a couple times. So it’s always the big point of emphasis for us to try and get it in. They played pretty good.
Q: Not specifically but in general, when you are competing and working with someone that has a little explosion, is that kind of test to scale off and then go over and sit down and iron it out? Is that just kind of how things go in terms of things bubble up and then you move on?
A: Yeah I mean it’s nothing, it’s just football. Just football. Bring two competitive people and it’s just the way it goes.
Q: Were you frustrated today?
A: I wish we scored every time we touched the ball. You know, scored touchdowns every possession. I thought they played pretty good on defense and they did a good job. It’s a new defense, a new scheme, new players and you just have to learn and adjust and try and get the win. Any time you win on the road against division opponents, it’s a good win. So we have to keep it going.
Q: What about the running game today? How cool is that for the offense?
A: It was great. You know those guys have been really running great all season. It’s been a huge thing for our offense. I don’t think you can just count us dropping back 50-60 times and throw the ball, I think you really have to defend the running game. Our play actions come off of that and we have a bunch of big plays off of play action today. You have to be able to do both and we were able to do both today.
Q: That 3rd and 10 pass to James White, you hit him for three or four [yards] then pick up the first down there?
A: Yeah in the second half. That was a big play and they were kind of sitting back there a little bit soft and kind of tempting us to throw some of those underneath ones. I got James and James maybe made a miss and just barely made the first down. It was a big play, we needed that.
Q: With the three field goals in the first half then, how would you guys describe the satisfaction of the first drive of the second half and maybe how important that one was for you guys?
A: It was good, it was really good. I think any time we can anchor a field goal, touchdown, a 10 point swing at the half without them touching the ball is great. I wish it had been 14 points, seven and seven, but we did kind of take care of business there like we’re capable of and we just have to keep trying to do the right thing.
Q: How important has James Develin been to this running game? It seems as if after he comes in, things just start coming in chunks.
A: Yeah, it’s really a selfless position, fullback. It’s all dirty work and there’s no real glory and he’s not really getting the ball on carries. I definitely throw it to him, but being a lead blocker really sets the tone for an offense. I think James really embraces that role and those guys love running behind him. I think the line really appreciates a guy that takes that to heart, he really wants to do a great job on every play and James has been a great player for us.
Q: That kind of toughness, you don’t see from a lot of teams anymore.
A: Yeah, we kind of went away from a fullback for a while and then everyone else kind of went away from that and we got a fullback, and we’ll see … It’s a very valuable position and anyone that can create holes and that physical style toughness in the run game is very important.
Q: At halftime, do you go in the locker room frustrated about the red zone situation in the first half or do you go in the locker room saying, “move the ball, move your feet, we just got to finish?”
A: I think you try to evaluate on a play-by-play basis. It’s very easy to get stopped in the red zone and when they get a play, it usually stops the drive. So continuing to move forward, again, we just … it just wasn’t as good as it was capable as being, but it was good enough today. Good win.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI
On hit on Tre’Davious White…
A: First of all, I definitely want to apologize to #27. I’m not in the business of that, I mean, it was a lot of frustration and I was just really frustrated at that moment. It just happened naturally through emotions and frustration. Just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don‘t really believe in type of shots like that but, just due to frustration process and the game of football, emotions, that’s what happened.
Q: What are you frustrated by though?
A: At the top of the route. It felt like it was a big hole at the top, and then the throw was definitely… I mean, I felt like he kind of pushed me a little bit and made the play and I just don’t understand why there wasn’t a flag. It was a couple times in the game, and they’re calling me for the craziest stuff ever…and it’s crazy, like, what am I supposed to do? And then they don’t call that. It was just frustration, and that’s what happened.
Q: Would you say this is just a culmination over the past couple of games?
A: Over the past couple - seven years.
Q: Two sets of rules, Gronk? One for you and one for everybody else?
A: I don’t know. I just got to keep playing and keep playing hard.
Q: At the end of the day though, do you feel, ultimately, you can’t lose your cool like that?
A: Yeah, I can’t. That definitely could hurt the team. Obviously, it didn’t hurt the team there, but it definitely can in the future and definitely got to keep your cool.
Q: Did it put a damper on otherwise a big day for you?
A: Yeah, it was a great day, it was a great team win overall. I wouldn’t say it put a damper on it, we just got a good win. They’re a solid team, it’s always tough to play in Buffalo and we had a good team win. The defense played awesome, we ran the ball great, we did what we had to do in the throwing game and we got the win, it’s huge.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS CONERBACK STEPHON GILMORE
Q: Were you at all surprised at the reaction that Buffalo fans gave you, I heard a lot of boos when you were making plays out there?
A: Yeah I’m not surprised. You know how it is. They are fans, and they feel some type of way that I am on the Patriots, so it’s all good.
Q: You had a really nice goal line stand there at the end of the game. Did you feel like they were trying to score the touchdown on you, or that they were targeting you pretty heavily down there?
A: I mean they threw it my way three or four times in the red zone. I’m like, “They really trying to score a touchdown on me no matter how much they are down.” They’ve got a good football team, they played us tough, and they have a lot of great athletes out there so it was fun.
Q: Does this win mean anymore to you given it came against where you got your start here?
A: It was a big win for us knowing that they are in our division and in the AFC. It was a big win, 10-2 feels good.
Q: Is there some personal satisfaction though in that it came against the team that you were with last year and a front office that maybe decided that they were ready to move on from you?
A: You know that’s part of how it is and how its run. It is what it is. I know what type of player I am. They’ve got handle whatever they’ve got going and I am happy over here where I’m at.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS RUNNING BACK REX BURKHEAD
Q: Can you talk about what today meant for you?
A: It was a big win for the team. We knew coming in here it was going to be a challenge. We didn’t start off fast and we made plays that kind of ended our drives early. The second half we got it going and the offensive line did its job up front all day. They opened up some holes and just gave us some opportunities.
Q: Two straight weeks you guys are coming close to 200 yards by the half. What has allowed you and Dion [Dion Lewis] to be so productive these last couple weeks?
A: The offensive line. They’ve done a great job and James [James White] has been productive as well. Anytime that they’re battling up front, being visible, and opening up holes in the run game, it helps out other plays as well, even in the passing game. It all starts with them.
Q: Obviously we know you guys can throw the ball with Tom Brady, but how important has it been to establish the running game these past couple weeks?
A: Oh, it’s huge, because we know that’s what’s going to carry us later on in the season and in the next few games. You never know what the weather could be, especially this month and moving forward. It’s big for us, it helps our offense, and like you said, any time we can establish that it’s going to help us out.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS SAFETY DEVIN McCOURTY
Q: Early on, (the Bills) were in a position where they were trying to extend their drives, throw the ball, and convert on third downs. Was Tyrod (Taylor) a challenge early on?
A: Yeah, he always is a challenge. We know his ability to be able to escape and obviously still throw the ball down the field. I thought overall we did a pretty good job today. Anytime you play offenses that opening drive, that strip is always tough. I thought we did a good job of just continuing to play. They had some big plays like a third down scramble, but he (Taylor) was able to move around a little bit and throw another one. But Eric (Lee) dropped it out, and I think that look was a little different for him. It looked like his first read was taken and he was trying to make a play, and I thought that was key for us. Just continuing to play, then you get a turnover down near the red area. It gave us a lot of momentum. After that first drive, the game kind of settles down, we figure out what they’re trying to do. We can make simple adjustments and then go quiet, but I thought we did a good job after that.
Q: Is it possible to describe from the inside what it’s like to dominate your division the way you guys have through your entire time here?
A: I think for us it’s more of understanding what kind of game it is. Obviously we’ve won a lot, but you work for the game. This wasn’t a game where you just come out and it’s an easy, dominant game where you’re hanging out in the third quarter, you know? It was a good game. They always play tough, coming here is a hard place to play. Our division always plays us tough and we know that, so I don’t even think we look at it like that. We just know how prepared we have to be when we play within this division.
Q: Can you describe the approach defensively, and challenges if you’re going to man up against a quarterback like that?
A: It’s tough. I think some of these guys have got a good balance and mixture in there. When I just might have gone in there for the run, it’s like they don’t understand. These guys can also read defense, and they know what they’re looking at so I was trying to mix it up, give them different looks, and give them different rushers. Even in there, we had guys that were able to mix up plays and rush them off the edge. I thought we did a good job with the D-line, making it tough. Obviously when a guy goes backwards ten yards, able to run around the edge, that’s tough to stop. That’s just God-given ability, but we did a good job of trying to make it tough. And then what we did on the secondary, getting on the receivers and plastering all over the zone.
Q: Did you think it was extra special for Steph (Stephon Gilmore) to come back here and have this kind of day?
A: I guess so, I don’t know. I didn’t ask him. Obviously he played somewhere for a couple of years, and then when we got out there and got booed early in the game, you want to play well. It kind of seemed like they wanted to score a touchdown on him. A lot of balls in the end zone, and he came up probably about four or five PBU’s today, so he’s been great for us. He’s been pretty steady, going out there and playing guys tough with man-to-man coverage. We needed that today.
Q: You’ve had to cover Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) in practice. Is he uncoverable one-on-one?
A: No, it’s easy in practice, it’s just hard in the game. No, he’s a great player. It’s not easy in practice, it’s not easy in the spring or in the summer. You’ve got to come ready to go against him. The cool thing for us is that we get used to him, so we start trying to grab and pull. There’s no refs in practice. I’m sure Tom (Brady) will tell you we hold him all the time.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.