Bengals at Patriots Postgame Quotes

BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 16, 2016

ML: I think, you know, for my summation, it's disappointing that we have a lot of things going right and doing things good, and correct and not finishing things. We continue to be our own Achilles heel, way too often. Whether it be a penalty that sets us back, or more importantly a penalty on defense, whatever it is, third down conversion. You know, it's key to a football game. You know, we got to do a better job. We got to coach it out of us and we got to just keep grinding at it. But it is disappointing and you know, when you play against teams that aren't careless with the football, you got to make every opportunity count. What we are doing offensively, Andy [Dalton] is doing a good job, taking care of the football, but we have got to start maximizing those possessions, all the time, without him getting in the panic mode. Once again, which he did a good job of today. And he continues to keep his eyes where they belong, keep the sticks moving and that's good. Defensively we've got to do a better job, we aren't executing the way need to in order to beat a good football team right now.

Q: Did you think you were getting control after half time, you scored on the first drive. It seemed it was going your way.

ML: Well, you know, again we moved the ball down the field offensively. We just got to keep driving it and going. And you know, both scores, came after third down penalties on the defense. Two of our three scores that way, so until the end.

Q: The momentum shift obviously after the safety, it seemed like that 5 minute window beginning with that play, really turned things.

ML: I can't remember exactly the sequence of things.

*Q: What made you decide to pull Cedric [Ogbuehi] from the game? *

ML: Felt like he needed to settle down and you know, we had to pay a penalty. He had to settle down and got Eric [Winston] in there to settle things down a bit.

Q: What allowed [Rob] Gronkowski to get so open?

ML: We didn't do a very good job covering him.

Q: Obviously, part of your plan was coming in and paying attention to him.

ML: Oh yeah.

Q: You mentioned the third-down penalties. I know that is never ideal, but it seems like with a team like this at home, it gives them extra chances.

ML: Right, and then we get the illegal contact in the first half, we get the holding penalty later. You don't want to give them extra chances. You know, and we got the ball defended. So, we got to do a better job. And you can't be careless, at any point and understand that, you know. That's part of the NFL and doing it right all the time.

Q: Did you get a sense of frustration, on behalf of your guys, in the fourth quarter there?

ML: Well, I think both these teams seemed a little frustrated, so I don't know if it was necessarily our guys.

Q: After that safety, their two drives, I think nine plays and 121 yards, in less than four minutes. You were just on your heels after that…

ML: Yeah, I know we dropped a tight end down the field, which was a big play, after that. If that's when that was in the sequence. You know, I think they ended up scoring back to the flat later. You know, you can't do those things. That was a 60-yard drive, plus 70-yard drive maybe, in that situation. From what, I remember.

Q: Did [Tom] Brady's return make a huge difference?

ML: Not from our standpoint. I mean, Tom's a good player. We know that.

Q: Coach, the inconsistency of the effort…

ML: There wasn't inconsistency of effort, that was inconsistency of getting things executed and done. Got to do a better job. That's part of winning and losing.

Q: Can this be a building point going forward given how you have played two-and-a-half quarters of this game?

ML: Well, we've got to continue to coach harder, coach better, get guys to play better. You know, whatever point that comes from, whatever spurs us forward, we've got to do it now because we've kind of put our backs up against the wall here.

Q: Calculated gamble, on fourth down, on the goal line there…

ML: You go for it to score a touchdown.

Q: In any game with Tom Brady, do you feel like you have to score a touchdown?

ML: Nah, I feel like I'm to go for it with at any point, against anybody, anytime. I'm going to go for it inside the 1-yard line. You know, early in the football game, particularly. We ended up scoring the touchdown after that because of field position. You know, that's the other side of things, you have the opportunity to stop them, get field position and then continue to drive the football again.

Q: Most of the game you played better than the final score indicated. Does that matter at all to you?

ML: It doesn't. Because it is disappointing that, you know, we don't play the entire game that way. That you take that handful of 70 plays and that gets you beat. But 70 plays can get beaten, those 70 plays end up going for 200 yards likely and end up making three touchdowns.

Q: Do you see making offensive line changes?

ML: I'm not going to make any comment here on that stuff.

Q: Are you as disappointed now, as you've been?

ML: Well, it's disappointing because we came in here to win the football game. And we had opportunities to win the football game. Opportunities in the first quarter, the second quarter, the third quarter and the fourth quarter still and we didn't win it.

BENGALS QUARTERBACK ANDY DALTON

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 16, 2016

Q: It seemed like you had the Patriots kind of right where you wanted them there in the middle of the third quarter. Are you able to kind of put a finger on how it got out of control a little bit?

AD: Yeah, we had the safety and then they went down and scored right after that. It shouldn't have been that way. We should have had I guess, 21 [points] at that point. We were down there on the 1-yard line and weren't able to get it in, so yeah, then they took advantage of the safety and then they scored afterward. We weren't able to do much after that so, they just took advantage of the opportunity.

Q: When you guys did not get in on the fourth-and-1 in that series, can you describe what you remember about that series?

AD: Yeah, they stopped us. I think that's what it came down to.

Q: You obviously checked to the fade to A.J. Green there – that's a matchup that you'll take all day I imagine. That's the reason behind that check?

AD: Yeah, we had the one-on-one and the guy made a good play.

Q: What might your reason be for optimism at 2-4 at this point?

AD: [We] have a lot of the season left and we've got to get back on track this week. We've got to take this thing and try to get to 3-4 and then we'll move from there.

Q: You guys have lost six of the last seven against the Patriots. What is it about this organization that's been tough for you guys?

AD: They're a team that plays really well. I think they're just a really good team and they've been a good team for a long time. They're sound in everything that they do. They've got a really good quarterback and that's a big part of it too. I think that's just why they've been so good is because they're just so sound everywhere.

Q: It seemed like after the safety it really ignited Tom Brady and their offense. Do you have anything to say about that as a counterpart?

AD: They had momentum at that point and they took advantage of it.

Q: What did you see on the safety? The guy just kind of came off a little too fast to really be able to move I guess?

AD: He kind of delayed and came on a blitz and [Don't'a Hightower] made a good play. I tried to get out of it and I couldn't.

Q: Marvin Lewis seemed really disappointed obviously after a loss, but is there anything about the way the team is playing right now…

AD: When you have chances you want to make them and you want to make the plays when you're out there and we didn't make enough of them today. That's the reason we lost.

Q: Do you feel like you guys came out with any extra energy today playing against the Patriots?

AD: Yeah, I felt like the energy was there. We knew it was going to be a good atmosphere with this being Tom's [Brady] first game back at home, so we kind of knew what to expect coming in. I thought we came out with good energy.

Q: After that sack was it possible that some of that energy kind of dissipated?

AD: It's hard to tell. Obviously, that was something that you don't want to have happen and they got momentum and I felt like we drove the ball down and had another chance, but we had to kick another field goal and stuff like that. Obviously you're going to lose a little bit of the energy when you get a sack for a safety.

Q: Do you take solace from playing as well as you did at the start of the second half because you guys were really playing very well at that point?

AD: Yeah, we felt like we were moving the ball and I felt like all game we were moving the ball, but we've got to turn it into points.

Q: Do you feel like you have to say anything to Cedric Ogbuehi? He obviously came out of the game today. He's a young guy, do you talk to him in this situation? What would you tell him?

AD: For him, he's got to focus on being the best player that he can be and that's all you can think about. Watch the film – be your hardest critic and find a way to get better. That's all that you can do and that's all that anyone should do at this point when they're watching film.

* *

BENGALS PLAYERS

* *

Karlos Dansby, Linebacker

(On whether he was frustrated with the loss)

"No, I'm not frustrated. There is a lot of football left to play. We have to buckle down and make the corrections. We have another hungry team coming into our home next week and we still have opportunities."

 

(On whether the Patriots did anything to get Rob Gronkowski open in the 2nd half)

"Without a doubt. Some of the things they did, we were anticipating them doing it in the 1st half, but they didn't do it until the 2nd half. We were out of position and we had a couple of technique errors and they got open. We know what we have to do now to finish games."

(On whether Tom Brady is the best ever)

"Do you know how many quarterbacks have played the game in fifty-one years of football? That's a long list of greats, but he's one of the greats though. I can't put him at the best ever just yet, he still has a lot of football left to play and I look forward to seeing how far he can go."

A.J. Green, Wide Receiver

(On the team dominating the play but not the score)

"I felt like we stopped ourselves. We were getting whatever we wanted, but we just weren't capitalizing in the red zone. That has been our Achilles' heel all season. We have to continue working at that."

(On the goal line stop by the Patriots)

"Yeah, that's tough. Especially when you are playing a team like that. When you have Tom Brady across the field, you need all the points you can."

 

Michael Johnson, Defensive End

(On his sack)

"It was a good play. We had a blitz planned for them and it worked."

(On the difference between the two halves)

"They capitalized on their opportunities. They had opportunities in this game and they did a better job with field position. They are a good team and you can't let them do that. They were able to do that in the second half. I just know they came out in the second half and they made some adjustments."

(On how his team played)

"I feel we can play better. We have got to keep going, it is a long season. Our best football is ahead of us. We have got to keep working as a team to make corrections."

(On the second half penalties)

We just wish today it could have been called more both ways. I know we are at New England, but it is unfortunate.  I know they [the referees] are not going to see everything."

T.J. Johnson, Center

(On coming into the game)

"It's just a role I assume every week so I have got to be ready to go in whenever my number is called and that is what happened today."

(On the team's performance)

"I think we have to go in and watch film, it is too early to tell. We've got work to do, we have got to get better."

Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback

(On the penalties on third down)

"I feel like we have to get off the field. We have to do a better job on third downs. We just have to go back to the drawing board and clean it up."

(On the game)

"I felt like we played good and we were out there and only down by 3. For the most part we have to work on finishing, I feel like this week is going to be all about finishing. Especially when you are running a tight game plan against good teams and we just have to finish."

Brandon LaFell, Wide Receiver

(On the Patriots not beating themselves)

"Hardly ever. The last two years I was here we probably beat ourselves just once in those 32 games. When you get your opportunities against this team, you have to take advantage of your opportunities and when you don't, things like this happen."

 

(On scoring against his old team)

"At the end of the day it's all about winning. The touchdown was good, but at the end of the day we wanted a win and to come up here and get one would have been great."

 

(On what he thought changed the momentum)

"The third quarter was a quick turnaround for them. They got the safety and then got points. We got the ball back and came down but settled for 3 and they got 7."

Domata Peko, Defensive Tackle

(On the game)

"I feel like we came in to today and started fast. We got after them and it was a real close game until the end of the third quarter. Then Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] got going and I think he finished with over 160 yards or something and that is way too many yards for one person to have. Especially in a week where we try and take their [Patriots] key players away. They got after us in the second half and it is very disappointing because I thought we started the game really well today. Last week Dallas kind of got after us so we knew we had to come in here and start fast. I think we did and for the first half I thought we did really well as a group. We went after Brady and got him on his back a couple times. We got a couple pressures where he was running around more than he wants to. But they made some adjustments at halftime. That's what you do during the half."

(On getting after the Quarterback)

"In the first half we were getting after him [Brady] and he was scrambling. He was throwing the ball away and that was what we were trying to do. We were trying to get pressure on him early and mess up his rhythm. They got us in the second half and it was a tough one. We just have to look forward to next week and we have the Browns coming to town. We have to bounce back and get these wins going. We were getting after him."

(On the fourth down play)

"I've been playing fullback for a while for us. There was a lot of penetration there and they just beat us off the snap. They disrupted the whole scheme we had going there. I love playing [fullback]. That is one of the things we do well here, but we have to score those points. They stuffed us there, they did a good job."

Kevin Zeitler, Guard

(On the loss)

"They [Patriots] showed why they are always in contention for everything they do. The coaches are smart they have great game plans, we have good players. We just have to get it put together. It's been a rough start, but there is still plenty of time left in the season. There have been plenty of teams that got a rough start and pulled it together. It's time for us to sit down, get things figured out and get this thing going."

(On the Patriot's goal line stance)

"That was an unfortunate situation as an offensive lineman you want to be able to punch it in. Unfortunately they [Patriots] had a good plan for our possible plays, and all the praise to them they did a good job on that."

(On the team's performance early in the game)

"I think our team did some growing. I think everyone that watched saw that there was some fire on both sides of the ball. There was some good things happening and now it is time to get back to work and figure out what the next step is."

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 16, 2016

BB: Alright, I thought we got a solid effort from our team today. It wasn't perfect but they came ready to play and we made enough plays in all three phases of the game to win and that was good. We had a lot of people contribute, a lot of people stepped up. Our special teams gave us some field position in the return game. Overall we had good field position a lot of the day. Had a couple of big stops on defense, fourth down and obviously the safety. Offensively we were able to move the ball and get it into the red area. That was big for us. We played I thought, some decent situational football at times. Obviously there are a lot of things we can improve on. Cincinnati is a good team. They gave us some problems with some of the things they did but I thought overall the coaching staff did a good job. We made some adjustments, changed up some things in the second half coverage wise which definitely helped us. It's good to get by Cincinnati with a win. Now we'll just stay in that division here again next week.

* *

Q: What was it defensively that turned things around for you guys in the second half?

BB: Well, like I said I think we made, you know, we tried to make some coverage adjustments in the secondary. Matt [Patricia], Josh [Boyer], Steve [Belichick], the players, Devin [McCourty] did a good job on that. And then obviously just a little more consistent on third-down. That helped us. Offensively we hurt ourselves in the first half. We were in a lot of long yardage situations, third-and-30 and second-and-20 and stuff like that. We need to eliminate those negative plays and keep the yardage shorter. On the flip side of it defensively when we were able to create some of those longer yardage situations. In the second half our conversions were better. The first half we got hit on a couple of them.

Q: It seems as if Dont'a Hightower is clicking on all cylinders right now. Are there any limitations to what he can do out on the field?

BB: Yeah, I mean High's [Dont'a Hightower] got a lot of skills, a lot of things he can do. He can blitz, he can rush, he can cover, he can play the run, he can run and play in coverage and he's smart. And he's smart, too. He's pretty versatile. He can handle a lot of different assignments and not only just knowing what to do but instinctively he handles those well. He's got good feel, and rush techniques, and leverage and that kind of thing. Same thing – it could be in the passing game. He's a good player and he had some big plays for us today; no question.

Q: How much of the success on defense in the second half was due to the decision to play primarily three cornerbacks?

BB: Yeah, that was part of it. We ended up putting [Eric] Rowe on [A.J.] Green and kind of changing that matchup from our nickel where we were using Pat [Patrick Chung] in there. We still used him, but using Pat in there more as kind of the third corner. But yeah, I thought Pat did a real good job on the tight ends. We got into some of those dime situations where he was really the sixth DB [defensive back] out on the field or however you want to call it, three corners, and then he was on the tight end. Again, I thought overall our coverage in the second half, we just matched it better. We played it better. We got a little more rush. Obviously we had the lead. That helped too, towards the end of the game, so some of those things fell into place for us.

Q: Can you talk about what you saw from Anthony Johnson on the play where you stuffed the Bengals rush attempt on fourth down near the goal line?

BB: I mean it was a big stop for us. We ended up giving them the ball back and then they ended up scoring the next time down, but of course any time you make a goal line stand that's a big lift for your defensive unit. We were able to dig the ball out and get a little field position when they did get it back. It was a lot of bodies down there. I'm not sure exactly how that play went down but it looked like we had a number of players that penetrated, kind of set the edge, and forced the ball back inside and just had too many guys for them.

Q: What were your thoughts on Rob Gronkowski's performance today, and in particular his taunting penalty at the end of the game?

BB: Yeah, I didn't really see that. It was on the other side of the field at the end of the game so I'm not sure exactly what happened there. But the bottom line, we need fewer of those. But you know, Rob [Gronkowski] was again a big factor in the game, a big target. [He] made a nice catch on the touchdown. I thought that was a good throw and a good catch. There wasn't much space to get the ball in. Tom [Brady] put it where they couldn't get it. Rob made a real good catch. We got them on some seam routes. We got them on some overs and we got them against man coverage two or three times. He made some big plays.

Q: In the first half what led to the Bengals being able to get enough pressure on the quarterback to disrupt some drives?

BB: I mean [Pat] Sims beat us on an inside move and then I think [Vontaze] Burfict got us on a blitz pickup. Again, look they're a good defense. They have a good front. They have a lot of good players. They got a lot of good linebackers; Burfict, [Rey] Maualuga, [Vincent] Rey, [Karlos] Dansby and then they got several guys that can rush on the front. They've got good depth at end. They've got good depth at tackle. [Geno] Atkins and [Carlos] Dunlap, I mean they're two of the most disruptive guys in the league and if your helping on them then you're not helping on somebody else. We've got to do a better job of getting open, getting the ball out and blocking them. So I'd say some of the problems we had were just team execution plays. Coaching, playing – just a little bit of everything.

PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 16, 2016

Q: What were your thoughts on the electricity in the crowd for your first game back at Gillette Stadium?

TB: Yeah, it was a great crowd. We always get great crowds, and they were into it today. I was glad we could do a lot better there in the second half and finish the game strong. We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but finished with 35 points so it was pretty good; against a good team.

Q: Rob Gronkowski finished with a career-high 162 receiving yards – what were your thoughts on his performance?

TB: Yeah, I mean he's only gotten better as he's gotten older and understood more about the game and what he needs to do to prepare himself. He just makes so many great plays. He's a big target and he makes any quarterback look good. If he's uncovered, you know he's going to get it, and there were plenty of times where he was uncovered today, but all the other guys were making plays, too. That's what makes a good offense. I said that on Wednesday. It's finding guys that are running free in the defense and we do a lot of different things to try to create that. Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] is in a lot of different places, but when his number is called, he makes the plays.

Q: You said there was some rust after last week's game – is it fair to say that the rust is gone at this point?

TB: Well I can do some things better out there and I think offensively, we can too, but it's good to be 5-1. I think we're at a decent place, so we've just got to keep stringing these games together. There's a ton of football left. It's a good defense we played today. They made it challenging on us, but we're trying to figure out what we're made of, and it was good to get going there in the second half.

Q: This seemed like a tale of two halves. You really got things going in the second half.

TB: Yeah, we played a lot better during the second half. I thought our execution was a lot better. It took us a little bit of time to figure out how to kind of get our guys open, and once we did that it was good. We got the ball to a bunch of different guys in space and made a bunch of guys miss. The running game was effective when we did it, so it was a good team win.

Q: Is this one of the best offensive units that you've had over the years?

TB: Well they're pretty – they're an exceptional group, there's no doubt about it. It's been fun to work with them. We're still building. We're only six games into the year, so there's still a lot more work to do, there's a long way to go. We'll be challenged different weeks with different things, but it was good to kind of spread the ball around a bit today. A lot of guys ended up making plays, and that's a good way to play.

Q: How much did you have to keep your own emotions in check knowing the dynamics of how many people wanted to be at the game to support you and how tough a ticket this was?

TB: I think I know how to get to that place where I need to be. You only have so much energy, and at some point you've got to cut it loose when the moment is right. It's certainly an emotional environment for football. There were a lot of people there when we ran out and they were there all game, so it was great. And it was great to win. That's what we want to do. Our job is to come out here and to be focused on what we need to do and then make a bunch of good plays and then try to beat the opponent, and we figured out a way to do that.

Q: Can you talk about James White's play, catching two touchdown passes?

TB: Yeah, he was great again. He's been such a dependable, consistent player for our team and the role that he's been has been spectacular. I can't say enough great things about James [White] as a player, as a person, as a teammate, his work ethic, his attitude. He went to Wisconsin, that's about the only thing bad about him.

Q: Given all the electricity in the stadium today, at what point does it become just another game?

TB: That's a good question – it always gets to that point. I think it's different games, it's different times. Finally, I think it's nice when your body just kind of settles in to saying, 'Wow, I've done this before.' It's different for when I was a rookie. It was different. I've been in some big games over the years, you get to the Super Bowl, things like that. Today it was, once I got out there running around, it felt like football. Again, you've just got to lock in and figure out what your job is, try to figure out what you're going to do versus the different looks, and that's what it becomes. You're not going to win because you're emotional, but I think having your attitude right mentally and physically right, ready to play, that allows you to be at your best for your teammates. It's a process to get to that point, and we were definitely there today.

Q: Can you talk about what the support from the New England fans has meant to you personally?

TB: Yeah, it has certainly – I've felt it. They've had the back of our team for just the same amount of time. Since I got here in 2000, you feel that with all the teams. You feel that with the Red Sox. It's heartbreaking when they lose like they did on Monday night. Then with the Celtics and the Bruins, and then certainly for us, we feel it every time we take the field. This is my home now; this is where my family lives. It's a great place. I love being here and I love being quarterback of this team. Hopefully I can do it for a long time.

Q: What were your thoughts on Dont'a Hightower's performance today?

TB: I get to go against him in practice every day and he's just, he's a great player. I've seen him grow from where he was at as a rookie, and then to take on a leadership role. That linebacker position is so important. Every good defense has a good middle linebacker. I've played against a lot of great ones, and Dont'a [Hightower] has been just a privilege to play with. He gets those other guys going, between he and Jamie [Collins] and the secondary; the middle of the defense with Patrick [Chung] and Devin [McCourty], Duron [Harmon] and the corners. Up front, we're figuring out a way to get to the quarterback, so we're doing a great job. It's fun to watch those guys play because I get sick of practicing against them and seeing them make plays on me, so it's nice to see them make plays on the other team.

PATRIOTS TE ROB GRONKOWSKI

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 16, 2016

Q: You had a career-high 162 receiving yards today. It seems like you're healthy and were able to go full-steam there.

RG: Yes. Good to go. It feels good to go out there and just be with the team. What's special about that is that we got the win, and that're more important for sure. It's cool that I got the career-high and everything, but most important to me is getting that win, and that was a great team win overall.

Q: Can you detail exactly what was irritating to you on the tackle by Adam Jones towards the end of the game?

RG: First off, I've got to take full responsibility on that personal foul on me. I can't be letting that happen. It's a good thing that it didn't hurt the team in this situation. I mean, we got the win, but down the road it can always hurt the team getting a personal foul. I've definitely got to be more aware of that and take responsibility on behalf for that penalty. But I mean things get a little heated and there was really nothing really even said. I was just bobbing my head I think and they gave me a personal foul.

* *

Q: Did you feel that they were trying to bait you to get a second penalty so they could get you out of the game, particularly after you got that first taunting penalty?

RG: No, I don't – they do that every game. If you watch film, they're always baiting everyone to do that. They're a tough, physical team. They're physical football players. They're big, and they hit hard. I feel like that's the style that they play, so I kind of gave into it when I got my penalty, and I've got to watch out for that, but after that, I just had to stay away. I didn't need a second one and to get thrown out of the game, so I was good. I was just clearing myself out. After we scored that one touchdown, I let everyone else celebrate. I was just clapping so I didn't get a penalty, so it is what it is.

Q: The last two weeks have been sort of breakout games for you – what do you attribute that to?

RG: Just being able to practice and being healthy and having two wheels under me and going out there and seeing all the guys work throughout the practices when I wasn't there. It makes me want to get out there, it makes me want to work hard in my rehab, which I was. I was doing everything possible to get back to where I needed to get back to. When you see the guys, when you're down and out and you're not playing and you see the guys working hard non-stop, it makes you want to work hard in rehab and get back out on the field, and then when you get back on to the field, to get back into the shape I was in at the beginning of camp. Just seeing my teammates go hard, it makes me want to go, and it makes me want to go just for myself, too. Just for the love of the game.

Q: Can you talk about the impact of the safety and the drive with you and Martellus Bennett that followed it to get the team down the field as quickly as you did?

RG: Yes, the defense played outstanding today. Dont'a Hightower played a great game and that safety he had was a huge turnaround for our team, a huge boost. Right after that safety, we went down and we scored. That's playing complementary football – defense making a huge play, getting a safety, [us] getting set up with the field yardage, field advantage, so we can go down and score, and that's what we did. That's great football right there, and that safety was definitely a spark for the whole team.

Q: What was your dance on the goal line all about after the touchdown at the end of the game?

RG: Yeah, that was a little disco dance. But just a little celebration that we scored right at the end, LeGarrette [Blount] did a great job. He just barely missed getting in on that first play and then the second one he launched himself over and got that touchdown, so it was a little celebration, staying clear from any penalties. It was just a great team win overall.

Q: How competitive are you guys on offense and how much do you push each other to be the best you can be?

RG: We're super competitive. All of the players I feel like that Coach Bill Belichick goes and gets are like super competitive players which is great because it brings the best out of everyone then. You see guys like Julian [Edelman], Danny [Amendola], Chris Hogan throughout practice, the linemen, the defense, the safeties, all of the players there – everyone goes hard every single time. It's not like someone's slacking. It's not like someone's just going through the motions. Everyone's trying to get better every single time and I don't want to be that guy they're looking at saying 'Man, everyone else is going hard. Look at Rob. He's just slacking, going through the motions.' No, I like to be a part of it. Work hard, play hard. The way you practice definitely shows in the games, too, for sure.

Q: Despite being off to a nice 5-1 start, how do you stay focused on the tasks ahead especially considering you have two tough road games coming up?

RG: Yes, every single week, week in and week out is a tough schedule in the NFL. It doesn't matter who you play, but we definitely have a big game coming up next week going away at the Steelers. I've got to say just enjoy this one for a couple of hours. I mean the game just ended so enjoy it but when the page turns tomorrow it's always focused right on to the next game. It's a one-week schedule. Every team is good and you've got to prepare fully every single week.

Q: Did you see Vontaze Burfict's low hit on Martellus Bennett, and if so, how much did that impact what happened after that?

RG: Nope. I did not see it at all. I've got to watch it now. I don't even know what play it was, so sometimes you miss, your eyes, your backs turned a lot so a lot of times you miss a lot of things that's going on backside or whatever, so I'll definitely see that in film. It didn't affect anything.

Q: When do you give Tom Brady your fashion advice?

RG: Oh man. I'm not sure if he can handle my fashion advice. I'm not ready to give it yet. One day in the future I will. You'll love it, too.

Q: How has Martellus Bennet made you a better player?

RG: Yes, he's a great player to have on the team. A super unselfish guy and this is his ninth year so he's been in the league actually two years longer than me, knows more, knows a little bit more ins-and-outs, tricks, been on a few teams, been seeing it all and it's just great having him out there. We interchange. Sometimes he's out there in the sub packages. Then the next play, next series I'm out there in the sub packages which help each other out big time. Keep our bodies fresh and it's just great working with him overall. His blocking skills, just overall he's such a complete tight end and he can do it all and it's just great going out there and learning from each other and helping each other out because both of our goals are the same. It's to get the team win and do whatever we can for the team so it's awesome having him there.

PATRIOTS PLAYERS

Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver

(On the sluggish first half)

"We felt we played good enough to win the game, but obviously we want to play better and learn from our mistakes this week. We're going to be facing a good team next week, and we want to enjoy this one today and get back to work tomorrow."

(On the turning point for the offense)

"No matter what the score is we just focus on doing our job. Coming out after the half we knew we had to focus on doing our job; we were going to play defense first then get the ball back after that and I felt like we got rolling after that."

(On Rob Gronkowski's performance)

"It was great. He runs so hard once he gets the ball; he's a great football player and he had a good day today. I know he's excited to get rolling."

(On Tom Brady's first game back at Gillette)

"He's the best. He's the best teammate, he's awesome. We were all excited to get out there today for him."

 

Martellus Bennett, Tight End

(On the chippy play)

"We were just playing football, man. It gets like that sometimes. We've got guys who don't back down from anyone and play hard throughout the whole game. That's just the way it is. We don't back down. We're not looking for trouble, but we don't walk away from trouble either."

(On whether having Tom Brady back creates a different atmosphere)

"It's just the same thing, it's not different no matter where we are – concrete, grass – we just go out there and play."

(On the sluggish start)

"I don't think it was sluggish. I thought they made some plays and we were trying to figure it out. [Our] coaches did a great job coming in and making some adjustments at halftime and we came back out and executed a little bit better. We had some penalties earlier in the game that could have put us behind the eight ball, but guys just kept chipping away."

(On Dont'a Hightower's safety)

"Hightower had a hell of a game today. I'm super excited for him. He's a guy who comes to work every week and just works hard and works his [butt] off every single week. He had a great game today so I'm super excited for him."

Malcolm Butler, Cornerback

(On the safety)

"Big momentum swing. Right before that play, Malcom Brown was saying 'We need a safety' and we actually got a safety, so it was definitely a good momentum swing. We just built off of it."

(On the battle with A.J. Green)

"A.J. [Green] is a great player, one of the best wide receivers in this league. It was an honor to play against him. I just went out there and competed."

(On his pass break up during the goal line stand, what's the key in making that kind of play)

"You know once the release comes, it's either going to be a fade or a slant. So you just got to know what's going on is all."

(On if he read anything on that play to break up the pass)

"Just got to be patient and know that the receiver can make their move. So he went outside and his eyes got big, so you have to turn around and play the football."

(On Brandon LaFell's touchdown)

"Actually, that was a good route. He released outside so I'm thinking he's going outside and he went back inside. That was a great play by [Brandon] LaFell like I said once before, earlier this week, he looked crispy. So that was a crispy route right there."

Chris Hogan, Wide Receiver

(On the offensive drive at the end of the first half)

"I was just trying to get as many yards as I could. I know that defensive pursuit is always coming so I always try to maintain ball security and hold onto it. I was looking at the end zone, that's the ultimate goal, but after that we were able to get a good drive at the end of the first half."

(On the slow start)

"It's just our tempo and making positive plays. Negative plays hurt your options. Making positive plays and moving the ball forward that's part of starting fast and putting points on the board."

(On difference in energy in this game with having Tom Brady back)

"Yes definitely. The people were really excited. It was loud and the crowd was awesome throughout the entire game and that's a huge factor in these home games."

(On what it says about the offense to put up 35 points after struggling for most of the first half)

"There are a lot of guys on this team that can make plays. We just have to keep doing a good job of taking advantage of those opportunities and getting the ball in those playmakers' hands so we can put up points."

Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver

(On Tom Brady's return)

"It was great. It was great, you know. We had him back last week and it was good to get him home. It was an electric environment out there with Tom back. It was good."

(On the safety)

"Any time the defense gets points, it's good for the team. The defense has been playing lights out. Anytime you have complementary football, you win games."

(On the touchdown before the half)

"It was good. It's last-shot mentality so you go out there and try to get some points and then try to keep the ball before the half. We were able to go out and get some points, that's the goal, and it was a good situational play."

(On the team's slow start)

"Anytime you get penalties, it's tough to overcome. It'll kill a drive, so when we were able to not get penalties, that's when we were able to execute at a better level."

Chris Long, Defensive End

(On defensive attitude)

"I think the attitude on defense is that we all got to do our jobs, doing our part and not as planned, our best assignment football, aggressive with energy. Eventually, it just took a while but we finally made a big play and helped turn the tide."

(On if he's having fun out there)

"Absolutely. It's all about winning. We work hard all week to have an opportunity to go out and win on Sunday and doing that is all that matters."

(On Hightower as a teammate)

"He's awesome. He's such a smart football player, he's really physical, he's really athletic. He creates matchup problems with people and as a teammate he's always, from day one being a new guy, he's always helped me get lined up. [He's] never too busy to answer a question or help out, so he's a selfless guy and that's why he fits right in… he's a real football player and that's the best compliment I can give someone."

Devin McCourty, DB

(On Dont'a Hightower's safety)

"Oh it was huge, you know. High stepped up a lot and making a big play like that you know he was on the side lines saying one of us had to make a play and you know to go up there and get a safety two weeks in a row to put points on the board defensively is huge."

(On Elandon Roberts stepping up)

"E. Rob. He's a small, feisty guy you know he's out there hitting everything moving so you know I think now it's what we expect you know he's not a rookie anymore he's been out there and we expect him to go out there and play fast and play at a high level and its great just to see him put in the work and to getting it done."

(On getting pushed from the secondary)

"It's huge I mean that's how were successful you know pass rushing and covering. When all those guys do well up front it makes our job a lot easier and if we can cover and give them some extra time it makes their job easier."

Elandon Roberts, LB

(On believing if he was capable earlier on in his career)

"Each day going to practice I feel like being on this level your number gets called and you have to go preform. When my number got called I went and preformed for my team. I'm not really worried about individual goals right now."

(On his defensive strategy on the goal line)

"Well you know, as linebackers we just play downhill. It was a double team on the guard and I was just going downhill to get the guard off our guy. Just playing assignment football, just doing my job, that's coming downhill.  So I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability."

(On Hightower's safety)

"That's a real big play. Anytime you can get explosive play like that, especially against a good opponent like that. That's a real good play, big momentum shift and what not. This defense is just all out there trying to make plays for each other. We are out there for each other, our coaches and it's the Patriot way and that's all we're doing."

Logan Ryan, Cornerback

(On if the thinks people don't understand how hard it is to play cornerback in the NFL)

"That's why you get a nice salary if you're a good one. I think that just shows it's a really hard position. But I mean, that's what I get paid for, that's what I get paid to do and that's what I put all the work into. Guys like Malcolm [Butler] and [Eric] Rowe and everyone else we have in there, no one said it was easy."

(On if the team is happy with how the defense is performing right now)

"Extremely happy. Five-and-one and we just defeated a good team, a hungry team that came in here today and we couldn't be any happier with where we're at."

Jabaal Sheard, Defensive Lineman

(On what he recalled about the sack that Dant'a Hightower and him had)

"It was a great job and great energy. Obviously when you're making plays, it's fun."

(On how much fun it is to watch Rob Gronkowski healthy and making plays like he did today)

"I enjoy watching the whole offense score. I enjoy watching them put up points and the energy that they have after they score, our defense feeds off of it."

(On red zone defense and how rewarding it is to see stuff they work on in practice translate to the game)

"It's something that we work on a lot. Obviously with red zone, coach is big on it and we just got to continue to improve on it. Every week red zone is a big-time play."

James White, Running Back

(On scoring two touchdowns today)

"It feels good, whenever I get the chance to help this team I want to do it. Whether it's scoring touchdowns or just getting yards, pass blocking or running the football, I'm just doing whatever I can to help this team."

(On Dont'a Hightower's safety)

"It was a huge play for us. It put the momentum back on our side and I think we kind of rode the wave the rest of the game."

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