Bill Belichick's Post Game Press Conference Transcript

Ian Logue
January 14, 2013 at 12:21am ET

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Opening statement:

“Well it’s good to be able to play in the AFC championship game next week. I’m really proud of our players. I thought they worked hard all year. Today was a big win for us. The Texans are a good football team. They fought hard. They battled us all the way to the end. They’ve got a lot of good football players but fortunately we had a bunch of guys step up today and make the plays that we needed to make. It wasn’t perfect, there are certainly a lot of things we could do better. But it was a good win. I’m happy for the players. I think they really earned it. They a good week of practice. I thought they really did a good job preparing for this game and it was good to see us make enough plays here to win. We know Baltimore’s tough, we had a great game with them down there earlier in the season. We know that’ll be a battle next week but we’ll enjoy this one for a little while and then get on to the Ravens tomorrow.”

On how much the impact of losing Danny Woodhead and Rob Gronkowksi had on them:

“Well, [Michael Hoomanawanui] and Shane [Vereen] stepped in there and both did a great job for us. I mean Shane obviously made a lot of big plays, but Hooman to great job too, as he’s been doing for the last month. These kind of games you never really know when the dial spins, who it’s going to end up on in those guys were prepared. Offensively we were able to move the ball, put up some points, so it’s a credit to everybody to be ready.”

On if Rob Gronkowksi broke his arm again:

“I’m not sure.”

On if he went to the hospital…

“Look, I just walked off the field, I don’t know.”

On how big Devin McCourty was, stopping Houston on the opening kickoff from returning the kick all the way for a touchdown:

“Yeah, it was a huge play. Devin’s done that a couple of times for us. It was great speed, tracking Manning down. Obviously Manning did a great job. You know, they hadn’t used him on kickoff returns all year until last week and he led the league in Chicago. We have a lot of respect for him, we knew what he could do. We didn’t do a very good job most of the time. But that was a huge play by Devin to really end up saving three points. Our defense when in there, had a big stop on the sudden change on a big return. So that was really a huge series in the game. Didn’t get off to a good start but at least minimized the damage of three points.”

On if there were any questions whether or not Rob Gostkowski was ready to return because it’s the same injury:

“He wouldn’t have played if he wasn’t.”

On if he has any regrets and playing him being as he suffered the same injury:

“The doctors handle the medical decisions.”

On the play of Rob Ninkovich and what he means to the defense:

“I mean Rob’s been productive for us all year. He’s had a great season. His production’s right up there at the very top of the league at his position. He’s made big plays for us in the past, you know sacks, strips, fumbles, recovered fumbles, tackles for a loss, all that. You know he’s got good hands, he’s had many interceptions before and made a great play on the ball there. We blitzed from the outside, he dropped out inside, got underneath the route and really made a great catch on the ball. It was a high, tough catch but Rob’s a good athlete and he makes it look easy. Catches the ball very well. That was huge play for us, big stop and then we were able to convert that into points offensively. That was a big key play in the game for us.”

On what they did schematically to control J.J. Watt during the game:

“Well, you know I think you just have to give credit to the guys up front. It’s not about X’s and O’s, somebody’s got block ‘em, whether it was Dan [Connolly] or [Ryan Wendell] or Logan [Mankins]. Of course he moves around a little bit and when they stunt, he can end up out there on the tackles too, Sebastian [Vollmer] had him a bunch. I mean whoever has to block him just has to block him. You know, they run games and they him around a little bit and he’s a great football player. But the credit goes to the players. You don’t block him on the chalkboard. You’ve got to get out there and block him and just credit the offensive line and the backs. The backs did a good job reading the holes and getting through there. We tried not to dance around, we found some daylight and Stevan [Ridley] and Shane [Vereen] hit it and so it’s good execution in the running game there at times too.”

On Tom Brady passing Joe Montana’s playoff win record:

“Of course Tom’s meant a lot to us since he’s been here. He started winning these playoff games the first year he really got a chance to participate in them.  Tom’s a great competitor, he had a great week of preparation as he always does for every game but especially the playoff games. He’s our leader and we all follow him, we all respect him and he led the team today along with a lot of other guys but he certainly did his part as he’s done many times before. [There’s] no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady.”

On the mismatches they created with Shane Vereen:

“Well, we used some different formations to try to move some people around and as Tom usually does, he finds the best matchups depending on the route in the coverage and so forth. He does a great job getting the ball to the guys that have a good opportunity to win on those routes. A lot of credit goes to Tom for finding them, but also to Shane for running good routes, catching the ball in tight coverage, running after the catch, all those things. Obviously it’s something we worked on during the week and when Tom saw matchups that he liked out there, he was able to take advantage of them.”

On the fact they matched up Aqib Talib with Andre Johnson and how big of an advantage it is a defense to have a guy that can run with an All-Pro:

“It was a great battle. It was two good football players. Johnson’s a great receiver. I mean, he’s arguably one or two of all-time - he’s tremendous. He’s big, fast, he’s got great hands, good route runner.  Aqib competed with him, every down just like he did in the first half of the first game. That’s two good football players and that’s battle. We didn’t give him a lot of help. Johnson caught a few, but Aqib battled him pretty well there.  So it was a good match up.”

On the fact they were able to do a good job stopping them on third down:

“We had them in some long yardage situations, which are good that we had them in the third quarter in a couple of long yardage situations before Rob’s interception to let them off the hook. But third-down starts on first and second down and it just comes down to team defense. Good pass rush, good coverage and keeping the yardage longer by playing better on first and second down.  I thought we did a good job in the running game until we got to that last drive in the second quarter.  [Arian] Foster hit a couple runs there to the weak side in the score before the half but because we were able to hold off a few of those runs that put them in some third long situations, but it was good team defense. I don’t think it’s any one guy. But third-down is obviously critical for us and our red area stop was big too.”

On the difference between Arian Foster and Ray Rice:

“Well, they’re both great backs. They’re both great backs. I mean, Foster’s really, he’s fast, he’s really fast. Not that Rice isn’t, I mean we’ve seen Rice unfortunately, we’ve seen the back of his jersey a couple of times.  Foster really does a good job of hitting the crease and he gains a lot of yards just on his speed running away from people - similar to Chris Johnson. I’m not saying that fast, but that type of guy. So they’re different…they’re different.  They’re both good.”

On the fact they relied on Wes Welker early in the game and on his catch on the sideline:

“Yeah, it was a great catch. You know, Wes – he’s tremendous receiver, great competitor. We felt like at times there was a good match up with him in the slot and he did a good job in there. Again, Tom made some good throws and Wes is tough to cover. Tom had some good weapons to work with and he was able to move the ball around and get it to a bunch of them. We had good balance offensively overall. It was pretty good.”

On how much he looks forward to going up against Ed Reed:

“I don’t look forward to it at all. I’m glad were playing him, let’s put it that way. Ed’s a great football player. The Ravens have an obviously outstanding team - defense, special teams, offense, they’re good all the way around, very well coached. We thought that they were as tough as anybody we’ve played all year. We had a great game with them down there at the beginning of the season and so now it comes back to a rematch of last year’s AFC championship game. We know it will be tough and hopefully we can play our best game next week.”

On the Foster challenge and the fact it looked like his elbow was down:

“It sure did. But it wasn’t short. I thought we had the ball out there in the third quarter on that fumble and they ruled forward progress, so we couldn’t challenge the play. They ruled him down by forward progress. That was a tough call. Then the fourth down call which we were able to stop them on fourth down on the sequence, but still that was a huge play there. It looked like, I thought, when his elbow went down the ball hadn’t crossed the line but evidently they didn’t see enough evidence for that. Those were couple of calls – the one we would’ve challenged but we couldn’t because it was forward progress. And then the touchdown catch, the official right on the spot thought the ball was moving and called incomplete and then that one got overturned so you’d have to ask officials exactly what they saw. I think it’s kind of what we saw.”

On his thoughts on seeing this playoff rivalry with Tom Brady coming in as a sixth round pick:

“I don’t know. I think right now our focus is just happy to win this game and get on to Baltimore and we can reflect on some other year some other time.”

On the fact the ravens a to come in here on an emotional high and how they’re going to match the intensity:

“Look, they’re great football team. They’re well coached, they have a lot of outstanding players, they’ve got some great veteran players. They’ve got guys that can score, guys that can rush, guys that can defend, guys that can return, guys that can cover. I mean look, that’s why they’re here. If you’re playing at this time of year, each game gets tougher, each game gets bigger, each game gets tougher. I think the ravens certainly showed how physically and mentally tough they were to go out there and come from behind and the Denver in a tough environment. That showed a lot of character, resiliency and toughness. Our game with them this year, our game with them last year went down to the last possession, the last play – however you want to look at it. And there are other games with them over the years that usually come down to the final possession and sometimes the final play. Even going all the way back to ’09, unfortunately not the playoff game, but the regular-season. So that’s what we’re going to prepare for this week - a tough team mentally and physically that has a lot of talent, that’s very confident. They’ve gone on the road and won so we know that they’ll, I mean I don’t think that will phase them. I we just got a go out there and play and coach better than they do and that will be a big challenge. But that’s we have to do.”