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Postgame chatter

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff  September 15, 2009 12:54 AM

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick

BB: Well, that was an exciting game — got that one going. It was a great effort by our team. I’m really proud of the players; not that we played our best, but we hung in there. We kept playing, down by 11 with four or five minutes to go in the game and we came back and made the plays we had to make to win. We certainly don’t want to put ourselves in that position very often. That’s not what we’re trying to do. But whatever it was they dealt with it and made some smart plays at the end. I wish we would have played like that earlier in the game. But give Buffalo credit. That’s a good football team. They played extremely well tonight. My hat’s off to their effort. It really just came down to a few plays at the end of the game and we made them. They were big plays: turnovers, touchdown passes, conversions, you know, all that stuff and we didn’t do it earlier. So that was definitely part of the problem. [We have a] quick turnaround down at the Jets this week — division game on the road. So we’re going to have to get ready here in a hurry, put this one behind us, learn from it, correct some mistakes and get ready to play the Jets. Obviously, they had a big win yesterday against Houston so it looks like they got it rolling pretty good down there. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Q: With 2:06 to go, when you’re kicking off, was there much of a decision to kickoff as opposed to the onside kick?

BB:
We had three timeouts and at 2:06 we might have had the two minute warning depending on how much time — say if it would have been a touchback — then we would have had three timeouts plus a two minute warning. It could have gone either way, but we picked the deep there.

Q: Is that rare to see a kicker to go diving in for a fumble like that?

BB:
Not Steve [Gostkowski]. He’s a pretty tough kid.

Q: Any update on Jerod Mayo at all?

BB:
No, I wish I had one for you. I really do.

Q: You don’t know or you don’t have one to give?

BB:
I don’t have one.

Q: Thoughts on Tom Brady today?

BB:
I think offensively and defensively we did some things well [and] we did some other things not so well. I’ll have to look at the film, but I’m sure that’s true for all the players out there. There were things that were good then there were other things that weren’t so good. I’m glad we made the plays we made at the end of the game – that’s the important thing.

Q: Did the Bills change their coverage late? It seemed like the Benjamin Watson touchdowns came down the seam? Was there something that they changed that you adjusted to?

BB:
No, they basically played two main coverages the whole game. They gave a couple change-ups in there, but they basically played split-safety coverage against us. Fortunately, we were able to beat it.

Q: Were you more conservative with Tom Brady’s first game back?

BB:
No, we were trying to move the ball and score. No. We were trying to move the ball. We were trying to score.

Q: I meant game-long?

BB:
That’s what I’m saying.

Q: What are your thoughts on Benjamin Watson’s second touchdown catch?

BB:
You know I didn’t really get a good look at it. I couldn’t tell. I guess they reviewed it upstairs. I’m sure you guys saw it better than I did. With my eyesight, I just saw the fans cheering so I knew that was good.

Q: Was there anything you did differently on special teams, did you give any special instructions before the script?

BB:
We got the fumble out on the previous kickoff, we just didn’t get it. But sure, that’s a situation where at the end of the game when you’re behind you’re always looking to pull the ball out. It was a heads up play. Did [Brandon] Meriweather get it? I couldn’t tell, but we were pulling at it in there and fortunately we got it out.

Q: Is this one of the wins you are really proud of for your team?

BB:
Look, I’m proud of every win. I’m proud of every win. It’s hard to win in this league. Every team’s got good coaches, they got good players, they work hard, they practice hard and if you’re not ready to play you won’t win in this league. I don’t care who it’s against or where it is. I’m proud of this win. I’m proud of all of them. But this was kind of like the – going back to ’01, we were down by 10 against Oakland, down by 10 or 11, I think 11, against San Diego – similar, middle of fourth quarter, down by a couple scores and we were able to come back and win those games. This kind of reminded me of that. Both [of] those were at home, too. But that’s not exactly the way you draw them up, but we will take the results.

QB Tom Brady

Q: That was a squeaker but you were able to pull it out.

TB:
Yeah we did. That was as close as it gets. There were a lot of situational plays that we needed at the end that we made, and had we not made them, we probably would not have won. But we put ourselves in that position. There were plenty of things we’re going to need to improve on and learn from, come in and watch the film and get started – after an emotional game – get started on the Jets.

Q: You threw two touchdown passes in 1:10. Did doubt ever creep into your mind?

TB:
Not for me. Not at all. I just felt… you know, we had three timeouts with 5:34 left or whatever it was and I was thinking if we can get down the field before that two minute warning, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on them. There were some great plays the receivers made. We threw it so much tonight. The O-line protected great. But we just made enough plays in the end. We’re going to learn from it and we’re excited we won. We played a good opponent, a very tough opponent that we always play very tough, but it was great to get the win.

Q: Did something just click in the second half that made you feel more in rhythm?

TB:
Well, I felt good all night. We were just off in the first half. The plays that we needed to make – we had a couple fourth downs we missed, we had a third down we missed, two chances in the red area that we were 0-for-2 in the red area, the interception – those things really get you behind the eight ball, but we recovered with just a couple seconds left. Sometimes it goes like that and I’m glad we came back and won, and being down 11 with five and a half minutes left, it’s a pretty special victory.

Q: Was Benjamin Watson your primary on those two touchdown passes?

TB:
Yeah, just the coverage they played really dictated [it]. He ran two really great routes. The first one was an incredible route – great protection – and the second one was an incredible catch. It was the same play and it was the same coverage and the safety really squeezed him on the second one because he recognized it. I tried to throw it high on his back shoulder and he just went up and made a phenomenal catch, so I told him it was the best catch I’ve ever seen him make. Hopefully there’re a lot more of those in store.

Q: Was it difficult for you to maintain that check down and underneath stuff during that first drive, knowing that you were down enough you were going to need the ball back?

TB:
Sure. You know, two-minute drives are always fun for a quarterback because you’re spread out, the pass rush starts getting a little bit tired, you start getting a really good feel for the coverages. You just have to be patient and every once in a while you get one that breaks. It was a three-and-a-half-minute drive, so we had probably more time than if it were under two minutes, so we took probably a little more time than usual, but we made the plays. Guys made some incredible catches.

Q: How do you feel about the first game back?

TB:
I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad we’re moving on and I’m glad we got a win. You know, we’ll take it. We’ll learn from it and we’ve got to go get ready for a Jets team that played really well this past weekend.

Q: What were you thinking when you found out they recovered the fumble?

TB:
I was looking for my helmet.

Q: Previous to that, were you looking at tape or were you watching the big screen?

TB:
I’m not sure. I wasn’t paying attention. I saw we stopped them and then I heard the crowd and then I stood up and looked. Both teams were pointing, so I didn’t know. I grabbed my helmet and ran on there and saw Meat [Steve Gostkowksi] had the ball. That was…what a great play.

Q: Did you see the hit that Brandon Meriweather made?

TB:
He’s been doing it all training camp, so Brandon’s really a key player for us. He brings such a great energy to the defense and excitement. I get to compete against him all the time. I did for two years before he was really in there, and then now that he’s really in there, it’s fun to see him out there playing.

Q: Did you feel as comfortable as if you hadn’t missed all of last year, or did it take you a while to get comfortable?

TB:
Well I think that we didn’t play very well in the first half. We missed some pretty good opportunities. You know, the interception – that was a really bad play. You can’t do that, but you learn from them and you get focused and you concentrate on what you have to do, and you go out there and try to perform better.

Q: Because of the layoff, does that necessitate a building process for you?

TB:
I think it is, not only for me, but for all of us. We’ve all got to improve; we’ve all got to make better plays. You can’t leave it up to chance like that. There are just way too many things that if, had we not made them, we would have lost. We’ve got to find ways to play better situationally. It starts with me and taking better care of the ball and making the throws when I have guys open, making better and more efficient reads, and making more accurate throws. So we’ll put some work on that this week and hopefully we’ll go out and player better next week.

Q: What fuels your competitive fire?

TB:
Well, you know, we have a real competitive locker room and we have a real competitive team. We’ve competed all training camp against defense, we’ve competed against Brandon [Meriweather], and that’s where you really learn how to do it – out on the practice fields. When you’re in a situation like we were with 5:30 left and you’ve got to make the plays. It takes every guy on the field to really step it up. We’ve played pretty good situational football here for a long time, so hopefully we continue to do that and continue to make improvements and not leave it up to those end of the game situations like we did.

WR Randy Moss



Q: Is there a quarterback more clutch than the one that just walked away from the podium?

RM:
No man. Ya’ll seen it. I don’t have to speak on it. What else do you want me to say.?We play some great situational football and Coach Belichick puts us through it, you know, week in and week out. We started off a little slow and in a certain sense, it looked like we were trying to feel our way through it. And once we started playing a little bit more, especially after halftime, I think we settled down and really started executing our game plan.

Q: To what would you attribute the slow start?

RM:
Um, it doesn’t have anything, I mean, Tom has performed in mini-camp, developmental, preseason, so it has nothing to do with his layoff. I think it was just the first game jitters. And we had had to chance to really sit down and look at football this whole weekend, beginning with Pittsburgh, and there was a lot of bad football this weekend. And, I think it had to do with weak one jitters. Now, I’m not making an excuse, but it is what it is. I think we just had to really settle down and get to playing football the way we know how to play.

Q: Because Tom has led this team back so many times before, is there a certain confidence that it’s going to happen again?

RM:
Well, anytime you have a guy like Tom and uh, I think that the reporters here locally don’t really get to see after practice when the defense beats us up or we beat the defense up and it’s really something in the locker room that only we know what it is. And it’s something we go through every day, so we beat up on the defense, the defense beats up on the offense, you know. It’s not just one way. When we practice situational football and we go through plays like that time and time again that we just have to go out there and make plays. And I think that the second half we all made plays- the special teams, offense, defense. Then, you know, maybe the last five, six, seven minutes of the game it really showed.

Q: Overall, is the execution not where you guys wanted it?

RM:
I don’t think anybody wanted it to be there. I think that the preparation and work we put in up to this point, we expect it more, coming out in the first quarter, even the first half. Like I said, I think we just really had to settle down and get used to what’s going on out there on the field. It’s weak one, the football season’s here. And like I said, man, when you sit down and look at football all weekend, the first thing I thought of was getting my chance to come out here and play Monday night and like I said, I was a little nervous. I’m not going to sit here and lie. Me individually, I was nervous, you know, the first game of the season. So like I said, I settled down and started playing better and I’m speaking for myself, but it looked like everyone settled down definitely in the second half and we really started playing football.

Q: Randy, tonight was your 60th 100-yard game, second only to Jerry Rice. Can you talk about that accomplishment a little bit?

RM:
The main thing I can go home and hang my hat on is the victory. You know, we did some good things out there, but I think coach is really gonna give it to us Wednesday about the things we did out there. So, you take it as it comes and takes coach’s lashings, but at the same time, we can enjoy this victory.


Q: Some Bills players said Tom looked tentative at first but reverted to his old self towards the end. Can you talk about that?

RM:
I can’t speak on that, my back is turned toward Tom, so I don’t know what they see. I really don’t know, but I don’t know. I really can’t answer that. All I know is that the quarterback is out there to move the ball, distribute the ball down the field and we did that tonight.

Q: Was the short passing game tonight by design or were you just taking what they gave you?

RM:
Um, just whatever, whatever play’s called. I think that this offense is definitely multi-tasked, multi-talented. We have different players to go to different positions. Like I said , tonight was whatever play was called. It’s just where I went. I guess that’s what the outcome was, I just went short and intermediate. So, if that’s what it was; that’s what it was.

Q: Will the team have to step it up another level to beat the Jets next week?

RM:
Well, I can remember Coach [Rex] Ryan talking about he ain’t coming to kiss no rings so I think that it’s gonna be a big game. We watched them yesterday with the Houston Texans and that was a good game. They seemed like they played with a lot of energy. So, I think it’s gonna be a good game, I really do. I think we have our work cut out for us. The Jets’ defense has really picked up. They got that rookie quarterback in Sanchez…So uh, it’s gonna be a barn burner. I’m really looking forward to this game.

Q: Are you surprised by the “Kiss the rings” comment?

RM:
No, I’ve always been a fan of the Ryan brothers, so I was in Oakland with Rob [Ryan] and I played a couple times with Rex in Baltimore and I met old Buddy [Ryan]. So, I think that he really meant what he said and I think that he has a really good team backing him. So, like I said, it’s going to be a good game and it’s always a barn burner when we play a rivalry, especially in the division. And, we’ve got to go to New York and, like I said, we’ll just see what the outcome is.

Q: Were there certain adjustments you made on the last few drives? It seemed like you got Ben Watson more involved. Was that something you talked about on the sideline?

RM:
I don’t think it was the adjustments. I just think we needed to settle down and play football. Um, I don’t really want to call it the adjustments because some of the plays we were running the whole game and guys were open and we just couldn’t hit it or we dropped the ball or didn’t execute the play right. So, we just had to settle down and focus and have that tunnel vision. I remember…I think it was 5:32 left in the game and you see Tom coming off the sideline and he comes in the huddle talking about ‘we’re gonna win this game.’ And when you have a guy like that saying positive things and then going out there to make it happen, you have to have your hopes high and really think positive. From 5:32 on, everything was positive and I was really into the game. Definitely, at that time, just for the fact that…I think we were down 11 with 5:32 or something like that. So, I know it was a little late in the game for us to start playing. But, I’m just talking to Peter King in there and he said he really enjoyed the game tonight, so, like I said, I don’t think it was what people were hoping to see. I know Buffalo expected to come in and win because they played up to the five-minute mark. But when Tom came in the huddle at 5:32 and said “Guys, let’s get it going. We’re going to win this game,” everything just went positive from there.

Q: Is what amazes you about Tom is that he is so cool under pressure?

RM:
I think that over Tom’s career, he’s been coached very well here. You know, I’ve got to really commend the coaching staff. Coach Belichick, from what they’ve done from the time he’s gotten here up till now. From the 10 guys, 11 including him…when he comes in that huddle, everybody is looking up to him and want him to lead us down the field. And when you have a guy like that leading you down the field, I mean, you can’t do nothing but try to run through a brick wall for him. So, I’m happy with what we accomplished tonight, but like I said, we’ve got to get back to work on Wednesday. And there’s no telling what kind of lashing we’re gonna get, but we can take this victory and hang it up.

Patriots Locker Room

Benjamin Watson, Tight End
(On what the offense’s mindset was down the stretch)
“Same as it always is. Coach Belichick does a great job of putting us in situations where we’ve been there before and we just operated. We just tried to execute and that’s what we did.”

(On the go-ahead touchdown catch)
“It was just a post, I was just going through the middle, and [Brady] made a great throw. He put it where the defender couldn’t see it, only I had a chance at it. It was a great throw.”

(On if you have to slow the game down in that kind of situation)
“You have to, you have to slow it down. If you listen to the crowd, if you’re worried about what’s going on in the game, then you get amped up. You have to just slow it down, make it feel like practice, and go through your steps.”

(On if that’s where Brady comes in, with his ability to slow it down)
“Yeah, him, Randy [Moss], Kevin [Faulk], all these guys are leaders on our team and we’ve all been in that situation before. We’ve all been in tough games – last year, the year before, the year before – and we’re going to continue to be in tough games. It just goes down to practice, it goes down to being there before, and it goes down to just doing your job.”

Brandon Meriweather, Safety
(On the forced fumble on special teams)
“It was a great team effort. The kickoff team, we’ve been expecting turnovers all camp. It just came to a point where I got a solid lick and the rest of the team did the rest of the job.”

(On if he thought defense and special teams needed to come up big, down 11 late in the game)
“I was just thinking ‘When is this team going to actually start playing, play like we do going against each other every day, play like we do in practice.’”

Pierre Woods, Linebacker
(On Ben Watson’s two touchdown catches)
“He was great. He was huge, that’s all I can say, huge. I’m proud of him.”

(On what the linebackers’ plan was when Jerod Mayo left the game)
“There wasn’t a plan, you just have to step up. Everyone has to play. No mistakes. Correct your mistakes. If you make a mistake, hopefully you can come back and make a big play. That’s what happened and we came out with a win. That’s what we’re out here for, to win. Buffalo played a hell of a game, we just made the plays when they counted.”

(On the forced fumble on special teams)
“Huge, huge. We go through situations on special teams all the time and Brandon Meriweather made a huge hit and I just came in after him and tried to get the ball and it came out. We got the ball back for the offense. Steve Gostkowski recovered it. I can’t say more about the kicker, man. He was way back there. He was kicking the ball, he came down, and he got the ball. I don’t know how many times he’s done that before. He’s recovered the ball a couple times. But you know what? We got the win and that’s what matters.”

Stephen Neal, Offensive Line
(On the Patriot’s effort in tonight’s game)
“The one thing I can guarantee every week is that I am going to go out there and play as hard as I can. However the chips fall after that is how they fall and tonight they fell in our direction. You have to give the Bills credit because they went out there and played their tails off. ”

(On if the offensive drives stalling early on in the game frustrated the offense)
“You have to stay calm because the more crazy it gets is when the problems begin to start. If it is not working now then you have to just keep working and hope it will turn around. ”

Kevin Faulk, Running Back
(On if the team was beginning to panic when they were down with six minutes left in the game)
“We are coached in situational football and go over it every day. Pretty much every scenario coach Belichick brought up and went over came up during a game in training camp.”

(On how critical the Bills’ fumble was at the end of the game)
“You never know what would have happened if they didn’t fumble, but we caused the fumble and recovered it and the offense did what they needed to do. ”

Dan Koppen, Offensive Line
(On if the offensive drives stalling early in the game frustrated the offense)
“No not really. It’s about going out there and forgetting about the past and putting it behind you and moving on. We came in with five minutes left and said we are going to go in and score before the two-minute warning and go get the ball back and score again. We made enough plays and were able to do it, but you can’t give Buffalo enough credit for how they played tonight and fortunately we made a few more big plays then they did in the end.”

(On if he has ever seen a kicker recover the football on his own kick off)
“No I haven’t seen it before. There are a lot of crazy things that happened tonight that I haven’t seen and it was just good to get a win.”
Fred Taylor, Running Back
(On pulling out the victory)
“You have to find a way to make it happen. Overall, it was a team-effort. That’s all that matters.”

(On what winning tight games means for a team)
“Like I said, it doesn’t matter how much you win by; whether it’s pretty or ugly. You definitely want to win the game, there’s no doubt about it.”

(On whether the team comes away with confidence that they can win no matter what)
“You have to always be prepared for different situations. You never know what’s going to happen. But to have a win like this — throughout the duration of the season — you have to understand that you have to play the full game. You have to play 60 minutes. You have to have that mindset.”

Matt Light, Tackle
(On the offense’s strategy at the end of the game)
“They [Buffalo’s defense] thrive on turnovers. Their red area is one of the best in the league, so when you get down there you have to score points. We weren’t able to do that early on, but once we got into our two-minute mode, it’s the mode you have to go in. Everyone’s dialed up and they’ve got their ears pinned back and they’re ready to rock and roll. We were able to do a good job of moving the ball, getting first downs, sustaining it, utilizing the clock. We had three and a half minutes and we had to score before the two minute [warning].”

(On Tom Brady being back to lead the offense at the end of the game)
“It’s a great feeling to have that rhythm and that aspect of the game back, not that we didn’t have it last year. There were times when we had to go into two-minute mode and it was just like that, but he was out there making all the right plays and delivering the ball down field and all those guys were making huge catches. At that point, we were able to hang in there and get the job done. Both sides of the ball fought until the end and I think conditioning played a big part in that game. We were able to finish it.”

Adalius Thomas, Linebacker
(On Jerod Mayo leaving the game)
“You try to go out there and win the game for him. It’s on your mind, but that’s just a part of the game.”

(On the defense’s strategy in the game’s final minutes)
“We need the offense to score some points, score a touchdown, try to get the ball back and try to go three-and-out. They scored and then we went down there and got the ball back. That would definitely be one of the exciting ones we’ve had since the Baltimore game [in 2007].”

(On stopping the Buffalo offense at the end of the game)
“It’s about 60 minutes. There’s a small room for error and at the end of the game, you need the ball back and they fumbled the ball. You always want to get the ball back on special teams and it just happened to be our special teams that was out there. It was definitely one of the biggest plays of the game.”

Coach Dick Jauron



DJ: Certainly proud of the way a group of young guys got out there and fought for 60 minutes. It tears my heart out for them, you know, but that’s the way the game is. And you got to finish. You got to finish games in this league, particularly against teams as talented as this team is with the experience that they have. You’ve got to tip your hat to them, but just an awful feeling in that locker room.

Q: Coach, what do you tell such a young team like that when you get into that locker room?

DJ:
Just the truth. You know, the truth: they fought hard. I didn’t see anybody – I mean I don’t watch every guy and every play obviously, can’t do that – but I didn’t see anybody out there that didn’t leave it on the field. There were a lot of tired people on that field at the end of the game, a lot of tired people in that locker room. They’ll be alright, you know they’ll be alright, but it’s painful right now. But it will serve us well as we move along.

Q: (On Leodis McKelvin fighting for extra yardage and then fumbling)

DJ:
You know, we talked about that specifically. I have no problem with Leodis coming out with that ball. He’s a dynamic runner and he was trying to win a football game, ice a football game and we’ve seen him do it, he almost did it there. From the sideline it looked to me like he was making a particular effort to cover the ball, to have it covered with two hands, and somehow it came out of there. Just one of those things that happens, but I don’t have any problems with Leodis. He plays the game hard. You know, he’s a guy that could take it the distance.

Q: Could you comment on Alex Van Pelt’s play calling?

DJ:
You know, I think Alex did a terrific job. The whole staff did a terrific job, really, in preparation for this game, you know, a lot of things going on. They really came together; I thought that the team came together. I’m really proud of the young guys. I know they got beat and they had a couple penalties in there, but they play hard and they give us a chance. They give us a real chance and they are just going to get better. You know, [I’m] optimistic about the effort, but just feel disappointed in the loss tonight.

Q: (On Tom Brady and the comeback)

DJ:
Well, they had to earn it then too, you know. They’ve done it a lot. They’ve done it a lot together. They are certainly talented and they are well coached and well led on that field, too. He is the guy.

Q: (Inaudible)

DJ:
I guess the question is because it was close? Nobody gave us any chance, and we understood that coming in, but we didn’t come to lose. We didn’t come to play a close game. We came to win a game. So, you know, we are disappointed, we are just disappointed. This is a really good group of guys, so whatever happened tonight – whatever happened – we would’ve moved on, win it, lose it, we’re going to move on. You know, we believe we are going to get better, week-to-week. Good hard working guys and a number of young guys at critical spots. I just keep rolling.

Q: Got an update on Chris and Paul?

DJ:
You know, I don’t have one on Chris [Kelsay]. I know Paul [Posluszny] has a broken bone in his arm. I’m not certain how long that will keep him out. It’s not as bad as it was the first time.

QB Trent Edwards



Q: You’re up 24-13, 5:30 left; you guys are efficient on offense. What are you thinking there, 5:30 left, up 11?

TE:
Yeah, I thought we would still get the ball back and be in four-minute mode but unfortunately that’s not the way the game ended. To go from the four-minute mode to a two-minute mode, talking to your offensive linemen, it’s a big change, talking about play-calling and talking about protections, and cadences is a little bit different in terms of four-minute to two-minute [mode]. I’m obviously very frustrated, I’m very disappointed. I thought we had a great week of practice; we had 10 days to prepare for these guys. We put, I feel, all our eggs in the basket and to come up one point short is pretty disappointing right now, especially for me at this position that I’m in. There is still a lot to gain from this game; there are still a lot of positives. I’m not one to be one of those ‘moral victory’ guys after a tough loss but we need to do a good job of regrouping. We need to do a good job of taking the positives away from this game. Unfortunately, you’re up 11 and don’t win the football game with five minutes left, I’ve been in that position before. The feeling stinks, but we’ve got a new game on Sunday.

Q: Can you take us inside your helmet, as the game’s going on, whether it be well into the third quarter, you’re converting third downs, the offense is together, all the things that didn’t happen in the pre-season, all the things are starting to materialize. Your feeling as all that is transpiring?

TE:
Yeah, again it’s tough to be positive right now with those things. We’ll look at the tape tomorrow and give you a better idea, a better description of converting those third downs and moving the ball, but I really think we need to focus on how well the offensive line played tonight. I really feel like the three guys on that group that have never played in an NFL football game before to start on Monday Night Football, week one, and to play the way that they did, I’m still very, very impressed. There were times I was sitting in the pocket taking two, three, four hitches, and still no one was touching me. That’s something we can gain positively from it. A lot of the reasons we were converting on third downs, we’re seeing their pressures, we’re seeing their defenses, [we’re] prepared for their defense. The bottom line is that we have 10 days to prepare for it: we’re seeing it, we’re watching film, we’re all meeting as a group. That’s the encouraging part. The discouraging part is that we still came up short.

Q: Trent, the screen seemed like a big part of your package, can you talk about that, what you saw in that, and why that was the case?

TE:
Yeah, I’ve said all along, Fred Jackson is one of our best football players on our offensives side of the football field. We need to do a good job of getting him the ball and that’s an opportunity to get him [the ball]- it’s an easy completion, it keeps the pass rush…they’re not going to come as hard next time with the threat of a screen pass. Another area that we need to talk about is our offensive coordinator. I thought Alex Van Pelt called a great game. He got us in some formations that I felt comfortable with. He got us to some plays I felt comfortable with. It’s just a credit to him, again, this is his first NFL game, this is his first coordinating…calling plays out there, so a lot of credit goes to him. But again, one point short still stinks.

Q: Trent, was your secondary not giving you any looks to try to take advantage of your big offensive weapon in T.O. [Terrell Owens]?

TE:
Yeah, that’s another area that I need to look at, too. Give a lot of credit to their defense. They’re a well-coached, well-oiled machine on that side of the ball. Those guys are sitting back there pretty deep and a lot of times we’re going to look to the interior guys. We knew they were going to try to take away Lee [Evans] and Terrell [Owens]. It’s a chance for the interior guys to try to take advantage of those guys, getting Josh [Reed], getting Roscoe [Parrish], and getting Derek Schouman chances to do that but I need to see it on film to see where I can take my shots and when I can’t.

Q: For a guy [Terrell Owens] like that who has very high standards of himself and of his teammates, it seemed like his frustration level was very high after the game. He didn’t want to talk. Did you sense that frustration level from him after tonight?

TE:
Yeah, I’m not going to put any words in his mouth. I really feel like he’s a competitor, I’ve said that all along, and that’s rubbing off on the rest of us. That’s why we’re competing for four quarters there and having a guy like that in the locker room, on the field with us, frustrated or not, he’s still raising the level of our game so we need to feed off that. He’s obviously a big time weapon in our offense and we need to keep getting him the ball.

Bills Locker Room

Donte Whitner, Safety
(On the tough loss)
“We don’t care (about playing the Patriots tough) about that. We know what we got in this locker room. It’s tough, man. We played really, really well. We came up short. It’s tough. It’s tough. I wanted to shut everybody up who doesn’t think we are a good football team. We had our opportunity. We wanted to win, we needed a win, we had a win. We let it go and it is tough. It is only the first game but we can’t lose like this, we can’t lose these games. Eleven point lead, four minutes to go in the game and we lost it. This is hard because I know how hard these guys worked. I know how hard I worked. It is just hard to lose like this. We did exactly what we expected to do in the first three and ½ quarters. We didn’t care who was their quarterback. We have 15 more. We will be ready.”

(On has he ever had a more difficult loss)
“No. We had them.”

Shawn Nelson, Tight End
(On his touchdown)
That was something that we worked on all week and we put in because it could help us in this game.

(On the loss)
“We didn’t come out on top but I got a great feel for the game, it was my first game. I know what this game meant to this team and this organization. It is hard because we had the game in our hands and didn’t come out on top.”

Kawika Mitchell, Linebacker
(On the loss)
“It is a matter of somebody making a play. You don’t want to sit back and play soft defense but at the same time you want to protect your lead. They made more plays. Try to protect your lead, but still be aggressive. They made more plays on that drive.”

(On Brady)
“He has been in that position. That is why he is who he is. When you count it, that is when he got it done.”

Eric Wood, Guard
(On the youth of the offense)
“This loss hurts, but I’m encouraged by the way we fought. That’s the way Coach Sean Kugler talks about and that is what he wanted to bring into the room, guys who fight. That’s what we are going to do up front. The result wasn’t what we wanted but we have to build on it, learn from our mistakes and move on. ”

(On the emotion of the loss)
“It was emotional, we played our hearts out and it hurts pretty hard when you come up a little bit short. We play 16 games and this was just one game. I have seen tough losses before, and I have been a part of tough losses, but the main thing is we stick together and move on.”

Lee Evans, Wide Receiver
(On thoughts toward end of game)
“It’s a tough way to lose. A loss is a loss, but when you let them go, that makes them tougher. There was a lot of good in that game, but we have to learn how to finish them.”

(On Patriots pass coverage)
“They tried to show us different looks and do some different things. There were a lot of adjustments made during the game; it was a chess match. Our young guys up front played very well, we ran the ball effectively and we gave ourselves a chance. We can learn a lot from this game. ”

(On not being given a chance to win by media)
“We knew that it was us against everybody. If we can continue to play together like this, we’ll be fine.”

Marcus Stroud, Defensive Tackle
(On losing in last two minutes)
“We need to play the whole game. There were mistakes that were made, but we need to regroup and get ready for next week.”

(On executing their game plan)
“We did a good job. We have to give credit to them. They made plays when they needed to. They just made one more play than we did.”

(On what they take from this loss)
“What I take from that is that we have to play 60 minutes. That’s the game, we have to play from the beginning to the end. One play can beat you, and that’s what happened to us tonight.”

Leodis McKelvin, Cornerback
(On the return)
“If I ever had another chance, I would probably do the same thing. Next time I get the opportunity, I am going to hold on and make a better decision. If it happens next week I am going to do it again and you never know what will happen. I may break two and have the best game of my career. I am very disappointed. You don’t need to have turnovers at the end of the game.”

(On why he came out of the end zone)
“When I caught the ball, I didn’t know if I had two feet inbounds or if my momentum took me into the end zone. If I downed it, it may have been a safety, so I decided to bring it out.”

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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