The common thread from the New England Patriots players and coaches was the desire for everyone to play a complete 60-minute game. The offense needed to play to the final whistle, and they did by grinding out the clock. The defense needed to play a strong game, and they did by only allowing 7 points. Special teams needed to play for great field position, and they did by blocking a field goal and playing great coverage.
Everyone on the Patriots was happy with the outcome from the game. Team captains Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, and Tom Brady spoke with the media, as did head coach Bill Belichick, and they were all thrilled with how everyone stepped up for such a crucial game.
Watch the press conferences below. I pulled out a key quote for each interview.
TE Rob Gronkowski
“What’s funny is Cooks is a lot faster than me. He caught right up to me and was like hiding behind me. I heard him at like the 2-yard line and he was like, ‘Go Rob, go!’ I had the little block and he made it into the end zone, so it was a great play by him.”
FS Devin McCourty
“I thought we competed and made them earn every yard. When you go against good teams, that’s what you have to do. We made enough plays. We played really well on third down, which we talked about always helps us when we play well on third down. And then tonight happened to be where we had to play plays on fourth down, and I thought we handled that well. That’s always a little different. You’re thinking go punt return, the offense stays and I thought guys were calm and were able to execute on fourth down, too. So, [it was] just overall everyone understanding game plan and play-in, play-out, 11 guys on the same page.”
QB Tom Brady
“Every game takes a little different turn and I thought we did a great job staying balanced tonight and we ran the ball really well, really efficiently. Guys ran hard and we really needed it. So, it was great to hand it off and see those guys rush the way they did, the way the lineman were blocking. It was a great way for our team to win.”
Head coach Bill Belichick
“I'm really proud of our football team tonight. That includes everybody; guys on the practice squad, some of the guys that were inactive and of course all of the players that played and our coaching staff. I just thought they really worked hard this week. We had a very, very productive week. I thought the players were well prepared, ready to go and played hard for 60 minutes in all three phases of the game. We had a lot of contributions from everybody. We played good complementary football.
“It wasn’t always perfect but we played hard and we competed for 60 minutes and that was off of a real good week of work. Hats off to them. The players did a great job. They went out and played as competitively as they could and tried to play a smart game, made the adjustments, some of the adjustments that they needed to make to some things that Atlanta was doing, some looks that they gave us. [It was] a really good job by our football team tonight. I’m proud of what they did.”