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Patriots vs Jaguars press conferences: Bill Belichick appreciates Tom Brady’s toughness, “but, we’re not talking about open-heart surgery”

This is what the Patriots were saying after the game.

The New England Patriots were excited to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars to move on to the third Super Bowl in the past four seasons. Here’s what they said after the game.

Head coach Bill Belichick

Q: Can you speak to the toughness of Tom to deal with something like that injury and then perform the way he did in the game?

“I mean, look, Tom did a great job and he’s a tough guy. We all know that, alright? But, we’re not talking about open-heart surgery here.”

Quarterback Tom Brady

Q: How would you describe the emotions of the week, starting with Wednesday when your practiced ended with the injury to the way this game ended today?

“Yeah, never had anything like it. Well, I’ve had a couple crazy injuries, but this was pretty crazy. They come up and you just deal with them, and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do on Wednesday, Wednesday night, and then Thursday wasn’t sure. And then Friday gained a little confidence and then Saturday was trying to figure out what we could do, and Sunday, try to come out here and make it happen.

“You know, we all put a lot out there. I mean, this was a little injury at the end of the day. It’s certainly a big part of what a quarterback does. I mean, I’ve had a lot worse injuries than this, but if this was on my left hand, I could [not] care less, but just based on where it was, we had to deal with it.”

Wide receiver Danny Amendola

Q: The third-and-18 situation—can you take us through that particular play? Also, can you walk us through your two touchdowns?

“The third-and-18 play, basically I think I had a little bit of an option route in the middle of the field and I saw that there was room. I had pointed out the line [to gain] before the play snap so I knew where to get to and Tom [Brady] had a laser and it was perfect.

“The two touchdowns: the first one, the go-ahead touchdown. It’s a play we’ve worked on—I scored on it a couple of times this year, I think, actually. I have a crosser in the back of the end zone and Tom reads the first whip route on the left to ‘Cookie’ [Brandon Cooks] and then if he doesn’t have it then his eyes come to me in the back. We had it and it was a zone coverage. I obviously didn’t see what happened to Cookie on the first read and then Tommy had a great ball. I knew it was coming right by that ‘backer or safety in the back. It was a great throw.”

Safety Devin McCourty

Q: Congratulations. Discuss the adjustments you had to make, particularly after Jacksonville had success early in the game.

“They had maybe one or two plays that we talk about this time of year, 16 games a play or two we know may have success but [Patriots defensive coordinator] Matt [Patricia], he said it best: it wasn’t a big adjustment game that you needed to do; it was needing to play aggressively. We needed to come off of blocks and we needed to tackle better, and we did that. That was to me the biggest change. It wasn’t really, ‘Let’s play this defense or that defense.’ We kind of stuck to our calls. To me, we just played better as a group.”

Other Quotes

“We knew we wanted to put [Corey Grant] in there and put him on the perimeter,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. “Goes our way of getting the ball outside. Obviously we had a good toss and tried to hit one earlier and tried to hit one later on to Leonard [Fournette]. We were kind of viewing that as a way to get the ball outside with Corey out there.”

The Jaguars wanted to test the edges of the Patriots defense.

“They got Grant in space several times and he hurt us on that,” Belichick said. “He hurt us on the swing pass, hurt us out in the flat. They got [Tommy] Bohanon out in the flat a couple of times, too. So, they did, I’d say, a couple of things differently in their play-action game. They did a good job on that. We could’ve, obviously, played them better but they had a good plan of attack there and got the ball into space on us and had some chunk plays – 15, 20-yard gains. It was good game planning and he’s a fast, explosive player. We gave him too much room and he made us pay for it.”

Q: When you were up 10 points, did the Super Bowl ever cross your mind?

“No, I don’t think you can, especially when playing Tom Brady and the Patriots because they’re going to score,” Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said. “They’re going to find a way to put pressure on you. We had a two-minute drive at the end of the game to win the AFC Championship so there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for than that. You got to take advantage of that and find a way to win the game.”