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Tom Brady, New England Patriots players reflect on win over Saints

Patriots QB threw game-winning pass with five seconds to play

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's postgame comments (courtesy of Patriots media relations staff):

Q: When you threw the pick at the end, did you think it was over? Did you have any idea you'd get the ball back again?

TB: Well, we talked about that before the drive. We said even if we miss the fourth down play, we could still get the ball back at some point and go down and score. Our defense made a great stop. They punted the ball to the 25, 30 [yard-line] and guys made a bunch of plays there at the end. Guys made big time catches. It was just a great game.

Q: Can you describe the touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with 10 seconds left in the game?

TB: Yeah, well, we had everybody going to the end zone and he kind of snuck into the corner and I put it up there for him and he came down and made a great catch. There were a lot of great catches there at the ends. Julian [Edelman] with the seam ball to start the drive and then Austin [Collie] had a fourth-down catch. AD [Aaron Dobson] came back and caught an in-cut that was a big play. So that was great situational football and great win against a really good team. We're 5-1 and we're just grinding. Hopefully we can use this as a little bit of momentum going into next week.

Q: What does this say about your confidence in your receivers to keep going back to them, even after more dropped passes tonight?

TB: I have confidence in those guys. We're just working hard every day to try to get better. We're certainly not perfect out there. We're definitely just grinding. We're just trying to get better every day in practice and every game. These situations that come up and we're leaning from them. The receivers have done a great job. Mike Hooman [Hoomanawanui] has really stood in there and done a great job for us at the tight end spot. The backs all ran hard. It was a great all around win.

Q: What does it mean to go to a guy like Austin Collie, who literally just got here, on the final drive?

TB: He's earned the confidence of everybody, so we had a situation where we put him on the field and see what he could do and see if he could help us win a game and he did. That was a great thing and that's what we need. That's what a football teams are all about: using all 53 guys on the roster to try to move the ball down the field and get it into the end zone one way or another. Today it took is 59 minutes and 55 seconds. We needed all that time and it took all that time. Great way to finish.

Q: You spoke on Wednesday about the need for a complementary win. Was this what you were looking for?

TB: Yeah. The defense made some huge stands. They played great when they needed to, against a really good offense and a team that's been scoring a lot of points. They've been playing good all year. Offensively, we still need to do a better job getting the ball in the end zone. Like I said, there were a lot of things to improve on. It was better, but we're not quite there yet.

Q: But overall it was a very good complementary win – offense, defense and especial teams. Does that help galvanize the team a little bit?

TB: Well, winning helps galvanize everything. Losing sucks and it was a rough week. I think the thing is there's a lot of character and mental toughness and that really showed. We were down but not out. We had some momentum go our way that we didn't take advantage of and it went their way, and then we fought and overcame some odds. That's what football is about and you're going to have those over the course of a season. I was just proud of the way that we hung in there and never stopped fighting.

Q: How surprised were you to go for it on fourth down with three minutes to go?

TB: We knew we were down one and if we missed it they were hopefully going to kick a field goal like they did and then we'd have another chance. I don't think we were very discouraged. We just said, 'Look, we've got to do better and if we get it back we've got to certainly make more plays.' There was little margin for error there are the end based on the situation that we were in. Guys really made some great catches and certainly the last one was a great catch in the corner of the end zone.

Q: What does it say about the evolution of Kenbrell Thompkins as a receiver that he was the guy you went to?

[internal-link-placeholder-0]TB: He's done a great job. He's been in there a bunch and he's made a lot of plays for us this year. I think going to all those guys – Aaron made some plays, Julian made some plays, Austin made some plays, Hooman made some plays. They're all big at this point. There are no drives that aren't important and certainly no situations where things aren't important. As the game got closer to the end and the margin of error gets smaller, you've got to make better plays and that's when we were at our best.

Q: What led you to Kenbrell Thompkins on the touchdown pass? It wasn't like he was wide open.

TB: No, it was a tight throw. We sent all the guys to the end zone and at that point you're just trying to pick a side. I looked right and came back left and saw K made a move and slipped behind him and I just tried to put it back there where he could make a play. That was pretty sweet.

Q: How does tempo help with the no huddle offense?

TB: I think sometimes it helped us a little bit because we were playing fast and you can be aggressive, and sometimes when we didn't execute well, it didn't go very well. It's only as good as the execution, regardless of tempo and certainly late in the game we were going fast. We've got to make the plays when they're there, whether we're going fast or we're going slow. All those plays are important.

Q: What did you say to the team after your interception?

TB: It was a bad read. Julian was running through the defense and I put it up there and just didn't make a good throw. Everyone is a little deflated when we throw interceptions, but you've got to still bounce back. Regardless of the situation, you've got to have enough mental toughness to come through. I think our guys all believe in each other and I think we've shown that over the course of the season to get to 5-1. We've had some tough games and none of them have been easy. 5-1 is a decent record.

Q: Fans have been talking about concerns about the team, but they always are confident in having you. Is there anything you'd like to say to them?

TB: Well, we have great fans and great support. Every time we play at home the crowd gives us a huge boost. Things have been pretty good here for a long time and it's a great place to play. We're trying to go out and represent the city the best we can – all of New England. Certainly wining is important [to the] formula, too. Coach always says do well in the community and try to win some football games. Those are the two things that matter to the guys in this room

Q: In situations like this, do you go out there fully confident that you're going to go out there and pull it out, no matter how you've played to that point?

TB: I think no matter how you've played to that point, you have a situation: you have one timeout, two timeouts, three timeouts, no time outs, you're backed up. Regardless of what happens over the course of the game, you have a chance. That's what football is all about. Interestingly, the plays in the first quarter are just as important as the plays in the fourth quarter; it's just the game's not really on the line at that point. When the game is on the line, you see what guys are made of and all those guys at the receiver position made some huge plays on that last drive.

Q: Bill Belichick was saying that you have to have a short memory, especially after the late drives where there were a few drops and the interception. Do you think the young guys are developing that short memory?

TB: You have to in football. As great as a win as this is, we have to come to work tomorrow and we're on the clock against the Jets. They're going to be motivated. They lost, they're playing at home and we've already played them once. No matter what happens, you have to start working on next week. We have to learn from the things we did well and learn from the things we did poorly and try to get to 6-1. That's the goal this week.

Kyle Arrington, cornerback, on the importance of having Aqib Talib shadow Jimmy Graham:
"It's a tremendous help for us, it's a tremendous benefit for us. Aqib [Talib] is a long, rangy guy himself, so he can not only cover receivers but tight ends as well, especially the athletic tight ends."

On how things changed for the defense when Aqib Talib came out with an injury:
"It's 'next man up,' so guys had to step up. I thought we did a tremendous job of fighting all the way through. Obviously it wasn't a perfect game for us defensively but I'm proud of our guys, we fought all the way to the end."

On witnessing another game-winning drive by Tom Brady:
"It's special to have 12 (Tom Brady) on your team, just to witness that. It's just incredible, man. I was jumping for joy on the sideline when KT (Kenbrell Thompkins) made a heck of a catch and Tom, of course, (made) a heck of a throw. It was just a great game."

Austin Collie, wide receiver, on what was going through his mind when he came in late in the game:
"I think it starts with the week. I kind of had the mentality that, 'Hey, you know what, you're going to be a starter in this game.' Knowing that I wasn't but still preparing like I was, and just keeping myself in it throughout the entire game, asking questions."

On whether he has a full grasp of the offense at this point:
"No. I mean, this is a complex offense. To feel like you have a full grasp on it, that's going to take time. It takes reps."

On if catching the ball feels like muscle memory:
"Yeah. It's similar (to) routes that I've ran in the past, it's just a matter of knowing the wording, knowing the concepts. And, like I said, (wide receivers coach Chad) O'Shea has been awesome as far as reviewing with me, spending time. I know I can get annoying at times, but he puts up with it, so thanks to him I was able to go in prepared."

On what it was like being on the receiving end of Tom Brady:
"It's awesome. Obviously it's a blessing to have such a great quarterback. It makes your job a lot easier, just the trust that the last thing that I was worrying about was where the ball was going to be, because you know it's going to be right there, just because his accuracy is just spot-on. But it was awesome.

On how he's seen the Patriots come back late in games:
"Oh yeah. I've been familiar with this team, and you're never down and out. I think we all look to number 12 (Tom Brady) in certain situations like that. We look to Tom and he's not shaken, and so that kind of, I think, goes down the chain to all of us. It kind of rubs off on us, and I don't think any of us panicked. I think we always knew that we were in it and that we could come back."

Julian Edelman, wide receiver, on what was the biggest key on the game winning drive:
"Just getting it started, you know. We started it off, played with urgency – give the ball to the referee so we don't kill out the time, just play out the situation, so we were able to do that. We put ourselves in the hole, but we were able to dig ourselves out against a good team."

On if he thinks back to preseason when they worked on those situations:
"Well, you don't think about training camp. You think about Thursday, Wednesday when Coach (Bill) Belichick goes out there and says, 'You got no timeouts [and] you got to score a touchdown,' so we practice that situation a bunch and we were able to execute it this week, but like I said earlier, we put ourselves in a hole. We didn't execute in certain situations – defense kept us in the game, made some big stops, and got us the ball back and we made some plays when we had to."

On if the punt return pass to Aqib Talib was planned:
"Unfortunetely, I threw that ball by design. That was horrible football and I'm probably going to hear about that, but I probably should have kept that. Thank God Talib, being the player he is, got on top of it and took me out of the dog house a little bit."

Michael Hoomanawanui, tight end, on being more involved in the passing game:
"Whatever it takes really has been my role and my thought going into it. It kind of happens that way, so I was able to have some good catches, some key catches to keep some drives moving, so it felt good."

On if it was by design that he was more involved in the passing game):
"I guess you could say that. There are reads and checks and progressions and it happened out that way. I was just able to get a couple catches."

On how much this comeback win means for the team:
"It's huge, especially in the fashion that we did it in – just the fight in everyone and not giving up. The stands were getting a little empty, but we just kept fighting and we were able to come out with the win."

Chandler Jones, defensive end, on being a defensive player on the sideline during the final offensive possession:
"I've always been a fan of Tom [Brady], you know, working his magic and he did. That last drive he threw that pass up to K.T. [Kenbrell Thompkins], great play by those guys and we just needed to keep going."

On stopping the Saints offense twice to get the ball back to the Patriots' offense:
"We just did a good job of executing our game plan. It was late in the game and we knew they wanted to run the ball and they tried to run the ball and we did a good job of stopping them and getting the ball back to Tom [Brady]."

On if each side of the ball, offense and defense, feels confident in one another:
"I feel like we play for each other; the defense plays for the offense, offense plays for the defense and special teams and so forth. We play as one and we are one and we're just going to keep going."

On if this game and win can be a tone setter for the team going forward:
"We go into the game with the same mentality just to win, not to boost confidence or to get ahead of ourselves. We just take it a week at a time and attack next week."

Devin McCourty, defensive back, on the defense's mentality after Brady's late-game interception:
"We've got to line back up and get the ball back. That's the thing – our offense has complete faith in us that they're going to go out there and play free, and if they turn the ball over we'll get them the ball back. We have faith [that] when we get our offense the ball back with time, we'll win the game. "

On containing Jimmy Graham:
"We just went out there and played. All week, we knew. All we kept hearing was, 'Jimmy Graham', and we knew we'd just have to come in and play. We'd have to play him tough, and you don't come in and say, We just want to try to contain him.' We can't know the game plan, we've got to try to shut him down. That's the only way we'll have a chance to win this game, because if he has the types of games he's been having, we'll have no shot. It was a total team effort; Aqib [Talib] did a great job early, we had a bunch of different guys – Kyle [Arrington] had a big interception and a big play on the goal line against him, so guys stepped up and played tonight."

On whether being physical was the biggest key to slowing down Jimmy Graham:
"Yeah, I mean you've got to try to do everything. The guy is a great football player. A guy with his size and athleticism that can line up inside and outside, I think that's what makes it tough. Sometimes he puts guys that might not be used to playing inside and all, but guys did a good job tonight just stepping up and going out there and just playing football."

On how he and his teammates adjusted when Aqib Talib left with an injury:
"A lot of things happened with Aqib being – once Aqib went down. We just had to adjust, and with me playing different positions in the defense I'm able to be flexible, and I was able to move around and play a bunch of different positions tonight. When you get in these games, you can only dress a certain amount of guys. If guys go down, you might not get any reps during the week on it, but guys came in and played well when Aqib went down, and then late in the game when [Jerod] Mayo [went down], guys came in and stepped up."

Stevan Ridley, running back, on his reaction after scoring his first touchdown:
"It's been a long time since I had been in the (end) zone, so I was just happy to be there. I really was. To come out here and find the endzone not once but twice, I'm blessed and thankful and I don't take it for granted. It's another day being out here on a Sunday getting to do what I love and it's special. This team, the offensive line, the young receivers, (Tom) Brady, we played an exceptional game today."

On his return to the field:
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't (frustrating), but I just have to keep plugging away. In the grand scheme of things, I think God is teaching me patience. It's not always going to go as we want it to, but at the end of the day, He's got us in His hands so I've just got to keep pushing and keep working hard and I can't lie, I'm happy about the outcome of today's game. It's tough to watch your team play and be at home on the couch. It's a sinking feeling, so for me, I had to put myself in a position to come back out here and I'm just thankful they gave me a few plays to go out there and do what we needed to do, and we were able to pull it off."

On the final drive of the game:
"I'm going with Kenbrell Thompkins. He did his thing. KT has been exceptional since day-one when he got here and I'm happy for him. As a rookie, to make the game-winning catch, it gets no bigger. Tom is one of the best quarterbacks to play the game and he throws a pick the drive before, then comes out there and drives all the way down for the game-winning score. What more can you ask out of your leader? He put the team on his back and went out there and made the plays we needed to make. It's a team victory overall. The defense did a great job of stopping everyone and we just stuck it out for 60 minutes and played some good football when we needed to."

Kenbrell Thompkins, wide receiver, on his emotion after catching the game-winning touchdown:
"Just excitement. More excitement just for my team, not necessarily for me but for my team. I know we worked so hard, we had a tough week of practice this week and just going out there and making that play for my team definitely meant a lot for me."

On the mentality of the offense toward the end of the game:
"We just knew that it was going to come down to the last minute. Until that clock said all zeros on it, we were going to fight until the finish. And that's what we did, we just went out there and fought to the finish."

On what he thought when the offense got the ball back for the final drive:
"Just believing in this team. We were saying on the sideline the whole time that we were going to get another chance. And when we get that chance, we have to take full advantage of it."

Sebastian Vollmer, tackle on the game-winning touchdown:
"Well I was turned the other way, I didn't even see it [laughs]. All of a sudden I just heard [it]. It was exciting. I haven't seen it yet. I did hear it, yeah. So I figured it was something good."

On if he is surprised by anything Tom Brady does:
"No, (Tom Brady has) been doing this for a long time. He's one of the best, if not the best. We have trust in him and the other guys that are out there. We all have to do our best to get stuff done like this and the drive we did."

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