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Belichick: “Did Some Things Well; Still A Lot to Work On” and More Following Patriots Win Over Texans

The Patriots head coach met with the media to discuss the team’s performance following their 25-22 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The New England Patriots are back in the win column. Quarterback Mac Jones completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The rookie showed tremendous poise in leading the team on what would be his first game-winning drive as the Pats would come from behind to defeat the Houston Texans 25-22 at NRG Stadium.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media, both postgame on Sunday, and again on Monday morning. Here are some of the highlights from Belichick’s meets with the media:

Postgame, Sunday, October 10

(Transcribed by ASAP Sports)

Opening Statement

“It was good to come down here and win. We haven't done that in a couple years. I thought that it certainly wasn't perfect, but we battled and played better situational football than we have than some of the other games. That was a plus. Got to give a lot of credit to Josh (McDaniels), offensive coaches, offensive line. Those guys did a good job of hanging in there. I thought they really went about the challenge this week of replacing some good players in that group, and I thought they played hard, and we got some runs there to balance off the game a little bit. Defensively, we didn't have a very good first half but made a big stop there at the end of the half, so those ended up being important points. I thought the blocked punt was a key play in the game for us, even though we only got a field goal out of it, which ended up being a three-point game. I thought that was a big momentum play and thought our kicking and special teams played well. (Andre) Roberts is a tough guy, and I thought we covered well on him both on punts and kickoffs, especially kickoffs. They are good in the kicking game. They covered well against us, too. But the blocked punt really was a big play and of course Nick Folk’s field goals were obviously very important in the outcome. Yeah, just keep grinding here. Just keep trying to keep doing things better and stack good days together in our practice and preparation and continue to grind and improve here through each week of the season.”

On what the defense started to do well in the second half after being down 22-9:

“The biggest thing was third down conversions. They converted almost every third down in the first half. Penalties, we had a couple – well, one penalty on third down conversion, hit a couple slants, short yardage plays, scramble play. It was just a – not a good – not very good on third down. We got them in third down. Just didn’t win on third down. That changed in the second half. So, you know, I thought the running game, that settled down, but it was really the third down conversions that ended up being a big difference for us defensively. They did not get the time of possession, and they weren't able to sustain the drives like they did in the first half.”

On being in a game, down four starting defensive linemen:

“I was thinking about that, and I don’t think I have, other than the replacement games and all that back in the –what was that '87? But you can't count that. Ted (Karras) and James (Ferendz) gave us a lot of experience and stability inside with David (Andrews), and Justin (Herron)'s been playing tackle for us and put him over on the left side for Isaiah (Wynn) and Yodny (Cajuste) played on the right side. I'm not saying it was perfect, but I thought they battled. For the most part, Mac (Jones) had some time to throw, and we made some yards in the running game to stay balanced. They would run the ball in on the goal line so that was a good thing there, too.”

On whether knowing, in advance, of their possible absences helped [New England’s] practice strategy this week:

“Yeah. I mean, yeah. We are hopeful that Mike (Onwenu) might clear, but he didn't make it, obviously. So, hopefully we can start to get somebody back here and start to get some reinforcements, but we've just got to make sure we don't have anything else happen. It always kind of feels like you are walking the tightrope there.”

On Mac Jones’ leadership, especially on the game-winning drive:

“I mean, Mac gave it to us all day. I thought we moved the ball. I thought he made a lot of good decisions. There were some checks that he had to make that he made throughout the day, but really the last drive was a third down conversion to Hunter and then we had a couple good runs in there. But yeah, Mac's been good for us all year in terms of his leadership, his resilience, and kind of always counting on him to do the right thing, and you know, he really does it at a high level, so it's been impressive.”

On his thoughts regarding Houston’s blocked punt?

“It looked like they were in some kind of gadget punt formation, trying to I think probably get us to check into a safe look and prepare for the fake. That strategy, it takes you out of return, right. So, if you think they are going to fake it and you're just going to stand there and wait for them to run a fake and then they don't, then you just don't get any return setup. But we were able to get the call and pressure that, and we had some big guys in there so that if they did fake it, we felt like we were covered but at the same time we felt like we could pressure as well. I'm not sure exactly what happened there, but I know we had guys coming, whether it was a fake or not, and like I said, obviously they missed it there and Lawrence Guy made a great play.”

On the manner in which he and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called Sunday’s game on offense:

“We pretty much – no, we didn't make any – I mean, there were some adjustments during the game, not saying that, but they pressured us a little bit more than some other teams in the past. But we kind of expected that based on the situation. But no, we were able to pretty much run the plays that we had planned on running. We ended up being a little bit more two-back with Jakob (Johnson) – two-backs in the backfield, Jak (Jakobi Meyers) with either Damien (Harris) or Rhamondre (Stevenson) in the second half, but we have done plenty of that all year so that really wasn't a big thing. This first half was more two tight ends and one back, and a little more of more two backs and one tight end in the second half.”

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On the secondary’s performance without defensive back Jalen Mills:

“As a defense, I don't think we played very well in the first half, period, so we have to do a lot better than that. To give up two 20-play drives, giving up an 80-yard touchdown, that's not very good.”

Monday, October 11

On Week Five’s second half turn-around:

“There were some good things in the game, some things that we didn’t do as well. I thought our situational football was better in the second half, but there are a lot of things to work on. We have our work to do this week.”

On an update regarding Damien Harris (who left Sunday’s game with a rib injury):

“No update, yet”

On whether a comeback [like yesterday’s] can be a building point for an offense moving forward:

“Sure..any time you do things well, it builds your confidence. It’s important to execute in practice…but anytime you put it into a game setting, it's a different feel. There is a lot to build on, so we’ll continue to work hard and see how it goes.”

On the impact of Matt Judon on the defense:

“Matt’s an explosive player..he’s given us some big plays. Once he gains more experience in his communication, [his productivity] will only increase. He’s strong..fast..instinctive..Matt does a great job for us.”

On his reflections of the offensive line’s performance on Sunday:

“Overall as a group, they played hard. Great deal of intensity. They fought hard, competed hard. For a group that hasn’t played much, or played together much, they did a great job. That goes for each of the individual players. It wasn’t perfect, but there was more good than bad for sure.”

On the return of Jamie Collins and his play on Sunday:

“It was a good play by Jamie [yesterday] …He was unblocked up the middle. He helped us in other ways, as well. But it was good to have him back, and we’ll see how his role develops going forward.”

On turning the page to the Dallas Cowboys (in Week Six):

“We have been preparing for Houston for the past week. We are still in that mode, but we will be turning the page and prepping for them in short order. Obviously they are a good team and we have a lot of respect for them. It will be a tough challenge.”

On Jake Bailey’s prowess as a potential back-up kicker:

(During pregame warmups on Sunday, Bailey hit a 60-yard field goal)

“Jake is a dual specialist, and he has a great skill set…BUt NIck has kicked well for us, and I can’t imagine putting Jack in there over Nick, but if something happens, he’d be our choice. He would be our backup place kicker…Jake has shown the ability to kick the ball off the ground as well as punt it, and the same would happen on the other side…If something were to happen to Jack, Nick would have to back him up in the punting game.”