How Did The New England Patriots React To 17-9 Loss To Buffalo Bills?

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Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated the Patriots 17-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the New England Patriots fell to the Buffalo Bills in the regular season finale, a few players (and Bill Belichick) met with the media to discuss the game.

Here is the official transcript:

Bill Belichick

BB: I just want to apologize to everybody. I didn’t want to hold anybody up here today. I had to spend a few minutes in the training room after the game – nothing serious, just a little thing to look at with the trainers and a doctor. Like I said, I didn’t want to hold up everybody’s story and all that. This game was an opportunity for us to give some guys that haven’t had a lot of playing time an opportunity to play a little bit. You never know how that’s going to turn out in the games ahead: who we’ll need or when we’ll need them. So, get them a little game experience and we also obviously competed against a good team. It was a competitive game. We just couldn’t make enough plays, really at any point in the game – the beginning or the end, in any phase of the game to ever really take control of it or be in a position to win it. [I’m] looking forward to moving ahead this week to work on things that we need to work on. Once we find out who we’re going to play then obviously we’re looking forward to the postseason. We just have to take it as it comes, but certainly there are things that we can do this week that will help us in the long run so we’ll try to hit on some of those.

Q: Is it possible you could expand on why you had to go see the trainer?

BB: It’s no big deal. I don’t want to get into it.

Q: Did the trainer say you were OK?

BB: I’ll be all right.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the way the first team offense played with Tom Brady in there and two starters missing on the offensive line?

BB: I’d just say overall offensively we just couldn’t make enough plays. We missed some opportunities and dropped some balls, had some negative plays, penalties. [We] just didn’t really do enough in any area to consistently move the ball. We had one good field position situation that we weren’t really able to totally capitalize on. We were three-for-eight on third down in the first half, so that’s pretty much – six first downs pretty much sums it up.

Q: Just to clarify – was the training room about you or a player?

BB: No, it was me.

Q: Why is it important to keep Nick Caserio around for as long as you can?

BB: I think Nick does a great job for us. He probably does more than any other person in his position in the league in terms of his amount of responsibility, the number of different things he does on the coaching and the scouting level. He’s really a valuable guy that has great working knowledge of really everything that we do on the scouting end and the coaching end. So he’s able to really interface with everybody and not only evaluate players, but has a great understanding of our schemes and the coaches and coaching points and so forth – what would fit those, to be able to identify the type of fit that guys have coming in here, or lack of fit as the case would be, whatever it happens to be.

Q: Your team has been trailing at halftime in four of the last five games. How concerning is that to you and what do you think you can do about it to get things going?

BB: We always want to try to get off to a good start and play from ahead. That’s the goal every week. Sometimes it works out that way, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a 60-minute game. You have to be able to play for four quarters, no matter what happens early in the game, good or bad, but you always want it to be good. We’ve had times when it has been. We’ve had times when it hasn’t gone quite the way we wanted it to. [We] always have to be play 60 minutes. We’ll just keep trying to find a way to get off to a good start and finish strong.

Q: What did you think of the way Jimmy Garoppolo handled the offense in the second half?

BB: I thought Jimmy competed well. He was under some pressure. Some things were good; other things could have been better. But I thought he competed well. Some of the opportunities where he had to make plays, he made them. There are definitely some positive things there. There are also things to learn from and build on.

Q: Was the decision to sit Rob Gronkowski today an effort to keep him safe going forward?

BB: We had some guys that have played a lot of football for us. We felt like today would be an opportunity for us to have some guys who haven’t played as much to get an opportunity to play. That’s kind of the way we managed the team. We tried to create opportunities for some guys that the experience I think will benefit them going forward. Based on that, that’s how we handled the playing time and the inactives.

Q: Have you gotten a chance to plan ahead for this week? Are you looking at a normal schedule or more rest?

BB: We’ll try to figure that out a little bit tomorrow. My understanding is we should know tonight our schedule for when we’ll play our next game – not who we’ll play, but when it will be. Based on that we’ll work backwards a little bit and figure out exactly what we want to do this week, both in terms of scheduling, practice, emphasis and so forth.

Thank you. Again I apologize for any inconvenience here. I hope I’ve taken care of everything for you.