How Did The New England Patriots React To Advancing To The AFC Championship?

3 of 5

Nov 23, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) shakes hands with members of the armed forces following a win over the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Devin McCourty

Q: What’s your emotion after today’s game?

DM: It’s crazy, you know. Coming in to the game we knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew we were going to have to battle. I’m not going to lie we didn’t expect to come in here and be down 14-zip. This team is a fighting team. We just kept battling and kept battling and just waited for the game to turn and big plays and getting stops and then our offense taking advantage was key today. That’s what playoff football is.

Q: And how about Duron Harmon’s side?

DM: It was huge. [Duron Harmon has ] been a guy all season – he’s been ready to play. He can’t wait for the opportunity to get in there on whatever situation it is and he took advantage of knowing what was coming and going out there and making a play.

Q: You were down by 14 points not once, but twice. Does doubt ever set in?

DM: No. I mean we’ve got a veteran group. We’ve got guys that have been in crazy games. Myself, being here, we’ve been in some games where it seemed like we were out of it and you just keep playing you know. With our offense they can always put points on the board and defensively we just keep telling each other, ‘Just get a stop, just get a takeaway and get those guys the ball,’ and when we do that they put points on the board.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve had to learn – as a unit, what’s the toughest thing you’ve had to learn about how to play and what you can and can’t do?

DM: I think you’ve just got to tell yourself , ‘Go make a play on the ball.’ Now you can’t worry about where the receiver is. You can’t try to do different techniques and things that keep him away from the ball. Even if you don’t catch it now it’s just all about going and just making a play on the ball. If you get caught hitting a guy a second too early it’s going to be a flag. If you grab him it’s going to be a flag. You’ve just got to go out there and try to make a play on the ball.

Q: Do the refs talk to you and work with you guys out there like, Hey it’s close, watch this, watch that’?

DM: A little bit – sometimes I see the refs. It’s more the corners and the guys on the outside a little bit. Coming in we always know if it’s close it’s going to the offense. I think with our group that we got guys that just go out there and play. I don’t go in any game worried about any type of penalties. If they get one or two it comes with them because they’re going to make more plays and they get penalties.

Q: After Duron Harmon’s interception it appeared that the outcome was all but decided, but the Ravens got the ball back with 14 seconds. How did you guys regroup and what was your thought process during that last play?

DM: First you see the sidelines going crazy like the game’s over and all the coaches are yelling, One more play,’ and then I think it sets in – guys just focusing on the one play. This team – there’s no situation we haven’t done over and over again in practice. So that last play we’ve done a bunch of times against our offense. As soon as we took the field we knew what we had to do. Myself going up and hitting the ball was a good play but Loges [Logan Ryan] played a finish on his guy – and not look at the ball and stay with his guy – to me shows this team always being ready for situational football. You know, me hitting the ball and then Logan making sure Torrey Smith doesn’t catch it is how we won that game. So to me it’s all 11 guys all the time on the field knowing the situation and knowing how to execute what we want to do.

Q: Were you surprised you had to come back for one more play and what’s it like havingRob Gronkowski back there playing defense with you?

DM: It’s cool – it’s not many times we get to take the field with Gronk. The biggest thing is me and Duron telling him where to go and getting him lined up. Then everything after that is him just playing the ball. When the offense took the field, we don’t think about time and all that. That’s the coaches – they know what to tell us as players. We [were] still going crazy over Duron’s interception so it’s them telling us, ‘There’s this much time, we’re going to have one more play.’ They did a great job letting us know as soon as we got to the sideline.

Q: Are there any feelings about the amount of points and yards that the defense gave up as the game went on?

DM: No – you watch the film, but right now it’s all about giving ourselves a chance to come to work again. I remember my first year in the playoffs I didn’t think about that at all and we lost in the first game we played in the playoffs. Now every time I play in the playoffs all I think about is giving ourselves a chance to come to work the next day. Obviously you know around here we’ll come in and Bill [Belichick] will have everything laid out on what went wrong and what we need to do better next game. That’ll never change, but for tonight I’ll be happy that we get to come to work tomorrow.

Q: Did you get a look at Julian Edelman’s touchdown pass to Danny Amendola?

DM: Yeah – well you know Julian is a former quarterback so good thing we had him out wide so he didn’t have to look over the line of scrimmage or anything. He was able to throw a pretty good pass there.