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EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back James White #28 of the New England Patriots is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

On Sunday, the Patriots picked up their first win of the 2021 season, beating the Jets 25-6 in New Jersey. Here’s a look at how the team reacted to the game afterwards.

 

  • Head coach Bill Belichick

    Belichick’s opening statement:

    “Proud of our football team today. I thought these guys came back and really worked hard all week, and I thought we made some improvement from what we did last week. Still obviously have a way to go, a lot of things we can do better, but I thought we did a lot of things better than we did them last week. So, we just need to keep grinding, keep working, just keep stringing these days and weeks together and keep improving our football team. I thought a lot of guys stepped up, got some turnover opportunities and took advantage of those. (Zach) Wilson made some pretty impressive throws, that kid is going to be a good player – he is a good player. We had a couple big plays offensively, Damien (Harris)’s run was obviously a big one. It was good to get the ball in the endzone there in the first half. Overall we’ve just got to probably do a little better job taking advantage of our scoring opportunities. Nick (Folk) did a good job, it was kind of swirling out there, it was not the easiest day to kick and he banged through a lot of big kicks there. I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of the way they worked this week and bounced back. We have a big challenge on our hand next week with the Saints, but we’ll enjoy this one for a little while and turn the page and move on.”

    When asked about Mac Jones and the offense:

    “I think we did some good things here, we hit a few balls, but overall we’ve got to do a little better on a few third-down conversions and we had a little pressure. So, it all comes down to good team offense, it’s not just all about one guy. We’ve got to block, we’ve got to throw, catch, get open, run the ball, string good plays together. Offensively we’ve just got to string more good plays together. A little bit of the same thing last week, we had good plays we just didn’t have enough of them. We could have used a few more of them today.”

    When asked about Mac Jones helping to push the pile on the Damien Harris touchdown:

    “And (Zach) Wilson made a play on the interception. I mean those are both really competitive kids. I like Mac’s competitiveness. He brings a lot there.”

  • Quarterback Mac Jones

    On his first NFL win:

    “I think it feels good. Obviously, it’s hard to, it’s just what everyone is saying, it is hard to win in the NFL. We’ve played two games and won one and lost one, you got to take it for what it’s worth and we’ll get better. I think everybody, including anybody that’s watch the game can agree that the offense can play better, and we will. The defense did a great job creating the turnovers. We talk about it all the time, playing together, complimenting one another, offense, defense and special teams. On offense, I think we definitely feel blessed to win but at the same time you got to take it for what it’s worth and move on and try to correct the things that we need to work on.”

    Asked what the Jets did to take away deep passing opportunities:

    “I think it was just me. I can push the ball down the field more. They did kind of what we expected them to do. They obviously have a good defensive line like we said, and I can definitely just hold the ball in a good way, and maybe just move and try to make a better throw down the field on a lot of plays. I just have to watch it and see, but when you’re out there you can see it, talk about it with Josh [McDaniels] and Brian [Hoyer] and then kind of move from there. We’ll watch it and we’ll find ways to improve on that.”

    On working with James White:

    “I think just meeting him all the way back in OTAs, he’s just the man. He knows every little thing about the offense and if I ever struggle in the huddle he’s like, ‘Yep, here it is.’ He kind of knows the call too, so he helps me out so I always kind of look at him in the huddle if I’m struggling or anything like that because he’s just really a calm, cool and collected guy and he makes plays when the ball is in his hands and all our running backs do. I think James just definitely being older, he knows the system and I know that I can trust him because he’s doing the right thing 99.9 percent of the time.”

    On helping push Damien Harris into the end zone:

    “Yeah, I think we wanted to score, everybody was down there pushing, and my job is to make sure nothing bad happens and try to be by the ball, but maybe I should just stay back [laughs]. At the end of the day, just trying to get the touchdown. The offensive line created the holes and Damien made a guy miss and I kind of carried out my fake, and there he goes, kind of shot-out the back door and I was like, ‘All right, here we go.’ So, he did a good job getting it in. I thought we ran the ball hard and made improvements there.”

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 and running back Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots celebrate Harris' third quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 and running back Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots celebrate Harris’ third quarter touchdown against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

  • Running back Damien Harris

    Explaining his mentality on his touchdown run:

    “Very determined, obviously. Anytime you touch the ball, you want to get it in the box. It was a great play. Everybody was blocking their butts off. I got a lot of help from a lot of guys. Apparently, I got some help from Mac Jones, too. I’ll have to watch the film to see that. It was a great play. It was just great to have that moment with the team. Everyone was feeling the energy. Everybody was excited, so it was truly a great moment.”

    On bouncing back from the way last week’s game ended:

    “First and foremost, we got our first win of the season. Everyone is excited about that. That’s the main focus. We lost a game last week and we won the game this week. It’s what we are focused on. We have to get ready to do it again. We’re playing a tough team next week, so we have to get ready to prepare so we can hopefully win again.”

    On James White:

    “James is a guy that’s seen a lot of football and has a lot of experience. Obviously, when we are playing a team that is doing a lot of things well and giving us a little bit of trouble here and there, which they were, they were moving around (and) we had some issues getting some plays going. When you have a guy like James White who’s played in multiple Super Bowls and played big time football, obviously, it helps our team. He gives everybody else confidence. We see him going out there and making plays and we know we can go out there and make plays. He’s always encouraging other guys. James is a great guy, he’s an incredible leader, incredible teammate, incredible guy. I could stay up here and talk about him forever. He really does a lot for our team.”

  • Running back James White

    On Damien Harris’ touchdown run:

    “It was definitely was a statement for the offense and for him. Coming off last week, I know he was motivated to get back out there and to have a run like that. To finish in the end zone, I think it was great for him. Obviously, there is a lot of stuff we can correct out there, but that play was huge.”

    On Mac Jones:

    “He’s going to compete for four quarters, no matter what’s going on – good plays, bad plays. He stays motived. It’s tough being a rookie quarterback, there’s a lot is being thrown at you. That’s a tough defense we played. They’re well coached and they’re going to get after you for four quarters. He stayed locked in mentally throughout the entire game and stayed motivated no matter what was going on.”

  • Cornerback J.C. Jackson

    On his interceptions:

    “You make plays, and your teammates feed off of you, that’s what defense is all about. Don’t wait on nobody to make plays, just go out there, set the tone and hopefully your teammates feed off that.”

    On setting up returns on interceptions:

    Like Coach say, we get turnovers, we become offense. So, make the blocks, set up your teammates.”

    His thoughts on Zach Wilson:

    “Wilson’s got a strong arm. He can really zip the ball and put it anywhere, deep ball, intermediate. The guy’s pretty good.”

     

  • Safety Devin McCourty

    On the Patriots’ four turnovers:

    “It was a good job. Even last week we talked about turning the ball over. We had one with the (Jonathan) Jones interception last week, but we have to do a better job of that. Bill is always talks about winning the turnover margin and how big an indication that is on who wins the game. In order to win the turnover margin, we have to go create turnovers. We did a good job of that early in the game and that had a big impact on the game. When you can start off getting an interception on the second play, it makes it tough for the offense and what they want to do. (With) a rookie quarterback, (it’s) just adding the pressure and putting more pressure (on him). I think we did a good job of that tonight.”

    On pressuring Zach Wilson:

    “I think no matter if it’s a rookie quarterback, if you can create pressure and get to the quarterback and not allow him to go through his reads, and do the normal things, that’s tough to do. I think we did a good job of that up front making it tough. I was trying to give him different looks in the secondary. And then, J.C. (Jackson) just doing a good job being a ball hawk. The first (interception), tipping it up in the air and me tipping it back to him. On the second interception (Adrian Phillips), he’s on the roll, guys are pressuring, those are tough plays to make. We have to keep doing that no matter who we are playing at quarterback, just trying to make it hard on them.”

    On Mac Jones:

    “I’ve said it the last two weeks, Mac’s been consistent. He’s not trying to do too much, he’s not trying to be somebody that’s created by the media. He just comes in and does his job. I think he did a great job of that today and I think Damien (Harris) did a great job of knowing his team supports him and he’s our guy. He came out here and ran hard. I think anytime you see a guy fumble the ball, people are wondering if he’ll be a little cautious. He was running the ball hard. He carried four or five guys with the (offensive) line in to the end zone. I love seeing him as a veteran. The more you’re out there, the more you’re going to have bad plays. You have to forget it and move on. I thought the whole offense did a great job today. When we can play complimentary football, we can win some games.”

  • Kicker Nick Folk

    On breaking a Patriots franchise record with 32 consecutive made field goals:

    “I’ve heard [I broke the record], but doesn’t matter to me really. I’ve never been one for records, so all that credit goes to really Jake [Bailey] and Joe [Cardona] the last two years. [Special Teams Coordinator] Cam [Achord], [Special Teams Assistant] Joe [Houston] and Bill [Belichick] for believing in me. That all goes to them. I’m just lucky enough to score points.”

    On following Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri:

    “Two great kickers, legendary kickers. I’m just lucky enough to get to follow them,” Folk said. “As far as being in the same conversation, I like I said, it doesn’t necessarily matter to me. I’m just happy we got the win today. I’d like to get a lot more wins, so if we have to win 2-0 or 3-0 or score bunch extra points, I don’t care either way. I just want to win. That’s all I’m about.”

    On the conditions on the field:

    “Playing here seven years, and that was one of the toughest ones we’ve had out here. Especially, their tunnel, the right of our bench, it was pretty tricky out there.”

    On working with Joe Cardona and Jake Bailey:

    “They’re fantastic professionals. They take their job seriously, and I know holding seems kind of trivial to the people, but Jake takes it real seriously. I have a couple different holds I like, depending on winds and stuff like that, so we work on that, he asks for that all the time to get extra holding work, stuff like that. So, just being able to work with him, it’s fantastic.”