New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 03: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play against the New England Patriots during the second quarter in the game at Gillette Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough was going to be an intense moment, no matter what happened. The fact the game was a back-and-forth affair that came down to the final seconds only heightened the emotion of the evening.

After the game, Patriots and Buccaneers players and coaches reacted to the game itself, and the historical significance of Tom Brady once again playing in Gillette Stadium. Here’s a look back at what was said after the game.

  • Head coach Bill Belichick

    Opening Statement:

    “You know, we had our chances. Just could have done a couple things a little bit better. It would have – I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome, but we just – we just fell a little bit short. I thought our team really prepared well this week, and that’s what we’ve got to do every week and coach a little bit better and make a few more plays and start winning these close games.”

    On facing Tom Brady:

    “Look we went against Tom Brady every day, every day in practice defensively. So it’s not like we’ve ever seen Tom Brady before.”

    On Mac Jones:

    “We’re going to look at the film. Again I thought our team played competitively, and Mac is certainly a part of that. You know, we can all play better and all learn from, you know, some of the things we could have done better but Mac fought hard and made a lot of plays for us.”

    Did he consider going for it on 4th down instead of kicking the final field goal?

    “I mean, not really.”

    When asked about the Patriots’ issues with fumbles:

    “Nothing more important than ball security.”

  • Quarterback Mac Jones

    On his moment with Tom Brady after the game:

    “Yeah, after the game, got a chance to congratulate him on the win and he’s a great quarterback and yeah, he played well tonight and that’s pretty much all there was to it…He just told me to keep my head up and keep working.”

    On if he thinks the offense is ‘getting closer to the group [they] want to be’: 

    “Yeah, I do. I think we moved in the right direction. You know, we made plays and played hard the whole game and I turned the ball over. That’s one of the problems, you know, turnovers can kill you, and you know if you turn the ball over – If you don’t turn the ball over, you have a 90-something percent chance to win, and it’s just statistics but I have thought we moved the ball, passing well and the run game needs to improve and we’ll come up with ways to do that. I thought everyone fought really hard. It sucks we lost but yeah, look at it, like you said, that we’re making some progress.”

    On Devin McCourty saying he’s earned respect in the locker room and is ‘just one of the guys’:

    “I think just coming in and learning from a lot of the older guys, I have a long way to go, and I just try to put my best foot forward every day, and we all want to win. So it sucks right now, but I think we have to take it for a positive and just trust our leaders. We have great leadership on the team, and I can do a better job in practice just being vocal, getting everybody going and I think we made strides but we just have to listen to our leaders and not lose hope. We have a long season ahead and there’s a lot of work to do and we have a lot of progress to make, so we will.”

  • Safety Devin McCourty

    On facing Tom Brady:

    “In all honesty, it was just a game. I think it’s different, practice and a game. Once you get out there, it is a week of preparation. We prepared all week. I think we had some tips, we had things that we knew. We had ways we wanted to play and I think it showed up tonight. Obviously we knew coming in that they were going to make some plays but I think overall we did a decent job of executing our game plan against a good offense. Like I said if we could take back a few plays it really would have been a difference in the outcome.”

    On what he learned about this Patriots team tonight:

    “I think we are resilient, we are going to keep fighting. I think week-in and week-out we are going to put whatever happened behind us and prepare and be ready to go. And I think we showed that after not playing the way we wanted to play at all last week to come out here in a big game, ignore everything else that was going on and prepare and be ready to go. Like I said, it’s finding a way to win these games and that is going to be our next step. Obviously it is great to come out here and do a decent job but we want to win. You know, I think we look up and we are 1-3 now. We need to find a way to win these games going forward and that will be the difference in the season.”

    On the mentality of the secondary against Tampa:

    “I think any time you look on the schedule and you have got a team like this that can throw the ball up and down the field, you have got to love that challenge. I thought guys stepped up to the challenge, came out and competed well. Like you said, great energy, you need that when you are going against a good football team and against good players. I thought we showed that throughout the game. Like I said if we could get a couple plays back that we could have made I thought that would have made a difference.”

  • Cornerback Jonathan Jones

    On shadowing a receiver:

    “It’s competition. At the beginning of the week when Coach gives you an assignment, it kind of simplifies it [the game] for you. It’s you versus him and at the end of the game you can see who won by the stat sheet. You can take pride in that just as a player going out to compete.”

    On covering Antonio Brown:

    “We matched up well. Our coaching staff and players have faith in our defensive backs. Anybody we face we feel like we’re a good match up for. We were ready. They did a good job. They made enough plays to win.”

     

  • Tight end Hunter Henry

    His takeaways from the game:

    “I feel like we competed at a high level. We can see that we have a good football team. We competed with one of the best football teams in this league and they were the best team last year. We had too many mistakes, we just keep doing the same things over and over again to beat ourselves. You just can’t do that in this league – it’s just too hard to win, it’s too hard to execute. When you beat yourselves, it’s just too hard to overcome those things.”

    On Mac Jones:

    “The kid is dialed in, man. He’s continued to get better. Like Kendrick [Bourne] said, he’s super poised and handles himself tremendously. He never is down, never is too up, he stays very even keeled throughout the game and he’s only going to continue to get better. That was a big-time game right there and I feel like he handled himself like a veteran, like he’s been there before. He’s just going to continue to grow. I’m proud of how he played, how he communicated, and how he executed out there.”

    On the next steps the offense needs to take:

    “We can’t turn the ball over. We can’t commit silly penalties. We need to execute the run game a lot better. We need to run the ball and we are just not executing or communicating enough. There is a lot we need to do better at, and we will get better at it. We’ll learn from it and keep going.”

    How tough it was leaving the field for the final field goal attempt:

    “It was tough. We had Jakobi [Meyers] wide open on a route that we executed a ton. For that pass to get tipped, it was tough. I felt like we executed the 2-minute drill really well and moved the ball down the field. They made a play, and we didn’t. Credit to them, but it was definitely tough.”

  • Linebacker Matt Judon

    On what he learned about the team tonight:

    “Who we are as a defense and as much as we play, we go out there to learn about one another. Games like this, that come down to the wire early in the season, don’t help us on the back end so games like this are a hard loss. Everything that we did out there today is something we can stand on and improve on for the future.”

    On what he sees when he looks at this team:

    “I see a bunch of guys that come to work every day, willing to put the time in, willing to put the effort in and willing to learn. We sit in those seats that you all are sitting in right now and we learn, we game plan and come in here to get better. We lift, we run, we meet, we go out there and practice and do everything to the best of our ability at that day or moment so when we do go out there when you all see us, we can then perform well and get some wins. I think every day that we come back in this building, we only get better and closer as a team. I don’t think we are far off, I think we are right there and time will tell.”

  • Center David Andrews

    On Mac Jones’ performance:

    “He keeps showing he’s got some guts. It’s an honor to get to play with a guy like that. We just have to find a way to win, win a football game. He battles, he battles and he’s a tough kid.”

    If this game is a stepping stone:

    “Yeah, I think we battled, thought we showed a lot of resolve. Some turnovers, the running game definitely some things we can clean up. But I thought it was a mentally tough game. Thought we handled the week, obviously a lot of people outside of this building put a lot on this game, for the reasons they want to. Thought we did a good job trying to ignore the noise, our preparation all week. Came out with good energy, did some things well, just not enough to win.”

  • Wide Receiver Kendrick Bourne

    If the team is improving on offense:

    “Yeah, I think we definitely look better. Definitely look more together. Definitely in a better rhythm. But just still not enough. You know, we just need to figure out those little pieces, whatever is off. We’ll watch the film and see, you know, where we were off. You know, got to get rid of the turnovers. Can’t give the ball back to a guy like Tom [Brady]. You know he doesn’t need much time so yeah just stuff like that – turnovers, little mistakes, but like you said, we’re definitely close. We know we’re close, but it’s a long season and it’s not easy to do, so we’ve got to do it every week, whether it be a good team, bad team, you know, we got to do it every week consistently. So, just doing that consistently every week.”

    On Mac Jones:

    “Yeah, I kind of get the same thing from Mac [Jones] these last three weeks that I’ve said. He’s just relaxed. That’s what you want to see, like you don’t – I said it last week, you don’t want to see him in there like he’s nervous or scared and it’s not that. He’s saying the play call fluidly and feeling confident and he sounds like he’s confident and it looks like he’s confident when he goes through the plays. So it just comes down to everybody doing their part. 11 guys, right, perfect as you can each time so we don’t get a sack, we don’t get a missed pass. You know, because everybody needs to be at the right spot at the right time each and every play…he shows us he believes in us, whether we had a good play or a bad play. Mac is really good with that. You know, not treating somebody because he dropped the ball different or ran a wrong route. He’s, ‘Let’s go man. Next play,’ type mentality. That’s what I’m really impressed with him. You know, you probably got some quarterbacks that won’t go to the guy anymore because he ran the wrong route and he just doesn’t give off that energy, so I respect that.”

    On what the offense needs to do to take the next step:

    “I would just say little mistakes. Turnovers. You know, the last few weeks, we’ve been losing the turnover battle, so just taking care of the ball, you know? That’s key, you can’t have fumbles. I almost had my fumble on the Jets. Not putting the ball on the ground is key and interceptions, or whatever it may be. Like I said, giving the ball back to Tom [Brady] is tough. Anybody, you know, giving them second chances is tough. So I would say turnovers is the biggest thing for us right now and we harp on that everyday so we just got to keep it in our mind.”

  • Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers

    On the double pass:

    “That’s one of those trust plays where Coach really has to trust you to have the ball in your hands and throw it all the way across the field. That was a third-down play and I just had to go out there and make the best of it.”

    On the offense in the second half:

    “That’s Patriot rule number one, everyone doing their job. It starts with an upfront good handle on the protection, receivers running the right route, running backs doing their job, and our quarterback making the right decision. Everyone was doing their job and that’s something we talked about at halftime, just making sure no one is trying to do too much. We execute to the best of our ability, we do a job together and we showed we all clicked at the right time.”

  • Kicker Nick Folk

    On if he thought the final field goal attempt was good:

    “Yeah. When I hit it, I thought it was good…wasn’t planning it to go left. That’s the nature of the beast.”

    On if the rain played a factor:

    “No, no. We were kicking well pregame, Jake [Bailey] and Joe [Cardona] did a great job, the line did a great job all night. I hit it just about as best I could. Like I said, I thought I made it and this one is on me for this team. This one’s on me.”

    On if he was confident he could make that kick:

    “Oh 100%. Yeah, I mean we get a lot of those conditions at practice, so we work on it all the time. I think I made 58 pregame going that way, so it was 56 and I told myself, ‘hit the same ball.’ Had a slight draw to it today.”

  • Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady

    On people chanting his name:

    “I’m not surprised. I tried not to predict what was going to happen and how I would feel. Had a few emotional in the moments this week just thinking about the people that have really meant so much to me in my life and that are a part of this community. Just very grateful for an amazing time here. Like I said, my football journey took me somewhere else, but I’m really enjoying that, and great to get a win. 3-1, I know to make it about the game, but 3-1 against a really good football team tonight is what we wanted to get done.”

    On his postgame interaction with Bill Belichick:

    “Yeah, I mean, all those are personal. We got a personal relationship, you know, for 20-plus years. He drafted me here. We’ve had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way and are very private. And I would say so much is made of our relationship. You know, as I said earlier this week, from a player’s standpoint you just expect the coach to give you everything he’s got, and I’m sure as a player that’s what he was hoping from me. But nothing is really accurate that I ever see. It’s all kind of – definitely doesn’t come from my personal feelings or beliefs. I got a lot of respect for him as a coach and obviously a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here that try to make it successful.”

    On taking the field for the first time:

    “Just a lot of emotions. It was a very emotional week. Again, these guys are like my brothers, you know what I mean? There are two groups of people, all my Bucs teammates that I love and I’m going to battle with every week, and then there is another group of guys that I see, and those are my friends that I been with for a long time. Matt Slater and Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower and John and Devin [McCourty] and David Andrews and Hoyer. There is a whole crew. Josh [McDaniels]. These are the people that I’ve shared my life with. Very grateful for everything they’ve kind of contributed to my life. Very blessed.”

    On breaking the passing yards record:

    “Yep. I just think it’s amazing statistic in that so many people can share in it with me. Quarterback doesn’t throw and catch. Quarterback can just throw it. It’s yards. Passing yards have to be caught, so I just hope that everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight knowing they contributed to a very cool record. There are some people that have kind of preceded it by name, Drew Brees who I look up to, hell of a guy. Peyton Manning who is one of my all-time favorites. Brett Favre, Dan Marino. But obviously my teammates who caught all these passes over the years, mean an awful lot to me.”

    What he saw from Mac Jones:

    “He did a great job. I think that offense does a great job. Josh really dialed up some good plays, too. They kind of hit everything. I saw them coming in couple reverse passes and throwback. They did a good job. But in the end it always comes down to a couple plays. Happy we made them. Ryan [Succop] made a huge kick. He made a few big ones last year for us. I know Nick [Folk] got a good hit on that one there at the end. It just was a little bit left.”

    On it potentially being his last game at Gillette Stadium:

    “It’s been a great stadium for me for a long time. I don’t know what the future holds. Obviously could be an opportunity to come back here. We’ll see. I feel like I’ll always be a part of this community. I’ll be up here quite a bit when it’s all said and done. When I retire I’m sure there will be a lot of time for – you know, I have a lot of friends up here and it’s a great place. My kids were born on Beacon Street in the city. It’s been an amazing place for me, it still is. I obviously see a lot of familiar friendly faces, and great to see you guys, too.”

    On his emotions during the game:

    “Not nervous. Just kind of always kind of how I feel during a game. It was a little bit back and forth. Couldn’t really quite get the ball in the end zone, so that was a little bit frustrating. They just do a good job of – I think between trying to understand what they were going to do defensively and then also dealing with the weather. There of some unique challenges tonight. I thought Patriots played a great game. It’s a talented football team. They’ve got a lot of good players. They hit on a lot of plays tonight. We had a lot of penalties that kind of hurt us, but took care of the ball better and ended up being a good win.”

    On Robert Kraft saying he hopes he’ll sign a one-day contract to retire with the Patriots:

    Are you offering me a one-day contract or did he offer me that? He didn’t offer me that, so… I still got some time left with the Bucs, and like I said, really enjoying that. We got a lot to accomplish this year. It’s a tough challenging year. It’s a marathon of a season. It’s only four games in. There is a lot football to be played. It feels good to win on the road, so happy we did that. And again, appreciate all you guys. Sorry for keeping you guys late. Telling my friends here. Good luck to you guys, have a great year, and I’ll see you down the road.

  • Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians

    On getting the win in Brady’s return:

    “It wasn’t for Tom. It was for us. We ain’t losing is two in a row. We knew it’s going to be a tough game, but we’re back in the victory column. The blessing is it was nice for Tom.”

    On how Brady played:

    “Very careful. He wasn’t going to make any mistakes that cost us the game. Crunched in crunch time, the two-minute drive before the half, when we had to have field goals, he got us down the field… I think it’s very, very special for him obviously. You know, he kept it inside all week and he’s probably letting it out right now. But it was a big week for him but it was a bigger week for the team. I was very, very frustrated with everybody saying this was a quarterback and a coach. This is a team sport. The Bucs won this game. We beat the Patriots. We were losing sight that this is a team game. Everybody wanted to make this all about Brady and Belichick. I don’t think Bill played a snap. He had 22 guys out there playing their ass off, and I knew he would. We had 22 guys out there playing their asses off. One of them just happened to be named Brady.”

    On what he thought of Mac Jones:

    Just like I thought he would be, calm and cool. Played his tail off. Yeah, he gave his team a chance to win.