Bill Belichick on S&H: ‘Our team has shown consistently that they’ll keep fighting’
|12.10.13 at 10:33 am ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick checked in with Salk & Holley on Monday afternoon to discuss New England’s thrilling 27-26 comeback victory over the Browns on Sunday, as well as Rob Gronkowski‘s season-ending injury.
The Patriots once again got off to a slow start against Cleveland, as New England entered halftime trailing 6-0. New England’s offense could not get anything going over the first two quarters, as the Patriots only ran three plays within Cleveland territory in the first half. Over the last five games, the Patriots have been outscored by a 67-34 margin over the first two quarters.
‘I wish there was something magical that would take that away,’ Belichick said. ‘We certainly talked about it, but we’ve looked at some things, we did a couple of things, but obviously that wasn’t the answer, it was still an issue yesterday. We’ll keep looking at from the coaching end, and hopefully we can find something that will improve it.’
While New England executed better in the second half, the Patriots still trailed the Browns by a score of 26-14 late in the fourth quarter. However, the Patriots would make it a 26-21 game with just over a minute remaining thanks to an 11-play, 82-yard drive.
‘Our team has shown consistently that they’ll keep fighting, no matter what the situation is, that they’ll just keep playing hard. Once we understand what it is that we need to do, whether that’s score, stop them, block a kick, make a kick, whatever that happens to be, we’ll try to do it. That’s all you can ask for.’
Despite the incredible ending to Sunday’s game, it was a bittersweet day for New England, as Gronkowski tore both his ACL and MCL after taking a direct hit to his knee from Browns safety T.J. Ward in the third quarter and will miss the rest of the season. After missing the first six games of the year, Gronkowski returned for Week 7 and immediately made an impact on New England’s offense, catching 37 passes for 560 yards and four touchdowns over the next six games.
Gronkowski’s upcoming surgery on his knee will be the sixth surgery that the Pro Bowl tight end has undergone since Nov. 19, 2012.
‘I think they’re still doing some more tests on it today,’ Belichick said. ‘Obviously it’s a concern. I don’t know if it looks real good, but we’ll wait until we have a little more definite information before we say anything. … Rob really wasn’t with us at training camp, either, so we had a lot of practice and some games unfortunately without his services in there, but it was great to have him back.
“He’s a good player, a guy that everyone wants to see out there on the team. When he’s not there, if he’s not there, whoever’s out there, we expect them to do the best they can — do a good job.’