Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on September 17, 2023.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (Transcribed by New England)
(Tua, what did you think of the looks that you were getting?) – "Yeah, I was not surprised of what they wanted to do. Seemed as if they wanted to put an umbrella over our two fast guys. And then as the game progressed, they started to get back into what they normally would run. But I think they do a tremendous job with adjusting in game. And, you know, that's really a big, big thing I would say for any Bill Belichick defense when they're going out there. You know, you can see one thing, and then if you hit an explosive or something happens on that, you can expect something to change in that instance. And so how they defended one of our plays towards the ending of the game wasn't how they defended it the first three, four times. They got adjusted. We got a call, and we were able to go down there.
(When you see that is that just about taking what the defense gives you?) – "Yeah. That's the most important thing playing this defense is they're not going to give up too many explosives. They really want you to work for yardage. And it's definitely a take-what-they-give-you kind of defense. And they play sound football. So they're trying to force you to make mistakes."
(So a 2 and 0 start with both wins coming on the road. What do you think that means for the team?) – "Well, I think if you can win any time on the road, that's a big plus. It's hard to win games on the road in this league. But, you know, we're still trying to find our identity as a team, offensively, defensively, and the special teams. And we'll continue to watch film, continue to grow, continue to get better. I think the defense did a lot of great things for us, giving us opportunities to get the ball in the end zone. We didn't capitalize. And I thought our O-line did great. Our run game was solid. So to the point of taking what they give you, you know, I made a costly mistake that – it could have been costly, but it's a team sport. So just happy that we could come out with a win."
(There were a couple of moments where it seemed like the momentum might shift from you guys to the Patriots and every time the team would kind of answer the call. Was there anything said in the huddle by the coaches?) – "Yeah. When you're playing prime time football, you can't expect it to be a blowout. Every time you're playing an NFL team, you're always expecting it to be a really close game. They've got good guys on that side, we've got good guys on our side. And it's just a matter of who executes the best on both sides of the ball. Like I said, I think our guys did really good. We're really excited that we've won. But there's a lot of things that we can learn from."
(How nice is it to get 121 yards from Raheem Mostert?) – "Yeah. That's a testament to all the guys he's surrounded by. It's a testament to Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Rob Hunt. Austin Jackson – I'm going to keep naming them – Connor Williams. We've got Isaiah Wynn. We've got Kendall Lamm, Alec Ingold. It's a testament to all those guys with, you know, those guys basically telling us, "hey, if you're going to beat us, you're going to have to run the ball," by putting an umbrella over our guys. So it – you know, I would think Raheem would say the same, but it's well deserved in every aspect of the run game."
(I feel without Terron Armstead, Kendall Lamm performed well. Without Jaelan Phillips tonight, Andrew Van Ginkel performed really well. What do you think that says about the sort of depth of talent on this roster?) – "Yeah. I believe it says a lot. The confidence that those guys have coming in and filling spots that are really, really good guys and guys that have sort of made a name for themselves in this league. But no one blinks. It's the NFL. Those guys know that when they're stepping into that role what's expected of them. And Kendall [Lamm] has done a tremendous job. Gink [Andrew Van Ginkel] has done a tremendous job. And the cool thing about it is they don't get the most credit, but those are some of the hardest working guys that you will see day in and day out in the building. They keep their head down. They don't talk much, but they let their play do the talking."
(I don't know if you saw a replay of the Jaylen Waddle helmet to helmet. It was obviously a foul. How concerned were you about him?) – "Any time one of your guys goes down, definitely always concerned. But I got to see him, seems as if he's in good spirits. So hoping for the best for him.
(What happened on the mishandled snap toward the end there?) – "Yeah. That's totally my fault. There's things that I was changing up in which I shouldn't. And I got to get that fixed with C Connor [Williams].
(You're now 5 and 0 against Bill Belichick's defense What are you doing right?) – "I think our team is 5 and 0 against Bill Belichick. It's never a me thing. It's never a me thing. And I don't think we ever look at it as, "oh, we beat them once, we beat them twice, we beat them five times in a row." Every time we face Coach Belichick's team, it's always a challenge. And we know we're going to get their best. But it's hard to play against a team like that, especially here on the road in Foxborough. We're going to take them however they come. And we'll continue to move forward on whatever team that we have next."
(What were you thinking, final play, Mike Gesicki, a guy you're very fond of, he's got the ball and he's reaching and he laterals it?) – "Yeah. I mean, smart play, smart play by Mike [Gesicki] knowing that he didn't have the first down by doing that. But it was really cool to see Mike go out there. Looked like he was having fun and got some catches, made some crucial catches as well. Another former teammate, it was cool seeing DeVante Parker, DP, you know, just like practice, him going up against X [Xavien Howard] all over again. But they play really hard. They played really well. And it was cool. It came down to the wire, so – thanks, guys."