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BEARS/PATRIOTS POSTGAME QUOTES: Lovie Smith, Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady

As you can imagine, there were a lot of factors in today's weatherbeaten 36-7 Bears loss to the Patriots and many of the principals involved had a lot to say about them.

Lovie Smith, Bears coach:

Opening statement
“We were beaten by a good football team today. They dominated us in all our three phases. Had a good week of practice, felt like we were ready to go but some days this happens. For our football team we have to learn from this. You have to be ready and we were ready, but you have to play your best ball every snap and we did too many things wrong and you can’t do that against good football teams like this. So, there’s not a whole lot more we can say except we give them all the credit for the game. Learn from this and get ready to play the next game. Injury-wise we didn’t have a lot of injuries which is a good thing; it’s about the only good thing that probably came out of the game for us. We will just go back to work and get ready for Minnesota.”

On the Bears' defensive troubles
“Them (Patriots) being able to maintain long drives. They kept the chains moving, I think we stopped them the first time but from there they were able to get first downs. Under the conditions like that they were able to throw the ball well and they also ran the ball well. Again, defensively it’s all of the above as far as things we didn’t do well today.”

On the conditions affecting the Bears more than the Patriots
“If we knew that we would have done something about it out there. There’s no answer for things like that. Again, they made plays today and we didn’t as far as the weather. The weather affected both of us; they played better than we did.”

On these conditions generally favoring the Bears “Sure, but they play in them too. Again I don’t think the conditions, we’re not here talking about conditions, you guys are going to talk about the conditions. Both teams played under the same one, they beat us today, I don’t think the conditions had a lot to do with it.”

On the Bears being ready
“We didn’t execute as well as we needed to today.”

On considering whether to sit the starters
“No, we wanted to do some things well. You want to finish. Even at halftime, we were down, but sometimes you can be in tough situations like that you want to see how the guys respond. We wanted to finish strong, to do some positive things at the end of the football game. Scoring a couple of touchdowns would have done that. Being able to shut them down a little bit more at the end of the game. We wanted to get a little momentum playing better going into our next football game. So, no we didn’t really consider that.”

On what’s happening with the Minnesota game
“No, I don’t know anything about it. But again, we know we’re going to play somewhere against them and it’s a big game. Doesn’t really matter where we play, we got to get a win next week.”

On ranking today’s conditions
“We’ve had some tough games here. Atlanta, 2005 I think, Green Bay – maybe 2008/2007, I think Houston was another game. Those three come to mind that I remember vividly, we’ll remember this.”

Jay Cutler, quarterback:

On how the team responds after such a loss
“You have to learn from it. That’s an elite team there and to get where we want to go those are the teams we have to beat; we’ve got to compete with. It’s little mistakes out there and those things add up in a hurry, especially against a team like that.”

On still leading the division
“We can’t count on other teams. We have to take care of our business. We have to win games. We don’t want to slide in the backdoor. We want to be playing our best football right now so we can make a serious run at this.”

On whether losing big is better than losing a heartbreaker
“A loss is a loss. We’ve played really good football up to this point and this is going to be a setback for us, we’ve got to take a look at it and learn from it. At the same time we’ve got to get ready to play Minnesota. We’ve got to get ready for a tough road game against a division opponent. We’ve got to gear it back up. We’ve got to get to playing good football again.”

On whether New England was the best team he’s played against this year
“I think so. The way Tom’s [Brady] playing, they put points on the board. They put a lot of pressure on the opposing offense. If you don’t convert third downs, if you don’t sustain drives, if you have any turnovers they’re going to take advantage of it. Any little opening they make you pay for it. That’s what really good teams do. If we want to play with them we’ve got to do the little things right.

On the field conditions
“We could have been playing anywhere, didn’t matter what the field was. It didn’t matter what kind of grass we had down there. As much snow fall as we had it was going to be tough.”

On Brady’s play
“You know, that’s why he’s the best in the league right now. No doubt about it. They way he commands that offense. The line has been together a long time. Their skill positions probably isn’t as good a group as he’s had in the past, but he’s still completely dominating. It’s tough to watch when you’re going against him because he is so good.”

On whether the Park District contacted him after his mid-week comments
“They didn’t call me. I think Pep said something about it, too. It is what it is. They can say that the field is good. The field had no effect on the outcome today. We got beat by a very, very good team. Whether we were on turf or not it wouldn’t have mattered.”

On the pressure of competing against Brady
“You know, you want to try and keep pace with them. It’s the only way to play with them. You know they’re going to move the ball. They put up points each and every game. They’re number one in scoring. If you don’t convert third downs, if you have any turnovers you’re going to be in the hole. It’s tough to climb out of that.”

Brian Urlacher, linebacker:

On the loss
“The reality is we got our butts kicked and we’re still in first place. We’ll watch film and learn from it, but we’re still in first place in the NFC North and that’s where we wanted to be when the season began… The Patriots are the best team in the AFC. They came in here, our field, our weather, and pounded us.”

On the play of Tom Brady
“Tom Brady is the best QB in the NFL. We knew it coming in and this game just confirmed it.”

On the play of the Patriots given the weather conditions
“It looked like the weather didn’t affect them at all. We didn’t expect this result. We had a good week of practice. A good first series, we forced them three-and-out. From there, they had a couple of long scoring drives. Brady threw the ball well.”

Bill Belichick, Patriots coach:

Opening statement
“I’m proud of our football team today. It was a short week, coming off a tough game against the Jets, and then coming in here and playing the Bears. It was a big challenge for us, but they really rose to the occasion. I’m really proud of our guys on offense for not turning the ball over. It was tough conditions out there, but they did a really good job of protecting the ball for the most part. I know Chicago had a couple of chances to get it there, but overall, we were able to keep the ball. We had good field position and were able to get points on the board early. We took advantage of turnovers and opportunities. Of course, the play to Deion Branch at the end of the half – that was two great players there, making a great play. I really have to give Tom and Deion a lot of credit on that one, for great execution. It’s good to win, and it’s good to come out here and play well against the Bears. The Bears are a good football team, and I’m sure they have a lot of football left. We will just go back and turn it around against Green Bay.”

On his decision to throw the ball despite the wind
“I think anytime you get into a game like this, you have to see what you feel like you can do and can’t do. Some plays you will feel good about and other plays you probably want to get rid of. It’s just seeing how it goes in pre-game warm-up, and as you get into the game, you get a feel for what you will be able to execute and what you’re not.”

On the game conditions
“The wind was a factor. The snow on the field in the beginning and the flurries made it hard for the skill guys to see. It changed though. At times, it was still out there, and other times, the wind was a big factor. Certainly, footing was an issue.”

On the Patriots playing well in bad weather
“It’s probably a combination of mental toughness and execution. It takes extra concentration. You have to deal with a lot of things. It’s less than perfect out there, so you have to find a way to execute the plays you called, in whatever conditions you have to play in. Sooner or later, you’re going to get all the conditions. We practice in them. Whether it’s Chicago or New England or someplace else at this time of year, sooner or later you’re going to get them. The credit goes to the players. They were able to execute and do the things we need to do. They’ve done it before, and they stepped up and did it again today. I’m really proud of the way they performed.”

On how Tom Brady prepared for the game
“Tom prepares as well as any player I’ve ever been around. He is very capable of getting ready to play and going out there and playing well. He has been doing that for a long time. I coach Tom just like I coach all the players on the team. I try to help him when I can. But in the end, what it comes down to is players going out and making plays and playing well. Tom did that again today.”

On whether Tom Brady saw the weather as a challenge
“I think any quarterback would love to play in 70 degrees, no wind and ideal conditions. That’s the best for throwing the ball. But we have to play in whatever we get. It’s the same for their quarterback as our quarterback, and their running back and our running back, and their pass rushers and our pass rushers. Whatever it is, we can’t control that and can’t worry about it. We just have to go out there and do the best we can in it. Tom’s always done that. I don’t think it really bothers him. Whatever it is, he does the best he can and tries to make it work.”

On how he prepared for coaching in bad weather
“When you get to the end of the week and you have a pretty good idea of what the forecast is going to be or what the actual conditions of the game are going to be, then you can talk a little more specifically about that. It’s hard to talk about that several days in advance. For this game, the forecast changed 20 times in three days. But once you know what it is, then you can be a little more specific about it. We did that, and we always try to do that. We try to cover the things that we feel are significant to the game, whatever they happen to be. Certainly, the weather was going to be included in that list this week.”

On whether the warm-ups were helpful
“Yeah, definitely, sure, absolutely. Those are the conditions, and they aren’t going to change too much. I mean, they could, but they didn’t today. It didn’t change too much from the warm-ups to the game conditions. As far as throwing the ball, running routes, kicking, all those things – what we saw in pre-game warm-ups is pretty close to what we saw during the game. You get a feel for what a player can do at that point, and then you base your decisions on that as you go into the game. As the game goes along, sometimes you have to change that, but for the most part, usually unless the conditions change, that’s what it is.”

Tom Brady, Patriots quarterback:

On throwing the ball in these weather conditions
“Well, we’ve been playing in an environment in Foxboro for a long time that has inclement weather conditions. So, all of us who were out there today have certainly played in snow and wind and bad weather. Everyone executed pretty well at times today. It was a good win. That was a good football team with a good defense. Our defense turned it over for us a bunch, which was great. We really needed that. It was just great to come in here and get a win on the road against a very tough team on a short week.”

On staying consistent with their play-calling all year
“We talked a lot about the weather conditions before the game – the kind of plays we’re going to run, and the kind of plays we like based on the defense we’re facing. Some were (plays) we’ve done quite a bit. Some were probably new ones out of the playbook. I wish we would have gotten the ball into the red area a little bit more. We kicked too many field goals, I thought, but, other than that, it was a pretty good day.”

On playing in these conditions
“They don’t cancel football games very often. It’s not like baseball… We don’t play out there in San Diego all of the time. You’re out in the cold weather. You’re out in whatever the elements are. You’ve got to be mentally tough enough to play in them. Both teams are playing in them. Coach (Belichick) always stresses the opponent that we’re playing is the Chicago Bears - not the weather, not the refs, not the crowd. It’s the Bears. And, that is what we were focused on today… It’s one of those days. It’s one of those days that people would rather be cozied up near the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate, but we work on Sundays, and all of us are pretty committed to coming out here and trying to play well and try to execute well in some pretty tough conditions, and for the most part, we did that.”

On this game compared to other games with tough weather conditions
“We’ve been pretty good in snow over the years for whatever reason. I think because we practice in it quite a bit. I mean, we don’t go in our bubble very often. If it’s windy, we practice out there. If it’s snowing, we practice in the snow. If it’s raining, we practice in the rain. Some conditions are a bit tougher than others. I thought it was great for us to get out to a lead today and to play from ahead. That was really important. I think we took advantage of some opportunities we got on offense. We also didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities that we had on offense. Our defense gave it to us on a short field. Some great punt returns. But, it was a fun day. We’ll remember that one.”