Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak
“Well I’ll just say it’s another very disappointing loss for us. We played a good, solid first half in a lot of ways and played to how we thought we were able to and then come out in the second half and looking to get back in the game. They did a nice job to open the second half, obviously had many chances to stop them on third down but they made plays, and the turnovers are just things we cannot do. Turn the ball over twice, one for points, really both times for points. Ten points when you had two turnovers and that put us in a spot and they converted in the four-minute drill to win the game so we had opportunities once again and didn’t make the plays in the second half.”
On the play of
“I don’t know. I think the same way. I thought we came out, there’s no doubt the guy is ready to play. We talked about it all week. I thought we had a real good week. I think it showed I thought the way things got started on both sides of the ball and the second half, again, there is two halves to a football game, you know that. We came out, they went for a long drive and put points on the board and must have hurt us harder than I thought. I didn’t think it’d be a big deal but we struggled a little bit there making plays and all of a sudden the penalties started creeped in and going offsides on third-and-one and doing things that we just weren’t doing in the first half. Obviously the two interceptions, every time you turn the ball over in a close game, it’s going to cost you. The good thing was after the pick-six, after the punt that we came back and had the ball for about 15, 16 plays and again we had to settle for a field goal. It’s a great drive, we got the lead back, we responded well to that disappointment but again we had to settle for a field goal. Getting a touchdown there would have made a big difference I think if we did but we got the lead back and gave ourselves a chance and then you had a turnover so I don’t know. Give them credit, they are playing in their place, it got loud, we allowed them to get back in the game. By the second quarter, the crowd was pretty much out of the game. Once they got the touchdown and we turned it over, all of a sudden, obviously we knew it was going to be close and it came down to the end and we didn’t make the plays to win.”
On if the Colts did anything to take
“I just think as we got going, they changed the coverage a little bit and they were a little tougher to get to him but no, I think that happens in the course of the game. Sometimes you get opportunities in the first half, second half but a little coverage, they started pressing him a little more and doing some things like that but unfortunately we had a lot of guys that could make plays and we needed to make more plays than we did.”
On Jake Locker’s interception that was returned for a touchdown:
“It’s on us too. When we’re that far down, we’ve had that concept in, we’ve done it before. It’s a choice thing. You take the sneak, throw the ball. We obviously should have just ran the sneak. That’s a bad decision by Jake and it’s a bad decision by us to have even put him in that situation so we should have avoided that situation totally as we know that’s my fault. I should have just told him to sneak it and not give him the option. When you’re looking back, obviously you would have done it that way because you’re not expecting that outcome. We should have just ran the sneak in there.”
On Locker’s sneak play on first down in the fourth quarter:
“I think what happened there is that we were in no huddle and we gave him the code for sneak because originally when he went down, it didn’t appear he had the first down. Actually the way he had him marked the play was called in to go ahead and sneak to get the first down because it was third-and-short so instead of lining up and trying to get a play going, we thought we’d just put the sneak in and get the first down, get the chains going. Obviously once they marked it, he already had the play and he just ran it. We were trying to contact him, obviously, but with all of the chaos going on, he still thought it was third down.”
On if he should have made sure it was third down before running the play:
“Again we were trying to tell him so I’m not going to blame him for it. He’s out there on the field with all kinds of crowd noise and things going on, guys getting up. He’s trying to tell guys to hurry up because we wanted to get the first down because obviously we called it in to get the first down because originally it looked like it was ruled short and obviously it wasn’t.”
On if at some point, Locker has to take responsibility for some of the mistakes:
“When he comes in here, he’ll take all of the blame like we are. He knows ultimately the players make the plays and we got to help take some of the pressure off in tough situations. I think as a staff, to allow him to just play and those are some tough plays. He knows he made a couple of mistakes in the game without a doubt. He started off playing very well. He ran well, got out of a lot of trouble but made a couple of bad decisions with the ball just like (Andrew) Luck did a few times, threw the pick-six and he made some bad decisions. I thought we overcame the bad play at the beginning because we went down and got the lead back and we needed to rally as a team. We got up 23-21, needed to rally and take that game over again after we recovered from giving up the lead we had at half and as a team, we didn’t do that. Then we made the turnover and we couldn’t get the stop in the four minutes to get the ball back and those are the things you have to do in games. Especially for us, things don’t always seem to go our way, we get breaks and penalties and things like that so we have to find a way when we have a chance to score to do that.”
On if Locker needs to play a more complete game and if it’s progress:
“It’s definitely progress. You’ve got to win. A win is progress. I guess you lose and you’ll take the good things in the game and build off and we’ll do that as we have been, unfortunately. At this time of the year, when you have young players, you’re going to look for the things you did well and there’s things we’ll learn that we made as mistakes as a staff, as a player, as a young quarterback. Like you said, he started playing so well, he was in total control, he was making great decisions and a couple plays creeped up and we’re not taking blame for him. It’s more of saying you know in some crucial situations, it’s on us to maybe limit the decision making inside of those to help a young quarterback along. It’s not like we’re making up excuses and recovering because he doesn’t want that. He understands a quarterback takes charge and makes decisions out there so we’re both at fault. That’s what we can do as a staff is continue to try to make some of the decisions easier because he has enough to do during the game and when we can help him, we need to do that.”
On the play of the defense early:
“I thought they hit (Luck), we got pressure on him early. We scored points on the interception. I think we took him out of his game a little bit there and then in the first half, I think Jerry Gray did exactly what he hoped to do I think with how we played, how the players were getting after the quarterback and making plays and there were plays we left on the field. There was a fumble we missed that was lying on the ground and that’s the thing. You cover that and the game is totally different. The ball is out and we don’t recover it. Those are the things, you make plays and in the second half, you’d like to stop that first drive because that could change the game. We had a chance to do that on some third downs and they converted some situations where we were all over the quarterback and he lofted it up there and they made the catch and that’s why they are where they are and we are where we are. At that fourth quarter, they made plays when they needed to keep chains moving. The four-minute, we could have still won the game there. We had them down inside their 10 with timeouts. We had three timeouts and the two-minute and we could have still gotten the ball back with plenty of time and good field position to try and win that football game and we didn’t. They rose up like they’ve been doing all year. The stats aren’t pretty, but when they had to make plays in the end there they did and we didn’t. “
On how the offensive line held up with some new faces:
“It’s hard to tell from the sidelines so obviously we’d like to run the ball better than we did at times in that game. I thought that would give us a chance to get it going. We knew we wanted to establish that, keep some time of possession so they didn’t have to drop back as much as they did last week. I thought we had a good, even though the run game wasn’t what we wanted, it was very effective for what we were trying to accomplish in the first half and then in the second half, I thought the line, I think overall was solid for having guys moving around and it’s hard to tell to watch where some of the breakdowns were but I thought we were in position to make enough plays to win the game and we didn’t do that.”
On his reaction to the punt that pinned them on their goal line:
“No, it was they moved. They missed it. Their punt team, two guys flinched that moved. The guy standing next to us saw it, they didn’t throw the flag, the guy said he missed it. Who knows what happens. Does he kick it out again the same way with the five-yard penalty, probably not but they didn’t call it. They missed it. And then the other one they picked up, that was frustrating, on the interception.”
On the confidence of players in close games:
“I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s hard to explain why the turnovers are going to change the game and they did and the effort, like I said, was there from beginning to end. I don’t think that was the problem. It’s just that a couple of mistakes and for whatever reason we didn’t overcome them. We had chances to and we made it hard on ourselves in the second half but we still could have won the football game. That happens in games. You’re going to have some things, they did. They made mistakes in the first half and we jumped on them and scored some points and the second half, it kind of flipped hands. Obviously we didn’t win, there could be a lot of things but we put ourselves in a position to have a great chance to win this football game and we didn’t.
“Jared (Cook) hurt his shoulder somewhere during the third quarter and (Scott) Solomon I think tweaked his knee a little bit there before half."
On if it’s the same shoulder for Cook:
“I’m not sure. We’ll see how that is. I didn’t hear anything yet as far as he couldn’t come back in the game.”
On the poor performance by the Titans offense in the second half compared to the first:
“Basically we went out there, sustained drives and had zero turnovers at all. Then we come out in the second half and had turnovers and basically helped them get back in the game.”
On if the Titans lack the confidence to win close games:
”I wouldn’t say we lack the confidence. It’s just that we have to execute on plays that the coach called. At the end of the day we have to execute and convert.”
On the poor performance by the Tennessee rushing game:
“I don’t really want to make excuses. It’s just the situation. That’s what we have. It was just one game and we have to continue to work and get better.”
On the mistakes quarterback Jake Locker made in the second half:
“He made some mistakes, but in the first half he made some great plays. He’s still young, a first-year starter. He has to go back in there and finish and get better every week.”
On if quarterback Jake Locker’s temperament changed after throwing the first interception:
“No. He’s the same guy. He’ll let you know he’s going to make mistakes but he’s still going to stay in there and try to make plays. It doesn’t matter if you play quarterback, running back, offensive line, or whatever you play. Everybody is going to make mistakes and you have to come back.”
On the frustration brought about by losing a close game:
“I’m just frustrated because we came out of the locker room at halftime winning the game and expecting to put up the same kind of effort we did in the first half. It just gets frustrating when you see a team slowly coming back. They made some big plays. They came out after halftime and drove down and got a score. Then they got us down on our one-yard line and got an interception, a pick-six. The momentum can switch very quick.”
On the interception returned for a touchdown by Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn:
“I was blocking my guy. When I turned around I had seen a guy from the Colts with the ball in his hands. I automatically just knew it was an interception. We came out of the locker room up two scores. Then they got a score and the pick-six. It was kind of like the whole momentum took a swing.”
On the Colts changes in the second half offensively:
“I feel like they made adjustments, whatever that might be. They really executed better. They made plays when they needed to. It was all about executing.”
On the team’s execution the past couple of weeks:
“We just aren’t making enough plays when we need to. In that time of the game where we need to make a few plays to get the offense back on the field we don’t do it. There’s nothing wrong with making a few plays, but we aren’t making enough to win.”
Titans QB Jake Locker
On the interception returned for a touchdown by Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn:
“It was one that I shouldn’t have thrown. I should be able to handle that position. I didn’t think it was going to be a roll corner like that, and it was.”
On the interception by Colts cornerback Darius Butler:
“I rolled out. Nate (Washington) was working toward the sideline, I thought something different was happening. It’s just how it happened. I thought he was doing one thing and he was doing another.”
On the poor performance by the Titans offense in the second half:
“It was frustrating. It was frustrating for sure. All you can do is keep working. We just made a lot of little mental mistakes. We had penalties we didn’t have in the first half. We just made some mistakes. We had turnovers. We didn’t have that in the first half. Those are things that can be a difference between gaining a bunch of yards and scoring points and not. We were ahead of the chains in the first half and we weren’t in the second and that can make a difference.”
On the quarterback sneak on first down in the fourth quarter:
“We thought we had a third-and-one and we were just trying to get the first down before they could get set. I just didn’t realize it was a first down. It put us in second-and-10 and we lost a down.”
On what the Titans must do to sustain their level of play in the first half:
“We just have to keep working hard. It’s hard to keep saying it and not have the outcome you want. You just have to keep working hard and preparing and doing everything you can to be successful when you get in those situations.”
On if his teammates have lost confidence in themselves:
“No, I think you see guys playing hard and doing everything they can to win games. For one reason or another, it isn’t coming together for us.”
On the poor performance by the Tennessee rushing game:
“I thought it still did a good job setting up our play-action pass all game. We were able to play off it a little bit.”
On the defense’s performance:
“We capitalized defensively pretty good in the first half. We didn’t close out the game the way we needed to. We gave them some opportunities to score. A couple turnovers on offense, but it’s on us to keep them off the field.”
On the touchdown drive to start the second half:
“I couldn’t even tell you. I’ll have to look at the tape to find out what went wrong, but we didn’t do our job.”
On what they did that hurt them today:
“I really can’t say until we watch the film. I’m not sure about the penalties or anything like that, so I really can’t say until I watch the film.”
On their performance in the first half:
“We came out and scored a touchdown early in the game. We felt like we had their number. We felt like we had a good plan and we felt like we were going to run it offensively. We were moving the ball good.”
Colts Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians
“It was like the tail of two halves obviously, something that we can obviously learn from. Why we played as poorly as we did in the first half, we’ll go back and try to evaluate because we seemed to be ready to play the ball game. Obviously we were not on any phase of the game other than Pat McAfee kicking the heck out of the ball. Second half as we have in the past, we’ve come in and figured out how and what we needed to do in the second half of the ball game to go out and overcome what we had dug. Obviously first thing first was to get points on the board. That was a great drive to start the second half and our defense did a heck of a job getting some turnovers. This was truly a battle of attrition. We were down to our last lineman again and we dressed three backs and two guys got hurt on the same play. So Vick (Ballard) was all we had and that’s kind of why we had five wides in there in the second half because we had no more running backs. We had to give them a blow. I was really pleased with our defense getting turnovers. Obviously, the big score was huge to get the lead and then it was our offense’s job to answer the bell and to score at the time that they did. It was a great team win again and like I said earlier, there won’t be any blowouts with this team. This team is too young. We just try to figure out a way to win every week and so far we’ve been able to do that.”
What changes for you on defense with Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler?
“The big plays on the corner, you know? They did a good job of I thought covering them and these are great receivers. Tennessee has got some speed and some size and Jake (Locker) played his tail off in that first half and made some great throws. I didn’t think it was poor coverage, just really good throws and good plays by them. Greg (Manusky) did a great job of disguising a couple things in the second half and jumped the route down there on the goal line and got the touchdown, perfect call at the perfect time, after a great kick by Pat (McAfee). Again, it’s a team thing the whole way around.”
Can you talk about what the offensive line was able to do at the beginning of the second half?
“Yeah, we struggled in the first half a couple of matchups. I thought we found, again our coaches did a good job of finding some runs that we liked at halftime and Vick (Ballard) did a good job of picking and sliding and coming out of there. It’s the same thing each week, we find ways to win. I think our guys have a lot of poise at halftime. Our coaches are doing a great job of making adjustments and putting our guys in a position to win.”
Second-and-10 on that final drive, you throw the ball. Were you holding your breath as that was going on?
“No, it’s a matter of trust. I really thought we’d have Reggie (Wayne) on the curl and they doubled it and he came right back to Dwayne (Allen) and Dwayne made a great play and stretched it and made the first down. The first down was going to be the game. At that point in time, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that we could run it two more times because Vick (Ballard) was so beat up. He had a stinger earlier in an earlier drive and I was afraid of the ball popping out. So I was going to get that first down and kneel. I didn’t want to put our defense back out there in that situation.”
Andrew Luck’s ability to bounce back again after he did something bad?
“Yeah it was, that’s him. He’s resilient. He doesn’t let one play dictate to him what’s going to happen on the next play. He’s got an unbelievable resolve about him to go on to the next one. He looks at the pictures and he’s ready to go. Can’t say enough about him because I think that’s what separates him from other young quarterbacks, his ability to overcome bad plays.”
Do you think his knee was down?
“Are you trying to get me fined? It’s up to the referees. As he tells me, ‘They’ve got HD in there.’”
Did Chuck Pagano address the team today?
“No, the doctor said he could come to the ballgame but he couldn’t get into the locker room.”
Is that the best Vontae Davis has played this season?
“I think Vontae is coming on like gang busters. He’s starting to get healthy and I wish he had made that other interception down there in the end zone. He lost it in the lights.”
Adam Vinatieri with a 53-yard field goal and a 40-yard field goal.
“That was huge. I mean he’s always there in the clutch. He’s like the hidden weapon all the time. He was hitting it at 60 pregame so he had a great leg today. There was never a doubt we were kicking that field goal. He is a clutch man and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
What kind of adjustments did you make to Jake Locker?
“I think our guys had seen pretty much what they were doing. Greg (Manusky) adjusted a couple coverages and we got after him a little bit. Our pass rush was a little bit better in the second half. I think the crowd got into it real good and that helped us and we were getting him off his spot a little bit more and they did a great job of moving him early in the ballgame and getting him out of his comfort zone.”
Anything specific you did to the running game to get it going in the second half?
“We went back to our spread stuff and they had hammered us pretty good in our big package. We had the front of the pass and that spreads them out a little bit. They started to play a little more six in the box and we were able to get after them.”
Can you talk about being able to keep Chris Johnson under wraps today?
“Yeah, I thought our secondary tackled extremely well. Again, he is such a threat and that’s going to put our corners in a bind sometimes because we’re going to drop our safeties in there and they’re going to be one-on-one. We gave up a couple chunks but overall I was pretty pleased.”
Is the defense giving you better situational play?
“There’s no doubt. I think that in crunch time our defense has been outstanding throughout the whole season. When the defense has been out there, our offense has responded and helped them. That’s why I say it’s such a team win for us. Special teams, Pat (McAfee) kicks it great. When you need it, the defense holds them and when the defense holds them, our offense responds with points.”
What ever happened to the Kauffman corner kick, you don’t see that too much anymore?
“Yeah, Pat (McAfee) has become an excellent directional kicker. By kicking it that way all the time, it’s really helped him find a good comfort zone where he can bang it and not have to do one of the high pooch kicks.”
You mentioned halftime, today was it just calmness because you’ve been in that situation before?
“Oh yeah, there’s no doubt. There’s no hollering and screaming and all that kind of stuff. That’s for movies. We get our guys in, we talk about what we need to do, what plays we’re going to run and just address what went wrong and what we need to do to correct it, let’s correct it. Cory (Redding) and a few of the veterans, they’ll get vocal. But as coaches, we don’t need to do that. Hollering and screaming doesn’t get anything done. You’re either ready to play or not. Our job is to teach. We got some good teaching done at halftime.”
How impressed are you with the rookies this year?
“I can’t say enough. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them, especially offensively. They continue to, LaVon (Brazill) made a big catch again to set up that last field goal. It looked meaningless, it was an 8-yard, but it put us right back into field goal makeable range. T.Y. (Hilton) is getting more electric every week. And both tight ends, Dwayne’s (Allen) big catch at the end, Coby (Fleener) was open a few times, Andrew (Luck) missed him. And they’re all, Vick (Ballard), you can’t say enough about the whole crew. A.Q. Shipley jumps back in and plays another great half at center. It’s every time the next man is called on, he answers.”
Colts TE Dwayne Allen
How about Coach Arians not afraid to throw the ball to you late in the game?
“He’s not afraid to win the game. I think he showed that the first time we played the Titans when we took the ball right off the bat and marched right down the field. He noticed a tendency of ours to run out of that formation and decided to take a chance to throw a pass. We did and we completed that, and the game was over.”
Are you surprised by all the young guys on this team and your ability still to win close games?
“Definitely not. Coach Arians told us in training camp that we have a couple weeks of training camp to grow up. Whenever the season kicks off, we aren’t rookies any more. We don’t need to play like that. He’s been holding us accountable for our actions and not allowing us to just say ‘Oh, I’m a rookie’ and feel down on ourselves.”
What was the message at halftime?
“Offense get the ball and go score. That was pretty much the message. We had been down before going into halftime so us going down 13 wasn’t a big deal at all. We knew we were getting the ball to start and for us to come back in this game, we needed to score. Coach called the right plays and we were able to go down the field and score.”
Colts RB Vick Ballard
Were you hurting during the second half?
“Not really. When I was in the game, I guess adrenaline was kicking in and I wasn’t really feeling it that much. Now though, I’m starting to feel it a little bit more.”
Could you have imagined when you came out of college that you would be a part of a team that has been this successful?
“I had no idea. Coming into rookie minicamps, I was just focused on trying to learn the plays and learn the offense. A couple injuries happened to the backs ahead of me and that bumped me up. I just try and take advantage of my opportunities.”
Do you have any explanation for the continued wins in close games?
“Week-after-week, we say it’s a 60-minute game no matter what. We just play all 60 minutes and we are fortunate enough to pile up wins during the season.”
When you look up at the scoreboard and you’re down 20-7, does it cross your mind?
“No because 13 points, if you score two touchdowns, you got the lead, just like we did. We came out and scored two touchdowns, kicked a couple of field goals, defense made a couple big stops and we came out with the win.”
Can you talk about the strong running in the second half?
“I think we ran the ball pretty well coming into this game. Credit to the o-line. We ran the ball well against them the first time so I guess it was kind of expected. We just stuck with it and it worked.”
What was your mindset late in the game knowing that you had to play?
“I wasn’t really banged up. I had just caught a stinger. Like you said, I was the last one left. It hurt when I first got it, maybe for 30 seconds, then I went back in and didn’t feel it because of the adrenaline. Now, the adrenaline is wearing off so I’m starting to feel it a little more.”
Colts S Antoine Bethea
How resilient is this team?
This is the kind of team we’ve come to be. If we need a play on defense, if we need to get a stop, somehow, some way, we’ll get that. Offensively, they’ve been doing a great job getting first downs at the end of the game, running the clock out, scoring points when we needed them.
Was there any panic down 13 in the first half?
“No, not at all. We always say it’s going to be a 60-minute game. Before we go out, we say look, ‘We’re going to go out here, play the first 30 minutes, halftime come see what we need to do (and play) the second 30 minutes.”
How much does this mean for the veterans after the year you had last year?
“It feels good. As everybody knows, it was a long year for us. For us to come in here and do the things that we’ve done so far, we still have three games left and still can possibly get a 12-win season. That means a lot to the vets and even to the newcomers.”
Colts CB Darius Butler
When the offense struggles, do you feel like the defense has to come up big and bail them out?
“We struggled in the first half. Everybody has their time where they struggle. We know as a defense, as a secondary, when plays come to us, we need to make them. We made some today.”
How does it feel to be 9-4?
“That’s all that matters in this locker room, what we think and what we expect from each other. The expectations are high. We have a lot to play for this season. Guys are playing hard. We’re making plays and winning games.”
Colts CB Vontae Davis
How much pride do you take in slowing down the run game and when they catch it, keeping it a short game?
“In this league, you have to be a complete corner. You have big running backs. When the ball gets out to the edges, the only players there to make the tackles there are the corners. Cassius (Vaughn) played a good game today as far as coming up and tackling well, and of course he had the interception. We just work on every day in practice to get better on the little things.”
What was the difference in the second half?
“We feel like we didn’t come out like the team we’re capable of being. We turned it up a notch. We competed much harder. We wanted to win. We knew we needed to. “
Does it help knowing you’ve been in this position before when you’re down 13 in the first half?
“We know what type of guys we have in the locker room. We have high-character guys. The biggest thing is coming together and fighting. No matter what the score is, we fight to the end. It’s a 60-minute game, we know that.”
Colts OLB Dwight Freeney
When you see the offense struggling in the first half, do you feel as a defense you have to step up and bail them out?
“I don’t think it matters. I’ve always said this for years that this is a team game. Not every phase is going to be working on four cylinders. It’s not always going to be perfect. Our mentality regardless of what the offense is doing is going out there and stopping them. If they are doing a great job, we still have to go out there and stop them.”
What was the key to slowing down Chris Johnson?
“I think the big thing is collectively having everybody do their job. He’s a guy where he can take it in any hole at any time. It’s important that 11 guys are accountable in their gaps, making sure they are doing their responsibility, not doing too much.”
How does it feel to have a seven-game win improvement in the win column?
“It feels great. Obviously, night and day compared to last year. The feeling around the locker room is tremendous but that being said, by no means am I, or we, satisfied of where we are. I’m not saying it’s a disappointment if we don’t win it all but that’s our mentality. We go out there thinking win it all and that’s it.”
Colts QB Andrew Luck
On what happened at halftime:
“I think settling down, regain your focus and flush what happens, happened I should say. I don’t think there were wholesale changes against the defense or special teams. Offensively, there weren’t wholesale changes. Let’s get back to what we do. We realize there’s no 14-point touchdown or 14-point score, just one play at a time. We really wanted to make sure we go out on the first drive and get a touchdown, get the crowd back into it and get a little bit more momentum. I’m glad it worked out.”
On the last pass to Dwayne Allen and if he liked the call:
“I like every call that B.A. (Brian Arians) puts in, especially ones that ice the game. They did a very good job of covering the first two guys. I was very surprised. I thought I would catch them napping. Dwayne did a good job. He’s such a big, strong, athletic target, great catch radius. He made a great catch with a linebacker on his body up high, potentially sealed the game.”
On if Dwayne Allen was his third look:
On if Tennessee caught a break on the interception returned for a touchdown:
“I saw it on the jumbotron. I was hoping they would call me down but they probably deserved a pick-six for trying to throw a football in that position going down right at a defender. You learn from it and don’t do it again hopefully.”
On priding himself on rebounding from mistakes:
“I don’t know if I do it any better or worse than any other guy in this league. Our coaches preach on to the next play good or bad and I try and take that to heart. Maybe I’m too ignorant to know any different right now, but just keep on playing.”
On special teams and defense stepping up:
“It’s a lot of fun to play on this team, just because guys play football. No matter what the score, they’re out there playing football. If we put the defense in a bad position, they’ll hold them to a field goal instead of a touchdown. You see a great punt by Pat McAfee and the next play, six points for us. We try and hold up our end of the bargain as well every now and then, but it’s a real fun team to play on.”
On why he’s comfortable in the fourth-quarter situations:
“I don’t know. I think it’s nice being in, in the fourth quarter when you know you have a chance to win or a chance to ice the game. Whatever that situation is, everybody on the team offensively, defensively and special teams, just plays football. They’re not worried about the scoreboard too much, not worried about what’s going on. I think they’re aware of the situation and go out there and play football to the best of our ability. I think it’s just not overthinking all of the situations at this point.”
On the defense getting the ball back late in recent games and how much credit they deserve:
“They deserve more than half the credit. They put us in great positions all year, especially today with the go-ahead score. I think at that point, when Cassius’ (Vaughn) pick, maybe they came back. I think it’s the best team game in the world, I really do. You have to rely on so many guys and so many different phases of the game. It’s fun when you can get team victories.”
On his thoughts of passing Peyton Manning’s franchise rookie passing record:
“I’m glad we got the win. Again, I don’t think I deserve to look back doing anything. It would be dishonest to my teammates and I have to keep focus. I guess it’s good to get good records, not interception records.”
On the comfort level of playing in one-possession games:
“I think the more of the situations you’re in, the more your awareness builds up. I think Coach (Bruce) Arians preaches situational awareness and not playing like robots. I think the more situations we’re in, the more we learn from them. If good things happen or bad things happen, we practice them. It’s uncandid how many times you walk through something on a Saturday and it shows up on that Sunday or the following Sunday, but I think it’s a tough group of guys that’s focusing and coaches coaching us up.”
On approaching playoffs:
“I don’t know. I’ve never been in the situation. I’ll talk to Reggie (Wayne) and coaches that have been there. They’ll tell us how it is.”
Colts DE Cory Redding
How resilient is this team?
“Again, we find ways to win when our backs are up against the wall. It’s just a reflection of where we have been this whole season, losing teammates, our coach getting hit with leukemia, guys are having almost career-ending injuries and bouncing back.”
What can you say about the two critical second-half turnovers?
“We had to make plays when our number was called. Those guys were in great positions to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. That’s it. Nobody do anything extra. Just do your job and if you do that to the best your ability, we will have a chance to win and that’s what we did. We stunk it up the first half. We really stunk it up, gave them points and we came in here at half, we regrouped and we went out there and played the way we are supposed to play. I don’t know what it’s all about. I can’t put my finger on it. But I’m enjoying the benefits and we are going to keep doing our thing.”
Was something said at halftime or do you guys just know at this point?
“A lot was said at halftime. A lot of stuff was said at halftime. Coaches are talking. Players are talking. I’m talking that’s why I’m hoarse but when men get challenged to stand up, when men get challenged to stand up, they stand up and that’s what we’ve done these last few weeks in getting these wins. We found another way to win.”
The Titans had just 86 yards in the second half. Can you talk about the pressure you got on them?
“We just decided to play football, point blank. There is nothing we did different. We just decided to wake up and play football. If that’s what it takes to get punched in the mouth in the first half and then to come back in the second half and win it, then so be it. We’ll be 4-0 for the last quarter of the season. We just have to put a complete effort together and we are so young, but that’s not an excuse. We are still learning, still building, still growing and just enjoying the moment by working the process. Guys are just coming in and doing everything they can to help the team win.”
Colts CB Cassius Vaughn
On the touchdown, it looked like you didn’t have to gamble. That wasn’t taking a big risk, right?
“It’s always taking a big risk. Once he’s off and behind you, it’s always a risk. We believe in what we do. No matter what, we believe in what we do. In the beginning of the game, they were getting us on a couple deep balls, a couple come-backs. We turned it up in the second half.”
What was the difference in the second half?
“It was just the second half. The first half was over. We knew we were down a little bit, we were slow. We weren’t really into it. And once we finally picked it up, that was the difference.”
You guys made some plays when you had to today.
“That’s the only thing we try to do is make plays. We try to make a play. Myself, Vontae (Davis), (Antoine Bethea), Darius Butler with a key pick late in the game. We just try to make plays, and that’s what we thrive on.”