TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on the mistakes made in today’s game)
It was, I thought overall the defense, other than the first drive really when they were able to score on us, make some plays on us-the big play, I thought really the defense in a real sloppy game gave us a chance to get back in that game. We caught some bad spots, the turnovers, that’s really where the points came from. The rest of the game, the defense did a nice job getting three-and-outs, getting off the field. It didn’t get out of hand when it could have-score wise. So that was good to see. We just didn’t get any turnovers from them. Even when they fumbled, it bounced back into the running back’s hands while he is on the ground. When we batted a ball, they caught it instead of us. We couldn’t get a turnover. That’s probably the only thing the defense didn’t do as far as to help us win.
I thought offensively, you know, the injuries hurt us. Losing Dave (Stewart) the third or fourth play of the game at right tackle (was costly). Then losing Steve (Hutchinson) that was hard. Luckily (Michael) Roos was able to come back after he got hurt. So, things happened in this game that don’t very often happen in football games. I think that was why the game was sloppy on the offensive side. There in the first and second quarter, I thought the game was sloppy as far as what we were trying to do. C.J. (
I just think it was a combination of what I said. I think when the line got shuffled that way, they tipped a few balls early, batted some balls and they got the pick on the one that ended up being a touchdown. Yeah, he missed some things, battling some things there early. Obviously, he wasn’t as accurate as he wanted to be early in the game. That first half, especially as an offense, it was a combination of things that happened that put us in a bad position. Just things, what could go wrong, would go wrong. The health, Damian (Williams) got hurt. He’s out with a hamstring (injury). So, just a lot of things were happening unfortunately. And like I said, the good thing was that we were only down 21-3 at half. It could have been a lot worse. And we had chances after we did get the score. Then Jake did play much better. He was throwing some good footballs. Too many penalties on some big plays we had were taken away. It was tough game, a frustrating game. That’s why we are 4-8, we can’t make enough plays to win when we have an opportunity to do it.
(on if Dowell Loggains first game as offensive coordinator was a nightmare)
It’s hard, you know that in the NFL. That’s how it is going to be. Some parts of the game are going to go real well. Like anybody, you ride it with the players. You know, I thought he handled himself well throughout the game called the plays, got the plays in quick. He made quick decisions. (We) went to no huddle in a couple of drives early. We got some good series early. Obviously, C.J.’s (Chris Johnson) fumble, I thought we were moving the ball well there. It was something we hadn’t shown, some no huddle there on a different package. We got some good matchups, then we fumbled the ball. And yeah, I thought the momentum was hard, but I thought he hung in there, handled himself well, didn’t panic. The players eventually have to catch those balls, make plays and we didn’t at times. Like I said, guys don’t drop balls on purpose and the defensive guys are trying to hit them and knock it loose. We just made too many errors. Even when Jake fumbled on his, it just seemed like anytime we were getting momentum, they made a play and we didn’t. The ball came out. That was five, six turnovers if you count the fourth down we didn’t get on the sack. So that’s unfortunate. Like I said, the defense did some really good things in this game to keep the game in a place where we actually had a shot there in that fourth quarter to make that interesting. We didn’t and that’s why they are 11-1. They find ways to get it done and other teams don’t.
(on if offensive line injuries limited play calls)
I thought Dowell and Bruce (Matthews) did a good job trying to figure out chipping and helping. It affects things, but we felt good about
(on Jake Locker holding the ball too long)
He was. I think early he was, like I said, with things going on he wasn’t playing and he missed a few things early with decisions, you saw that as the game, third and fourth quarter. Then he started running more, he started getting out of the pocket better and doing the things he adjusted, but definitely the first half we had situations where, you know, the ball could’ve got out quicker. He could’ve got out of pocket or made something happen, just take any type of completion rather than waiting for something to develop deeper down the field. But it was a combination of that early and then like I said, when he got going, then other people took their turns at making mistakes, so it was just sloppy, on the offensive side of the ball, at different times throughout the game.
(on dropped passes)
You have to look at them all, it’s hard to tell, those guys obviously draped over those guys, it wasn’t like they were wide open, the ball was bouncing off of them. You have to look at each one and see what happened I guess, if it was a hit and someone got a hand in there. On the sidelines we all think we should catch every ball if you touch it and that’s how NFL players look at it. You have to make the tough catch and that’s par t of it. That’s part of the game that we didn’t do well, some penalties hurt us also, with Jake (Locker) holding the ball, getting the ball out of his hands a little quicker would’ve been helpful. It’s just a combination of things there that, we didn’t help each other, it’s like, when someone was struggling we didn’t help the quarterback and then when the quarterback had it going we couldn’t help. For whatever reason we didn’t make the plays and really the difference became the tipped ball for a touchdown, the punt return in short field for a 30-yard field for touchdown and a field goal because of a turnover on a fumble. That ends up costing us the game which most games do, you look at the turnover box, you see five and you see zero, you know, we lost.
(on how to get players to make plays)
Well, I think like we always say, you just look at each position and you look at it, tomorrow you watch the tape, you see what your options are and you do what’s best for the team and that’s all you can do. Like I said, an offensive lineman, I coached the position, a guy could have 60 snaps and he played really well for 57, he had three bad plays that all of you’ve seen, so should I bench him over three bad plays because he gave up a sack and a holding call? So you have to look at…you put the next guy in he may have a lot more bad plays than that guy. So just like everyone does, you look at how do you make it better, how do you make it easier, how do you avoid the mistakes, as a coaching staff that’s part of it, the coaches look at those things, the players same way. You make what changes you can, it’s all about trying to win games on Sunday. The goal is to put the best guys out there, every team is in the same situation and that’s what you do. I think you just go back, look at the tape, figure out where you can get better, where you can make some adjustments, you make the ones that you can make.
(on going for it on fourth-and-six)
We were going for it and then, I thought that when he came out he had enough time to get the play off, obviously he didn’t and I’m not sure why he couldn’t get the play off, but that’s why we punted. It was kind of … should we punt, should we not, but he couldn’t make the field goal from there so I thought it was worth going for, so we went for it and then for some reason they struggled with the time so we didn’t want to waste the timeout so we kicked. That’s just on us. It’s not to say who to blame for it. I thought the play got in there, maybe it was because the play they weren’t sure we were going for it, maybe I should’ve decided quicker. It’s my fault. It’s probably better just to blame me for that.
No, I think Kenny has been working hard. He’s transitioning still back, I think, after a year off and with all of the injuries he’s had with his knee, both knees. He caught the nice touchdown pass today, that’s hopefully things to come. You want to see more of that obviously. But no, he’s not making any more mistakes than anybody else, he’s fine that way. It’s just a matter of us finding ways to get bigger plays out of him.
(on the message to team after today’s game)
Well the obvious thing, this is like I said, these guys handled themselves at halftime I thought of how we were going to come out and handle that second half with 21-3 down and you know, I thought we did that. We gave us a chance…these guys aren’t going to quit. I think they believe in each other, they believe in what we’re doing, not happy with the results. I know we have to change what’s happening on Sunday’s, but you’re not going to see these guys play any less, they’re going to play to win. The goal is when you play on Sunday that won’t change, it’s frustrating that you’re in this position, it’s our own doing, and we have to just find ways to watch the tape and we have four games left to play and all we can do is go out and win them, that will be the goal obviously like it is every week and I don’t want to worry about the…they play because that’s their job to play and they’re going to play their best because they’re very prideful and they want to do their best and they want to get better and they will. That’s the least part I’m worried about.
(on Jake Locker’s health)
I think he bit his tongue on the one play when he, the one completion got hit on, but I think his shoulder is fine. We thought originally it was his shoulder, but it wasn’t. Other than him being sore, he battled through. Like I said he started out not playing the way he wished he would and he finished playing like we thought he would. That’s the good thing about him, he’s played in how many games now, six? People forget he’s played in six games, seven games, whatever it is, so he’s going to continue to get better and better and he’s going to have games like this where it didn’t start out the way he wanted, there are other things around him that didn’t help that because of the injuries, but obviously he didn’t play like he wanted in the first half, but in the second half I thought it was much more what you’re going to see from him, making plays, giving the guys a chance to make plays, and that’s what we wished we had in the first half. We didn’t and that’s again, the turnovers, is what ended up killing us.
TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(on how frustrating it is to have a change but only score 10 points and commit six turnovers)
It is very frustrating. To work so hard to turn things around and go out and have a performance like that is very frustrating.
(on if the changes made through the week were easy to understand)
Yes, there were easy. It wasn’t anything hard. Besides calling a few different plays, it was basically the same offense. You really can’t come in right now with a whole new play book.
TITANS QB JAKE LOCKER
(on taking a good shot after one of his passes and possibly needing to come out)
Oh no. I got the wind knocked out of me a little but yeah, I was alright.
(on the injury to his tongue and him spitting out blood after the play)
Yeah. We got it to stop so that’s a good thing.
(on explaining the turnaround in play from the first to the second half)
We just had some tough bounces early on and I think that’s a testament to the guys in the locker room. Just coming out fighting and continuing to play, trying to create good luck for ourselves. I thought we were able to do that a little bit in the second half. I just had a few drives that we didn’t finish and if we do, it might be a little different press conference right now.
(on Dave Stewart and Steve Hutchinson going out in the first half injured)
Those are guys that are good players, for a long time. We have confidence in the guys that come in and have the opportunity to play with them. I think we actually had Fernando (Velasco) at right tackle for one of our snaps. You know, you’ve got confidence in those guys. I believe in their ability and that they’re going to do everything they can to protect me. You hate to see those guys go down and get hurt but, you know, I have faith in those guys who get the opportunity to come in to play.
(on how tough it was knowing that it was Dowell Loggains’ first week as offensive coordinator and making a good impression)
It’s not ideally how you want to start. Again, like I said, I think that the one real big positive to take away from it is just the kind of resolve of this football team and their willingness not just to lay down and quit, to keep fighting and try to find a way to win at the end.
(on being comfortable with Loggains’ game plan)
Yeah, I was very comfortable with the stuff that I’ve done before and had comfort with. I think that maybe I pressed a little bit early on, just wanting, really trying, to do really well and allowing the game to come to you a little bit.
(on the differences in game plans under Chris Palmer vs. Dowell Loggains)
You know, it’s a little different, like I told you guys during the week, but you know, it’s only a week. So you only have a week to prepare and get ready for it. It wasn’t like a whole new playbook that we were getting, but there were differences.
TITANS DE KAMERION WIMBLEY
(on the Titans’ loss today)
I think there were a lot of good things out there. Everyone kept fighting, all the way down to the end. Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way. It is really frustrating. Everybody really wants to win and we’re not satisfied with just going out there and fighting hard. If we don’t get the win, it doesn’t mean anything to us. Guys are going keep encouraging one another and we’re going to keep working hard. We still feel like we are capable of winning games against really good teams.
TITANS DE DERRICK MORGAN
(on the Titans’ defensive effort)
We did a decent job on defense. We gave up that drive in the beginning of the game and had some short fields to defend. But as far as the game, we have to go out there and stop them and hold them every time, regardless of what the situation is. We did a decent job for the most part and we just didn’t play a complete game.
We’ve got a lot of pride on our team. We going to have to keep playing hard and keep playing for pride and try to win the last four games. We’re not going to give up and we’re not going to lay down because that’s not what we’re made of. We’ve got to finish the season out strong.
TITANS WR KENDALL WRIGHT
(on the Titans offense)
We just have to make plays when the plays are there. We just can’t come out of the gate that slow. We just started slow. Everything that we called, it was there. We had turnovers. They tipped a lot of passes. The plays were there, we just have to make them. We have to find a way to make them.
We just line up and play. Every team in the NFL is good. It doesn’t matter what the record shows. Any Sunday, anything can happen. We’re just going out there and fighting and trying to make plays and playing with a lot of passion and heart. We just came up short because we had way too many turnovers and we came out of the gate way too slow.
(on how he think he played today against the Texans defense)
I think I gave good effort, but me personally I’ve just got to step up and make the play when the plays are there. I had two passes in the fourth quarter, where one I dropped - I short-armed it - and the other one he knocked out. There’s no excuse for that. I’ve just got to make the play.
TITANS S MICHAEL GRIFFIN
(on the Texans’ offense)
We know they are a good football team. Matt Schaub is a good quarterback. He makes smart decisions and throws the ball away when he has to. Younger quarterbacks sometimes try to make plays happen, but Schaub takes what you give him. With the good defense that they have, he doesn’t have to try to make so many offensive plays.
(on what Titans can play for the remainder of the season)
I ‘ve been asked that question, the past four years. We just have to keep playing. This is the NFL, and a lot of people would love to be playing this game. So you’ve got to keep playing. We still can get some more wins and evaluate that and go forth to next season and what not. But again, everybody is not promised next year, or not promised the next game, so you have to always play every snap like it is your last.
TITANS C FERNANDO VELASCO
(on the play of Titans QB Jake Locker)
He’s a tough kid, a real tough kid. We’ve been saying that since game one. The thing I love about him is whether he gets sacked or whether he throws a pick, he still comes back to the huddle like he threw an 80-yard touchdown pass. That’s the confidence and the swagger that he carries on the field and the heart that he has. With a guy like that in your huddle, everybody can rally around him.
(on whether the Texans’ six sacks were a result of the Titans injuries or the play of the Texans)
Without going and looking at the film, I think it is probably a little bit of both. We knew that the defensive line was the strength of their team. We knew they had some good players on that side of the ball and we knew it was going to be a challenge. It was just a combination of everything. We have to do a better job as an offensive line.
(on the Titans offensive line having to shuffle positions due to injury)
It’s difficult, but it comes with the territory. As linemen in this league, you have to be able to play more than one position. I’m sure that’s happened to most of us in this league. I’m just speaking for myself, but that’s what got me in this league. So it just comes with the job, and you have to be a pro and accept it when it comes your way.
(on where the Titans’ focus will be next week)
I really don’t know what the standings and the playoff scenarios are. I don’t know if we are totally eliminated, I really don’t know. But the thing we have to do is come back and bounce back and get ready for Indianapolis next week. It’s the only thing we can focus on. We can’t look at nothing else. We have to worry about ourselves, and get ready for Indy.
TITANS T MIKE OTTO
(on how injuries caused several changes today in the Titans’ offensive line )
I don’t think anyone has ever seen that. When your starting center goes out to right tackle , it’s interesting. We know we have to do whatever we can do to finish the game off and it looks like we did that. It wasn’t easy by any means, but we knew we had to step up and compete.
It’s tough seeing your friends go down like that. Dave (Stewart) looked like he was in a good amount of pain and then to see the air cast come out, it’s not a good thing. Then Hutch (Steve Hutchinson) goes down and Kevin (Matthews) has to go in, then (Michael) Roos goes down. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Yes, it’s tough when you have to shuffle around like that, but we have to step up. We know that’s part of the game and we have to finish the game and do whatever we can do.
(on how the Titans regroup)
We go out and compete, and work every week and we go out to win games. No matter what your record is, no matter what anything is, it doesn’t matter. You go out there every week with the mindset you want to win a football game. That doesn’t change, no matter what your record is.
TEXANS HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
The first one is Brice McCain has a foot injury that’s being evaluated right now as we speak, obviously there are some concerns there, he did not come back to play. Garrett Graham has a concussion. We will start the process from that standpoint. Duane Brown did come back and played the whole game. That’s a positive. A little scary there. He took a good shot in the knee but he did come back and played the rest of the game. We got very thin defensive back wise, we got very thin personnel wise as far as things we do when Garrett went out, but boy we battled all day. We played great defense all day long. Offensively, we played well in the first half and played very poorly in the second half. I thought our kicking game was solid all day. I’m just proud of the guys. They are finding a way to get it done. We have got some issues but we go out there and keep battling. I’m very proud of them for finding a way to get into the playoffs. I’m happy for everyone back home. It’s nice to know we are going to play some more.
(on why the offense didn’t play well in the second half)
I don’t know. I really don’t like the way we ran the ball. I’ll have to go back and look at it. I don’t know if we got some tired legs on some guys out there. It was obvious we did not run the ball well. If we are not running the ball and their sitting playing two deep, that’s what’s going to happen. I’m just disappointed I didn’t get the ball to Andre (Johnson). I am disappointed in myself, let me start there. I have got to find ways to get Andre involved and in the second half I didn’t do it, I couldn’t find a way to do it. We battled and defense is great. We found a way to get it done.
(on clinching a playoff spot)
It’s amazing how last year’s atmosphere was when we clinched against Cincinnati. It was euphoric. They are very happy. We’re very happy on this plane ride, I’ll tell you that. I think they expected to get there and they got there today and obviously there’s a lot more to work on and accomplish before the season is over. We have got to continue to push our group and we got some young guys that are playing well for this football team because we have got some issues.
(on defense creating turnovers today)
It’s funny how things work in football. I just told the team, you come in here missing some key defensive players and you think you have got to play really well offensively and we turn around and may have played as good of a defensive game as we have played this year. That just tells you you’re a team; that you don’t really care how you win or you don’t have a preconceived notion of how you are going to win you just go out and play. They were exceptional today, six turnovers and six sacks; I think those are a couple of franchise records. The coaches did a great job. You look at the job Vance (Joseph) did and Reggie (Herring) did this week getting some young guys ready to play is exceptional.
(on J.J. Watt’s performance)
It’s off the charts. I think we are looking at a guy that is as good of a defensive player that I have seen on the field and continues to do it every week. A little sick this week and missed some time and goes out there and plays the way he plays. He is leading the way. We called on some veterans to lead the way today and I think they did that.
(on working with a thin secondary)
Roc (Carmichael) played a ton of snaps and (Brandon) Harris played a lot of snaps. That’s where we are at. We were down to seven guys the second half of the game when Brice (McCain) went out so that makes it difficult. We actually had (DeVier) Posey in line and said you may have to go in there and cover somebody. You only get to suit so many. We only have one healthy guy that didn’t suit and that was Cody White. Hopefully we will get these guys back we have an extra day this week.
(on the explanation of the Antonio Smith fumble recovery)
They blew the whistle. I think it could be a touchdown for us but unfortunately they blew a whistle and it’s not. There’s nothing you can do about it. We did a great job of getting turnover all day long.
TEXANS WR LESTAR JEAN
(on what it felt like to score his first touchdown of the season)
I was excited. It’s always exciting to get in the end zone.
(on if he anticipated scoring today)
No, I was just going out there and whenever Coach put me in just doing whatever they asked me to do.
(on if he had been practicing differently this week)
No, I’ve just been practicing normal—same thing all the time.
(on playing for an NFL team)
It feels good to be out there. To be in the NFL it’s just a blessing; it feels good.
TEXANS LB TIM DOBBINS
(on coming back to his hometown of Nashville)
Very exciting — I didn’t play last week due to a little injury, but right now I want to thank the training staff for helping it get better.
(on how difficult it was to battle back from his injury to play this week)
It wasn’t tough at all. The training staff did a good job of getting me back—it felt good.
(on if he thought he was going to return his interception for a touchdown)
I was definitely smelling the end zone — I just have to get there. That’s my second one and I just can’t get to the end zone, but I’m definitely trying to get in the end zone.
(on how special today’s defensive performance was because of the injuries the defense is battling)
Every time I’m on the field it’s special — just to have a good day. It’s an opportunity for me to go out there and play and show my teammates I know what I’m doing, and that the coaches are doing a good job of getting me in the right spots at the right time.
TEXANS FB JAMES CASEY
(on scoring another touchdown today)
It felt great, it’s one of the best feelings in the world to get in the end zone and score a touchdown in the NFL. I didn’t have anything planned, it really wasn’t my focus going into the game to have something planned if I scored a touchdown, but it felt good to get in. It was a good play design by our offensive coaches, and Matt (Schaub) got me the ball and it just felt good to get in.
(on clinching a playoff spot)
It feels great. It’s a lot different feeling this year than it was last year because we have a lot higher aspirations this year, but still we clinched the playoffs and that’s hard to do. We’re in it now—we have a shot. We have other things we want to do too. We want to clinch the division, we want to get home field advantage, so we have a lot of work to do and are already looking forward. We know we have a really big game against New England on Monday night, so we’re excited about that. Everybody is happy we’re in the playoffs, but we still have a lot of work to do.
(on his touchdown proving to be an important score in the game)
Yeah, it was early on, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the offense going in the second half like we wanted to. I felt like I could have done a lot better in some other situations, but I got a touchdown so that makes up for a little bit.
TEXANS DE J.J. WATT
(on how the Texans’ defense played today)
I think the defense played great. It’s what we’ve been looking for the last couple of weeks and obviously we’ve had some struggles the last two weeks, but today is what we’re used to and how we’re used to playing—the turnovers, the momentum swings, the big plays that is our defense.
(on Gary Kubiak saying that he is playing off the charts)
I mean that’s a compliment, it’s an honor. I have to give all the credit to my teammates and coaches, but I’m not done yet. We still have games to play and I still have a lot of football left. I’m really excited about where I’m headed.
(on being only the second player in NFL history to have 15 or more sacks and pass breakups in a season)
I knew going into today that I had a chance at Reggie White’s record for batted balls, and growing up idolizing Reggie White — growing up in Wisconsin as a Packers fan — to break his record is almost incomprehensible. I almost can’t put into words — it means a lot to me. It’s special, but there is a lot left to play and I’m really excited about where I’m headed, hopefully I break my own record.
(on becoming the first player in NFL history to have as many sacks and breakups in a season as he has this year)
Anytime you’re the only person to ever do something, it’s crazy, it’s wild, but as I’ve said all along, if you want to be the greatest, if you want to be the best, you have to be willing to want to do things that have never been done before. This is one of those things, but like I said all of the credit has to go to my teammates and coaches. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.
(on how disappointed he was for DE Antonio Smith when his fumble recovery was inadvertently blown dead)
We were all excited for him. I didn’t even know I knocked the ball out and then I saw him running for the end zone and saw it on the replay. That would have been awesome (had he scored the touchdown), I would have loved to see the ninja — I’m sure he would have done something crazy, jump in the stands or something, so I’m sure we would have got one heck of a treat there. I know it’s frustrating for him that he didn’t get it.
(on if he took anything away from Reggie White’s technique to help him have similar success)
I watched a little bit more of his pass rush, but he was out on the edge and I do a little bit more inside, so we kind of play two different positions, but obviously he’s one of, if not the best all-time, so you have to give him a lot of credit and it’s an honor to just be in the same sentence as him.
(on not letting a young team like the Titans get away with mistakes)
Yeah, we want to frustrate them. Obviously, they have a young quarterback in there and he’s going to be a heck of a player, but today we kind of got after him and frustrated him a little bit, and that was our goal. The defense played great and I think the defense did a heck of a job — I’m very proud of how we played today.
(on what it’s like playing on a defense with so many guys making big plays)
Oh, it’s a blast. That’s why this defense is so fun, that’s why this team is so fun — everyone makes plays, it’s not just one or two guys, it’s every single player. Everybody is happy for each other, nobody is selfish, nobody gets mad when somebody else makes a play, everybody truly wants what is best for everybody else and it’s a lot of fun and you have a lot of success when that’s the case.
(on his thoughts going into arguably the biggest game of the season next Monday night)
New England has obviously been an AFC power for a while. I know it’s going to be a big deal. We’re going to prepare just like every other week with intensity, with focus, with drive and we’re really excited about our chances.
(on what it’s like to be having a season like this individually and as a team)
It’s crazy. I’m a 23-year old kid just trying to have some fun, and that’s just what I’m doing out here. It’s crazy all the records and this and that and being 11-1 — I know this doesn’t happen all the time in the NFL, and it definitely doesn’t happen so quick for everybody. I am very appreciative and very humbled, and I’m not done—I’m very young and I have a lot of great football ahead of me. I am really excited, I know I leave some plays on the field and am always excited to go out there and make those plays.
(on what it feels like to clinch a playoff spot)
It feels great. I think the message you’ll get from our guys, which is good, is that we expected it. We’re happy about it, but we’re not satisfied by it by any means. You have to be in the dance to go win the whole thing, but we want more. We want the division title, we’re looking home field advantage, we’re looking for the bye and all of those things. All we can do is keep winning games, and this is just another one, this is the 11th one, so now we’re looking for number 12.
TEXANS QB MATT SCHAUB
(on finding a way to win)
We sure did. Our defense stepped up and was huge today. I think it was six turnovers, especially a couple of them down in our own end and giving us a short field and then when they are going in and we are stopping them on fourth down a couple of times. They just played lights out with a couple of guys down. I can’t say enough about how well they played. Offensively it was tough sledding there in the second half. We came out and started the game fast and found some plays, but then in the second half we just were hurting ourselves with some penalties and not staying on the field. We have to find a way to be better at that.
(on clinching a playoff berth for the second year in a row)
Yeah, it’s a great feeling after all of the hard work put in by these guys in this locker room to know that we are in. It’s a great feeling to know that we have reached that goal, but we have a lot more to accomplish and we are looking forward to that.
(on the touchdown to Lestar Jean)
It was phenomenal. To go in and work on that play throughout practice throughout the week and it never really went to that route to the guy, but it played out that way. They had Dre (Andre Johnson) covered underneath and he ran a great route and made the catch on the sideline and made someone miss and got up the field to score. That was a great play by him. It was a great effort by Lestar.
(on Lestar Johnson making plays when he has the chance)
Yeah he really does. There was the one where I scrambled out of the pocket and unfortunately he got called for some interference, but he still made a play on the sideline on the football. It was a great play to continue against a tough coverage with the play we had called, but he kept working on it.
(on playing so much better offensively in the first half of the game)
It really was. We found ways to make plays and move the football down the field and convert third downs in the first half, and in the second half our defense really won the game for us. They created all of those turnovers and stops on fourth down. The game ball goes to the defense today because we weren’t holding up our end on offense today. We have to stay on the field and be better on first down and they made some of the penalties that we had happen to us.
(on watching the defense play so well)
It was awesome because I knew how the second half was going offensively, we kept hurting ourselves. We weren’t able to stay on the football field and we kept putting our defense out there and they just kept rallying them. It was inspiring to watch them play.
(on one unit playing much better than the other)
If you look at the last month of our season, it’s been that way. We pick each other up and we just keep playing despite some things that happen to our football team. We just look to the next guy and everybody does a little bit more and we find a way to get a win. We have seen that now over the last four games and we are just going to keep pushing each other and demand a lot and our guys are stepping up and making plays.
(on getting productivity from new players)
It’s huge because we know how much other guys are going to contribute and be a part of what we do, but the more those other guys get involved in making plays, Lestar (Jean) making that first touchdown play was huge. It just lifts everyone up because we know what we are going to get from other areas. But to have that happen, and to see what Keshawn (Martin) is doing in the return game, and then we he gets an opportunity offensively he is making some plays. It’s just huge for us.
(on clinching the playoffs and a more business-like approach)
It’s just great to be playing and to know that you are going to continue your season into January because that’s what we are all here for, but we have our sights set on bigger things. It’s nice to know that we are going to have that opportunity to be in the tournament but we have more things that we want to accomplish.
(on if they should potentially rest any starters down the stretch going into the playoffs)
I’m here to play. I’m a football player and I am a quarterback of this team. I want to play and I want to be out there. You want to compete every chance you get because you only get so many of them in this business.
(on if he was relieved to see Duane Brown coming back into the game after being injured)
Yeah it was because when I saw him coming running back because you really never know. You don’t know what the issues are. For him to be wincing and in that much pain for the trainers to come out, you know that it’s significant. To see him come back and jog onto the field it was. We have confidence in what Andrew Gardner can do, but Duane has been playing at such a high level and in my opinion he is the best left tackle in this league. To see him coming back out there it is a sigh of relief.
(on the running game not being great today)
Well it’s hard for me to say. It’s something that I’m going to have to go back and watch it being that I’m carrying out my fakes and not really getting a chance to see how things are working and meshing up front on the second level with their linebackers and such. It’s something that we need to be better at. It’s something that we pride ourselves in being able to run the ball in those types of situations so we just have to find a way to be a little more consistent with it.
TEXANS OLB WHITNEY MERCILUS
(on practicing forcing turnovers)
We practice at takeaways. It’s just repetition at practice and getting the ball out how we can and that’s what happens.
(on making the playoffs two years in a row)
For the team it’s huge to make it into the playoffs back-to-back that they have done it and I am glad to be part of it. Not many rookies have the opportunity like this and all we have to do is handle business each week and just go all the way.
(on if he is concerned about all of the injuries on defense)
It’s very concerning because it just gets thin. It challenges young guys to step up when guys go down and they have to be ready. Just like me when it happened to Brooks (Reed) and I got to step in. We have a lot of talent and we can definitely go all the way with what we have.
TEXANS WR ANDRE JOHNSON
(on the offense not playing well today in the second half)
I just think that we didn’t play well as a whole. I don’t look at it as one person. In this game the coaches have to try to put you in the right situations and you have to go out and execute the play. One person can mess up and mess up the whole play. It takes a collective effort in order to go out and play well. I just think as an offense as a whole we just didn’t play well.
(on the difference between clinching the playoffs this year versus last year)
To me it’s that we have experienced it. I think that’s the biggest thing. We know what to expect now. Last year everyone was so anxious because we have never done it before. This is familiar territory now and we have bigger goals that we are trying to accomplish. We knew what to expect coming in today and we won the game.
(on being 6-0 on the road)
I just think that there is now panic and everyone knows their role. When we have guys go down we have guys step in and play well. What the defense did today was awesome. You couldn’t ask any more of what they did today. I don’t think that a lot of people picked our defense to play that way with the key pieces that were out. It just shows you that even from last year, when guys went out we had guys step up and play and I think that we learned a lot about our team from last year.
TEXANS WR KEVIN WALTER
(on if the approach has become more business-like)
Oh it is, yeah. Every week is more business-like because the stakes get higher. We look forward to it.
(on what Gary Kubiak said in the locker room after the game)
He said that it was a heck of a team win and that no matter what we have to get better. We have a big opportunity next week when we go up to New England.
(on the younger receivers getting involved)
Those guys are making big plays and it’s very impressive. They do it in practice so it doesn’t surprise me.