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Titans at Colts Postgame Quotes

Posted Dec 1, 2013

TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

What do you attribute Ryan Fitzpatrick having an off day?

“We can’t turn the ball over, we all know that. Three forced interceptions and a fumble. We were given too many opportunities to make plays and again, he’s just got to be smart and again we’ll watch and see exactly what happened, if it was pressure, if it was not, what kind of throw he made, but again, some balls he wishes he had back.”

Why is a guy pushing somebody in the back away from the play?

“He shouldn’t be. I didn’t see the play because I was looking down the field, but obviously you can’t do something like that.”

That’s the second time you have had that happen. Why does it happen? Discipline? Selfishness?

“I don’t think all that goes through their mind when it happens. I think it’s an instinct or a quick reaction to whatever, I don’t know why something like happened. It shouldn’t happen. Like I said, I haven’t seen Moise (Fokou) do something like that since he’s been here, but again, I didn’t see the play so I’m not going to comment on it. But again, we can’t have those plays, we can’t. In a game that’s close, when it gets down to the wire like this one did, you can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did. You can’t have a play like that that costs you three points. I mean, you can go on and on what you can’t do. We sacked the guy (Andrew Luck) five times, two times he fumbled it, we couldn’t recover one of them. We missed some interceptions. We knocked the ball out on a punt team, we couldn’t get the ball there. There were so many opportunities to make up and win this game and we didn’t get any of those plays.”

Obviously things like that are on your players, but how much of this traces to you and your staff not having them drilled on what they can and can’t do?

“I’m not sure what you’re asking. That’s not something that you are going to drill against doing. So you drill on legally you can’t hit a guy when he’s… I didn’t see exactly what they called the way they did, but I’m not sure that question makes a lot of sense to me,”

Do you have to maybe sit Moise Fokou down though and tell him he’s got to suffer the consequences of a dumb play like that?

“Again, once I see it, we talk about it, yes, we’ll see if we feel there’s any need to do, we’ll probably go forward with him for making a play like that.”

This team is 4-12 in the AFC South in the last two and a half years. Does that show any progress and isn’t that the first thing you need to be competitive in the division?

“I agree with that that we should be. We’re 0-4 in the division and it’s pretty obvious that it’s not good.  You’re not going to win the division when you’re 0-4 in your division and that’s where we’re at. We have plenty of opportunities. It seems like we stand here after a lot of these games saying we lost to Houston in overtime, we lost to these guys by three points, by a touchdown, we lost to Jacksonville by two. We’re there, we can’t finish the game. We make too many mistakes for whatever reason.”

How much did it hurt to lose Delanie Walker and Collin Mooney?

“Well, it hurts you when you lose Delanie. I think it’s more about the passing game allowed the defense to play different coverages because you lose a weapon like Delanie. So that’s a huge loss. You don’t have your two best tight ends, your two starting tight ends are out of the game. Obviously (Craig) Stevens didn’t suit up. Delanie going into the game and gets hurt right away. Definitely it’s going to hurt you losing a fullback that takes that part out of the game also. Again, whatever you want to call that, bad luck or whatever, but yes, we lost a big weapon in losing him.”

Do you have an injury update?

“Nothing other than one was a knee and obviously one was a concussion.”

You guys had the chance when Ryan Fitzpatrick went deep down field to Justin Hunter when he could have maybe gone underneath to get you a field goal. Bad decision on his part?

“Again, you like him to do that. He knows to do that. I mean, he made the decision he made. That’s something again to watch the tape and see if he forced that. I don’t know. Yes you want the five yards, you call plays to get five yards, to get six yards. But again, players are the ones that make the plays; they’re the ones out there and so looking back I wish he would have done something different.”

Do you feel the reason that the plays aren’t happening and the mistakes are more mental or physical?

“That’s something, again unless you’re looking at what plays we’re talking about, the defense plays well until the last drive the second half. We like to run the ball the whole half, I think there were three now four times in a row or three times in a row, did a nice job after the turnover in holding the field goal. Just kept the game within a point and then all of a sudden the last drive, I can’t tell you watching what exactly the breakdown was but we had three or four plays that killed us right there when we needed to make plays and we didn’t to get the ball back for the offense one more time. Again, having said that, we get down to the 30-yard line, we had plenty of time to score and have a chance to tie it and we throw an interception. So opportunities are there, we’re just not making plays to do it.”

What’s this emotional roller coaster like?  You had a big win in Oakland, back in the playoff thought and now?

“Well, obviously it’s disappointing. We felt, I think, we felt as a team very good coming in here knowing it would be a close game, but one that we felt very much we could win. Especially after the way we’ve played this team, we feel very, this team is one of those games that it comes down to the last possession it seems like every time we play. We’re wishing it wouldn’t do that. We thought we played, I thought we would play much better than we did as far as handling the football. We didn’t and it ends up costing you when you do that and then all of the sudden some of these mistakes we’re talking about here, you know, ‘Why’d you throw this pass? What happened here? What happened there?’ becomes more magnified when you don’t win the football game or when you don’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had in this game to get a lead. I mean, we get that early turnover in the first series. We get no points, we go three-and-out. Again, that’s stuff we have to execute better, we didn’t. We didn’t take advantage of the one turnover that we did get and then we missed a lot of the ones that we could have had.”

What do you tell the team after a loss like that?

“Well we lost control over our situation to some degree, especially division, we know that. Again, it puts us in a spot now where we got to win four games in a row and that’s it. We have no control over what that may or may not mean. All we can do is come back to work tomorrow, watch this game, see what happened and see what our situation is. I’m not worried about that part with these guys. These guys work, they’re out there working hard. We’re trying to make plays to get it done. I’m not worried about that; all the attitude thing. We’ll be fine that way. We’ve just got to find a way to win four games in a row now.”

You had five sacks, did you just have the inability to make plays?

“Yeah, in the NFL you can’t do what we did. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get, you know what, they’re going to run the football. They’re going to make some plays. They’ve got some pretty good players over there, but when you have the chance to make plays, we’re going down there to sack him five times and he fumbled three? I mean we fumbled one time, they recovered it and scored, they got a field goal out of it. We get sacked one time, we protect it well in a hostile environment with a good pass rush. You get sacked once, we sacked him five times. You can go on and on about stuff like that, but the bottom line is they finished it and we didn’t. A lot of good things are going on. Guys are making plays that are there to be made, but why does the ball bounce a certain way? I don’t know. Why can’t we grab that ball that’s lying there three times? We had an interception that hits us right in the chest, and that changes the game, we missed it. They didn’t miss one of theirs. They intercepted all of theirs thrown to them. We’ll keep drilling those things and maybe we’ll get better at it.”

What changed on that final drive?

“It was like a repeat of the last time that we played them. Again, you’re on the sidelines, they made a couple of nice runs, he made a couple of runs and obviously (Andrew) Luck took off and ran once. We didn’t handle the situation. We got caught in the moment and they executed, we lost momentum right there in a handful of those plays and they executed better than we did.” 

You have players out there making the plays, do you have any underachievers?

“I wouldn’t classify it as that, no.”

What would you classify it as?

“I just don’t think when a guy misses an interception, he’s underachieving. We have guys who can make plays but they’re there to make and sometimes they seem to be easier. Why is the ball laying there and it bounces one way and one guy gets it? I don’t know. Is that underachieving? I don’t think so.”

TITANS DT JURRELL CASEY

You sacked them five times and forced a few fumbles but couldn't come up with any of them.

"Bounce of the ball. They got the ball right back. We've got to come up with those. It's something that we've got to do on our side of the ball. There's really no explanation for those. We've just got to find a way to get it."

George Wilson is kind of taking the blame saying if he had made the interception on the ball right to him that maybe would have won the game. Are there other plays that you thought “If I had done this or I had done that?”

"Yeah, everybody is at blame for this game. Everybody had their mistakes. That wasn't even a mistake. The ball bounced off his chest and he couldn't catch the ball. Nobody blames him at all. He did a great job today, so that one play doesn't define what he did today. There was a play where I could have had a sack and Luck got the ball out when it was a tip. That could have been a forced fumble and I didn't get the job done."

How do you guys learn to finish?

"You can't just learn to finish. It's something you just have to have inside you. You've got to be able to come when it's time to go out there and finish a play. That's what it boils down to. It's not really something you can learn, you just have to have it inside you."

TITANS QB RYAN FITZPATRICK

You had been so successful in the past three games without turnovers. Was it the Colts today or would you want to have some of those passes back?

“Yeah I think you always have to give them credit. That being said, I didn’t play well today in a lot of different aspects but obviously in the turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win in any game. Somehow, someway with the way our defense played we held them to three points on all their drives and we had a shot at the end there and that’s all that you can ask for is a shot at the end of the game to get down there and we had the long completion to Kendall (Wright) and unfortunately another bad decision, an interception. It was a tough game for us and especially for me on offense and we didn’t get the job done and it hurts. After some of the momentum we had coming off the win last week we felt like we were prepared and we were ready to go and for me to come out and not play well, it hurts.”

Was it something the Colts were doing or did you just have an off day?

“I think it was a little bit of both. They definitely did some things that were different and they did a good job with some of their schemes and just in general playing good coverage. A lot of it falls on me. Some of it was decision making and some of it just not making the throws today.”

When you had third and deep for Justin (Hunter) how was that play designed?

“Yeah it was basically a block them up three-man route with Justin as the deep option and two shorter options Kendall (Wright) being one of them. In hindsight I like the look we got to Justin (Hunter) but in hindsight, maybe taking the shorter throw would have been the better decision.”

The last pick, did you not see the guy (Jerrell Freeman) too well?

“Yeah I didn’t see him.”

It looked like the throw towards Nate (Washington) was a little bit behind him?

“Yeah they did a great job in terms of tight coverage. The ball I threw behind Nate, he was coming to me from the right to my left and I didn’t get open enough on my throw. Unfortunately it ended up being an interception.”

How much did Delanie Walker’s absence affect your playing?

“It changed a little bit of what we did. Delanie is a good player for us, a guy that I have really come to rely on and have had a good relationship with on the field with some of the stuff he has been able to do. I could have done a better job at adjusting. We threw Mike Otto in on some of our two tight end packages to be able to continue some of the run game stuff. Without him we still had our wide receiver stuff with Taylor moving into (the Y position) instead of Delanie. When injuries happen in a game you’ve got to adjust a little bit and I just didn’t do a good enough job at it.”

The team is 0-4 in the division, any common thread there against these three teams?

“No, I mean we kind of had our chances in all three of those games and it’s just been a lot of frustration not being able to pull out the wins in all those games.”

You guys got the ball in their territory in the first possession of the game and had another one in the second half, and gained zero points in both of those situations, how critical were those possessions?

“Yeah those were huge and I feel like even if we would have played a little bit better on offense, we have done that the last few weeks. Getting some good turnovers, a great return by Leon (Washington), having good field position and sitting there ready to at least get three points on the board, but capturing that momentum and going for touchdowns and feeding off of our defense and special teams, but unfortunately, we didn’t do that in both of those situations today which really hurt us.”

Was the touchdown pass to Chris Johnson the way the coaches drew it up?

“Yeah, that was how the play was drawn up. I don’t know if the hook shot was the kind of the throw I had practiced, but I felt that was what needed to happen, but yeah that was the way the play was designed and CJ did a good job there.”

Where does that rate on the ugly meter of touchdown passes you have thrown in your NFL career?

“When you throw a touchdown, they’re all pretty. “

How do you keep the ship headed in the right direction?

“We have a lot of professionals in that locker room and that’s the biggest thing. We don’t know what we are out there playing for now, if we have a chance or not and all the different scenarios. But you’ve got to be a pro and come in and do your job and work just as hard today as we did the first day of the season. I think we have the right people in this locker room that are going to get that done and I promise I will be one of those guys.”

What do you say to a guy like Shonn Greene about his unsportsmanlike penalty?

“I didn’t see exactly what happened, but a guy like Shonn has been around and has played in a lot of games. There is a lot of chatter out there going back and forth and part of Shonn’s game is he is a physical runner, a passionate guy, so I think sometimes you get caught up and carried away in some of that stuff, but Shonn’s a pro, not much needs to be said there. He knows when that yellow flag comes out that he’s wrong.”

TITANS WR NATE WASHINGTON

You guys are 0-4 in the division.  First item of business is usually trying to take care of business inside the division.

Nate Washington had five catches for 81 yards, including a 31-yarder.
Click here for the slideshow from the game.

"Yeah you have to. That's the number one thing that you work for in the spring and beginning of summer. The crazy thing is you can lose every game outside of your conference and if you win every game in your conference, you can still go to the playoffs. You're winning your conference if that's possible. We have to find a way to win our conference. We haven't gotten a win yet and it's very disheartening. This is not what we prepare for. The work that we put in, this is not the outcome that we expect."

Four game slump, but you guys are still in contention even after today.

"We understand at this point that things are out of our hands, but we kind of made a pact as men. It's about pride at this point. It's about finishing. It's about making sure that we understand and letting everyone else understand that we've had an unfortunate season. Some things haven't worked out for us, but that doesn't mean that we quit or lay down. It's not going to happen. We're going to continue to work, continue to put good things on film, and work as hard as we can every single Sunday to get a win."

It's a little late in the season to be making some of the mistakes and loss of discipline and things like that.

"It is late in the season to be doing this. We just have to understand the mistakes that we made, the time period that we're in, and the sense of urgency that we need. It has to be better. We'll try to clean those things up. The main thing right now is just making sure that we finish the season as men, hard-working, prideful, determined men. We'll try to do everything in our power to make sure we come out and get a win next time."

TITANS S GEORGE WILSON

Talk about how Andrew Luck and the guys just seemed to flip the switch.

"They switched to their running formation there in the fourth quarter after that play (a dropped interception). We have to play 60 minutes. We can't play 30 minutes. We can't play 58 and a half minutes. We've got to play 60 minutes. We didn't fit up the run. We didn't tackle well as the game went on. They moved the ball down the field and scored the touchdown late to go up by eight points."

Is that the discouraging thing? You play well for most of the game and then at the end you get a chance to hold them.

"Yeah that's the tough part. Like I mentioned before, I feel like this one's on me. I had the opportunity to make the interception in the fourth quarter, return us to around midfield, change the momentum, and I didn't make that play. That's what sticks out in my mind. We have to make plays when we have the opportunity to. Even after that, we just have to tackle better, fit up the run more consistently, and not allow them to drive the length of the field like they did." 

Do you ever think about if I had caught that?

"That's going to be the thought in my mind, hopefully just for the next 24 hours. You've got to be able to put those moments behind you, and put these games behind you. That's definitely going to keep me up tonight."


COLTS HEAD COACH CHUCK PAGANO

Opening statement:

“Injury-wise, two guys that went out: Boom (Daniel Herron) went out with a pec strain. He’ll get an MRI tonight and we’ll know more. Ricky Jean (Francois) went out with a left foot and he’ll have an MRI tonight also and we’ll know more tomorrow moving forward. Again, great team win. It’s a great football team that came in here. Two teams fighting for the same thing. Really proud of our players, proud of our coaches. Again, this group of men found a way to get the job done coming off of obviously a disappointing loss. Again, they’re a resilient bunch. Got more resolve than anybody I’ve ever been around. Found a way to get the thing done. Had our struggles early on offense. Couldn’t get anything generated. Moved the ball down and we got to try to find a way to score touchdowns. We know going down the stretch here that you’ve got to score touchdowns and try to put people away. You let people hang around, you’re just asking for trouble. Really proud of the defense playing the way they did. They were asked time and time and time again to go out there and make stops and got off the field against a team that came in doing a really good job on third down. The turnovers were huge and then getting off obviously the last one and the two-minute drill was major. Great win but we still got obviously a long way to go and a lot of work to do but really proud of the guys, proud of the coaches, proud of the players.”

Can you talk about why you made some changes to the starting lineup?

“Probably just they earned the opportunity. Donnie (Donald Brown) earned the opportunity the way he was working and running the football. Felt like, we’re still going to use two backs, but earned the opportunity to get in there and do that. Link (Jeff Linkenbach), just wanted to give him an opportunity at right guard. We’ll look at the tape moving forward. Mike McGlynn has helped us win a lot of football games and he’s a good football player. It’s nothing against Mike but just wanted to give Link a shot. Just felt like when we were in our base package, wanted to use D-Buts (Darius Butler) outside and keep Cas (Cassius Vaughn) playing the nickel and the sub.”

How did Trent Richardson react when you told him you were going to shake things up at that position?

“Awesome. He’s a pro. He handled it awesome. Came to work, put his time in, prepared and was ready to go.”

You told him earlier in the week or was it today?

“Earlier in the week. We wouldn’t do that to anybody.”

Can you talk about the success on that final drive?

“I guess it was time to put something together obviously. Division hanging in the balance, everything on the line and the guys manned up just like they did in the first ballgame against these guys down there. We were able to run the ball and chew up the clock and put together a touchdown drive. Again, execution, grit, toughness, all that stuff plays a hand in it. Hats off to our offensive line and tight ends and Stanley Havili, our backs, jumbo guys coming in and grinding that thing out, running that time off the clock and scoring that touchdown.”

Can you talk about the performance of the defense today?

“It was a great effort. Great, great effort. Any time you can do that, and again, I don’t know how many plays we played on defense. I know it was a lot. It took every man that was donning a jersey on that side of the ball to get the job done. Every one of them that played tonight went in there and gave everything they’ve got and again, getting off the field was a major emphasis during the week, and obviously we’re always stressing turnovers. We haven’t got any of late and to get the turnovers today was a huge factor in this win.”

Were the lineup changes an attempt to spark the team?

“We’re always trying to just make decisions based on what’s best for the team and what gives us the best chance to win. We just made a decision to give a couple guys an opportunity and move forward. That doesn’t mean, those other guys like you asked, they’re pros, they’re professionals. They came to work. They understand. They prepared and they were ready to go.”

Can you talk about Andrew Luck’s run on the last drive?

“Down the stretch, it’d be real easy for other quarterbacks going through what he went through for three and a half quarters of a ball game from a frustration standpoint. But the guy, again, he’s got the uncanny ability to block all that stuff out and move on and go to the next play and again, it’s just Andrew being Andrew and finding a way to will this team to a victory.”

How does this win change the team’s focus down the stretch? Is there more pressure, less pressure?

“No. What we said in there and what I told the guys was we’re not going down that road. We’re going to try to avoid. We’re not exhaling. We still got, the division is not sewn up. We still got a lot of work to do as a football team in all three phases. So we’re going to fight human nature. We’ll take a couple hours to enjoy this. But everybody is coming in tomorrow. We’re going to watch the tape, we’re going to get treatment, get a lift. We’re going to go to work on the next opponent. We’re not exhaling. We’re going to do everything within our power to keep trending in the right direction.”

With the playoff picture taking shape now, do you block out looking at the big picture?

“Have to. Just one at a time. Next game, that’s it.”

COLTS S ANTOINE BETHEA

You knew how important this one was in the division. Defense being opportunistic made a big difference today, didn’t it?

“Yeah, defense played well today, got some turnovers and we played as a unit today. That was the biggest thing.”                      

With the offense struggling, how key was it for you all to maintain, hold them when you did and get takeaways?

“Defense had to step up. That’s what the game is all about. It’s a team game and if one of the three phases of the team is struggling, the other two got to pick it up. Special teams played well and defense played well.”

Some lineup changes out there. Talk about the guys who’ve had to move in and change things up a little bit?

“That’s what we’ve been doing all year. Guys have stepped in and made plays. Donald (Brown), he’s been running good for us all year. Cassius (Vaughn), he’s a veteran, he’s had a lot of playing time so it’s no surprise the way those guys played. Cassius had a great game, two big picks. It’s no worries about who’s out there playing on the field. We all have confidence in one another, we all trust one another so whoever is out there in between those lines, we know they can play and make plays.”

COLTS RB DONALD BROWN

What worked so well there on that final drive, the game-winning drive for you guys?

“The offensive line did a great job. They opened up some holes. And we knew we had to milk the clock and finish out the game.”

In those circumstances, where you guys are struggling all game, is it just a matter of staying patient, staying with it?

“Right. Of course. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle. A lot of times offensively we shot ourselves in the foot. But we get it fixed and move forward.”

Did things change for you because you got the start? How much did you embrace that?

“No. Nothing changed at all.”

When you take a look this team, what it has been going through the past couple of weeks, how key was it making sure that you sustained drives throughout this game, and then try to hit that home run drive as you did toward the end?

“Right, we knew we had to keep the ball out of their hands. We had to keep moving the chains, that’s the name of the game. We can’t keep going three-and-out. We put our defense in a bad spot too many times. And when we get to the red zone, we need to score touchdowns instead of Adam (Vinatieri) bailing us out and kicking field goals.”

COLTS TE COBY FLEENER

What was it about the final couple minutes there that you guys finally got focused on an offensive drive down the field?

“I don’t know. I mean if we can pinpoint that, I am sure we would do it a lot more. It’s one of those things where we finally just clicked. And thankfully it happened at the right time.”

How important was it for you guys not to fall behind in the first quarter or in the second quarter like you guys had been doing. You guys actually held your own there.

“Yeah, it’s huge for us. Credit to our defense for really holding them down and keeping us in the game until the offense finally, on that final drive, got it together.”

With the offense just seeming so out of sync, how much of a concern is that going down the stretch of the regular season?

“You know I think it’s all a learning experience and I think we are trying to get better with every single game.”

What adjustments, or what did Andrew say to you guys, because he seemed really focused on that last drive. What did he say to you guys at halftime?

“No fiery, dramatic speech as you guys have previously reported (laughs). It’s just one of those things where we make changes, learn as much as we can from the first half, and we go out there in the second half and try to execute.

COLTS ILB JERRELL FREEMAN

You can deal with the pain after a victory and sealing a win with an interception?

“Yeah, I can deal with all of that.”

How crucial were those turnovers today?

“Very crucial. I know in the beginning of the season, they helped boost our team, helped us start getting rallied, helped our offense. We feed off of each other. We feed off big plays. You see that long drive. We got to do our part so we did it with getting turnovers and getting stops, pretty big today.”

You had the fumble return and then you had the interception to seal the deal. When’s the last time you’ve had two personal ones?

“This is the first time, I don’t know. I can’t recall. Like I said, we were big. Cassius (Vaughn) was back there making plays. Our DBs were making big plays for us. Up front, you see Robert (Mathis) still sack-fumbling so it’s all 11. We’re definitely working together. We got to get hot. December is definitely the month to get hot. Roll into these playoffs and try to make a push for New York.”

Do you feel like there’s some work to be done? It still looks like you’re not there, you’re not quite back to where you were before?

“No question. I think there’s always room for improvement. Regardless of how good you think you are, it’s always room for improvement, go in there and study the film. Definitely didn’t play perfect today and that’s what our goal is, to play perfect. If we haven’t played perfect, then there’s a whole lot of room for improvement. So we got to get back, watch this film and get better.”

COLTS WR T.Y. HILTON

What changed in the last half of the fourth quarter for you guys?

“We got a little ahead and I said a couple of things to the guys. All in all, we just put it together. I said this drive we got to stick a fork in them, get a dagger in them and that’s what we did. We all came together and made a vow that we going to go down there, score and end the game.”

What did it mean to you guys to actually have a running game that looks like it is being productive and that’s been such a struggle for the offense?

“Every week we preach run the ball. Run the ball and stop the run. For offense, we never got away from the run game. In the fourth quarter, we felt like we were wearing them down so we stayed with it and Donald (Brown) did a great job of finding the holes, breaking tackles and doing what he does.”

There are still things that need to be fixed with this offense. It just isn’t being productive as it was the first part of the season. What do you think the key issues are?

“The key is just executing, first, second and early downs, just execute. Make third down manageable. Make it third-and-five, third-and-four, make it something so we don’t have to throw a deep ball and everybody knows its pass. As long as we keep executing on first and second, we should be good to go.”

COLTS QB ANDREW LUCK

You’ll take an ugly win over a bad loss any time, huh?

“Yeah, 100 percent of the time. We know we can’t survive our mistakes forever. I know it sounds a bit like a broken record, but sometimes you just got to gut a win out, no matter how ugly it is. I’ll never complain about a win. I don’t think you’ll hear anybody in that locker room complain about a win, especially against a good division opponent like Tennessee. What a great job by the defense. I think they were the leaders of the pack today. And credit to the O-line and backs for putting that final drive together and getting us seven.”

Was that final drive really just an example of grinding it out on a day when nothing was really working?

“Yeah, I think so. Terrible job offensively by us, by me, of converting off of those interceptions and those big turnovers. Great job by Vinny (Adam Vinatieri). I don’t know what NFL record he broke today but it always seems like it’s some type of milestone, special teams. We know, and I know I’ve got to do a better job of taking a quick throw and not taking a sack in some of those situations. But yeah, a grind-it-out win, that’s for sure.”

Can you put into perspective the importance of having a guy like Adam Vinatieri, especially when the offense is struggling?

“Yeah, those are by no means chip shots. And to have a security blanket like that and just a guy, it makes a big difference, it really does. Especially when we’re struggling like that and can’t put a touchdown on the board early, to have that really keeps that momentum going for you. Yeah, touchdowns are obviously better. But points are better than nothing.”

Can you talk about your long run in the fourth quarter?

“Yeah, it was a sort of designed bootleg pass. Stanley Havili was open, but I figured safer just to keep the ball and run it than to try and pass it there. Stanley did a great job of blocking. DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) cut his route off and blocked when he saw me running. I felt like I’d get some extra yards so I didn’t step out of bounds and wanted to stay in bounds and let that clock keep running. So it worked out.”

Can you talk about what it means to get this win and get back on track after the way last week went?

“Yeah, it was huge. We had a very, very sour taste in our mouths and we knew the only remedy was to come out here and beat Tennessee. And thankfully we did, so good. We still got a lot of mistakes to clean up. We still got a lot of things we need to improve on, but to grind out games, to win these types of games are a positive sign.”

Can you talk about how effective Donald Brown was today, especially on the last drive?

“Yeah, it was huge. It seems like when the fourth quarter comes around he just gets stronger and stronger. The O-line just gets stronger and stronger. Donald’s a great teammate, a great professional. Always does the right thing, so happy for him. I thought all the running backs played really well today. It was good to see Chris Rainey get in there and see some action as well. And Trent (Richardson), he works his butt off. But very happy for Donald. He deserves all the praise and recognition for a game like this.”

Did you anticipate that you would have room to run on that bootleg before you guys ran it?

“Yes, I did, the way the defense was sort of slid over. And again, I felt like if I had the opportunity to run I was going to take that, just because it was safer than putting the ball in the air, just the way the game was going. So glad it worked out.”

Why do you feel like you guys were finally able to put it together on the last drive after all the problems on the other drives?

“Yeah, that’s a good question and I wish I had the answer. I think something about the fourth quarter, the O-line always does a great job. I don’t think there is one answer, one thing you can say. But I wish we could do it all game, and that’s what we’re going to go back to practice to do. To run it like that, throw it like that all game. But again, I guess when it matters most, we got it done. So proud to be a part of this team.”

Knowing all that was on the line today, what was the mood in the locker room after the win?

“Happy, obviously. We’re happy after every win in this league, especially at home in front of our fans. We needed to win in front of them. But definitely happy. And we also realize that nothing is set in stone now. Who cares what your record was week whatever it is, it’s how you finish the season. So we got a big game this weekend and we’ll prepare for it like it’s the biggest game of the year because it is.”

You guys have always talked about winning the division first. In that context, how important was this win? Because those standings had tightened and could have tightened even more.

“Yeah, I’m not sure about the whole complete standings. I know we’re first. And I know Tennessee is a division opponent and I know we got to win against division opponents. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten caught up in rankings and where you are. I realize if you keep winning, usually good things happen. But to know that we beat a good division opponent at home is good.”

COLTS DE CORY REDDING

Being up three games with four games to go in the division, can you just talk about being in a position to wrap up the division next weekend?

“Yeah, I mean that’s what it is. We kept the winning streak alive as far coming back from a loss. We knew it was going to be a tough divisional game and definitely get the bad taste out of our mouths. We never want to have one loss turn into two. We don’t want one mess up to turn into another mess up. We always have to go back to the drawing board, correct our mistakes, and go out there with the mindset of getting this win, period. And all we have to do right now is just stay focused, don’t get too high, stay even keeled. And go to Cincinnati next week and find a way to win that game.”

Was that a heavyweight fight or a street brawl?

“That was a backyard street brawl man (laughs). You got called out in your neighborhood by the biggest kid and you have to fight. And that’s what it was. Both of us are really fighting for the division. We are both fighting for the same thing. We are three games up and we have Cincinnati next week. And we have to go to Cincinnati with a good game plan and stop that run, get on the quarterback and make something happen.”

What, more specifically, was the mindset? It was close the whole way. You knew it was hanging in the balance?

“It was just the mindset, man. Once you make up your mind to do something, the body will follow. We made our minds up that enough is enough. We drew a line in the sand and knuckled up. Stopped the run. And we got the turnovers that we needed and that we got away from. And we just started playing football. Everyone was having fun, and you could just see it out there.”

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