Titans-Colts Postgame Quotes

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HEAD COACH MIKE VRABEL

(on how close was the decision to play quarterback Marcus Mariota today)

Marcus (Mariota) feels like everybody else does, disappointed that we lost the game, if that’s what you’re asking. 

(on what the status of Marcus Mariota is)

Marcus (Mariota) didn’t play tonight, and I’m not going to go into much detail on where he’s at physically, and the decision. I’m just disappointed for the players that put a lot into this, and the coaches. We’ve got to do a better job and try to figure out how to take the next step.

(on if he knew during the week that Marcus Mariota wasn’t going to play today)

No. I think, again, he didn’t play today. Didn’t know – I’m not going to sit here and discuss Marcus (Mariota). I give all the credit to the Colts, their players and their coaching staff, and try to find a way to improve our football team and our organization.

(on how big the gap is between the Titans, Colts and Texans)

Apparently tonight it was 14 points. We beat the Texans once, and we were winning 10-0, and then didn’t do anything with the lead down there. Every week is a challenge in the NFL. I’m not sure what the gap is, but we didn’t do a good enough job tonight. 

(on how the season ended in terms of his expectations)

No expectations. I’m not going to sit here and discuss and – we’ll have time here in the next couple of days. I’m disappointed in the game. We have to try to have these guys ready to go. We tried to fight back. Jayon (Brown) made a few plays there and tried to get us back into it. We started off with a good kickoff return, and again, it wasn’t enough. Anytime we started to get some momentum, they did a nice job of countering it.

(on the pick quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw when the game was at 24-17)

I know the standard line, but we’ll have to take a look at the film. It just – you know, you don’t want to be – I don’t want to just guess on what he saw, what he did. He was scrambling, he was out of the pocket, and I’m sure he’d like to have that throw back and do it all over again.

(on if the team hurt itself early on when it was 14-0)

It’s tough to win like that. We tried it against the Jets, we were able to claw back. But, that’s not how you want to start any football game. But again, I’m proud of the way that the guys fought back, tried to claw back, get some momentum. Huge turnover, huge interception. Again, we just have to be able to do better, try to improve.

(on if losing was as simple as running out of bodies at the end of the season)

I don’t think it’s ever going to be that. I think that this is what happens in the National Football League, sometimes you have injuries and you have to be prepared for them, and try to coach the guys that are stepping in there and get them to improve. Everybody is here for a reason, and that’s to be able to try to find a way to help the team win. If somebody goes down, the next guy has to step in there and be ready to go.

(on if there’s a suddenness now to the end of the season)

I think that you don’t ever anticipate telling them that there’s going to be a squad meeting at one o’clock tomorrow, and medical checks, and things like that. You certainly don’t prepare that speech the night before the game. To your point, there’s suddenness to it that’s going on right now.

(on the team’s energy early in the game and the energy in the stadium)

I wish we would have given our fans some more to cheer about. I appreciate them coming out, we do, we appreciate their support. I thought the energy was good on the first kickoff return, and then we just got to be able to convert and take advantage of that situation and that field position. Can’t punt down there and let them come down and score. Energy is basically created by good plays and positive plays and we need to have more of those early in the game so that you don’t go down 14-0.

(on what he thought of linebacker Jayon Brown tonight)

We enjoy coaching Jayon (Brown). I think he’s got a youthful energy. He’s going to continue to improve. Came up with some huge plays tonight and even throughout the season. I think he can even get better. I think he can continue to improve. I’m excited to continue to work with him. I’m glad that he gave us a chance tonight to get back into it.

(on why he thinks cornerback Adoree’ Jackson couldn’t get a handle on the ball during the return)

I think that would be a great question for Adoree’ (Jackson), but I think that looking at what he tried to do, I think he tried to do, you know, catch it on the first bounce. I don’t think he could get up there. If it’s a clean bounce and you can catch it on the first bounce, we tell them to go ahead and try to do that. Again, you have to make sure the technique is there and he’s square on that ball. I think when he fields them and we’re in a block form, he can certainly gain yards.

(on if quarterback Marcus Mariota was not cleared to play tonight from a medical standpoint)

It was just a decision that a lot people came together and made. He wasn’t out there tonight. He wasn’t available.

(on if quarterback Marcus Mariota wanted to play tonight)

All players want to play. Every single guy wants to play. That’s why they’re in this business, that’s why they do what they do. Sometimes that’s not always possible.

(on if he gives practice reps to players even if he knows they won’t be playing the game)

I think that sometimes, because reps, maybe get up there- there’s a lot of different things we do at practice and there’s some guys that have been inactive for most of the season that will still continue to get practice reps so that the guys that are playing- let’s say the four or five D-linemen that we think are going to be active that week don’t take every single rep. That’s happened. But, some of the decisions that go down to right before the game you don’t really know and you try to manage those reps with players that could be potentially playing. Your fifth DB, quarterback, tonight’s instance, so there’s a lot of situations where guys will either get reps and not play, or I know they’re not going to play that week, but they still have to do reps to get us through practice.

(on if there was concern about making things worse for quarterback Marcus Mariota if he played tonight)

We made a decision that Marcus (Mariota) wasn’t going to play tonight. We’ll continue to evaluate him and try to worry about his health. I worry about every one of those guy’s health, Marcus included. Q’s (Quinton Spain’s) ankle, Tajae (Sharpe’s) ankle, every single one of them.

(on what about this team gives them a never quit attitude)

I think it’s just the men in that locker room. I think that they care for each other. I think that they will fight and they will try find a way to get back into it. We have to eliminate getting into those situations so that we don’t get so good at it. When you bring in high-quality people, high-character people, they stand in there and they try to dig in even on bad days and try to fight and try to find a way to get it done.

(on how well the team was able to make up for the loss of defensive tackle Jurrell Casey)

Jurrell (Casey) wasn’t going to be available, we knew he wasn’t going to be available. I think anytime you lose good players it makes an impact all the way through the season. You go all the way back to every single guy that’s on injured reserve or wasn’t available, but there’s never going to be an excuse that we didn’t have somebody.

(on his message to the team at the end of the game)

We need to do a better job of being ready to go and making sure that we take advantage of all our opportunities and that we’re probably shouldn’t reflect on the season tonight. I give the Colts a lot of credit. They’re a good football team that won nine of their last 10 games, so make sure that we don’t overlook the fact that we should give them some credit and we have to play better and again, just stick together and make sure we’re moving forward and find a way to take the next step as an organization.

(on how quarterback Marcus Mariota fits into the mentality that if you can walk you can play)

Everybody that either played or didn’t play in the game wanted to play. They all did. At what level? It’s all the same level. They all want to play in the game, that’s their job. They play football. They try to find ways to help us win. They try to be a great teammate, all the things that we ask them to do. That would be Marcus (Mariota) all the way down to every guy on our practice squad. Those guys want to play as well.

QUARTERBACK BLAINE GABBERT

(on when he knew he would be starting against the Colts)

We prepared the same way week in and week out. Nothing was for sure until this morning. We just went out there and tried to play a good football game, but came up a little bit short.

(on his thoughts on the season overall)

It's been an absolute pleasure to play with that group of guys, this coaching staff, and this organization. They do things the right way. We work hard day in and day out. We put our best foot forward, week in and week out. It's a bummer to come up short when you had everything at your fingertips – and to not perform the way I wanted to, the way we wanted to, stinks. 

(on how hard the loss is for him)

It's tough, man. You want to go out there and perform well for the guys, lead the guys, get a win and get into the race. But, I didn't do enough. We didn't do enough, and our season ended tonight. 

(on what plays throughout the game would he like to have back)

I'll have to watch the film. We definitely were not good on third down. That's kind of the tale of the game. You can't stay on the field for extended periods of time, and put our defense in tough positions. You're playing catch up at that point. 

(on what caused the team to be unsuccessful on third down)

I'll have to watch the film, but I'm assuming just basic execution. You try to execute each and every play, have singular focus on each and every play, but we just didn't do that well enough tonight. 

(on how quarterback Marcus Mariota handled the season overall)

Marcus (Mariota) is a great competitor. He's a great friend. He's a great teammate. It's been a lot of fun just having the chance to work with him in the quarterback room. He's a young guy. He's so talented. He's eager to get back on the field. But, you know, injuries happen in this game and that's the harsh reality we have to face. 

(on his thoughts on Head Coach Mike Vrabel in his first season as head coach)

I love (Mike Vrabel) Vrabes. Just the energy that he brings day in and day out, the passion that he has for the game. He's caring. He's diligent in his work ethic. He cares about the guys on and off the football field. I really appreciate that. It's been a lot of fun playing for him. 

(on Mike Vrabel's consistency throughout the season)

He's awesome. He played this game for a long time. He does things the right way. He knows how things should be done. We're eager to get back. When you have that taste in your mouth of almost getting into the race, and getting that thing taken away from you so quickly kind of lights a fire in you. A bunch of guys are ready to get back and hit the ground running next year. 

CENTER BEN JONES

(on quarterback Marcus Mariota being sidelined)

If he could have went, he would have definitely been out there. Marcus (Mariota) is one of the toughest guys on this team. The guy, you want to lay it on the line for him anytime for what he brings to the table, and you know how much he cares about this team. We love the guy to death.

(on if any criticism of Marcus Mariota not being able to play is unfair)

Definitely, Marcus (Mariota) is one of the toughest guys on this team. Trust me, if he could be out there, he would be out there. We respect the hell out of him for what he does and what he lays on the line for this team and what he plays through. He is one of the toughest son of a guns on the team.

WIDE RECEIVER COREY DAVIS

(on if Indianapolis building an early lead affected how the offense wanted to attack)

Any time a team starts fast on us and we can’t, you know, really didn’t catch rhythm, it is going to be tough. They came out here and played hard and did well,

(on how the effort to come back shows the team’s character)

We got a lot of fighters. We got a lot of dogs, but we just came up short.

(on the finality that there will not be a game next week)

It is really tough. Like I said, we work hard in the offseason and in the season and put all our energy in it. We just came up short.

LEFT TACKLE TAYLOR LEWAN

(on if injuries during the season may have caught up with the team)

We have just kept the next guy up mentality the whole year. We have had guys step in and play bigger roles and they have done a great job. So, I can’t say that’s the case. I think everybody here played extremely hard. I wasn’t one of those guys that had to come in or was injured so you would have to ask them.

(on how tough it is being the final game of the season

It’s heartbreaking. This is what you play for, you play for the postseason. We have been in the postseason since Dec. 2. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t keep her going. Like I said, I am proud of everybody on this team and think everybody played extremely hard. It’s an honor to be a part of this team.

(on knowing that some teammates may not be back with annual roster changes)

Yeah, it’s part of the game. Some day there will be a day where I am no longer in this locker room. That’s just the business and regardless of people who will be here or not the relationships I have with them are not going to change. Like I said, I am proud of every one of these guys and happy with the friendships that I have made on this team and happy with these guys and how they play the game. Sure is unfortunate we didn’t come out on top.

TIGHT END LUKE STOCKER

(on making comeback attempt)

It was a one possession game right there and we had a chance to get the ball down the field and tie it up. We weren’t able to do that. We just didn’t make enough plays tonight. Give them the credit. They did what they had to do to win the game.

(on if injuries caught up with them tonight)

Well, we just didn’t make enough plays to win the game. Like I said, they made more plays than we did. You know, we’ve just got to play better to win these types of games.

(on what the feeling is knowing there is not a game next week)

I mean, right now we are trying to digest this game. I don’t think it has really settled in yet that the season in over. That’s kind of where I am at, anyway.

(on having to play catchup from early in the game)

We didn’t do a good enough job it seemed on third downs in the first half. We couldn’t extend our drives. We didn’t put our defense in the best spot. Offensively, we’ve got to help our defense out more.

INSIDE LINEBACKER RASHAAN EVANS

(on the disappointment of the loss)

That’s one thing about playing in big games, you either win or you lose. Obviously, the Colts are a great team. We just knew that from the beginning. So, at the end of the day, I am just glad to play with these guys, play amongst some of these great veterans. I learned a lot from this season, and I’ll transition that into my ability and my career from now on until the next season. It feels kind of bad. Obviously for me, I love playing in the playoffs, something I have been used to for a long time. But, you win some and you lose some. But, the good thing about it is you learn from it. I feel like this is something that, not only just for me, but the rest of the guys who will use it as drive. Grind in the offseason and come back next year better.

(on the Titans’ defense against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck)

Kudos to (Andrew) Luck. He’s a great quarterback, and it’s also a comeback season for him. This is a great season for him. For us, we have to continue to keep building and building, and learn from the little things like this, and come back next year and try to be better.

CORNERBACK ADOREE’ JACKSON

(on the Colts’ ability to keep pressing offensively)

We were just going out there battling, competing. You know, they went up 14-0, and Jayon (Brown) got that pick, but credit them for keeping it going even when we were fighting and trying to reduce the margin. They just kept on executing. They did a great job. Run the ball, throw the ball. Hats off to them. When we were trying to come back and do our thing, get the game back within our reach, they were able to put it away.

(on the loss tonight)

Always disappointing. Being in it last year, and how good that felt, and now being on the opposite end. So, now you have that feeling in your stomach, and you just get ready for next year. It’s hard, but the good thing about it, you can go back in the lab, get out bodies back together, get rested, and get ready to go for next season. We just didn’t execute on some key plays. We didn’t execute when they executed. It was one of those days where they get paid to make plays, and we get paid to make plays, and they just ended up making the ones that they needed.

(on the home crowd tonight)

I’m impressed with the crowd. Everybody that was in there was in tune. They were loud, they were into it. They didn’t leave until, I think, two minutes left in the fourth. I appreciate the fans coming out and rocking with us all season. 

INSIDE LINEBACKER JAYON BROWN

(on the season-ending loss to the Colts)

It’s tough. We all love playing with each other. It’s been a really fun ride. The ups and the downs, wouldn’t take it back for anything. So, it is tough. No doubt we felt we had a chance, all the way until the clock hit zeroes. Everybody in this locker room gave it their all, and tonight, the Colts made good plays to lead to their victory.

(on the mounting injuries for the Titans this season playing a role in tonight’s loss)

It’s the next guy up. Injuries don’t matter. Of course we wish we had everybody healthy, but we didn’t, and we went with the guys that we prepared with throughout the week, and everybody was prepared to play. They (Colts) made more plays than us. 

(on the Colts’ balanced offense)

We had seen that on film and we knew it was coming. They did what they did, and they won the game. He’s (Andrew Luck) a really good quarterback. He knows and runs their offense really good, and they made more plays than us tonight.

CORNERBACK MALCOLM BUTLER

(on the loss tonight)

You know, we could have played better, but you have to give them (Colts) credit. They played a good game and had a good scheme against us, and it is what it is. To keep it black and white, they made more plays than we made.

(on the pass interference penalty called against him)

It was a tough one, man. It was an iffy one. I don’t know if I got him or not, but it felt like a clean play. It is what it is. They called it and just got to deal with it.

COLTS HEAD COACH FRANK REICH

(opening statement)

Just a quick update with injuries, Tyquan (Lewis) with the knee, and that was it. What a great victory. Our team got the fast start that we wanted. Came out on fire in all phases, and then had some turnovers, and some miscues, penalties, but we overcame those as a team. Real credit to the guys, just fighting back through. Defense came up with big plays when they needed it. Offensively, same thing. We ran the football. We talked about running the ball downhill, and run the football. We did that. We talked about defensively wanting to stop the run, we did that. Held (Derrick) Henry under 100 yards, have not allowed a 100-yard rusher the whole year. That’s quite an accomplishment by the defense. That ultimately is a big tale in this game. The interceptions, the big plays on defense. Offensively, Andrew (Luck) leading us on big plays, running the football. At the end of the day, to do what we just did is a pretty good feeling, pretty good feeling. To be 1-5, and to do something that only two teams have done in the history of this league, to make the playoffs after a 1-5 start is quite an accomplishment. It’s real credit to the guys, and we talked about there’s three things: there’s trust, there’s toughness, and there’s team, and that’s what the foundation is. That’s what the culture is. That’s what the belief is, and those aren’t just words. We lived that this year. We lived it, and we’re not done yet. We’re in the hunt and this is where we wanted to go. But, we have another mountain to climb. The other big thing we talked about was getting better. This was a big deal. We were 1-3 in the first quarter of the season, 2-2 in the second quarter. We were 3-1 in the third, and then as we started the fourth quarter, we said, ‘Man, we’ve been talking about getting one percent better the whole year. It’s only fitting that we go 4-0 in the last quarter.’ That was the vision. That’s what we talked about, and that’s what we did to make it into the playoffs. I’m really happy and proud of the guys for getting that done.

(on if the game tonight was like what he and General Manager Chris Ballard discussed at the beginning of the season about ‘winning in the trenches’)

Absolutely. Going up against another team, this is it. This is playoff football. That was winning in the trenches on both sides. Run the football. Stop the run. Play action, pass in chunks, which we had. Just got to eliminate the turnovers and the penalties.

(on if making the playoffs was a realistic goal at the start of the season)

Yeah, I mean, I never thought it was a rebuild. Chris (Ballard) and I would talk, he had the perspective at the end that we talked about building. We talked about building. We talked about where we were at, and goals that we had. I took myself out of that equation from the beginning. I just wanted to say one thing up front that I’ve got one thing on my mind, and that’s to win this year, and that’s what our expectation is. We have the players to do it. We don’t want to hear everything about what everybody said about the roster. We were ranked 32nd in all preseason polls. We talked about that, and then we were ranked 32nd after the draft with that draft we had. I like where we’re at.

(on the personal satisfaction of making it to the playoffs in his first season as head coach)

The most satisfying thing – and we talk about this as a team – the most satisfying thing is to walk in the locker room, and look at your teammates and say, ‘We did it. We did it.’ Those are three of the best words you could ever say to your teammate. To me, that’s really the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rest of it, to me, is fluff. To go after it every day, to work hard, to fight to get better, to believe in each other, and then to do it and get it done, it’s not easy to do. It takes a grind. It takes the right kind of leadership in the locker room, and we have that.

(on how this season measures up to previous seasons that he has been a part of)

It measures right up there. What I love about some of those moments is that it’s just all about the team. This one is special, just because it’s not just one game. We’re coming back. Some of the other comebacks I’ve been a part of are one-game deals. This is, you’re 1-5, that’s special. It not only takes the whole team, but it takes the whole team for 11 weeks or 10 weeks, excuse me. So, that’s very special.

(on his thoughts on General Manager Chris Ballard’s roster and specifically the young players that he has brought to the team)

I can’t say enough about Chris (Ballard) and everything he’s done to make this happen. The emphasis on character, the draft that we had, the leadership that we’re getting from the guys in the draft – not just great players, but strong players. Obviously, Chris (Ballard) is at the forefront of that.

(on protecting quarterback Andrew Luck and allowing him to be a ‘comeback player’)

That was the big thing, to start with protecting that passer. That was a huge focus. That’s why Chris (Ballard) and I talked about getting it upfront, having an offensive system, and protection system, and plans that would be conducive to protecting the quarterback. But, the best way is to run the football as well. We’ve been able to do that. Andrew (Luck) has complete mastery over that, so to protect him the way we have all year is really satisfying. It’s really satisfying to have a quarterback like Andrew (Luck), and to be able to accomplish that because you know it takes everybody.

(on tying the league record with 13 receivers catching a touchdown pass and what makes the team’s offense so versatile)

That’s been the M.O. from the beginning. We’ve been trying to get that one for a while to be honest with you. We knew as a staff that that 13th was out there. We tried to gameplan it for a few weeks and it didn’t happen, and then it kind of happened by accident today. That’s special, because we talk about being selfless. We like to spread the ball around. When everyone contributes, it just makes it that much more fun

(on his message to the team in the locker room after the game)

We did it. We did something that only two teams have done, but we’re not done yet. We’re not done yet. We’re going to take a quick look at what the mountain top looks like, what that next peak looks like, but then we’re going to get back at it in the same process. Get better everyday, one game at a time, but with the belief that we can make it to the top.

QUARTERBACK ANDREW LUCK

(on tonight’s game being must win)

We’re excited. I’m so proud of the guys on this team. I sincerely love being on this team. I really enjoy those guys in the locker room, the coaches, the help, everybody. It’s a great group of guys. You can’t do it without a strong locker room. You can’t. It’s what this league’s about. Coach put a great group together. Frank (Reich) leading the charge, awesome. We’ve been in playoff mode for a long time now, we really have and honestly, I think that helps. It helps us when we are in a so called ‘win and in’ situation. Things don’t change this weekend now; it’s the same. Excited, very happy, certainly proud to be a Colt.

(on the historic nature of what the team accomplished after starting 1-5 and making it to the playoffs)

I think maybe a little. I’ll be honest when you’re in the weeds of it and you’re in it, it’s hard to sort of step back and appreciate it. I know for my personality, at least it is. Frank (Reich) mentioned something about maybe being the second team in NFL history to do what we’ve done and that’s great. That’s awesome. We’re just excited to have another opportunity to go play again. I guess to answer your question, it’s a little hard to step back and look at it from that perspective now.

(on his perspective of coming back and appreciating what he’s accomplished)

I guess so. I think if I’ve done anything, it’s that it’s about the journey in a sense. It’s about the process and I have enjoyed that a lot. It makes it…certainly winning makes it fun. I’m so thankful that I am in good health. That I get to play the game I love with an amazing group of men. So thankful, certainly. Fulfilled in a sense. This really has been a fulfilling road to this point. I’m not satisfied. We certainly have business to take care of. It’s really been a lot of fun and I’m glad I get to play the greatest team game in the world with the greatest locker room in the world.

(on when it hit finally hit him that being in the playoffs was a reality and his feelings about that)

I honestly didn’t know who we were playing until Michelle Tafoya sort of said it in the interview. It took me back a little because you are so singularly focused in a football week on the task at a hand. As you guys know, it’s been 1-0, 1-0, 1-0. That’s been our mantra. That’s what we believe in, the cycle of each week. It doesn’t feel like the cycle of this week is quite over yet. Maybe when we land and go to sleep, we’ll get back on it.

(on being motivated by the lack of respect throughout the offseason)

I think everybody finds motivation in different things. For me, no, that doesn’t motivate me honestly. I really want to be the best football player I can be, and the best teammate, the best quarterback for this team. That’s been my motivation to improve every day, to get better. Certainly, it’s fun to say I told you so, in a sense, to see who doubted us. My motivation this year has really been internal. Me trying to be the best I can be for this team.

(on being a part of something like this before)

I don’t know. Certainly, each year is unique and it’s its own story in a sense. You know, I do think in the locker room I understand we do have something special going on. I do. I think we understand it and we appreciate that. We know the results are a consequence of what we do each week and the fabric of that locker room. I really think we believe that and we won’t get away from that.

(on leaning on the running game)

Yeah, you have to. What a great job by our defense, forcing turnovers, some big stops, stopping the running game by the Titans that we know is very, very good. Yeah we needed to run the ball well and we certainly got off to a great start and that was awesome. I wanted to dig a hole there for a couple minutes and go hide in it. I was very embarrassed with myself for this pick-6 and we managed to make enough plays to sort of just stay ahead, ahead, ahead, ahead. We were sloppy tonight and we overcame a lot of sloppiness. In one sense, I think the guys in the locker room understand that and a little part of us is not happy about some of the plays in which we had out there. We know we can do better but also I think, not to be overlooked, is overcoming those on the road and finding a way to win this game and punch our ticket to the dance.

COLTS TIGHT END ERIC EBRON

(on the turnaround of the season)

We’re just happy that they stuck with us. We started off 1-5. Everybody wanted to write us off, and we just stuck together. We bonded. Our fans back in Indy, we need y’all in Houston. Let’s get it. Let’s go. We need everybody if we’re going to make a run. It’s a new season.

(on what was said at halftime)

Nothing really was said at halftime. It’s too much on the line, we’ve worked too hard. You don’t need to say anything to anyone in this locker room. Everyone understands what’s at stake. We came, literally, from the bottom, and now we’re in the playoffs.

(on when he knew they were going to win)

When I was the first tight end to score upon their stingy defense.

(on how the season turnaround happened)

Belief. Trust. Faith. You take those three words and hard work, and you get this. You get a team that goes from 1-3 the first quarter, 2-2 the second quarter, 3-1, and now 4-0 to finish in the playoffs.

COLTS WIDE RECEIVER DONTRELLE INMAN

(on making the playoffs after starting 1-5)

Only two teams have ever done that before. It’s crazy. I’m blessed to be a part of it. It’s a special team, special group of guys. Everybody’s bought into the formula of just doing their job.

(on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s performance)

I say this over and over about this guy, he lets those mistakes pass him by. He’s always onto the next play. That’s what the greats do.

(on when he knew they had the game won)

After the second kneel. I was like, ‘I don’t care what it is, I’m not about to just be happy and then something crazy happens.’

COLTS WIDE RECEIVER T.Y. HILTON

(on tonight’s win)

There were a lot of ups and downs in that game on both sides, but we found a way to pull through.

(on the turnaround of the season)

It’s a team that just never quit. We always believed in each other. Even the games we lost, we were still right there. Just a couple of plays here and there.

(on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s start to the game)

It feels great. Our O-line’s giving him time to sit up in the pocket and deliver the passes, and even when they don’t, he scrambles well and finds us down the field. (Andrew) Luck is playing great.

COLTS LINEBACKER DARIUS LEONARD

(on how the Colts became playoff bound)

Just trusting the process, and just going to work each day, and trusting in each other, and just continuing to work on the plan that we have. Even though we started off a little rough we still had a goal that we wanted to reach, and we just kept fighting. 

(on how much of a grind this game was with facing a running back like Derrick Henry)

It was a big grind. He’s a big guy and we knew that we had to stop him to win this ball game. He is a great back, and it took all 11 guys defensively. That’s what we did, and we made the quarterback beat us with his arm.

(on the amount of Colts fans at the game)

It was just amazing how much our fans love us. They traveled all the way to Tennessee just to watch us play. We have to commend them, without the fans this right here probably wouldn’t even be possible. We salute them and we play off of them

(on the franchise record for tackles in a single season)

It feels great just knowing that everything I did in the offseason and everything I have been working for is actually being put on display. But, it’s not finished yet. I want that goal of putting a ring on my finger. That’s the ultimate goal and hopefully we can get that. 

COLTS KICKER ADAM VINATIERI

(on facing Houston in the playoffs)

It’s going to be fun. We’re excited to get into the playoffs. We know Houston is a great team. It’s going to be fun to get ready for them, and we’ll see what we can do.

(on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s effort tonight and throughout the season)

He has led us the whole year. He has played exceptionally well this whole season, and has kept us in games, kept us scoring points, getting leads and this and that. He’s a great leader and a great quarterback. I can’t say enough stuff about him. Obviously, last year not having him here was a down year. But, he has definitely showed us what he’s got this year, that’s for sure.

(on what is different about this team than previous teams)

It is a fun group of guys. They never slow down and they never give up. They just keep working their butts off every single day. Today wasn’t perfect, we had plenty of penalties and turnovers and stupid things that could have hurt us. But, we just kept playing hard and didn’t give them a chance get back in it. When we needed a play from the defense, they made it, when we needed a play from the offense, they made it. Rigo (Rigoberto Sanchez) puts the ball down at the thre-yard line, and that makes a big difference, too. Across the board I think this is a fun team to watch, and we’ll see how far we can go.

(on what was going through his mind running off the field)

I was thinking about, ‘Man, this is great. We’ve got to keep going.’ Half the league is cleaning out their locker tomorrow and we’re not one of them. That’s good stuff. 

COLTS TACKLE ANTHONY CASTONZO

(on how this team made the playoffs)

We have a lot of good players on this team. Everybody kind of does their job. Coaches put us in good positions to make plays and people execute. It is just a good team. We’re a good team.

(on if he wondered if the Colts were a good team after the 1-5 start)

It was more like, ‘How are we losing these games, because we know we’re a good team.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Are we a good team?’ It was, ‘How do we keep losing these games when we know that we’re better than that?’ It kind of switched around. Rather than losing the games that we knew we should win, we started winning them.

(on what turned the season around)

I really think it was just staying the course. I don’t think there was anything crazy different that happened. Guys just maybe focused on their job a little more, and had a little bit more urgency. It didn’t really seem like a moment where anything was different. It was just staying that course one play at a time, one rep at a time. That was kind of our mantra.

(on Colts running back Marlon Mack)

Marlon (Mack) is a stud. We like the fact that he is back there. He finds those holes. We know that if we create those little holes he is going to find them. He took a huge leap from last year to this year, and he just keeps getting better.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)