Following are comments from head coach Gary Kubiak after the Texans' 23-14 win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday at McAfee Coliseum.
(on if this was the ugliest win he's ever been a part of) "It's never ugly when you win. That was one of the greatest defensive and special teams efforts I've ever been a part of in football. You have to do what you have to do to win. This football team wasn't going to find a way to be denied. It was going to find a way to win even though we weren't moving the ball a lick or weren't able to throw it at all. Just a tremendous character-check in that locker room for those guys to find a way to win."
(on running back Ron Dayne receiving so many carries)"He probably should have had about 40 of them. The kid wanted the ball at the end. He wasn't going to let us not get it done. Our guys up front stepped up and knocked them off the ball at the end. That was the difference, being able to get in position to kick those few field goals."
(on if the Texans planned on running so much) "We planned on running the ball today. We're going to try to always be balanced. When you're struggling as bad as we were in protection and throwing the football, you have problems. But the key was, we were in the game. The big return to start the second half kept us in the football game where we didn't need to panic even though we weren't throwing the ball well, and the defense kept getting turnovers. You have to find a way to win on Sunday. That's what it was all about toward the end, just trying to find a way to win the game."
(on the minus-five net passing yards) "It's obvious we didn't throw the ball a lick. But it's a credit to the people in that locker room that we found a way to win that football game under those circumstances. I don't know if it's ever been done. To have the character to find a way to win like that, it's just tremendous."
(on if he saw anything in Oakland's defense that encouraged the run) "I wouldn't say that. They've been excellent against the pass all year. And today they were really excellent. Really it came down to us not being able to throw the ball and having to run the ball, and we found a way to do it."
(on the performance of the defense and linebacker DeMeco Ryans) "Well, they are all special today. I thought we were just tremendous defensively. Just running our defense, Richard called a tremendous game. Our coaches did an excellent job. (The defensive players) were on the field a long time. They never let it bother them. They held them to some field goal opportunities in the second half when they could have presented some problems for us. It was an all-around tremendous effort by every individual on that defensive football team, and the coaches."
(on linebacker DeMeco Ryans' performance) "It's kind of been his year, really. Those things stand out, when you start talking about turnovers. But you and I both know that the kid's had a year that's been special as a rookie. I don't know that I've been around one like that. Now with those types of things happening for him turnover-wise, I'm sure he'll get a lot more recognition because he sure as hell deserves it. He's been special this year."
(on quarterback David Carr's fumbles) "Well, we can't turn the ball over. We're going to have to go back and figure all that out. But your football team sends messages to you as a coach, and we were struggling big time. We weren't able to protect or throw the ball. The football team was saying, 'Hey, coach, if we don't mess this up, we're going to find a way to win it.' So we were not going to mess it up. We were going to run the ball and try to get ourselves in field goal position. That's a credit to the way we're playing defensively. And special teams, the call Joe made in the second half with the fake reverse, and Kris kicking those three field goals, and the way we covered kicks defensively and special teams, I don't know what else to say about it."
(on the impact of wide receiver Jerome Mathis) "There's no doubt. And he made a mistake early in the game, which tells you he hadn't been on the field in a long time for him to come out of the end zone with that ball. But then he comes back the second half and he gets the team going. And faking him the reverse brought the whole (Oakland) football team over there (to his side), so that's just a helluva job on Joe's part putting that together.
(on quarterback David Carr not holding onto the ball) "Well, all I can say is there's no excuse for putting the ball on the ground. If we don't protect well and you get hit, you have to protect the ball. He knows that, and that's the way I coach him. We did not protect David well. I know we didn't protect him well. They were doing nothing defensively that we didn't prepare for throwing the ball. But it got to the point where it looked like all it was doing was hurting us, so we were trying to find a way to win."
(on QB David Carr's performance) "Let me say this, when the quarterback is struggling, that's on me as a coach. I coach that player. I have to go back, and I have to figure out why we did struggle so bad from that standpoint – him protecting the ball, us attacking the coverages that they were in. I get David ready to play. That's my job. So I'll go back and look at how David played and how every player on this football team played. But for our quarterback to be in that position, that's on me as a coach."
(on if he feels relieved to get the win) "Relieved? I don't know about that. It's hard to win in this league. I can say this: I learned a lot today as a coach. I've been an offensive coordinator for years and years. When you show up on game day, you're trying to score points, you're trying to move the ball. The one thing I learned today as a head coach is that there's all kinds of ways to win, and you have to give your team the chance to find those ways to win. And I said I've never been a part of one like that, and to know what the message was that the team was sending me, and for us to run the ball there at the end of the game and find a way to get out of here with a win is a great lesson for me."
(on Oakland's defense allowing some runs late in the game) "I think they might have gotten a little tired of being out there. They were out there for a while. And Ronnie's a big load. You can see, Ronnie was screaming from the huddle, 'Give me the ball.' Heck, Ronnie was even calling some of the runs we were running. We were running tight zone, and he said, 'Let me go wide.' He was making the call. It's a credit to him and the guys up front."