Postgame quotes: Texans vs. Panthers

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Following are the postgame quotes from the Houston Texans' Week 15 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAKLINEBACKERS COACH REGGIE HERRINGT DUANE BROWNLB BRIAN CUSHINGTE OWEN DANIELSRB ARIAN FOSTERFS DANIEAL MANNINGSS GLOVER QUINLB DEMECO RYANSDE ANTONIO SMITHFB LAWRENCE VICKERSWR KEVIN WALTERDE J.J. WATTT ERIC WINSTONQB T.J. YATES

* *

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
(on the game) "First off congratulations to Carolina, they came in here and kicked our butt up and down the field, in all three phases. Congratulations to (Carolina Head Coach) Ron (Rivera) and his team, they did a heck of a job. We obviously weren't ready to play, and that starts with me. We got away with it last week, the same type of play in the first half, and this week we didn't get away with it, we got buried in the first half. We tried to fight our way out of it, but ultimately when you turn the ball over and are as sloppy as we were and give up the big plays we gave up you're not gonna win in this league. Like I said, congratulations to Carolina, they did a heck of a job.

(on the turnovers today and improving it) "The last month, you're right.  And I told you guys that last week, our backs have turned the ball over, and our quarterback is now turning over a couple weeks in a row.  We are built on not doing that, and finding a way to run the ball, protect the ball and make people beat us.  We went out there and beat ourselves from the get go today.  We fumbled one on the second play of the game.  We've been sloppy with it and we have to get it fixed.  That's what happens to you when you get that way."

(on QB TJ Yates and all his check-downs and how he played)  "He played like a young player today.  He did not play as sharp, read-wise and stuff. I don't know if that's getting a little rattled early in the game or what, I don't know.  But, we had our opportunities for some big plays and we didn't make them.  So he's got to play a lot better.  It's not about TJ, we had some miserable penalties offensively; I can think of five or six of them.  We all took part in it.  Like I said, fumbling the second play of the game, some of the stuff we did in coverage discipline wise.  Don't put it all on him.  He's got to do his job and obviously he didn't do it today."

(on not forcing a turnover today)  "That's the biggest thing.  We've gotten turnovers all year defensively.  We didn't get any today, and what did we give them, three?  Is that my total right?  We gave them points and the places we gave it to them; we turned the ball over in the red zone, we turned the ball over on our plus side of the field and it turned into a touchdown.  Everything we did wrong with the ball turned into big points for them.  So, that's obviously a big part of why you get beat."

(on practicing in pads this week and turnovers with running backs)  "I did it Thursday.  As a group, I think that's maybe five in the last four weeks.  That's not us.  Arian protects the ball good, and we've been pretty good.  But we've been sloppy with the ball.  We put a point of emphasis this week in practice and put our pads back on and did a lot of gauntlet work, but obviously it didn't help.  So we'll have to get back in there."

(on Reggie Herring taking over as defensive coordinator today)  "I thought we were doing fine, the thing is we gave up big plays, that's the biggest thing.  We haven't been giving up big plays defensively.  I thought Reggie was fine.  Reggie didn't fumble, Reggie didn't throw interceptions.  He can't stay on top of coverage when it's first and 20, that's not his job.  We have to run the defense we call and we got to play a hell of a lot better of offense.  We have to make field goals.  It's a team game.  We did nothing to help him out, especially offensively; we did nothing to help him out."

(on if it helps that the next game is coming up quickly on Thursday)  "That's what I just told the guys, and I don't know if it does.  But that's the way it is.  We've got a lot of things to fix and maybe just a quick turnaround is a thing.  We've got to get some guys healthy.  We got beat and got beat up so that's an issue going into Thursday.  It's my understanding they played very well again today.  If we play like we played today, or like we did in the first half of Cincinnati, this isn't going to be the way we want to finish out the season.  We have got to find a way to play more consistent football and get everybody on the same page.  That wasn't happening today.  That did not happen in the first half last week.  It did not happen all day today."

(on the play of the defense in the third quarter)  "Defense did everything to get us back in the game.  We had our opportunities, and we had big penalties that took us away from points.  Then we, what, cut it to eight? And then they went five plays and scored on us in the biggest sequence of the game.  And then we go right back down and have a chance to put ourselves in position to get it back to a one score game and we turn it over and we don't get the ball back.  As a group in the fourth quarter, we won the third quarter, and they won the fourth quarter. They outplayed us."

(on his analysis of Carolina QB Cam Newton)  "I was very impressed.  First off, they do a lot of things, so that tells you how sharp he is that he can handle all that stuff.  He can beat you with his arm; he can beat you with his legs.  That's a very talented football team that has had leads on a lot of people this year.  They haven't been able to get it done, today they got the lead and they finished us off.  Like I said, congratulations to those guys."

(on any injuries)  "It's kind of long.  A lot of people hurt when you get beat like we got beat today. So we'll see where we're at tomorrow."

(on any bad injuries)  "I don't know.  We have to wait and see."

(on good teams losing down the stretch (i.e. Texans, Giants, Packers))  "I wish I had that answer.  We practiced really good this week.  We practiced extremely well Thursday, extremely well Friday.  I thought we had good meetings last night, I thought we were ready to play.  Obviously in the first half, emotionally and energy wise that team was ahead of us.  There is no doubt.  Like I said, we were kind of the same way last week.  We've been a fast starting football team all year long and if you go back and look at, I want to say the last, three out of the last four weeks; we have not started fast as a team.  We have started slow.  We have turned the ball over, we have done things to start slow as a team, whether it's giving up plays or turning the ball over.  So, we have done a 360 from that standpoint and we got to catch it here pretty darn quick."

(on if starting games fast is declining because of QB Matt Schaub's injury)  "Well he's not coming back."

(on if he's concerned with the struggles of K Neil Rackers and the rest of the team)  "Yes, I am.  Because that has been going on too.  We've gotten away with it.  Like I said last week, I was disturbed last week.  I was obviously happy for the team, but I was very disturbed at how we played, especially in the first half as a team.  And I told them that after the game, that's going to come back to bite us.  You're not going to get away with that stuff.  And he's part of that concern.  He's missing big kicks and he's been pretty automatic for us.  It's not Neil, it's not (QB) TJ (Yates), the team got beat today, we got beat soundly. Like I said, the scary thing for me is that it did start last week in the first half.  I have to find a way to stop the bleeding."

(on looking at other kickers down the stretch)  "No, I have confidence in Neil.  Neil is a good kicker, and he's been solid in this league and he's been excellent for us.  Whatever it is we have to go get it fixed, him and (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano) and (P) Matt (Turk) got to go get it fixed.  He has had a holder change, but he is familiar with Matt.  We'll just get him to correct his mistakes just like the other players."

(on if this loss can jolt the team and turn into a positive for the rest of the season)  "You don't want that kind of positive.  But I will tell you one thing, it is a jolt.  It's a humbling game.  For several weeks now we've been feeling really good and having some really good talks in here after the game.  There is a very humbling experience in that locker room.  Like I said, they know they can't play that way or they're not going to like the way the season ends.  I have to find a way to stop it."

(on WR's Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter not getting open today)  "I have to go look.  They really played us not to give up big plays, and try to make us work, which that is usually what we do best, work around the ball and stay on schedule.  Penalties really hurt us in the game. I want to say we had four or five first-and-20s, or second-and-20s as a football team.  When that happens in this league usually you're getting off the field, almost 80 percent of the time.  You don't convert those type of things in this league.  I could be wrong, but I got to go back, but I think that really hurt us in the third down department."

(on third downs)  "We had a lot of third and longs.  I know one of those for sure was a turnover; one was a turnover down in the red zone.  Of our, 2-for-9 (third down conversions), two out of the next seven were turnovers, if I'm right.  That gets you beat."

(on having to play Thursday and playing the Colts, who got their first win today)  "They've been playing really well this last month.  I wish we could play right now; like to go get that taste out of mouth.  But, like I said, we have to get some guys healthy and figure out a way to get them to Thursday.  It's that time of the year, when you're banged up and everybody is just trying to battle toward gameday.  It's harder to battle toward gameday when you get beat like we did today.   We have some work to do between now and Thursday."

(on if WR Andre Johnson will play Thursday)  "I won't know until we get back to practice."

LINEBACKER COACH REGGIE HERRING
(on the play by the Carolina Panthers) "Overall, throughout the game, at the end of the day they beat us. They executed, and we didn't. They did a nice job."

(on the cause for big plays this game) "Obviously if anybody is running wide open there is a breakdown. I just think that the overall theme for the day was we gave up big plays and there were some discipline parts of the game that we were not very disciplined on as we have been throughout the year. At the end of the day they beat us and out executed us. We obviously didn't execute very well. To me, the most disappointing thing was the third downs and big plays. Coming off the one yard line like that stung a little bit as far as adding insult to injury. We have to patch up and go. It is a short week and what we have to do is make sure we come back with the defense we have had all year. We will do a better job coaching, and hopefully everybody will come together collectively. We have to understand that in this League that you have to come to play every day. At the end of the day, we didn't get it done. They executed and we didn't. The most disappointing thing was the discipline. The overall discipline of our defense has been outstanding all year. We have been excellent on third down. I believe he (QB Cam Newton) was 9 for 14 on third downs. The guy scrambles and creates problems. He keeps drives alive. You saw that scrambling. We knew that coming in the game that was part of the deal, but at the end of the day it's the big plays and lack of discipline on certain plays."

(on the effectiveness of the run game on the final fourth quarter drive) "We were basically in an eight man front. We were up there to play the run. We didn't execute and they did. They blocked us and we didn't respond and react the way we should. When a guy runs clean and you're a man free, something obviously went wrong. We have got to get that corrected. Those were bad downs for us. We didn't execute and they blocked us."

(on how to correct the problems on a short week) "As you regroup and refocus we go back and remember why and how we got to this point. We practice a little harder. We meet a little harder. We come together and show the character and discipline that we have shown all year. It's a people game and today the Panthers executed and kicked our fanny."

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER CONNOR BARWIN
(on Coach Kubiak's comment that the loss falls on him and not the players) "I mean, he's going to say that but obviously we didn't come out and play at the level we've been playing at all year so I think that falls on us."

(on how the defense has been good at getting stops this season but then allows Carolina an 80-yard sequence in the fourth quarter) "Yeah, we're not used to that. That's not the way we play on defense obviously, but they came out and made some plays and we didn't make plays. We made a couple of mistakes and obviously we have to fix those mistakes."

(on how tough it will be to turn around and play again on Thursday against Indianapolis) "Well it's probably a good thing. I'm happy we're playing on Thursday now because obviously we're not used to losing. We haven't lost in a long time so this feels pretty bad right now but the only good thing is that instead of having to wait until Sunday, we only have to wait until Thursday to get this taste out of our mouths."

(on if he feels today's loss had anything to do with Wade Phillip's absence) "No, not at all. It's the same defense, the same calls. The calls felt like it was Wade calling the game. With Reggie (Herring) as our coach, I really felt like we disappointed him by not coming out and playing our best."

TACKLE DUANE BROWN
(On the overall outcome of the game) "We had some good plays going and then turned the ball over which put our defense in some rough spots. We had some costly penalties. We moved the ball. We just couldn't hold on to it and put ourselves in tough situations with penalties."

(On why he thinks the team had so many penalties) "It's a lack of concentration and focus is the only thing I can think of."

(On how the team can improve on the number of penalties made) "You just have to lock in. You can't dwell on the last play you have to make the next play the best play and that's all you can do."

(On having a rookie quarterback) "Yeah, I mean he's going to do his job. You can't worry about him going out there and making plays. You've got to do what you've got to do. Everyone has got to be accountable for their job and that's all it is."

* *

LINEBACKER BRIAN CUSHING
(On the outcome of the game) "It just seemed that whenever it came down to it today, we weren't able to make the big play we really needed to. We had them in position to come back, stop them again, and get the ball back for the offense and we just didn't come through. It was kind of the theme the whole day. They were able to hit big plays when they really needed them. "

(On not being able to stop the Panthers Offense) "We couldn't. They drove the ball well and had some big time completions. He stood in there and threw the ball well and we got out played today. There's nothing more to say about that."

(On losing to a 4-9 team) "It's a wake-up call. There's no question about it. I mean, these guys are professionals as well. They came in here and you look at every game they've played this year they've been beating most of the teams they have played and obviously they have a ton of capabilities and are explosive. That's no excuse to finish the game the way we did and not be able to shut them down. Just for the most part, they made the plays they really needed to and we weren't able to."

(On where the blame should fall for the loss) "You know, it's a team. If you want to be a very good team you have to win in all three phases, special teams, offense and defense. If you want to start fast whoever is out on the field first has to do it. And that's a team thing. In no way is it TJ since the way he has come in. You know, we just have to figure out why and I think with football it's huge with momentum and it's something we need to turn around."

(On Reggie Herring filling in for Wade Phillips) "I thought he did a good job. You know, I don't think we really played any different defensively except for really the third downs and they were able to make big plays. For the most part, you look at the second half or really a quarter and a half of how we played and we shut them down. And then that one drive when we really needed to stop them we just weren't able to do it."

(On having a four day layoff before Thursday's game) "No, not after a loss. That's the number one thing you want is to just get this taste out of your mouth and go right back out there and play again. I'm excited to go into Indianapolis. I saw that they won today, so they're going to have some momentum and there's nothing better than after a loss just going right back, get it quickly, go play another game against an AFC South rival."

TIGHT END OWEN DANIELS
(On how it feels to lose after winning seven straight games) "It's disappointing, especially to put up that type of performance at home in front of our fans. We just shot ourselves in the foot a lot, turned the ball over, and did everything you do to lose a game. We tried to come back and fight back but it wasn't enough."

(On the dropped balls throughout the game) "We're out there trying to make plays and make everyone and just couldn't pull it in."

(On whether he questioned the coaches play calling) "I think the coaches always put a good game plan together and we were just running with what we had practiced all week and I think we wanted to establish a run right away. We were doing what we usually do on offense and we can't start it like that every week because then they will be ready for it."

(On how the team will prepare for Thursday's game) "It's probably the best thing for us, honestly. Just get this out of our mind and get focused on a new opponent and we've just got to go play better."

* *

RUNNING BACK ARIAN FOSTER
(on this game not being a typical Texans performance) "Yeah, we didn't come out with a lot of energy. I take a lot of blame with that because when you turn the ball over so early like that, it kind of deflates the energy."

(on why the energy was not there today) "I don't know, but like I said, when you turn the ball over early, it doesn't help."

(on why he's fumbled the ball recently) "Well last week wasn't a fumble. The League came back and said that. This week was. That's my fault, but it happens. I think that's three on the year for me and I think I had three last year, so I think it stops here. You know I'm not going to let my team down no more."

(on the blame being on the players for the loss) "Yeah, it's on us. He (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) can't play for us. We just got to continue to fight through those circumstances when they arise."

(on if he's surprised by how things went on offense today) "You know, it's a long season. You'd like to win them all, but it's not probable. It's not an excuse. You don't play well all the time, but you just learn from this. We came out healthy for the first time. We have a quick turnaround and I think that's a good thing because you have a chance to get a bad taste out of your mouth and we got to go right back to work tomorrow."

FREE SAFETY DANIEAL MANNING
(on whether the defense was altered by the absence of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) "I don't think it had anything to do with Wade (Phillips). It was the same personnel, same defensive scheme. They just came out and whooped our butts."

(on the play of quarterback Cam Newton) "He's capable of doing the things he's done all year. We stopped him from scoring personally but they came out and whooped our butt."

(on how much upside Cam Newton has) "He has a lot. I don't think he has reached his full potential right now. He's throwing the ball some and running the ball a ton. They can do a lot with their running backs."

(on where the team goes from here) "We come back in tomorrow, look at the film, see what adjustments we need to make and get that taken care of."

STRONG SAFETY GLOVER QUIN
(on whether the players take responsibility for the loss) "We didn't come out ready to play. You can't spot a team 21 points like that. Coach (Gary) Kubiak said it's on him but I feel like it's on us on players we have to be ready to play."

(on whether he knows why the team didn't come out ready) "They just came out and made plays on us. We didn't make enough plays. Normally, if we don't make enough plays we lose. They had a good game plan and stuck to it. They ran the ball and we couldn't get enough stops."

(on the play of the defense during an 80-yard drive in the 4th quarter) "We just didn't make the plays. I think we had them in 3rd down (situations) a couple times early in the drive and they converted. We have to be hard on ourselves and make stops."

LINEBACKER DEMECO RYANS
(on his tackle of TE Jeremy Shockey) "Yeah, it was a good hit, but at the end of the day we have got to make plays, get off the field, get turnovers, causes that win the game. We have to do better defensively."

(on what he thought of the performance in today's game) "I mean of course this is not our best day. It wasn't our best day on the field for execution. As a team we have to protect the ball better and get turnovers. I think that is what it simply comes down to."

(on allowing 21 points in the first half) "We needed to make plays and get them off the field. There are not any glaring issues."

(on if this game was a "trap" game) "I don't believe in trap games. I don't think it was a trap game. Every time you step up, each team in this league is capable of winning. Everybody has good players and you have to bring you're A-game each week. This wasn't a trap game for us. We prepared and were ready. They just made plays and we didn't."

(on the effect that Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' absence had on the play today) "Of course we would love to have Wade, but that wasn't the key. (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) called a great game. It always comes down to players executing, and we did not execute well enough to win. Reggie did a great job."

DEFENSIVE END ANTONIO SMITH
(on what he thought about the game) "They came out and played a good game. That's the thing about those rinky-dink, trick you, offenses where they run the option one time, unbalanced, flip formations, quick plays. If you aren't on top of it and ready to go, it will catch you."

(on if the team lost due to coaching or play by the players) "It's always on the players because we are the ones on the field. We are the ones that have to go out every single game and be amped to whatever level we need to win. That is what we have got to reach. Coaches prepare you, but inside the locker room as leaders we have to be the motivators to pull out games like this. That offense is a dangerous offense. They are going to make big plays. You have got to come out of it and stand up to hold your ground. I think there were plays that we were lacking at times when we had them and could have gotten them off the field. We let them pick up first downs, and when you let that type of offense pick up first downs it just gives them other opportunities to score points."

(on what happened during the Panther's final drive) "We didn't get them off the field. We had them on a couple third and longs in that series. They converted big passes. We didn't get enough pressure on them, and we didn't stop them. That's the bottom line. When you get third and long, you have got to get to the quarterback and bat the passes down. We have got to make plays."

(on what he felt went wrong) "Mental mistakes. That can come from a lot of things. Like when they do that hurry-up, and doing that crazy snap, as they did on the opening touchdown. It's just not being ready. You can second guess yourself. I've got to watch film to see what happened, but that is from mental mistakes. We were all prepared. We studied pretty hard for the game. I think that (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) had us ready this game. It's just something when you get in that game and see a different thing. You get caught up and you're one step behind and he's out of the gate. That is one thing I was noticing. They were breaking a lot of runs outside off of us being unsure what to do."

(on his reaction to the fans booing) "I was a little surprised, but sometimes that comes. I just say to the fans that you have to stick with us, be there with us through the ups and the downs, because we need that motivation. We need that pat on the back, because if we don't then we can go even further down than we are. That's why we need that positive energy."

(on how the team can regroup and bounce back from the loss) "You have got to regroup. There is no other choice in my mind. I'm just going to go out and say it. Games like this, in my opinion, I've been in them. I've been in this exact situation. I keep saying it is almost like déjà vu. I'm kind of glad that a game like this happened before the playoffs. You come against a team like this in the playoffs and there is no tomorrow. Even if, by some chance, it could be due to lack of concentration, getting your head up too high in the clouds, anything, and this is about the time you want it to happen. This is what is called being battle tested. I would rather be battle tested before the playoffs than get in the playoffs and you're in that same frame of mind and then you go home."

* *

FULLBACK LAWRENCE VICKERS
(on how he viewed the game today) "We did not play up to our potential and at the same time they did. They won and I'll have to take my hat off to them. They are a solid football team. I knew that coming into the game. You can't take anybody for granted in this League. Everybody is good in the NFL. They played better (than us) today so they deserved to win. We have to come in and go back to work."

(on if the team lost because of frustration early in the game) "I wouldn't say we were frustrated. I would say that they played better football. That is why they got the win."

(on the crowd's reaction to the team's play) "They are the fans and they are entitled to feel how they want to feel. If I was in their shoes and saw something like that, when I've paid money—they pay to watch us win not lose. I never get upset at the fans. They came to watch a show and we didn't give them the show they came for. They are the people that support us all the time, through good and bad. I'm not upset at them. We just have to do the right things to get the victory."

* *

WIDE RECEIVER KEVIN WALTER
(on the slow start from the offense) "We have got to do a better job from the get go. It's something we've been talking about. It's disappointing that we didn't come to play today. We didn't play as well as we wanted to off the get go, and we have got to do a better job."

(on if what the main problems were that caused the loss) "It's all about executing. We have to come out there as a team, offense, defense, special teams, and execute. Today we didn't do that. Last week we didn't do that, and we got away with it. That is a good football team out there. We have got to do a better job next week."

(on how big of a setback this loss poses) "I don't think it is a setback. It's something you learn from. Maybe it will get everyone's attention. We have a lot of things we need to fix. We just have to look at the film and correct our mistakes. We have to play the colts and get a win."

(on steps taken to keep QB T.J. Yates positive) "Not at all. We all have to play better. This is a team game. We all have to play better. It's not about one person here or one person there. We have to play better as a group as we have been. We will fix our mistakes. We still have a lot to look forward to. This is disappointing right now."

DEFENSIVE END J.J. WATT
(on if he feels defense started off slow) "I don't know. It's tough to say. Today we just didn't play very good all around and we need to play better. The good thing is that we come back against Indianapolis on Thursday and get another shot at it. We don't have to wait a whole week we get to get right back right after this. "

(on if the celebration following last week's win of the AFC South division title was a distraction this week) "I don't think so because we came in and worked all week, just like we work every other week. We put in the time, we put in the preparation, we just didn't execute it today and that's what hurts in the end."

(on how he felt about Carolina's scoring trick play before the half) "It was a trick play. It's a tough play to stop. It's almost like the annexation of Puerto Rico I think and we clearly didn't defend it well. We're going to be ready for that in the future I'm sure."

(his thoughts on QB Cam Newton's balance between using his arm and his legs to make plays) "He's a good football player. He can throw, he can run and he makes you think because you don't know if he's going to head off or keep it to himself. He put us in some tough spots today. At the end of the day, we need to tackle better as a defense. We gave up 28 points and we can't give up 28 points and win games. "

TACKLE ERIC WINSTON
(on making the playoffs) "It's up there at the top because of the work we have put in. We started from scratch here. We kept working and working and we have gotten where we are."

(on if he feels he's improved this season as a professional) "Yeah, I would just understanding what it means to be a professional; understanding how to handle yourself, how to prepare, and do all that. It is a part of the maturation process."

(on the feeling of accomplishment from blocking for a 1,000 yard rusher) "That's what it is all about. We want to always try to be balanced and get to the guys. For (RB) Arian (Foster), I know it's special. We just have to keep moving, trying to raise our goals, and trying to raise what we are doing"

(on the advantage mentally of a short week to get redemption) "I would say that. I would go play tomorrow if they told me to.  I feel like a lot of guys feel like that. That was not us out there. That is not what we are about. If they said, 'guys we're loading up the plane we're heading to Indy,' I would say let's do it."

(on if a team can be soft if it runs the ball the way the Texans did last year) "Well, make mistakes and don't come out to play the way they did, then that is how it goes. We gave them the ball early. They scored early and got ahead. We didn't match their intensity and I give them all the credit in the world. They aren't playing for much, but they have a lot of pride and are professionals. They came out and played harder than we did."

* *

QUARTERBACK T.J. YATES
(on the turnovers) "Yeah, that's something we definitely can't have on offense. Again, we were moving the ball well. Those turnovers are things that kill drives and they're definitely putting our defense in bad positions and giving the other team points."

(on if it was learning experience for him) "Absolutely, I'm going to look at the film hard. I got a lot of stuff to learn from, a lot of mistakes made out on the field. The good thing is though, we get a quick turnaround. We got into Indianapolis on Thursday, so be able to hit practice hard right away and get that taste out of your mouth. But I definitely have a lot of stuff to learn from on the film."

(on if he saw things from the Panthers today that he hadn't seen from them previously on film) "No, they were keeping it pretty much the same as we've seen on film, playing a lot of zone, making us check down the ball, go the long, hard way. We just got to be more patient. I can't force balls down the field and just got to stay on the field."

(on missing reads today) "Not really, it wasn't anything different than weeks before. It was just making mistakes. There's no real reason for what happened. I just got to be able to see the game better. Just going up to the line of scrimmage, delete decisions and kind of make my pre-snap reads a little bit better, a little bit faster, so I can be more comfortable in the pocket."

(on if it's overwhelming to have so many quarterbacks and coaches helping him) "No, not really. We're all very close and we talk about stuff. We kind of think out loud and get everybody's opinion on stuff, so we get over there, it's nothing too much. We just kind of talk stuff out. The guys have good things to say and stuff to put in my ear just to move on and move to the next play. They're very helpful on the sideline."

(on if he felt like the offense had figured things out in the third quarter) "Yeah, we knew that we came out flat in the first half. We weren't moving the ball well. We weren't doing pretty much anything on offense and giving their offense extra possessions and giving them points. So, we knew we had to come out, sustain the run game, get the pass game going, just move the ball down field, convert in certain situations and we didn't do that very well in the second half."

(on if he thought about running the ball after he threw the interception in the fourth quarter) "Yeah, looking back at it, it was four down territory. We would've gone for it on fourth down no matter what. Going back at it, I'd like to have that one back. That's another thing I'm going to be looking at the film and learning from."

(on if he overshot the ball to TE Joel Dreessen when he was open) "Yeah, it was just a bad ball. He did a good job getting open and I got to hit him on that."

(on having a lot of bad balls today) "Yeah, those things happen. It's hard to put your finger on. I wish I knew why I was always off. You got to go back at the film. Maybe it's footwork, maybe it's mechanics. We'll be able to look at the film and fix it and move on."

(on how he puts this game behind him and prepares for Thursday game against Indianapolis) "This is the first one of these I've ever had, but it's going to be good though for this team to kind of get this bad taste out of our mouth and get practicing right away. We're going to take a quick look at the film in the morning and then we're going to move right on to Indianapolis. You know, you just got to move on."

(on if he needs to get more snaps under his belt to feel more comfortable) "Yeah, that will definitely happen, but in our situation, the number of snaps that I've been able to get has been very limited, so I've got to learn quick and I got to learn fast. A game like this will definitely help me do that."

(on if he's concerned about how the Panthers took the wide receivers out of the game) "No, if they take our wide receivers out of the game, we got to run the ball better. We got to check the ball down. We just got to convert, stay on the field, not force anything. If they're going to play us a certain way, we got to play a certain way. If they're going to drop back in zone and put a lot of guys in coverage, we got to check the ball down and we got to run the ball better."

(on if the game plan was to not anticipate a lot of deep plays) "Our game plan was about the same as we were executing it throughout the game. We didn't have to make many changes. We knew what we were going to see going into this game and we had plan. We just got to execute it better."

(on if the Panthers defense was mostly two-deep) "They were doing a little bit of everything, a lot of zone. They didn't bring as much pressure as expected. Whatever they throw at us, we got to be ready and we got to do better."

(on if the Panthers defense was different than the Bengals defense) "Yeah, Cincinnati played a little more man. This was definitely a different look for us."

(on if there's a fine line between being careful with the football and playing aggressive) "Yeah, it just comes down to decision making. You can't force anything, no matter how much you want to get the ball down field and how much our offense is designed to do that. If they're playing defenses to stop that, there's nothing you can really do about that. You got to check the ball down. You got to run the ball. We got to stay on the field and just take what they give us."

(on if Head Coach Gary Kubiak was even tougher on him today) "Yeah, deservedly so. I was making mistakes out there, wasn't making good reads, good decisions. He's very good about, he'll get on you, but then right when you go out to that next series, we're back throwing the ball again moving like nothing has happened. We're all about short-term memory and just forgetting the things that happen and moving on."

(on if he hurt himself on the tackle he had to make) "No, I'm fine. I'm not really used to tackling that much and I just got to do a better job of keeping the ball on our side so I don't have to make those tackles."

HEAD COACH RON RIVERALB JAMES ANDERSONTE RICHIE BROCKELWR BRANDON LaFELLQB CAM NEWTONTE GREG OLSENTE JEREMY SHOCKEYWR STEVE SMITHRB DEANGELO WILLIAMS

* *

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA
(on finishing this game) "It's a huge step. It really is. The thing that we've been missing is somebody stepping up and making a play. The big thing happening obviously, our offense drove the ball and we needed to score points and we were backed up. We came out, we drove them, got a couple of first downs, a big huge play by (WR) Steve (Smith) and then the next thing you know (RB) DeAngelo Williams pops one for a touchdown. Those are the types of things that you need to do to take it to the next level and we've got to continue now. We've got to learn from this experience and grow. Defensively, they got a nice return, a couple big plays, then have (LB) James Anderson step up on the interception. That's huge for us. That's the types of things that we have to continue to learn how to do in these types of games and give ourselves a true chance to win football games."

(on having the next man up on defense) "You know, but again it's attributed to what I've said before about what our coaches have done with their players. We had to take (CB) R.J. Stanford and have him play safety, we put him in the post (route), (Defensive Coordinator) Sean (McDermott) and (Defensive Backs Coach) Ron (Meeks) got him on the headset and talked to him about what he needed to do and how he needed to handle that situation. I did limit Sean with what he wanted to do, but at that point to the one thing he really didn't want to do was give up a big play, to keep that ball in front of us, keep (the Texans) from getting downfield with the big plays. We felt obviously we could slow them down and eventually get a stop or force them to kick field goals as we did early in the third quarter. It was good to see guys step up and make plays. Again, as I said, you can't speak enough of all our coaches have done in terms of working with our players."

(on if the fumblrooski play shows QB Cam Newton's skills) "Yes it is, and again, it worked very well. The offensive coaches have basically been working on different things and things that we can mix with what we do as an offense. I'm not sure which of our guys came up with this one, but the timing of it was perfect. We ran a play prior using the same personnel group, we came back to scrimmage quickly, we could do that and it worked very well. The nice thing was (the Texans) were trying to set their front on our guys. We snapped it quickly before they got set and took advantage of that."

(on how it feels to beat a playoff bound team on the road) "I think that speaks well to us. I mean, we have to learn to win games like this, we really do, and this was one of those types of games against a very good football team. As I said before, I'm very happy for this (Texans) football team to win the AFC South. (Head Coach Gary) Kubiak has done a heck of a job and I'm just very happy for him. To get this team to a No. 1 ranked defense, a quality running game, it does speak to our abilities and what we can become. As I told the guys in there when we were breaking down, this really shows that we have the type of potential, we have the people we need inside this locker room and we just need to continue to grow."

(on Cam Newton's performance today) "Other than the third quarter, I thought the way he handled situations late in the third, going into the fourth was very good. He did some good things early on and we had a little lull. It seems kind of our nature. If we survive those lulls, if we maintain our composure I think we can bounce back and that's what we saw. We maintained it, we survived that lull. It's kind of like in basketball when teams run those bursts. We kind of had that. It wasn't very good for us. (The Texans) did some really good things on defense which speaks very well to who they are, but we were able to wither it and make some plays."

(On grinding out the last seven minutes of the game) "Which is huge. I think again, it goes back to our abilities. I think the thing we'd have to see as a football team is we're capable of those types of things. We have the type of build, we've got the type of line, we have the type of runners, we have a quarterback that forces certain threats, and then again we've got some receivers that can make plays when we need it."

(on LB Jordan Senn making contributions) "Yes he did. Jordan's hitting plays very well as did (LB) James Anderson. I think again, the guys that stepped up, next man up, and we had a situation with linebackers. (LB) Jason Williams had to come in and play middle linebacker for us a little bit, did a nice job as well. Again, we've got to be able to do those things if we expect to win these types of games, especially against playoff caliber football teams."

(on injuries) "Well, the big concern really is (CB) Captain (Munnerlyn) with the hamstring and (S Charles) Godfrey with the shoulder. Those are the only two that we're concerned with. Of course this is a short week. We don't get that extra day, so we'll have to monitor those guys very closely. In the mean time, we have guys ready to play."

(on putting CB Brandon Hogan in the game) "Yes when he came, in he played corner. The guy that showed the most ability for us was (CB) R.J. (Stanford). He did a heck of a job. He can play corner, he can play nickel, he can play safety for us in that stretch, and that just speaks volume of a young man with that kind of versatility."

(on being comfortable using trick plays) "Yes, and again, the issue of this is we go through them, we do the walk through periods and shuttle points and things in, and I'll watch them. I just think if the flow of the game, if you get a rhythm flow going, it really throws things off. It really offsets the opponent, and we've been able to do that and the timing has been very good for us. I think they're not high risk plays. That's the thing that feels pretty good. It was a handoff to (TE) Richie Brockel, the Mauler, and it was just good to see him get the opportunity to make the play."

(on winning the turnover margin in this game) "I think it's huge. Again, it's one of those things you look at as to why you win football games and I think the turnover margin is one of the bigger ones because again, that means you're getting their offense off the field, putting yours back on. Turnovers in the red zone are huge. Either way, their red zone, your red zone, gives you your offense the opportunity to go out there with a short field which we did early in the game and we scored. We've got to continue to understand at how important that is."

(on being concerned leaving the defense in for long in the third quarter) "Yes I was. We're trying to push our guys to make plays and make plays and again as I said, hats off to them. (The Texans) are a very good football team. Truth, I'm very happy with our performance today because we played a very good football team and won."

(on the play of the linebackers) "I thought they played well. They got worn down a little bit, and again it was through attrition. We had a couple guys had to play a little longer than you'd hope to, but this was a running team. This was a very good running football team. Again, hats off to who they are as a team."

(on playing a complete first half) "It was about as good as we've seen. I mean, last week we had a pretty good first half too but we've got to continue to somehow find a way to not get in those third quarter lulls that seem to threaten us every time."

LINEBACKER JAMES ANDERSON
(on closing out the game) "We needed to play on defense and some guys stepped up big today and it's good for our defense to come out and play like that."

(on beating a playoff bound team) "This is huge for us. To come out and compete with one of the best teams in the AFC and to come out with a win speaks well as we head into next year."

(on holding the Texans to field goals) "That shows growth for our defense and for us as a team. In the past we may have folded and let the game get out of hand but guys fought and we kept them to field goals and stayed in it."

TIGHT END RICHIE BROCKEL
(on if he was excited when the trick play to him was called in the huddle) "Your level of excitement definitely goes up. The fact that coach called a trick play takes a little bit of guts. When you run that call, you have to execute it and make it work so they'll want to call that play again."

(on how the defense reacted to the trick play) "The whole defense really bit on that option.  We've run that well with (QB) Cam (Newton) this season.  When you have a weapon back there like that, it sets up plays like that.  The defense is so keyed up on him and worried about him making the play, they sometimes forget about other things and their assignments."

(on the feeling he had when he realized the play was going to work) "It's the best you know.  All the O-line had it blocked up perfect. As long as I didn't trip I was going to be alright."

(on scoring with a trick play) "It was a tick play we put in this week and we ran it twice in practice and everything just lined up for it and it worked out perfect and I felt like I was back in my Boise State days. The offensive line moved the wrong way and that was the thing that made it work. They bit on Cam [Newton] running the option because he's such a good weapon that it opened everything up for me. Everybody was standing up because it was a little gun snap to Cam and everybody kind of sat there for two seconds then we ran it around. It was great."

(on closing the game out) "It feels great to get a win like that. To come out in the second half, especially the fourth quarter, and really establish the run, move it down the field, getting Stew [Jonathan Stewart] and DeAngelo [Williams] carries and yards, that's awesome and a great feeling."

WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON LaFELL
(on the victory) "Our mindset was to come in here and build for next season. This is a good team that's going to the playoffs and just let's everybody know that we're for real. Don't let our record fool you. All the games we lost we've been in the fourth quarter, we blew the lead and we lost the game but we're a really good team."

(on potent offense) "We've got two tight ends in [Greg] Olsen and [Jeremy] Shockey, running backs, they speak for themselves they do it week in and week out and Smitty [Steve Smith] he's been doing this for 11 years now so we know what we have on offense and Cam [Newton], he's the final piece we've been missing. He comes out and puts the ball in the air and lets us go make plays, gives it to the running backs and lets them bust it open and that's what we've been doing all year. We just have to stay consistent coming out in the second half, keep moving the ball and stay in attack mode."

(on Head Coach Ron Rivera) "He's trying to get us on attack mode. He always preaches, 'let everything we do on the practice carry over to the game', and we haven't been doing that. We'll come out here and have a hell of a week of practice, have a great first half and then we'll shut it down. He's just trying to get us to learn how to finish and that's been our problem all year and I think now we're finally starting to learn how to do that and it's why we're winning games."

QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
(on the trickeration play and whose call it was) "It is always the offensive coordinators call. We've been going over it for a couple weeks now and I didn't think we would run it, but they called it. It was a shock to us just as it was a shock to you all just seeing it. We executed it fine and got a touchdown. "

(on not turning the ball over) "I think that is the key to success for the Carolina Panthers offensively. It puts a lot more pressure on me now to want to take more chances, but at the same time protecting the football. I look across the League and look at other quarterbacks and when they do a good job protecting the ball that is the key to their win.  Even though we had a couple three and outs and that put a lot more pressure on the defense, with us protecting the football, no turnovers, no interceptions or fumbles that put even more stress on the opposing offense to go the length of the field."

(on using quarterback designed runs in the 3rd quarter and how that adds to the offense) "I think it put more stress on the defense knowing they had to account for all eleven people and we get an extra blocker to block and that was officially eleven on eleven."

(on beating the #1 ranked Texans) "That was big, real big. A lot of guys stepped up to the challenge this week. We knew what the task at hand was. We rightfully so could have been in that playoff hunt, a couple wins and we would be in there. But we are looking forward towards the future and creating good habits. We have to win late in the season-December wins, November wins, January wins-those are going to accumulate to playoff berths."

(on being able to finish the game after the Texans rally in the third quarter)  "We learned from our mistakes last week and weeks past, especially on the road. It was kind of similar to the Detroit game. We had a lot of guys grit their teeth and say they're fed up and execute and make first downs and move the football. Our defense did an excellent job with holding them as long as they could. But we know everyone is not perfect. And we put our defense in some bad situations and offensively it finally clicked on that drive. Coach (Rivera) brought us up and stressed that we have to quit doing this to our defense. But from the outside looking in, everyone is pointing their finger at the defense, but those guys are playing their hearts out each and every time. We need to put more stress on ourselves to go out to sustain drives and get first downs."

(on the significant plays that prevented the game turning out like the previous week's game versus the Atlanta Falcons) "I think anytime you get in that predicament it is getting that first 1st down.  When you see those chains moving, that does a lot to our psyche, knowing we can move the football. We can't get in those 3rd and longs.  We put ourselves from the first 1st down and it was 3rd and I think three or four and that is reasonable for this offense. The rest took care of itself."

(on the trick play and whether he had to do a particular thing right) "It was kind of awkward, but I got the snap and gave it to  (TE Richie) Brockel. I call him the 'Mauler.' He deserves it man. This guy is a warrior. He comes out, doesn't get a lot of recognition, but each and every play we can count on him to do his job, go out and block, and he is happy with that. It is good to see guys like that get touchdowns on a gimmick play so to speak."

(on what Coach Rob Rivera told the team in the locker room) "It was a story he said yesterday. He kept going back to the story. There is no way out and we are backing ourselves in the corner and it says a lot about a team. We were up 21 points and we kind of saw it in the 3rd quarter and we knew it couldn't happen again so we just consistently kept fighting and kept fighting and had a successful drive and another one to finish the game off."

(on if his success today with protecting the ball and not turning it over was a byproduct of having been there for so many snaps and if it allowed him to have a better idea of what to do and what chances to take) "To some degree it is. I am not going to sit up here and lie. I think the more snaps I take the more comfortable I get, practices included. I look at the film from the first game of the year and the plays that were being made, but in all honesty in the whole grand scheme of things I could have had more control over that game. Fast forward to today there were times when I knew that was just the nature of the game. It was going to go up and down and up and down.  But you still have to get everybody on board to know that when it is time to attack, everybody has to be in it to get the  job done."

(on not trying to win the game on first down, first possession because there is still a lot of football to be played) "Oh absolutely. We came out today and we started fast. That is our motto 'start fast, finish strong' and we started fast and I can honestly say we finished strong in the end. The third quarter wasn't pretty but that is something we have to work on and come back and get prepared for Tampa."

(on what makes him so effective in 3rd and long situations) "For us we only have a couple plays in the playbook for third and long and our offense is not built for that.  But the plays we do have we still have to execute, whether it's first and long, second and long, third and long, we have plays for that. We would like to see it in the third and medium and third and short, where our percentages can get high. You have to convert in third downs in this league. That is where offenses and defenses are made and broken."

TIGHT END GREG OLSEN
(on the team making plays in the second half) "It was the fourth quarter where we made some plays. The third quarter was frustrating. We didn't do a lot on offense and didn't give our defense a chance. This was our defense's coming out party against a very good offense, with a great offensive line and a team that can run the ball, with good play action. For them to hold them to what they did, you can't say enough about what our defense did. Forcing turnovers early for the first touchdown and then getting the turnover late to finish the game on offense that was huge and you can't say enough about what the defense did."

(on winning three-of-four) "We're going to try and make it four-out-of-five. That was our goal all along. Last week we let slip away and today was kind of a similar situation, big halftime lead, last week we didn't do it and this week we did. This is how we need to play in the second half. First half's we do okay, second half is what we need to work on and today we did a better job in the fourth quarter."

TIGHT END JEREMY SHOCKEY
(on Houston Texans) "Personally myself I was pretty upset they weren't showing respect to America during the National Anthem. There were about 10 players who didn't put their arms across their chest. A couple of guys saw that. This is America. They should at least give respect to America. I haven't seen it anywhere else in the NFL, but I don't know how you forget to do something like that."

(on if this was Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton's best game) "He's managed the game well for us.  He missed some opportunities but he'll grow and get better. Then again he did a great job today."

(on playing with the lead) "Seems like no one wants to give us the ball first because of our offense but [The Texans] took it first and our defense did a good job getting some turnovers for us early in the game and we capitalized."

(on his touchdown catch) "It was a simple play and I guess what's his name, Ryans, DeMeco Ryans, what's his name?  DeMeco Ryans couldn't make the play and it was an easy touchdown.  Again, this offense in my opinion is very hard to learn and as a defensive player you have to be on or someone will be open as I was and Cam [Newton] did a good job of finding people open."

WIDE RECEIVER STEVE SMITH
(on if he expected to have as much man –to-man coverage as he did today) "Yeah I expected it. I watched a lot of film on those guys and I knew that (CB) (Johnathan) Joseph was going to be on me. 100% of the time he was pressed up. They ran a little bracket on third downs, but most of the time he was pressed up in man coverage. I expected that. That's how they have been playing. They thrive on man coverage."

(on them still playing hard as a team even know they are not going to the playoffs) "Despite your record, you still have to play.  Even if you are set on going perfect like the (Green Bay) Packers or you're trying to be like the Indianapolis Colts and trying to get out of the losing column, we're competitors.  (Tim) Tebow isn't the only person who has diligent work ethic around here.  We all can play ball, we all have the desire to win, and we all want to play hard and win.  Some people may say that we aren't playing for anything, what's the point, but we are playing for the next three Sunday's and then the first Sunday in September.  Hopefully, if you keep working hard enough, you'll be on that final roster in September.  That's what you are playing for, future employment."

(on him being the veteran of a young, talented team)  "I'm just an old guy as they say.  I can still run, still catch, and still block.  I'm just here to keep up with these young guys.  One of the things that separate a veteran from a young guy is that a young guy has speed; very few come out with good technique.  I've kept my speed.  I'm not as fast I used to be when I was twelve, but I've learned technique.  If you have technique and speed, you get to do the little things that count."

(on how it feels to come on the road and beat a playoff team) "It's very important.  It's good for our confidence.  To be honest, that's a good team.  They run the ball well.  Even in the pass game, they always have very few minus plays.  (QB) T.J. (Yates) is doing a good job going through his progressions.  This is a big stage and he did a very good job. He did make a few errors, but everyone makes errors.  He did an exceptional job."

RUNNING BACK DEANGELO WILLIAMS
(on if this was Cam Newton's best performance) "I think his best game is yet to come. You see the in-game maturity from him. [The Texans] had a rookie quarterback who made rookie mistakes but [Cam Newton] seems to make fewer. TJ Yates has been behind the eight ball just starting this late in the season and a lot is expected of him with Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart going down and him stepping up and having to do the things he's asked to do. Cam started off going through training camp taking every snap, going through the ins and outs, the ups and downs and establishing himself as a known quarterback. TJ Yates is getting there though."

(on the team making plays when it counted) "Especially in crucial situations.  We came out not so well in the second half, had more than our fair share of three and outs, they came down the field and scored and we knew if we allowed them to keep the momentum they were going to run us out of here.  We stepped up, the coaches talked to us, the offensive line put it on my back and it showed."

(on burning the clock at the end of the game) "Oh yeah, that's what we do.  We're able to run the ball and everybody knows we're able to throw it.  Some people tend to forget about our running game."

(on his touchdown) "That was beautiful.  It was just like it was drawn up.  All of our plays are drawn up to score touchdowns.  That particular play worked out for us because their defense shifted over and when they shifted over I was thinking 'oh man, don't fall,' you get the ball and it's 'don't get caught.'  It's amazing how your mind switches gears from 'don't fall' to 'don't get caught.'"

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