The Texans and Colts battled on Monday Night Football in Indianapolis, and after, the players and coaches from both teams answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans head coach Gary KubiakLeft tackle Duane Brown Running back Arian Foster Wide receiver Andre Johnson Wide receiver Jacoby Jones Fullback Vonta Leach Safety Bernard Pollard Cornerback Glover Quin Defensive end Mario Williams
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the first-half problems on offense)* *"We played very good defense in the first half; offensively we really struggled. We were really just sloppy. We struggled sometimes with some alignments, struggled getting out of the huddle a couple of times. I don't think we converted a third down in the first half. We had a couple of drops. And, of course, we gave them a touchdown. We played very good defense in the first half and yet our football team is in real bad shape at halftime. We just did not play well on the offensive side of the ball."
(on the reasons for the offensive struggles)* *"We hadn't played in 15 days, but there is no reason for us. Some of the mistakes we made, some of the trouble coming in and out of the huddle ... there is some noise here, but, golly, you have to be able to handle that. And we have over and over again. Some of the third downs, we have to make some of those plays and stay on the football field. ... Just disappointed in how we played offensively in the first half of the game."
(on the Colts' interception for a TD)* *"Little bit late with the ball, not a real good play call on my part from a coverage standpoint. Just make sure you don't make a mistake. (They) had him in a tough situation. Just have to go ahead and take your sack or throw it away."
(on why Arian Foster wasn't used more starting early in the game)* *"Our plan was to be balanced. Every time we show up, our plan is to be a balanced football team. We wanted to do some things early. A couple of runs were called early that ended up being passes. ... I don't think we would have had any problem being a balanced football team tonight had we made a third down. I think we were 0-for-6 in the first half. And when you don't make third downs, you don't get snaps, and you are usually going to get out of whack."
(on the Colts' depth in the face of some injuries coming into the game)* *"The thing about (the Colts) is they don't change. They're going to do the same things. No. 18 is going to get them in the right route for the coverage and he's going to get the ball to the right guy. Give him the credit. Whoever tends to step on the field with him, he finds a way to get them the football. We knew it would be that way. We didn't expect to see anything different."
(on the Texans' defense)* *"We obviously didn't play as well in the second half. ... I think we had the ball four times in the second half. They controlled the third quarter. Time of possession is way out of whack. ... That's not good; that's not what gives us a chance to be successful against this football team."
(on holding Manning to a pair of touchdowns in the passing game)* *"We hold them to 350 or 360 yards of offense and they're 2-for-4 in the red zone, all indications are we should have a chance to win that football game. But we dug ourselves a 14-0 hole by playing very poorly on the offensive of the ball and not having our team at halftime in a game they should have been in. "
(on the pressure on Matt Schaub)* *"Anytime you come in here, it's different. They're going to get off on the snap count and all those things with the noise. You know that. That makes it even more important that you are able to keep third downs somewhat manageable. ... You know you're facing that when you play them here, and you have to find a way to offset it. The best way to offset it is to run the ball and have third-and-twos and third-and-threes."
OT- DUANE BROWN(on allowing pressure on QB-Matt Schaub)* *"For me personally, especially in the first half, I feel like I gave up a lot of pressure. I feel like I kind of settled in the second half. When you play in this stadium against a great front four they bring a great pressure package. You gotta be able to hold up in key situations. We weren't able to do that."
RB- ARIAN FOSTER
"This is a competitive division and one of the best in the league and we feel like we can still compete in it. I try to do my job the best of my ability. I think the Colts were a little more cognizant of the cut back lanes and they played their gaps very well. We still had success running the ball, but we just didn't get a lot of opportunities to do so.
WR- ANDRE JOHNSON"The first half, we didn't play the type of football we normally play. We didn't convert many third downs and that's not like us. We never really got into a rhythm in the first half because I think everyone was taking turns making mistakes. I think it was just mental lapses at times and when you have those… you don't win. We're not going to go in the tank, we're going to keep fighting."
WR- JACOBY JONES
"Its always our expectation to win the games, but this is the NFL and you have to come to work and ready to play."
FB- VONTA LEACH"Its one game and one loss, we split one to one, they have a good football team and they just outplayed us tonight. We didn't find a rhythm and we didn't stay on the ball on third down, its something we have to look back on the tape and go from there. We just didn't get the job done for whatever reason."
SS – BERNARD POLLARD(on the disappointment of a loss)* *"It hurts. I thought we played good. We played hard. You can't question the effort, but we had some things that we left on the field."
(on not putting best foot forward on the big stage)* *"That's correct. It's just one of those times when you wish you could have done some things differently. Obviously, we can't turn back time. We have to have a short memory. We have got six days until another game. We gotta be ready to go and play sound. We gotta find a way to win in our backyard."
"From a defensive standpoint, we feel like we played a pretty good game, but in this case it was not enough because they made more plays than we did. Tonight Manning put the ball in the right spot and made plays."
DE – MARIO WILLIAMS(on playing the Colts)* *"Their team is made up of basically being in the lead. Once they got it, we dug ourselves a hole and couldn't get out of it."
(on having a better defensive effort tonight)* *"We're not there. We tried to do what we had to do to stay in the game. But like I said, the biggest thing is we didn't get any turnovers and they did."
(on limiting the Colts to field goals)* *"Going against Peyton, obviously, it's a tough game. But when he gets down there, to keep him out of the end zone is big. We still probably could have blocked two of those field goals."
(on the Texans pass rush)*
*"It all goes back to digging yourself a hole. Whenever you are 14-0 against a team like that, they're whole playbook is open. You know, it's still Peyton Manning so he's going to throw the ball, but it's keeping a sharp balance a little bit, especially when he's throwing the ball that quickly. It was definitely three-step drops and a lot of quick passes. But it was something we expected."
Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim CaldwellQuarterback Peyton Manning
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL(Is the AFC South the most competitive division?) "The entire league is extremely competitive. There are a lot of good football teams in our league. But I can say this, it's a real challenge in our division. A lot of good football teams. That's a heck of a team and each and every week that we play in the division that's what it looks like. It's a fight to the end and a bunch of talented teams."
(on some of the new faces on offense) "Jacob Tamme did a nice job out there. Obviously he got a few more reps and certainly did deliver. I'm not sure what his statistics were in terms of number of catches. But he caught the ball well. Mike Hart did a tremendous job. Any time you can get a guy to find holes and seams, which he did. Did a nice job. I think he rushed for something around 115 yards or so and averaged about 4.6, I believe. I think we were efficient in terms of running the ball. It was a pretty good day for a lot of young guys. Justin Tryon did a nice job for us. Obviously we had a guy punting for us that hadn't punted for us before and kicking off for us. I think they did a pretty good job.
(on Kelvin Hayden's interception being a turning point in the game) "No question about it. Just a great job on his part. A great job of reading the route and that was huge for us. Anytime you can get a turnover and it also turn into a score, that makes a tremendous difference."
(Is Mike Hart okay?) "Not certain yet. We'll have to see. He'll be evaluated. You know often times you can't tell until the next day."
(on tonight's defense) "I am very proud of the entire group. What a great job of coming back and playing hard. They have a lot of pride. They don't take things that happen to them lightly. They come back and they work extremely hard and try to correct the problems that we have had. They do a tremendous job with that. That [Houston Texans] is a great team with a great running back and offensive line."
(on Peyton Manning's block for Pierre Garcon and Peyton Manning's slide for a first down) "I wasn't able to see him since I was on the far side. I know he [Peyton Manning] got out there and tried to pave the way for him [Pierre Garcon], which was great. Being able to run for that first down was key. He [Peyton Manning] did a lot of things extremely well. He threw the ball well and didn't have any turnovers."
(on the fight in the team to win) "Every week you have to go out and prove yourself and it's so tough in this league. You get by with a win one week and you can celebrate for a little bit and then you have another one coming up that is going to be equally as tough. I am already thinking about our challenges coming up for this week. But, I do think that our team is fighting back and getting ourselves in position to once again be close to the top, where we should be. It's a long season, seven down with nine to go and we have a tough battle ahead of us."
(on protection for Peyton Manning) "Yes, but those are very good pass rushers that are tough to handle. Mario Williams and Antonio Smith are as good as they come. They knocked him [Peyton Manning] around a little bit and they hit him [Peyton Manning] a little bit too often. They [offensive line] gave him [Peyton Manning] enough time to move the ball."
(on expectations of young players) "It's one of the things we talk about year in and year out, week in and week out. You are going to get an opportunity somewhere along the line and we need every guy on our team, the 53 and the practice squad, to always be ready. It showed today with Cornelius Brown, who came up from the practice squad and played a lot on special teams and a little at corner. It's something that we talk about and we expect. We certainly don't talk about drop-offs and insufficient play. We expect them to be able to go in and perform like the person they are replacing."
(on Anthony Gonzalez's performance tonight) "I think there is typically going to be a big play involved when he is on the field. He made a couple nice catches for us and it was good to see him out there."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on new players contributing) "Lot of change on this team. A lot of new guys playing. Jacob Tamme really playing his most extended playing time of his career. Big play to get us down near the end zone. His touchdown catch. Mike Hart always runs hard, but getting his first start also and made some huge runs. Some guys really stepping up and just a great team effort."
(on about the character of this team winning despite all the injuries) "It is a great team effort and a great team win. Everybody is dealing with injuries, I am not going to beat the point in. Whoever is in there has to somehow find the way to do the job. It is not always going to be pretty or perfect. You have to keep grinding. That is kind of the word we use, just keep grinding and keep trying to make some plays. Anthony (Gonzalez) made a huge catch down the middle of the field. Reggie (Wayne) did a great job of getting into the end zone. Jacob Tamme had a couple of big third down conversations. Offensive line fought hard all night through some adversity. And of course the defense with some critical plays. Kelvin Hayden, what an awesome play he made. (Dwight) Freeney, (Robert) Mathis doing their thing as usual. A great team effort."
(on the Colts next man up philosophy) "It is what you have to be able to do, right? The veteran guys have to hopefully, maybe raise their game a little bit. You try to be patient, you try to work with guys. I think hopefully we can improve with some of these new guys, depending on how healthy we are. I think we had some injuries tonight, so we will see who is available. The biggest challenge is practicing. Some guys that are injured, but are able to play, but don't get the reps in practice, you kind of fight through that, try to keep your timing sharp. Hopefully we can find some improvement with these guys if we can get the reps in practice during the second half of the season."
(on the play of Jacob Tamme) "I think you always want to see how a guy responds, right? It is one game. Certainly is a high pressure situation. A guy is being put into the starting role. Subing in for a guy that just defines the word versatility in Dallas Clark. It was nice to see a guy that had a calm, cool look to him the entire night. That is encouraging to see. We are just looking for improvement and consistency the rest of the year."
(on the play of Mike Hart) "Mike ran hard. Mike always runs hard. You are kind of use to seeing that. He really had some explosive runs. Great job with ball security. He had a couple of catches out of the backfield. I was really proud of Mike. It was good to get Donald Brown back in the mix. He hadn't played in a couple of weeks. It was good to get him some game reps again. Hopefully we can keep getting healthy at that position. I am really proud of both guys. And then Javarris James, a couple of big runs there on those last couple drives. He almost really popped a long one on that one. Those are all good things to see."
(on Tony Dungy being honored at the game) "It was great to see him. We didn't get to see the ceremony at halftime. Just asked him how that went. It was great to see him and his wife. Always feels good when he is back here in Indianapolis. He will always be a Colt in our book."
(on avoiding being swept by Houston) "It certainly was a disappointing loss down there on opening day. Houston is playing good football right now. They were coming off a bye, they were fresh. You never quite know what to expect coming off a bye with different things. It was good to just get a win. This was a game we wanted to win. Hopefully we can find a way to put a couple victories together and find some consistency in our football, all three phases."
(on throwing a block on Pierre Garcon's catch) "It was a screen. Pierre has that ability to cutback. I was glad we could avoid a negative play. It is really the same play that Reggie (Wayne) scored on a couple plays later. I thought we had a good play, got a forced cutback. I think Pierre really did all the work. Let's take it for what it really was, a good run by Pierre."