The Texans beat the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. After, coaches and players from both sides answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
OWNER BOB McNAIRHEAD COACH GARY KUBIAKDEFENSIVE COORDINATOR WADE PHILLIPST DUANE BROWNFB JAMES CASEYNT SHAUN CODYLB BRIAN CUSHINGTE OWEN DANIELSRB ARIAN FOSTERWR ANDRE JOHNSONWR JACOBY JONESCB JOHNATHAN JOSEPHLB DEMECO RYANS
DE ANTONIO SMITHDE JJ WATTT ERIC WINSTONQB TJ YATES
OWNER BOB McNAIR
(on how the victory feels) "It was a wonderful win for us; just like coach told the guys after the game. We just went back to playing the way we have been playing earlier in the year. Everybody taking care of their job and playing a clean game and that's the kind of result we can get when we do that. It was nice to us get back on track."
(on if this win is gratifying) "It is because I could look up in the stands and nobody had left the stands. They we all standing and cheering, and were happy. That's a great pleasure."
(on if there is a happier moment that he has felt as a Houstonian after today's win) "This is our greatest achievement. Of course this only one step along the way. We've got a lot of more work to do. Still, this is the furthest we've been before and I'm real proud of this team."
(on how special this moment is) "When you consider that you have your number three rookie quarterback leading your team and playing as well as he's playing, which I think is fantastic, and for everybody to rally around him and accept him as the leader on offense is just remarkable and is just a testament to the group of guys we have on this team."
(on the crowd atmosphere in the building throughout the game) "It was terrific. You can see that they were all so proud of their team. That's what we want. We want to have everybody can be proud of and want to feel an attachment to the team. I think they have that."
(on him retaining Coach Kubiak after last year) "Gary has been able to manage the locker room during very difficult times and that's not easy to do. A lot of coaches lose control of the locker room. Gary never did. His players always played hard for them. We lacked some leadership on the field and our defense wasn't playing well enough. It was obvious to me that we had to improve our defense and some of our players had to in turn step up and be leaders. They've done that."
(on how special it was for him to see (WR) Andre Johnson score his
touchdown) "It was wonderful. I think he was so excited. I think he was on edge a little early on because he has been waiting for this day for a long time. It was a tremendous catch."
(on what comes to mind when he hears that Houston football is back) "I remember when we had the 50,000 people at the Astrodome when we lost to Pittsburgh. I'm just delighted to be a part of it and just so happy for our fans."
(on where this win stacks up against his accomplishments in life) "It has to be the happiest moment and greatest accomplishment because of what we've had to deal with and being able to win with all the adversity. It's just a wonderful message for everybody."
HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
(on winning the game when the Bengals took an early lead) "I was really proud of our team. We played the football that we had been playing when we were winning and that's what we were after. I told the guys I really thought we kind of needed to go through our last three weeks. And I didn't mean losing games, but needed to kind of be humbled from the standpoint of what we're not going to be able to get away with if we're going to win during this month. I think it really helped us. We came back, we played error-free football, from the turnover standpoint, got turnovers and ended up running the ball well before the day was over. So, it was the key to us winning."
(on the interception by DE JJ Watt) "He's been exceptional. We have knocked down a lot of balls this year and we have come so close to grabbing a couple of them. It's funny, you work all year, doing it and knocking it down, and all of a sudden you hang to one of them. But he's been exceptional. He's played like a four- or five-year player. That was a huge play because it gave us a lot of momentum going into halftime and we came out in the second half and played good football."
(on what he told the team after the game in the locker room) "Just what I just told you: I think they found out a lot about themselves the last three weeks. We tried to narrow our goals, after we won the division, we tried to narrow it and say 'let's go win a playoff game.' And now we'll narrow it again and see if we can go win a road playoff game. But they've been very focused. But I loved their effort. We got back to our type of football and that was the key."
(on the Ravens last opponent being the Bengals and if it gives them confidence) "I'm trying to enjoy this one right now. We know what we're facing going down there. They have been an excellent football team all year long. You have to go play at their place; I think they are 8-0 at their place this year in the regular season. So, we understand, we went there earlier in the season and we'll have to play as good as we can possibly play. But we took a step in the right direction. We'll go to work have a good week, and we expect to play well."
(on what specifically makes DE JJ Watt the player he is) "He is a very smart player. He's got a tremendous nose. When he can't get to the quarterback, he watches the quarterback's eyes, he gets his hands up. We ask him to do a lot in our zone-dog schemes and stuff, and he's just exceptional. He's an effort player. JJ is an effort player. He's very smart. And those two things go hand in hand and they equal success and that's what he's all about."
(on the play of WR Andre Johnson) "It was huge. Just to have him back, I don't know how many plays he played, but just having back on the field we do get played a little bit different, so we had an adjustment period there. He makes the huge play on the double move there in the third quarter. I know one thing, for me personally and I know anyone else in this organization, when he's got that uniform on it sure feels good. It was great to have him back today."
(on the defensive effort and the sacks on Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "They came out throwing the ball. He's a hell of a player and I'm very impressed with him. I think he's going to be a tremendous player in this league for a long time. We just kind of kept plugging, we got him in some third and longs. We were relentless. I thought (DE) Antonio (Smith) played exceptional. I thought he kind of cleared the way for some other guys to get to the quarterback. I don't want to be redundant, but like I said, we kind of got back to what we were doing during that seven week stretch: we played great defense, we found a way to run the ball, we never hurt ourselves as a team. That was the key.
(on forcing three turnovers in the game) "What did we get three? Am I right? It's so important. Its one thing to get to this point in the NFL season, and the one thing you don't want to do is beat yourself. We have beaten ourselves the last few weeks and today we didn't and today we didn't, so that was the difference. Even though they jumped on us 7-0, when the day was said and done we never really hurt ourselves as a team. That was big. That was huge."
(on the play of RB Arian Foster) "He was exceptional. I tell you, he was so fired up early in the game he almost fumbled the first play of the game. Second play of the game he jumps offsides. I was worried about him a little bit. I tried to calm him down. He didn't say anything to me and he sent (RB) Derrick Ward to me to tell me he was ok. So we just kept going. He gets better as he plays."
(on if focusing on today's playoff game lead to the three losses at the end the regular season) "I don't think we lost our focus, I think we had gotten away with some stuff. I thought we got away with not play real, real good in Jacksonville. I know we went through a horrible situation, but we really didn't play that good and we survived that game. Then we played very good against Atlanta. And in Cincinnati, we did not play good as a team. But when you win like that, it's hard to get guys to tell them what they did wrong when you win a game like that. But over the course of the next few weeks, I didn't have to tell them anymore, they saw what would happen if we started playing like that. It was a difficult stretch, but I think it really helped us prepare to win, especially today."
(on the players atmosphere during the week approaching the game today) "It was exceptional. I always tell you guys, when players are hard on each other, that's what you want in your organization and your team. And boy they were hard on each other this week. They were on edge Friday. I worried about them early in the game because they were so geeked up to play, I was little bit worried about their concentration. But boy it was electric here today. It was just absolutely tremendous. I'm just happy for them, happy for the city. Just a good deal. We played good football and that's what It's all about."
(on the play of QB TJ Yates) "He still played like a rookie some. He had some mistakes in the game on some things we were trying to do. But as I have told you all before, the thing about this kid, when he makes a mistake they don't really linger, he can go play the next play and keep going. That's what he did today. He's going to go back, and he's got some big mistakes in the game, but boy he made some big plays. He played tough today too. His shoulder is sore and he played tough. (Quarterbacks Coach) Greg Knapp and Rico (Rick Dennison) have done an absolutely outstanding job with him and our team believes in him. And that's what matters."
(on what the offense was able to do on third down late in the game) "That was the key. We struggled on third downs in the last month, and we struggled again early in the game with some protection issues. But in the second half we were exceptional. It really came down to some big runs by (RB) Arian (Foster). He picked up a big third-and-five, picked up a big third-and-seven on the touchdown. That was the key. We have to stay on the field. We were losing the time of possession a great deal in the game until the second half."
(on speaking with Texans owner Bob McNair after the game and what he said) "You know what? I haven't. I hope he's not mad at me. I had so many guys to congratulate in there. I'm happy for his family. He has worked extremely hard at this organization. He's got a good group of guys working for him as players and coaches. I'm happy for him. I missed him, but I'll go catch up with him."
(on momentum from this game and what to expect in Baltimore next week) "We know. I know exactly what to expect, I've been there once in the playoffs. Our guys know. They know what type of team we're playing. It will be a physical game. We'll have to handle a hostile crowd and we have to do it with the young kid again, with the quarterback. We know what we're up against, but you know what, that's kind of the way we play. It's the type of football we like to play. We need to go down there and we'll have another good week. And like I said, we'll play well."
(on the changes they made from last game in Cincinnati to lead to success with RB Arian Foster) "I think they did a pretty good job against him early. The thing today, with Arian last time, we were down, so we never really got him going, especially in the second half. Today we were in the ballgame the whole time, 7-0, 10-10, so the game dictated that we could stay patient and keep running the football. And when you're able to do that with Arian, sooner or later he has a bust out play. That's the way it went down."
(on being a Houstonian and what this playoff victory means to him) "You don't have enough time. I grew up right down the road in The Heights. It's a special day. I was sitting in my office all day today leading up to the game, and looking outside, thinking, 'holy, the Texans are in a playoff game.' It felt good. I'm just very proud of all the guys and the job they did and hopefully there are some more to come."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR WADE PHILLIPS
(on DE J.J. Watt) "I told J.J. and the rest of the players, when you do it in practice you get to do it over and over and over. We weren't surprised that he could that in fact we're probably surprised that he hadn't done it earlier because he's done it so many times in practice. We were hoping it was going to happen and I'm glad it happened his time. He does it every day in practice. He knocks down more balls than anybody we have and he's caught more in practice you be surprised how many times he's done the exact same thing in practice throughout this season. That was a keynote play of the game. They tried to score before the half and we got to score and that was really the big turning point."
(on winning for Houston) "It's really special for the city. I'm a Houstonian and I think it's great for the city and that's the way I feel, I mean I'm a fan too and it's great for all of us."
(on watching his defense from the press box) "They got ahead 7-0 and when we tied it up I thought we were going to be in control after that. They only had like 17 rushing yards at the half so we knew they had to throw it all the time since we shut down their running game."
(on facing Baltimore next week) "Baltimore is who they are, and they're such a good football team. We feel like that game kind of turn our season. We felt like we could have played a whole lot better against them than we did, so we get an opportunity to do that."
(on the depth of the defense in the second half) "We've had a strong group all year so we try to alternate guys but they're all every down players and that's the key. High motor, high energy that's the way that we play defense."
(on how J.J. Watt has impressed this season) "You want your top picks to be a good player but they usually don't develop that quickly. Some of them it takes a while. You can see it throughout the season with him this guy is just a really good football player. I think he's probably got some votes for the Pro Bowl and deservedly so, he's really a good football player and I think everybody can see that."
TACKLE DUANE BROWN
(on whether the Bengals gave up at the end of the game) "I wouldn't say they gave up but when you run the ball like that you dictate the game."
(on whether they were motivated by all the doubters) "We have learned a lot from those three games we lost. It didn't matter. Once you end the regular season it's over. It's a clean slate. It's all about winning that next game. We knew what we had to do to win. We knew what kind of football we needed to play to succeed and we got back to it today."
(on the play of T.J. Yates) "He did a great job. He operated well and got us into the right plays we needed to. We knew that if we gave him time back there he could make some things happen. We got 80 (WR Andre Johnson) into his groove and made some plays."
FULLBACK JAMES CASEY
(on J.J. Watt's interception for a touchdown) "It was unbelievable. We see him every day in practice. He is always knocking balls down but he's not catching them on the line of scrimmage like that which is very impressive. To be able to catch the ball at the line of scrimmage is obviously very difficult to do. To run it in like that, was just a huge boost. It was the turning point of the game, I thought. Once he did that, it put us up and everybody was thrilled that that happened."
(on what the victory can do for the team) "It's huge for us confidence wise. A lot of these guys haven't experienced playoffs including myself and once you Get out there you realize it's a lot more intense out there. Everything is on the line. The crowd is loud and you are a lot more amped up. It's good to get this first playoff game under our belt at home."
(on T.J. Yates) "T.J. played a great game. His confidence is going to be huge as we continue. He's a rookie quarterback, fifth round draft pick and he has already won one playoff game. That's a pretty big deal. We are really excited. We know we are playing Baltimore and that's where our focus already is on."
NOSE TACKLE SHAUN CODY
(on the defensive scheme) "Wade (Phillips) did a good job of always being confident with it and always installing confidence in what he is doing."
(on the victory) "It's been talked about a bunch getting J.J. (Watt) and Brooks (Reed) playing the way he has it's been awesome for us. It means the most some warriors like DeMeco Ryans who has been here from the beginning. (Brian) Cushing has battled with through stuff with us. It's great for those guys too."
(on the play of the defense compared to last year) "It's confidence. Our confidence was at an all-time low last year. We weren't playing good defense, we knew it, and couldn't get it changed. It cost some guys their jobs. It's definitely a pride thing now and we want to be a part of why this team is winning."
(on playing the Ravens) "Bring it. Let's go. See you in Baltimore."
LINEBACKER BRIAN CUSHING
(on the key to playing defense after falling behind early, especially against QB Andy Dalton) "I really think just pressure. I mean the crowd couldn't have helped anymore. It was just a tremendous environment in there. It was loud. You could tell he couldn't communicate as well as he wanted to, and I think after J.J. (Watt)'s interception, it really got to him a little bit, and we were able to just get pressure on him after that."
(on how often DE J.J. Watt gets interceptions in practice) "It is, but he's always got a knack for it. He practices it, and it just carries over right into the game. He's real fanatic about it. He's always getting his hands up on a pass rush or whatever during practice. If you just continue to do it all the time, it's going to happen in the game."
(on the importance of J.J. Watt's interception return for a touchdown) "Yeah, I think it changed the momentum completely of the game. Going ahead like that, 17-10, really getting fans into it – that was the first turnover of many, and it sparked a lot of excitement."
(on shutting down Cincinnati's running game) "I think it's just really focusing on what they were going to do. The first half of the first time we played them, they had some big plays, and we were able to limit them as best as we could in this game, which really cut down a lot of the yards."
(on the key to playing Baltimore on the road) "I think big plays again. You watch the film the first time we played them; we were with them the whole game except a couple deep passes. We're just going to try to limit them as best we can, get after (Joe) Flacco, apply the pressure, and play better defensive ball."
(on the benefits of playing in Baltimore already in the regular season) "Well, it's familiar. We've been there before, and it's not going to be anything new. I'm sure it'll be a little bit louder with the playoff environment. They'll be excited, coming off of a bye, but we'll be ready. Going up there, it's going to be a fun, exciting challenge, and we're ready for it."
(on the importance of having WR Andre Johnson back and what it means for the game against Baltimore) "It's huge. I think it's very big from a confidence standpoint as well as just for the entire offense and team. One of the best players and best receivers ever I think, and to have him out on the field is huge. Just to see 80 out there, I know that really you can go up to him any play."
(on how much pressure the defense felt like they could get on Cincinnati) "A good amount because in the second half of our game the first time we played them, we felt that we did. We saw some things that we liked and some matchups and some things that got (Andy) Dalton uncomfortable, so we just tried to replicate that."
(on the key to containing a running back who runs wide) "Pursuit. Pursuit and really just try to cut off any cut-back lanes. String out plays. Make them run side-to-side instead of vertical. I think it's important, and I think anytime you get a running back just kind of out of his groove, it's definitely going to affect him."
(on how much having Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips back has meant to him) "It's huge, and so much credit to him for what he's done for this defense. From scheme to his attitude and just his mindset, that's really just taken over this defense. To see him there, still not 100 percent, but out there and battling every day, and you can tell he's hurting still. Just how much he misses football and wants to be out there for the guys, we just want to play well for him."
(on the defense having to prove anything today and if they did) "Well, yeah. I think we just had something to prove to ourselves as well. We haven't played our style of ball in probably three, maybe four weeks because we feel that first half of Baltimore really didn't show what we're all about, not Baltimore, I'm sorry, Cincinnati. These last couple weeks and maybe the first half of last week, we felt we got a little momentum back, but we felt we needed a big game, to come back, to play the way we do, and no better stage than a playoff game."
TIGHT END OWEN DANIELS
(on the victory) "We have to give a ton of credit to (Gary) Kubiak for expecting as much out of the next guy from the guy that went down. That next guy that came up expected it out of himself too. When you lose the type of players we did, this is a real team and that's what it is all about."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "I'm so happy for him. We've always had his back. There was so much talk about getting him out of here and we knew he was the right guy for the job. Obviously, Mr. (Robert) McNair felt the same way and it feels so great to be able to give this to him in his hometown. He deserves it as much as anybody. He has done an excellent job keeping us together, keeping the ship righted, and you can't say enough about him."
(on the team's week-by-week mentality) "You can't look ahead. It's all about right now in this league. You get yourself in trouble when you look ahead or look behind. We are at a point in time where we could clinch; win a playoff game, or whatever the situation was it was all about getting that win that week. Sometimes it doesn't come out the way you want it to but then you have to forget about it and refocus. That mentality has been great for us along the way and it's been our calling card all year."
RUNNING BACK ARIAN FOSTER
(on initial thoughts of the game and how he was able to run so well) "I'm just elated, excited, and happy to bring this city a playoff win that's been thirsty for a playoff win for years. To be a part of that, it just feels so good. You can feel the energy and the buzz throughout the city. As far as what we were able to do on the ground today, I've been giving credit to my offensive line since I stepped in this building in 2009 and they continue to dominate the line of scrimmage. Every time they dominate the line of scrimmage, we reap the benefits of that. We take advantage of advantageous situations."
(on if he sent RB Derrick Ward to tell Coach Kubiak he was ok after a shaky start) "I had a little jitters before the game – not that I was nervous I was just really excited and I got that out on those first couple of plays. They took me out and it kind of calmed me down. (RB) Derrick Ward goes up to (Coach) Kubiak and says, 'Arian wanted me to tell you he was alright,' and I didn't tell him that at all. It's just a vet move, Ward has been in this league for years and he's been my mentor and I'm really lucky to have him. He's made me into the back I am today. He saw me when I was young in this league last year and he's been there for me."
(on his 42-yard touchdown run) "It was an outside zone to the right and our guys did a great job of walling them off. (WR) Jacoby Jones had a good block, staying square about a good 15 yards downfield and I just made a play. I guess he just thought I was going to go out of bounds but I didn't."
(on his 'dream shake' touchdown celebration move) "I was on Twitter and I like to play with my fans a little bit. The Rockets were playing the Lakers and I'm a Laker fan, sorry Houston. I said that if the Rockets win, maybe I would have a little celebratory end zone thing when I score. Everyone came to a consensus on me doing the dream shake and I told them I would if the Rockets won. They didn't win but I felt obligated to do it anyway because they were so excited about it."
(on what has changed within himself since being a practice squad member to where he is now) "I guess it just stems back to when I as a child. I had a dream when I was a kid to play in the NFL and I had a plan. It's not just a dream I had a whole plan. Sometimes in life, things knock you off your course and you just have to stay the course. I think it was just the determination. I had a daughter before training camp my rookie year and that just lit a fire under me. I didn't want to have her grow up like I grew up, not knowing where her meal is going to come from. I was just going to work as hard as I could at whatever it was. If I was going to be an intern somewhere, I was going to be the best intern that there is. It's just some morals that I'm going to instill in her. Whatever you want to do, you can do it and I'm living proof of that."
(on if the interception that led to Andre Johnson's touchdown was the turning point of the game) "I think the turning point was (DE) J.J. Watt's interception. That was the play of the game for me. You guys don't see this but he's been doing that since training camp, picking balls off at the line. He's been doing that consistently since training camp and in practice – he does it all the time. Our line is really good at getting their hands up; I think (DE) Tim Jamison had a batted ball also. But he [Watt] has been doing that consistently and I mean consistently. He does that at least one good time a week and I think he did in practice either last week or this week. I think that was the turning point of the game. It just boosted our morale, it gave the defense energy, it gave us energy and we feed off each other and that's what I love about this team. We just feed off of each other so well."
(on if the game would have been affected if J.J. Watt's interception and touchdown had not occurred) "Possibly, but this league is about stepping up when it's your opportunity. I learned that when I was a rookie. When you have an opportunity, you've got to make a play and they didn't make that play. More times than not, in the NFL they're going to capitalize off of mistakes. You have to play smart football, especially at this level in the playoffs."
(on how he felt being in a playoff environment for the first time) "Maybe using jitters was a bad word. I think it was just excitement. I just wanted to go and sometimes you have to calm yourself and control your breathing. I guess the best way to describe it is to imagine something you wanted to do since you were a kid, your first dream. A lot of us are on our second careers and I'm fortunate enough to be on my first dream. I never take that for granted. These are the moments I've been waiting on since I was a child – to play under these lights, under these circumstances with this much on the line. It's a beautiful feeling and it's hard to describe. You feel like you were meant for it."
(on if his ability to run well using zone blocking is instinct or has developed through studying film) "It's both. I think to be a good running back period you have to have natural instincts and you have to be able to get a feel for a defense. But there is a lot of film studying that goes into it, you have to study defensive tendencies and study what they do in certain situations. This is a professional game so you have to treat it like a professional and know the ins and outs of everything that they're going to do."
(on if he feels his health is the best it's been this year) "I think I've been playing pretty good this year. I thought I did okay."
(on how he feels facing Baltimore next week for the third time in the last two seasons) "We play them close every time we play them. It's going to be a good game. The good thing about the playoffs is that everyone starts out at 0-0. We're 1-0 right now so we have a little momentum going into Baltimore but they're going to be well rested and have great leadership on their defense. It's just an honor and a privilege to play against those players with my players on this stage. This is what athletes dream of."
WIDE RECIEVER ANDRE JOHNSON
(on winning a home game especially in a blow-out fashion) "It was a lot of fun. This is something that not just me but the whole organization have been waiting on. Especially for me because I said the day that I was drafted that this was something that I wanted to be a part of. It's a very special feeling. It's probably the most that I have smiled in a long time. So it's a really good feeling".
(on if he and QB T.J. Yates were a little out of sync on some of the earlier balls especially before the first touchdown) "Whenever I touch the ball I feel like I am supposed to make a play. It really doesn't matter where the ball is thrown. If you saw me, you probably saw me after the pass in the back of the end zone I came to the sideline and slammed my helmet down because I felt like I was supposed to make that play. You know everybody was just telling me be patient, be patient. You know when you are playing a game like this and you are going what I went through this year you just want to make something happen so bad to where I think I kind of got impatient. Larry (Kirksey), my receiver coach, kept telling me 'Be patient, be patient and that the game is going to come to you' and I was able to make a couple of plays after that."
(on his breakdown of the touchdown step and pause after celebration before his dive into the fans) "No, I really wasn't going to jump into the stands because I knew the people weren't going to let me down. I have jumped into the stands a few times here and I have been grabbed by the facemask and everything. I was kind of thinking about jumping so that was what the pause was for. But when I ran the route, I knew it was a double move and when I broke down and saw him out of the corner of my eye I knew I had him because he bit all over it. So it was a big play in the game".
(on describing his feelings after that touchdown) "It was like a big relief. It was just more of what I have been through this season as far as the injuries and everything, and being in my first playoff game and wanting to win so bad, wanting to make a play. It was a lot and I was kind of antsy playing today and that's not me. I'm pretty calm when I play but I just wanted to make a play so bad but once I made that play it was a weight off my shoulders".
(on if he had any soreness during the game especially playing the whole game) "I'm just glad the hamstrings didn't talk to me today".
(on soaking up the atmosphere of the franchise and if it is different from when he first arrived in 2003) "It was a tribute to the fans. The atmosphere that they had today in the stadium was awesome and it is something that all the guys talk about during the week. They say can you imagine how it's going to be in the stadium, how loud it is going to be? When a crowd is pumped like that, the team feeds off it and that is a tribute to them [fans]. They also help contribute to this win".
(on what his expectation is going forward this playoff season and if they are confident against the Ravens) "I feel confident that we can play with anybody".
(on how he felt Yates' nerves held up during the game) "I tell people this all the time that the kid does a good job of hiding everything. If he is nervous he doesn't show it. He is very calm in the huddle. Something bad happens and you never see him get mad or anything. He is just very calm. He has a lot of confidence in what he can do and right now he is leading this team. He played well tonight and got us a victory".
(on how the momentum of victory will help the team) "I think what happened over the past three weeks during the regular season. We went on a seven-game winning streak and then we lost our last three games. I think that it was a humbling experience for us. Everybody was riding high and the city was going crazy. We were in the playoffs for the first time. I think that those last three games brought us back down to reality. We knew we were a good football team and that we could go out and play with anybody but I think that over those last three weeks, those three losses brought us back to reality and let us know what we need to do to go out and win games".
(on his feelings on his first college playoff game and this one) "I can remember when I was a rookie like it was yesterday. It has been nine seasons but it has gone by really fast. The college days were fun and I was able to play in a couple of big games but all I am thinking about is what is next for this organization. So we go to Baltimore next week and we are going to try and go up there and do what we did tonight".
(on how much fun it is to watch the defense play tonight and how much the offense feeds off all of that) "It's awesome. I don't think out of any of the seasons that I have played here that I have watched the defense as much as I have watched them this year. I get up and stand on the sidelines and just watch those guys. The way that they play and the way that they fly to the ball is pretty awesome and you definitely feed off of it".
(on what percentage of the balls he catches and if as a shorthand receiver how impressed he is with J.J. Watt's athleticism) "Well to be honest I am impressed about it but J.J does that all the time in practice. So it really wasn't a big surprise to me. It just has never happened in a game. For it to happen in this game, at the time that it happened, it was pretty awesome but if you sit down and watch practice, J.J. does that on the regular".
(on percentage of balls caught) "I try and catch all of them".
(on if he is looking forward to playing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed) "Those are great players and especially getting to play with Reed in college. He is a heck of a ballplayer but it's going to be a challenge. That is what you look forward to, going up against the best. We are going to go up against two great players in this league next week and we are looking forward to the challenge".
(on does he anticipate saying anything to Reed or Lewis throughout the week before the game) "Nah. We will talk about some tickets but other than that we don't really talk too much".
WIDE RECEIVER JACOBY JONES
(on winning in the postseason for the first time) "For us to get over that hump and taking it step by step and getting over those goals and now our goal is to win a playoff game on the road."
(on playing the Ravens) "That's a smash mouth football team. They're physical, have a great defense so we have to go down there with poise and play our football. I'm ready to go to Baltimore."
(on how important Arian Foster is to the offense) "He's a pretty good back. Him and Ben Tate back there, we still got Derrick Ward so you never know what happens with them three."
CORNERBACK JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
(on how it feels to get revenge on his old team) "Just to get the win, first playoff win, home win. Everything associated with today is a great feeling."
(on how the defense was able to hold A.J. Green to no catches in the second half) "It's just a collective effort. I was assigned to him, mashing him all game but it's all to the guys up front. Applying pressure to the quarterback and making him uncomfortable in the pocket and of course the cornerback has to hold up in coverage and I think it's just a collective effort from everyone today."
(on J.J. Watt's touchdown sparking the defense) "His play is probably one of the most tremendous plays I've seen in my time playing in the NFL. I think we just feed off each other with the offense going out there and pounding the rock and controlling the game up front and the defense controlling the line of scrimmage and playing exciting. It goes hand-in-hand and I think we did a great job today of feeding off each other. "
(on if he envisioned the defense being this good when he first got to Houston) "Yeah, I knew there was no ceiling for what we could achieve as a defense overall. I just didn't think it would happen this fast to be honest. With a short lockout we didn't have time to gel and learn each other but overall each week we seem to get better and down the stretch we had a couple of off-games where we didn't finish games and I think we knew what we had to do and going in to today's game we did it. "
(on what this win does for confidence going into Baltimore next week) "I think the playoffs are about momentum. Me personally, from going in and being one-and-done, just watching from the side sitting at home, you find a lot of teams that get hot early and they go to the playoffs and they're one-and-done. Then, you find some teams that catch momentum late and they ride it all the way to the end and find themselves some way to get in to the Super Bowl. For us, hopefully we clicked at the right time. For us, it was last week after the first half and it carried over today."
FREE SAFETY DANIEL MANNING
(on if their motivational level was increased this week as a team) "You can say that. If you lose a game in the playoffs, you're done. I've been there. I don't want to wait around the whole offseason and OTA's to get back into football. The opportunity is here and we are making the best out of it."
(on if he thought the team was well prepared today) "That was from the top down. The coaches had a great game plan. It helped that we played this team early in the season. We knew what their tendencies were and of course they knew what we were like, but we knew the plays we left on the field the first time. Those same plays came up again and we were there to make those plays."
(on his preparation for the game this week) "I was just trying to make plays on the ball. The energy was there in practice all week. I was so focused. This is one game that you have to look at and you don't have to worry about the rest of the season. It was just this one game and that's why my focus was on this game."
(on J.J. Watt's interception) "They were in an overset and I saw the back flare out. My read was to go to (WR) A.J. (Green) and the ball was tipped up. J.J. (Watt) made a heck of a play. I did not see that going that way. He does that a lot in practice. Tipping it to himself and then making that play was big. You don't get to have a lot of guys tackle you on defense in practice. He broke a tackle and went on in. That was big."
(on if he thought the interception return for a touchdown was the momentum changer of the game) "It really did. We knew that we were going to have to come back and play on defense. That was big for us. That was really big. That changed the momentum for us."
(on playing Baltimore next week) "We left plays on the field last time we played them too. They made those plays in game one. Hat's off to them. They wanted that game a whole lot more than we did. We just couldn't get back in and we couldn't make plays on the ball. I quite sure we are going to take the same approach that we did this week.
Focus on this game and the things we didn't do in the last game and change them."
LINEBACKER DeMECO RYANS
(on J.J. Watt's interception) "That was a huge momentum life for us. When J.J. got the touchdown the confidence level rolls everyone was exited and we continued to feed off of that. J.J. provided for us that huge play that just catapulted us to take it to the next level."
(on his ability to knock balls down) "He's always knocking balls down in practice and catches them sometime so it was good to see him get one in the game and had the big play ability to take it to the house."
(on J.J Watt and Brooks Reed playing well despite being rookies) "Those guys have stepped in and did a great job for us. Brooks and J.J., they're great rookies. Mature guys that stepped in and do their job and do it hard and doing that allows those guys to make plays for us, and those two rookies have showed up big for us this year. Confidence level is high for those guys and Wade Phillips keeps it simple where those guys can just fly around and make plays and that's the key for all of us."
(on getting back on the winning track) "Everybody was just on that mindset that it was just time to get back to our kind of ball and we did it by running the ball well and we were able to get turnovers on defense and that's the formula for us to win."
DEFENSIVE END ANTONIO SMITH
(on the victory) "I'm excited that we came out here and we played like we play. It was team defense. Everybody was making plays and playing like a family. That's all I've been saying when I talk to them. When it's playoff time the only you're going to win in the playoffs consistently is win as a unit and as a team."
(on J.J. Watt's interception) "It was a huge play. You saw what started happening after that. After J.J. got the interception and took it to the house it lit up the stadium and everybody started making plays. After that, there wasn't much they could do. Any time a defensive end scores it's like the biggest thing in life. We always dream of when we used to play tight end or full back and scored touchdowns in high school but it never happens again, so I'm sure J.J. is feeling pretty good."
(on having Andre Johnson back in the lineup) "It means everything. It almost kind of brings you to tears. Everything he's been through this season and because he's been here so long and never been to the playoffs he came in here and played good and scored a touchdown. I think the fans almost tried to rip his head off when he dived in the stands."
(on how the team celebrated Johnson's touchdown) "We almost ripped his head off too. Snatched him around, slapped him upside the head, and congratulated him because everybody feels what he's been through with this team and all that he has put into it so everybody was just happy for him."
(on if the Texans have gotten respect on a national level) "No. I like it that way. Keep making us the underdog."
(on what the game means to Houston) "You can just tell the difference in the city. Now you can't go nowhere without everybody showing just how much they support the Houston Texans. I mean everywhere you go, you get love. You drive down the street and there's people hanging out the window just to give you thanks and congratulations for bringing a playoff team to the city. It's big for Mr. Bob McNair and for this organization."
(on the volume inside the stadium) "It was explosive man. You heard them fans going crazy and that ignites us and has us playing at the top of our game."
(on the difference in the second half) "We were always able to get pressure but they throw the ball fast and max protect. Nobody can get to the quarterback when you throw the ball fast and max protect. But once we had a score up on them they had to open up and that's' when we let loose and rush."
DEFENSIVE END J.J. WATT
(on his interception returned for a touchdown) "I came around and I really was trying to put my hands up, get in the way of the passing lane and it happened to kind of stick. I realized I had the ball so I was running to the end zone just trying not to fall down. That was it. I scored and got mauled by my teammates and the stadium went absolutely nuts. Thank you to our fans for really helping us change momentum because that was unbelievable."
(on if batting down a lot of balls in practice increases his chance at the luck that may be involved in intercepting one) "I think so because I remember when Jake Delhomme first got here. We were going through a walk through and I batted down like three of his balls in the walk through and I felt terrible. He was kind of mad at me. I was just like, 'That's kind of what I do. That's my thing.' I guess if you do it long enough, I mean, in practice I've caught a couple, so you kind of get used to it and then once it happens in the game, it's just second nature. It's definitely one of those things where they say if you practice it, it's going to happen and it was a very special moment."
(on if he had a 36-inch vertical at the NFL Scouting Combine) "37."
(on if his interception was an example of his vertical and his big hands) "I think so. Having big hands definitely doesn't hurt when you're trying to catch a ball. I don't think I got that high off the ground, but I did have a 37-inch vertical, so thank you."
(on what was going through his mind when he had the interception) "It's unbelievable. It's fun because I was watching the Rose Bowl last week when my college roommate, Louis Nzegwu, scored a touchdown. He's a defensive end. He scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl game. I called him and was like 'That was unbelievable. You just did a defensive end's dream. You scored a touchdown.' Then I checked my text messages after the game and he texted me right back and said, 'You had to outdo me, didn't you?' It's really one of those moments where you're like it really couldn't be any better and especially at that point in the game when we needed that big play. It was truly something special."
(on what the key is to playing good defense at home) "I think the biggest thing is we have so many great playmakers on our defense, but everybody plays inside the system. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips gives us a great game plan and then everybody on our defense does their job and executes their assignment. Nobody's trying to do too much. Nobody's lagging behind. Everybody does their job and at the end of the day, we have success because of it."
(on being able to get to Bengals QB Andy Dalton numerous times) "I think we just had relentless pressure and it was exciting because it came from so many different guys. Our DBs were making plays on the back end and then up front, there were guys getting to them every single play. Once you get a quarterback rattled, it's tough for him to get unrattled. That interception was nice and then we just kept coming, kept coming. Antonio (Smith) with the sack, Earl (Mitchell) with the sack, J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph) with the pick. It was nonstop and it's a lot of fun to play a game when you're playing like that and then when your offense is rolling the way our offense was rolling today."
(on if he's scored a defensive touchdown before) "I've obviously never scored one before in the NFL. In college, never as a tight end at Central Michigan, never at Wisconsin as a defensive end, so outside of high school, that's my first touchdown and it was in the NFL playoffs, so that's pretty wild to me."
(on if today was revenge against Bengals QB Andy Dalton after playing him in the Rose Bowl last year) "It was sweet. It was nice. We got him up there in Cincinnati and then we came down here and I got him for a sack and an interception today. He's a great football player, but for all my Badger fans out there, that one did feel kind of good."
(on how it feels to go from delivering pizzas to scoring a touchdown in the NFL) "It feels unbelievable. It just goes to show you that if you have a dream and you're willing to work hard, it's your dream and you can do anything you want. There are a lot of people who counted me out. There are a lot of people when I worked at Pizza Hut who told me, 'You'll never do anything for the Badgers. I don't even believe you'll ever play for the Badgers.' People didn't believe me and now, today, to do something like that in an NFL playoff game, it's truly special and it definitely wasn't something I did all by myself. It's all the people around me that have helped me along the way, my parents, my coaches, my teammates. It's a full team effort and it feels unbelievable."
(on when it was that QB Jake Delhomme got mad at him for batting balls down in practice) "I think that was his first or second day here. It was a walk through and I kept putting my hands up in the walk through. I didn't know if we were allowed to bat balls in the walk through and I just kept batting them because that's kind of my deal."
(on what the team has to do differently against Baltimore this time around) "I think we just need to play a little bit more sound. Last time, we had a couple errors here and there. We're very excited to get back to work. We're very excited for another opportunity to play Baltimore. We made history today. We're excited about another chance to make history up there in Baltimore."
TACKLE ERIC WINSTON
(on playing against the Ravens defense) "All those guys are quality players. They are very good. They played us really well up there playing and getting off our blocks. I felt like early in the first half we were starting to get cuts in. When you do that early, you have that chance to hit big (plays) late because they aren't going to quite run to the ball the way they should. "
(on what the victory means to the franchise) "It's what it's all about. For so long they have been dying for the playoffs and not just the playoffs but some success and vindication as well. This has been such a good football city for a long time. It doesn't have a championship per se, but I hope this validates us a little bit nationally. I know a road win will do that as well. We have our hands full. Baltimore is a tough team especially up there. I'll tell you what, if we can play mistake free like this and we can run the ball. I like our chances against anybody."
(on what happened the last time they played the Ravens) "I don't think we made any plays in the 4th quarter. If you go back and look I think we were up 14-13 in the 4th and they made two big plays and we didn't make any. It's going to be one of those games where we to have to make some big plays. We have to get that ball down the field a little bit whether it's running or passing. Having Andre (Johnson) back will be nice but we have to be more consistent about running the ball up there too."
QUARTERBACK T.J. YATES
(on not looking like a rookie in their first playoff game as the game progressed) "It felt good. You know, it took me awhile to get those jitters out. The way that this stadium was rocking, even during pre-game, it felt like an in-game situation so, it was hard not to get some butterflies out there, but once I got a chance to calm down a little bit, work through the offense, start moving the ball a little bit, it felt really comfortable."
(on what point in the game he started to feel comfortable) "You know, once you complete your first pass and kind of get that out of the way I kind of felt good. You know, once you start moving the ball, start running the ball well it gives you confidence all throughout the offense. Our offensive line did a great job of letting Arian (Foster) run out there. But once you go a couple series you kind of get comfortable."
(on the touchdown pass to Andre Johnson and if that was planned in advance) "It was a play we had been practicing all week. We knew if we had a chance to get Andre one-on-one out there it was going to be a good thing for us. Andre did an amazing job of getting open. Broke them down with a little double move and he made it easy on me."
(on thoughts of asking Coach Wade Phillips to let J.J. Watt play some plays on offense after his interception) "Yea, we could put him in on our goal line package as tight end or something. That was an amazing catch. I don't know how he came down with it and for him to break a tackle and run for a touchdown was huge as far as momentum going into the half. You know, that really turned the game around for us. That was amazing."
(on responding to the Bengals first touchdown with a touchdown and how that affected the crowd) "It was big. We knew after they scored we had to come right back and score. That was going to be good for our momentum. They did an amazing job all game long, you know, being into the game and it was extremely loud out there. It helped our defense out extremely, as far as you could tell their offense was frustrated a little bit by all the noise."
(on almost having a ball picked off and how throwing a touchdown pass the next play helped his confidence) "Yeah, absolutely. That was a misread by me. He did a good job of jumping the over route on O.D (Owen Daniels). I got lucky that he dropped it. You know, that was a poor decision by me, but we did a good job coming right back, moving the ball down field, and Andre (Johnson) doing a good job of getting in the end zone for us. "
(on that particular scoring drive in the game and if that helped in terms of confidence) "Yeah, absolutely. Just to get that play and move on and come back and throw a touchdown was huge. It was good for Andre (Johnson) to get back in the end zone. I know it had been awhile for him. It was good for our offense to get over something that almost happened and kind of push through it."
(on if his family had better tickets this game than when they played in Cincinnati) "Yeah. My parents and my brother were here and they were a lot closer than in Cincinnati." * *
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWISQB ANDY DALTONWR A.J. GREENCB ADAM JONESC MIKE McGLYNNS REGGIE NELSONDT DOMATA PEKODE FROSTEE RUCKERT ANDREW WHITWORTH
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS
(on game) "I am disappointed that I wasn't able to get us in the position today to win the football game and get us over the hump. That is the disappointing thing. I am proud of how our guys fought and played. I told them it was my responsibility to get them over this hump today and I thought we did a lot of good things in the first half and had an opportunity a couple time to put more points on the board and get it done. Then we had the turn over right before halftime for the touchdown and we came back out in the third quarter and did some good things again. But we didn't do well enough, long enough and then they had the touchdown pass and we're down by two scores and were playing up hill. Again it comes down to taking care of the football and we were unable to really get any on defense today to give us some short field and so forth. I thought there with the touchdown, it was backbreaking."
(on what the Bengals have accomplished this year) "There are a lot of guys that need to take this experience and build upon it. I think you can look and see what the Texans have been fighting their butt off to get in this position. They kept putting players together and players together and kept going and going and reaped the benefit. They overcame injuries this year and did a lot of good things. And I told them (Bengals) that they have never gotten to the playoffs ever before but they have done a lot of good things and just kept coming back and coming back and that is what you have to do. So we have to get beyond this. We play in a very difficult division. We have to win games in the division, that is important and it sets up opportunities like this all the time."
(on Chris Crocker's almost interception and how it might have changed the game) "Possibly but then again it didn't happen so it doesn't matter, so I can't say much to that."
(on the Bengal's run defense) "The run defense wasn't bad until the third quarter there and down the stretch which was of course was bad. We missed tackles and missed fits, we got grabbed a couple times on the perimeter and we didn't get off on the first touchdown run. At half time we planned to run as many times as they ran the football. I wasn't alarmed or anything. But the second half we weren't good enough, no question."
(on interception and if it rattled Andy Dalton) "No I don't think it did. I think he just came back and played. It is a game where you have more opportunity when you aren't playing form behind."
(on his plans with two minutes to go at the end of the first half) "We had it. We made a play and had the first down there and had an opportunity to put points on the board. It was a close football game and that is what we were doing."
(on challenges in the first half and what the officials saw that made the Bengals decide to go for it) "They thought that the ball had come loose afterwards but obviously they didn't get a good look at it because he was down. Upstairs they said he had crossed the line, on the gain. They did see the elbow down which obviously was clear when I saw the replay later, that particular replay they showed on the screen later."
(on that being his second challenge on a play) "I wasn't worried about that. You don't often see where the challenges come into play. The only thing it really would have cost us, which didn't matter, was the timeouts before halftime. I think both times they had some momentum in the game and we ended up picking the first down, on the third and one, and the second challenge we picked it up on third down so it wasn't a big deal. Whether you pick it up or challenge it all depends on the momentum and that is why I took the opportunity to go ahead and do it."
(on the interception by JJ Watt) "He made a very good play. It isn't a play you see very often. A defensive rusher jumping up and making an interception doesn't happen very often so it was a good play. I went out there (after the first half) and wanted to change the tide of the game a little bit."
(on generating a excitement for the fan) "Well the fans have been great. It has been a season that has exceeded many of their expectations. It has a strong foundation and start for the future. We don't get to start off where we did this year. We have to start and work. And when the off-season comes around we have to do the preparation and so forth and take advantage of the opportunity. Hopefully we will do it from the start with a packed house at Paul Brown Stadium and people will come back there and enjoy what they are seeing. There are a lot of good things on this team. We have an off-season again ahead of us and obviously there are always changes in the National Football League which will occur and we will keep grinding to get better."
QUARTERBACK ANDY DALTON
(on the outcome of the game not being what he had envisioned) "No. I mean, we lost and it's not what we wanted and it's unfortunate."
(on what he saw in terms of DE J.J. Watt's interception) "I saw quarters and I threw it outside and he jumped up and made a good play. It was a great job on his part."
(on what an impressive play DE J.J. Watt's interception was) "Yea, I mean, I didn't really see exactly what had happened. I just saw it got batted or whatever and then he was running the other way so, I mean it was a good play.
(on if DE J.J. Watt's interception changed the momentum of the game) "I mean we were going in right at the half we would have loved to have gone and at least tied and maybe get down and get a scoring drive so that was definitely a big play for them and, you know, it kind of gave them some momentum going into halftime."
(on if the Texans changed the way they played as compared to their last meeting) "No. They were very basic. You know, I felt like we knew everything that was going on and they just beat us in the one-on-ones."
(on playing an important role in taking the Bengals to the playoffs despite losing) "Yea. I mean, we feel like we have a bright future and it's still unfortunate that it ended this way, but we're going to push this off-season and make sure we can keep going in the playoffs and make a run at it."
(on if players being beat in one-on-one's played a vital role in the Bengals loss) "Yea. That's what it comes down to. There was a lot of one-on-ones out there and we didn't win enough of them today."
(on if he felt like he would be able to score on the Texans more than they were able to) "Yea. I did. I felt like they weren't confusing, they weren't anything. I feel like we knew what was going on and they just came out and they played better than we did."
(on if he noticed any differences between the Texans defense this game as compared to their last meeting) "I mean, not really. We knew what we were going to get and there was a lot of the same stuff. You know, they just did a good job today."
(on the turnovers made in the game) "Yea, I mean, the turnovers were unfortunate, but the interception to J.J. (Watt), I mean that's just a great play on his part and another fourth down we had a chance late in the game so. I mean, we didn't play good enough to win today."
(on if he has ever seen a play made like DE J.J. Watt's interception) "It was a great play on his part."
(on if the reason the Bengals offense couldn't stretch the field was due to the Texans defense) "Yea, I mean, they tried to double A.J. (Green) and we tried to take our shots, but they did a good job of taking those away, but, we made completions, we were moving the ball, we had some drives going, we just weren't able to finish."
(on if the season exceeded his expectations) "I felt like if we came out and we weren't hard, I don't feel like I see this exceeding the expectations. I felt like we could get here and I mean, we've got to do the same thing going into next year. You know, there's a lot of motivation for us, there's a lot of good things to take away from the season and we've just got to keep on getting better."
(on his second interception) "I mean, it was fourth down, I had no chance. So, we had a chance to convert, but I think that's the point, I mean, you're not going to take a sack back there."
(on his third interception) "I was told to throw to A.J. (Green)"
(on his team's future) "I think we have a bright future. I mean, we've got a lot of young talent here and a lot of guys that work really hard and want to be good so, that's what you need to make a good team, we've just got to put it all together."
WIDE RECEIVER AJ GREEN
(on what QB Andy Dalton has meant to the team) "Andy's a key reason why we're here today. You don't see a lot of quarterbacks make the playoffs their first year. My hat's off to him."
(on head coach Marvin Lewis' words to the team after the game) "We're a family. That's the great thing about this team. No matter what the situation is we're always going to keep fighting."
(on adjustments Houston defense made to slow him down in the second half) "They started playing a lot of cover 2 zone in coverage. They made some good adjustments coming out of halftime."
CORNERBACK ADAM JONES
(on allowing Andre Johnson to score a touchdown) "I have to make that play. I was just trying to make a play."
(on Andre Johnson's health) "'Dre always looks good. I got respect for 'Dre. Me and 'Dre are friends off the field. 'Dre is 'Dre. He's a great receiver, runs great routes, great body control and he had a good day today."
(on if the Texans tried double moves) "Yeah, they did. They tried it a couple of times and I just (expletive) got my eyes off the last one. I just knew he was going to do the comeback. They did that play four times. I'll be back and look at film to critique myself. No one is harder on me than myself. It's tough. I'm not going to beat myself up too much. Hopefully tomorrow I can get over this."
(on if he was looking at Andre Johnson's move or T.J. Yates' eyes) "Never really get to see T.J.'s eyes. I should have just kept my eyes on the receiver. I tried to get a little peak to see if he was throwing the ball. All I can do is learn from this. Besides that, I had a good day. It was their day."
(on the performances of the rookie quarterbacks) "Theirs was better than ours so I give them an A because they won the game. Winning is first and foremost. That guy did a good job over there, they played good as a group, they're defense played good and they were a better team."
(on what the difference was this time against the Texans as opposed to in the regular season) "I always look at myself and I allowed the big play. I should have kept my eyes on the receiver. I'll take that one. All I can do is get better. My health is good. Thank God I don't have to have another surgery after the season. I'm just happy."
CENTER MIKE McGLYNN
(On the Bengals' future) "I think the future is bright here, and I'm excited hopefully to be a part of this team in the future, because I think we have a lot of potential and could be really dangerous."
(On J.J. Watt's pick-six) "I got a pretty good jam on him, and he stepped up and made a really good play. By the time I realized he had caught the ball, I was at his feet trying to trip him from behind. It was a heck of a play by him. Big momentum swing. It was a pretty hard ball, and he caught it. I was surprised he caught it."
SAFETY REGGIE NELSON
(on the Houston Texans running backs wearing the defense down) "I wouldn't say they wore us down. They've got some good backs. You've got to take your hat off to them. (Arian) Foster and (Ben) Tate, you can't go wrong. Two good backs that keep pounding the ball."
(on Cincinnati Bengals Safety Chris Crocker dropping an interception) "The league is up and down. Crock's a veteran. He shouldn't hold his head down on that. That's just like my pick in Seattle and I dropped that. He's a vet and I hope he doesn't hold his head down or nothing. You can't take nothing away from the Texans. They do a lot and finally got here and they took advantage of it. I know they made their community and fans proud. Take my hat off to them. Texans are a good team and they came out on top. We knew we had to come in and win or go home and they won."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE DOMATA PEKO
(On the Bengals' future) "We know we can win, and we know we can make it to the playoffs. And at the end of the day, we're a young team. We're one of the youngest team in the AFC. When you put all those factors together, we'll have a good off season, and we'll be back again. But next time, we're going to make a better run. It's sad, but when you look around this locker room, you'll see a lot of young guys in here. So the sky is the limit."
(On trying to come from behind) "These Texans were loud as heck today. We could hardly think out there. But we've got to overcome that. It doesn't matter how loud the stadium gets, we need to stick together. But today, they found some holes in our defense and capitalized on mistakes, and we weren't able to stop them. We were down at halftime, and we made our adjustments and whatnot, but we didn't make enough plays to win."
(On the Texans' performance) "He's (Andre Johnson) a hell of a player. He made some good catches today. He's one of the best receivers in the league, so you've got to respect him. He did a great job today on that long touchdown pass, and they made more plays than us. We had too many missed tackles. Their offensive line is a good offensive line, and T.J. Yates is doing a hell of a job for them, and they've the got two running backs who are stellar. They played a better game than us today."
DEFENSIVE END FROSTEE RUCKER
(on thinking about missed opportunities) "Especially when you get on the plane and you watch all the film. You see little things you could have did differently but you can't get that back. They're a good team and I wish them well. Next year I hope we get the opportunity to be in the same game and make it happen."
(on how bright the future is for Cincinnati) "We have a great young group and talented vets that want to stay together and make this happen. Sky's the limit for us. We're a high-character team and if we get a full off-season together and gel together we can do some more damage."
TACKLE ANDREW WHITWORTH
(On J.J. Watt's pick-six) "J.J. Watt made a huge play, and that's what the playoffs are all about. We've said it all week that the great plays are what separate teams in the playoffs. And he made a great play, which stole the momentum. It gave them the momentum, and they really just rode it home."
(On the Bengals' season) "I'm disappointed, but the truth is that there are 31 disappointing teams every season. So it doesn't matter whether it was now or two weeks from now, it doesn't make it any worse. This is the first year in my six seasons that I'm ending the season thinking, 'We have a lot to grow off of.' And we have grown a lot. We've just got to find a way to groom it and make ourselves better."
(On how loud the Texans fans were) "Once you get a lead at home, it proves why home field advantage is so big. I mean, this is a loud, loud place and when it gets that way, it's tough. That's why it's so important to establish home field advantage."