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Texans-Bears postgame quotes


After the Texans' 31-24 win over the Chicago Bears, members of both teams spoke to the media.

Houston Texans

Texans owner Bob McNair

(on what he was thinking when it was third-and-34) "Early on, what I was thinking is we have to do something to get this thing turned around. And really, I forget exactly when it was, but I think when (DE) Mario (Williams) got that sack, that's when the game turned around. And that was the kind of play we needed."

(on finishing the season at 8-8) "Well, I'd rather be 16-0. But I think starting out the way we did, 0-4, coming back, understand that only nine other teams have ever done that in the history of the NFL. So, I think it was an accomplishment for our team. We started out, it was rough but we didn't quit and we went 8-4 at the end. So, it was a good finish for us."

(on evaluating the staff in the offseason) "Well, we will do just that. We'll evaluate, we'll sit down, we'll visit with everybody, just like we evaluate all the players. We'll start with that process and we'll evaluate everyone and do what we think will strengthen our team."

(on if he anticipates any changes) "It's hard to say at this point. You know, it's like trying to evaluate players; you really almost have to look at the film. Same way with the organization, you have to look at the whole body of work. You can't look at one game, and usually one game is the thing that's on your mind. But we'll sit down and evaluate it pretty soon."

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak

(on his initial thoughts about the win) "It was pretty important. I really like the way we came back and played after we played pretty poorly on both sides of the ball throughout the first quarter. Their energy level and the way they were going about their business compared to ours, we weren't even close. But we regrouped and played extremely well in the second, third and fourth quarters, and that was an important win for us. That's a good football team, so we were very proud of our guys for the way they played."

(on if the loss at Oakland affected the Texans in this game) "They (the Bears) are a good team. Playing in your last game, on paper not having anything to play for, (those) are things you can talk about and try to fight through, and I know it is hard, but we had a good meeting last night and our guys knew how important this game was. And we're all disappointed on how we started the game. We just found a way to regroup."

(on if there was one play that turned the game around) "I think the defense really turned it around from the standpoint of when we were sloppy offensively, they had about two or three stops there with the score 10-0, which really got us in the hole, and then we finally made a couple big plays and moved the ball extremely well the second (quarter) to the end of the game. So I think it was the defense holding on when the score was 10-0."

(on how they regrouped after the personal foul in the second quarter) "I just didn't think we were going about our business the way we were capable of playing. That's not us. We're usually a pretty poised group as a football team, and right there is losing poise and getting a shot in on a guy and all of a sudden, it took a lot of momentum away from us. I just didn't like the way we were doing things. We missed a blitz; our backs missed two blitzes in the first quarter. That's the kind of thing that gets our quarterback killed, and we weren't in to what we were doing. Bottom line, I was just trying to get their attention and let them know it, and they responded."

(on how the defense shifted the momentum of the game) "When it was 10-0, I think they had the ball twice – once at the 50 and once at their own 40, two really good possessions with us down 10-0 – and our defense stepped up both times and stopped them. That was the key because all of a sudden, the momentum was headed big-time in one direction."

(on RB Steve Slaton) "I was disappointed with Steve early in the game. He had way too many mistakes early in the game, and that's not like him. Protections, routes, he just wasn't ready to go from that standpoint. But the other kid (RB Ryan Moats) came in and played well and got Steve's attention, and then Steve played huge the last quarter of the football game. He's learned a lot. He started 15 football games. For a rookie, that's a lot of football games to start and he's grown up and should only get better. Today, he did some great things, but hopefully he learned from this start, too."

(on WR Andre Johnson leading the league in catches and yards) "He deserves it. I didn't know how it would end up today, but he's had that type of year and he deserves that title, so to speak. I'm glad it all happened for him, and like we say all the time, when he goes, we usually go, and he had a nice day today."

(on DE Mario Williams' injury) "He said he heard it pop and tried to go back and tape it up and couldn't go. We had a bunch of guys beat up. (DE Tim) Bulman's beat-up. He played basically on one foot the whole game, so we just had to rally around what we had left. I hope that Mario can get healthy because he deserves to play in the Pro Bowl game, and hopefully we can get him healthy here over the course of the next month."

(on QB Matt Schaub's performance early in the game) "It wasn't his fault. It was protection. They busted a couple of protections and turned people loose. He did a tremendous job getting rid of the ball and saving us out of some bad, bad situations. We did not protect well as running backs early in the game, and it could've very well cost us our quarterback. That's how important everybody is, and I thought Matt was exceptional in the game, he just couldn't get rid of the ball in some of those situations."

(on whether QB Matt Schaub was getting beaten physically or mentally) "It was mental this time. They made some assignments and some of their protections. They blitz a lot, which we well knew, and were on top of our stuff and we protected well, had the chance to make some plays. But we missed some assignments and made it ugly there for a while."

(on whether or not this was QB Matt Schaub's best game) "I don't think you can ever walk away from the thing he did in Green Bay. That was pretty damn good. This football team (Chicago) is a hell of a team; very good defensive team, they challenge you every snap. We did not run the ball well until late in the game, so Matt was going to have to play big and he did."

(on stopping RB Matt Forté) "I think we tackled pretty darned well in the first series. We did a good job of tackling from there on out, got them into some tough third-down situations as we got going in the game and just did a good job of keeping him in check."

(on the direction of the team) "I think we're a better football team than we were last year. We have the same record. It was important that this team didn't step backward today, and we could have if we had walked out of here and got beat today. There's no doubt in my mind that we're headed in the right direction, but there's two or three more games that you want, I want, every guy in this locker room wants, and we'll find them. If we keep fighting the way we've been fighting, we'll find them."

(on WR André Davis' contributions) "André made two big catches in the game, actually three, I think. He hasn't gotten a lot of touches this year. (WR) Kevin (Walter) and (WR) Andre (Johnson) have been healthy and been on the field every week, but he continues to work and he's a fine player for us. He got some more opportunities today than he has in the past and did a heck of a job."

(on winning the challenge) "I was standing right there, so it was kind of hard to mess that one up. But the way my record is, I'm sure there was something else I was missing."

(on turnovers) "If you commit one a game, you'll have 16 at the end of the year and you're going to probably get in the top five in football. That would be exceptional. We got better in that phase, but it's a total commitment across the board with everybody, and obviously, it's a big area of improvement."

(on the weak points in the game) "I didn't like our start. I worried. We practiced pretty good all week, but you worry about the focus of them knowing they're not going anywhere and that team (the Bears) was focused, very ready to go. That concerned me the most. And our start was very disturbing, but the key thing is that it was disturbing to everybody, not just me."

(on going to WR Andre Johnson early) "We always try to get Andre involved. In our first fifteen plays we try to get him to touch the ball. We never know, coverage wise, where the football's going to go, that dictates where it goes. He's been exceptional and as a coach it's a nice problem to have, trying to figure out some way to get him to touch that football because when he does, good things happen."

(on reports of defensive coaching changes) "That's unfortunate, but that's part of our job. There's always things being said, especially this time of year. I go into evaluation mode tomorrow morning. I evaluate this guy right here first, I evaluate my coaches, I evaluate the players, and that's what we'll go to work on."

(on the possibility of losing coaches) "You never know. I had a couple calls this past week on a few of my guys. (Assistant offensive line coach) Frank Pollack interviewed with Cal Berkeley last week while we were in Oakland. Those things always go on. That's part of coaching, but we'll see what happens. There's a lot of movement in this business this time of year, so we'll see."

Texans T Duane Brown

(on the way the team turned the momentum around in the first quarter) "That first quarter was rough. It was very disappointing and we knew that wasn't us. We were capable of much more and we just had to reboot, and (we) came out the second quarter on and played the football we needed to play"

(on his feelings about knocking the Bears out of the playoffs) "It feels great. Chicago is a great team and they were playing for a chance for the playoffs and for us to beat them decisively. That says a lot about us."

Texans K Kris Brown

(on ending the season on a high note) "To come out and play like we did, it shows what kind of character we have in this locker room. I think our expectations are higher, which is good. I think that says a lot about the guys in this locker room as well. We're excited that we played well today, but by no means are we excited by what we've done this season. We have some things we could do next season too that we need to look at."

(on how the team performed in the second half of the season) "We put together a formula week in and week out that we were able to run the ball, we limited a lot of our turnovers and we forced other teams into turnovers. If you look into what we have done over the last six to eight weeks, I think our time of possession has been really good in terms of how much we've had the football. So, I think that has helped. But again, we just need to put that formula together and remember what we did this year in the last eight games and start doing that next year."

(on still having something to play for) "Sometimes when your goals that you set at the beginning of the season aren't really attainable, obviously with us not having a winning season or going to the playoffs, the fact that this game was so important to guys in this locker room, that says a lot about who we have in this locker room. The fact that guys came out today and played liked they played against a really good football team, who had post-season aspirations if they came out and won the game, I can't say enough that we have the right guys in this locker room."

Texans TE Owen Daniels

(on his thoughts about winning eight games out of the last 12) "Obviously, we made some mistakes during the year and put ourselves in some holes, but I think we learned a lot from that. It showed a lot from our team the way we come back from some losses and some situations that weren't the best for us. I love my teammates and hopefully just keep moving in the same direction."

(on the Texans having one of the best red zone games of the season) "We were able to run the ball down there, not huge chunks, but we can get three or four yards a pop, and that's big yardage down there when you're working with twenty yards."

Texans WR Andre Johnson

(on how big it is for the team to get to .500 after starting 0-4) "It's very big. Coach (Gary) Kubiak talked to us last night and he was just telling us, 'We're not taking a step back after we finished .500 last year.' If we would have lost the game, we would have had a losing record, so that was a big deal to everybody and we didn't want to lose this game today. We started off slow, but we found a way to get it done."

(on how close he thinks the team is to being a playoff team) "It's very close. I think we learned a lot about ourselves this year. We have a lot of talent and have a lot of guys that can go out and make plays for us. If we can go out and keep everybody healthy, then the sky's the limit for us."

(on how it feels to finish the season with a win) "It's a real big game. We were playing against a good football team and they had a lot at stake, making the playoffs and things like that. We knew what they were trying to do and we knew they were going to come after us with a lot of pressures and things like that. We knew if we protected (QB) Matt (Schaub), we'd be able to make some plays against them."

(on being better in the red zone today and him making some of those plays) "We haven't really thrown fade routes in the red zone this season. I think we only did it twice. But I was just given the opportunity, I was able to make the play, but at the same time, we haven't scored many touchdowns when we got down there. So it was something different that we did. We really don't do that, but when the ball was up, I was just like, 'Hey, let's go make a play on it.'"

(on if the red zone success was set up by the run today) "Yeah, I think it did. That's the thing about it: I think when we're able to run the ball, it just opens up everything for us. It opens up our play-pass and things like that. On the first touchdown, I was running a route and I saw the safety take off running down to the box, and I'm looking at him like, 'What is he doing?' So I think the run game helps us out a whole lot."

(on if he talked to RB Steve Slaton early when Slaton was struggling) "I didn't personally talk to him. I've talked to Steve before. Steve, he's a great player. He really hasn't had a game where he's just struggled. So, when you play football, you're always going to go through some adversity. He went through a little bit today, but at the end, he stepped up to the plate. So it just shows what kind of player he is and what he's going to be."

(on finishing the season as the NFL leader in receptions and yards) "Oh, it's great. That's a great feeling. Like I've said before, everyone who plays football, all of us are competitors. You see other guys out there making plays and you always want to finish first. So, if that holds up, I'm very excited about it, but I think it could be a lot better if we were not packing our bags today."

(on RB Steve Slaton's emergence and what it's meant to the team) "It means a lot. Steve, he kind of reminds me of (former Texans RB) Domanick Davis (Williams) when he was here. You know, when the season first started, Domanick wasn't a guy who got many opportunities, but when he did, he did real well with them. But Steve, I think the difference between him and Steve is Steve is much faster. Steve has great balance and when he's given opportunities, he can go out and make plays. He can hurt you running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield, so he's a great addition to this team. I'm real excited to see what happens as he keeps getting older and gaining the experience."

(on if he learned that taking the next step toward the playoffs is the hardest step to make) "Yeah, it is. We know what we have to do. It's not going to be easy to get to the playoffs, but the thing we can't do, what we did to ourselves this year, we just can't start the season in a hole. You have to go out and you can't start off 0-4. That's what we did. We dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole too deep for us to climb out of it. We just have to go out and hopefully, we can start seasons the way that we finish them."

(on if there was a point in the season where he knew they were determined to turn the bad start around and how they can capitalize on that for next season) "We knew we've always had talent, but I think after the Indy game in Indy was when guys were just like, 'Hey, no matter what, we're going to just go out and win football games.' I said before, Coach (Gary) Kubiak was like, 'Who's going to go to Cleveland? Are you all in?' Everybody was like, 'Yeah.' You can tell by the way that we responded to his question that it was like guys had an attitude about going out and winning games, and that's just the way it's been since."

(on if it the team had the attitude of saying, "Let's go back to Houston and close this thing out right") "I think the biggest thing was what Coach (Gary) Kubiak told us last night. He pretty much got everyone's attention with what he said in his speech to us last night, and the biggest thing was he just said, 'Let's not take a step back.' He talked about every year since he had been here and the years before. It's been up and down since I've been here. So it's been rough, but this year is probably the most fun I've had since I've been here. So that was his thing, just telling guys that if we don't go out and win this game, we take a step back. If we win, we stay the same. So if we lost the game today, like I said before, we would have a losing record. And that was something the guys in the locker room didn't want to happen."

(on if he made any speeches after the game) "(Laughs) I talked to the team after the game. I was given a game ball, and I just told them, like I said before, it was the most fun I've had and I remember when Coach (Gary) Kubiak first got here, he told me that he was going to give me a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball. I thanked him for that, and I just told the team, 'We went out and won this game today. Let's not take that step back. Let's keep going forward.' So the biggest thing now, like I said before, is next season just getting our timing and stuff down and keeping everyone healthy through this offseason and all of the offseason workouts and things and then starting the season off not digging a hole for ourselves. I think if we go out and play football the way that we've been playing, I think we'll be fine."

Texans RB Ryan Moats

(on making the most of his opportunities throughout the game) "I felt like I did. There were a few things that I would love to do a little bit better, but for the most part I think I did OK. I'm going to try to build on this and just keep doing better and better."

(on his playing time today being an audition for next season) "This is how I look at it, when they give me the ball, I just try to do what I can do and look back on it later. (You) just go out there and run, don't be too technical about it and just get out there and run basically. So, I'm hoping that it is an audition."

Texans C Chris Myers

(on WR Andre Johnson's season) "He's going to find the ball no matter what. That guy is just unbelievable. To be able to have the season that he did and just the work ethic that he has week in and week out, speaks a testament to him."

(on defeating the Chicago Bears to finish 8-8) "I think we did what we needed to do as an offense. We were struggling in the red zone. In that first quarter, we were down 10-0 and we could've just packed it in, but we made a point to go in there and work towards next season and work for our own character. Starting off 0-4 this season, had nothing to play for and a big Miami (Dolphins) win and it was just a big building block from here on out."

(on how the season started off rough) "Beginning the season with the hurricane, being 0-4, it was a rough season. Not having a bye week, going the whole season without it, but that's just a big testament to coach (Gary) Kubiak and how he handles this organization. We're building this big train that's steaming on down the line."

Texans CB Dunta Robinson

(on summing up the season) "If you think about it, when we started the season, 0-4 is unexpected. And then to finish, you know, we lost four straight games and through the next three months we only lost four games after that. So to finish that way, it's a big compliment to our team, to our coaches. We never quit and we never stopped believing. When we were 0-4, we knew we were better than that. We knew that in the NFL, nothing is given. You have to go out there and work and earn everything you get. And we just went back to work. We didn't get down on ourselves; we just went back to work. And coming off that loss last week, everyone was disappointed. Coaches, players, everyone was disappointed because we lost to an inferior team. So, we just wanted to bounce back and make sure we didn't finish as losers, and we didn't."

(on if they are looking forward to how good they can be next year) "Definitely. The major thing coming into 2008 was injuries. You know, we lost a lot of guys last year, a lot of key guys. Myself, (WR) Andre (Johnson) went down with an injury, (QB) Matt Schaub went down with an injury; we lost a lot of key guys. This year, we just use this time to get healthy. Don't get me wrong, we still went out and played as hard as we could and did everything we could, but this will be the first offseason where we don't go into it with guys in the training room and on the rehab table. We can take care of our business and get ready for '09."

(on how far away he thinks the team is from being a playoff team) "Actually, I think we have what it takes: a couple of pieces. It's not one of those situations where—in past years, where you didn't know where to start because we needed so much on both sides of the football. I think we have a lot of pieces in place. Just go out and get a couple more guys and I think we'll be ready."

Texans LB DeMeco Ryans

(on getting down 10-0 but not giving up) "It just shows how we've grown as a team, no one panicked when we were down 10-0. Everybody just kept working, because everybody knew we were going to win this game."

(on the game being a mirror image of their season) "Yeah, it is. Down early, just like our season. We started in the hole, 0-4, and we bounced back, bounced back to become 8-8. So, it's a good feeling."

(on if going 8-8 is a success) "It's not a success. I don't see it as a success. It's just that even keel. Last year and this year, it's just even keel. So, we're looking to take that next step. I feel like we've gotten a lot better. I feel like we can take that next jump next year."

(on if this is a better team than a year ago) "Yeah, it's a better team than it was a year ago. I feel that we have better players, I feel like the camaraderie is there, the chemistry is there and we play well together. I think we have the pieces in place, it's just a matter of us being consistent in what we do."

(on reports of their being major coaching changes and if that surprises him) "No, with the coaching changes, I can't speculate on what's going to happen there or if anything is going to happen there. I'll just have to wait that out and see."

(on playing like they had something to play for) "We were playing for our pride. We were playing to finish our season on a good note, going 8-8. You know, 8-8 is not something we looked forward to this year, but coming into this game, it was the best that we could do. So, it was good for us to get this win and finish our season on a positive note, and it's something that can spark us going into next year."

Texans T Ephraim Salaam

(on getting down 10-0 and then coming back and if anything was said to spark the team) "No. That was the old Texans. You know, the old Texans would have folded at 10 and started up their engines in the parking lot and got up out of here in the last game. But as we have showed this year, the resilient nature of this team is unbelievable. We've grown so much through the adversity that we've been through this year and last year, having all the injuries and all of that. So, what we're doing is growing and the only way to become a good football team is to grow. And every year you have to grow, and we took good steps this year."

(on if he ever thinks what could have been if they had won a few of the close games) "Well, you can't do that because you'll drive yourself crazy. I still talk about stuff that could have been in my rookie year. So, you just have to roll with it and try to learn from it and next year not do the same mistake."

Texans QB Matt Schaub

(on the rough start in the first quarter) "We just like to have the dramatic side. No, just kidding. We definitely didn't start the way we had planned or hoped, just miscues that at this point in the season, you can't win with, and we weren't winning with them. But it's just about moving past them, putting them in the back of our mind and moving forward. We were able to in the second quarter string together play after play. We were successful and got into a rhythm, and from that point on, we were clean."

(on getting animated during the game) "The situation called for it. You gotta do what you have to do to get your guys focused and get your team's mindset right and re-adjust."

(on his overall performance) "I thought I played pretty well, but in order for me to do that, there's gotta be 10 other guys who are doing their thing. The offensive linemen, they were fighting. That's a good defensive line they were facing, bringing some pressure, and they were handling it. Our guys down the field were making plays down the football field for us, so it was everybody doing their job. I felt like our offense did some good things in the second quarter."

(on passing for 3,000-plus yards this season) "Like I just said, there's a lot of guys doing a lot of good things for our offense and for our team. This year, it just so happens that I get the passing yards for it. They get the receiving yards. The offensive line is playing outstanding. That is a young group, and I think they have the potential to play for many, many years together and really develop into one of the better offensive line units in the league with the guys outside, (WR) Andre (Johnson) and (WR) Kevin (Walter) and (WR) André Davis and (WR) David Anderson and (TE) Owen Daniels in the passing game. We have a lot of weapons that we can go to. Give credit to everybody executing at a high level."

(on this team's 8-8 finish vs. last season's 8-8 finish and if this is a better football team) "Look at some of the things we had to deal with this year and the adversity and the slow start and how we turned it around. We just kept working and kept working, and some of the things the guys were able to do individually and as a team, win. Some of the football games we were able to do against really good opponents, and yeah, our record is the same but I definitely feel and I know the locker room feels that we are a better football team this year and we made a lot of progress. This day this year, we are a better team than we were on this day last year. It's about now taking the next step this offseason going into the '09 season, getting better and finding a way to get a couple more of those wins that we fell short on."

(on if he feels like a better quarterback since returning from his injury) "I feel like I am progressing in the right direction. I don't think I can put my finger on any one thing that happened, but I mean, it is just getting more timeline-centered, in-game action and just being more comfortable and understanding things a little better and just going out and playing. The guys are making plays, and the defense has been tremendous as well, so I definitely feel a lot better at this point than I did at the beginning of the season."

(on if he takes pride in WR Andre Johnson leading the league in receiving yards and catches) "Oh, without a doubt, to have him doing all that and to have what (TE) Owen Daniels did for a while there, leading the league in tight end catches and yards and being an alternate at the Pro Bowl, I take a lot of pride in that because I am the one handing the ball to them. And Kevin Walter was on the verge of getting 1,000 yards, so the guys were doing a lot of great things, and I take pride in that."

(on only having one turnover a game being a good accomplishment) "I don't know about that. I think one turnover is too many, but it's something that we have to definitely get better on. It is one of those things that has held this offense back this season. All the stats and yardage and whatever we are in the league, we held ourselves back by turnovers, and I think we got better as the year went on."

(on if he settled down in the last three quarters) "I did, you know, once we got over the rough first quarter with some penalties and turnovers and some of the miscues that we had offensively, we really focused and got our job handled and our assignments down and there were very few, if any, mental errors for the rest of the football game. With very few mental errors, you are going to be very successful."

Texans RB Steve Slaton

(on what was going on mentally and physically during the game) "I had a fumble, missing protection, protection we do every year, and just endangering the quarterback."

(on what was going on in his head) "I really don't have an answer for that. I was just making mental mistakes, mistakes I usually don't make."

(on winning the league's rookie rushing title) "It's great; overwhelming. It happening on the last game makes it even more stressful."

(on the defense turning the game around after the first quarter) "It was very important. We kind of put ourselves in a ditch; I think that was probably the worst quarter we've played all year. Defense had to get us a chance to get the ball back, and we just played the way we know how to play."

(on whether this season made his expectations) "I think it passed my expectations. I really didn't know what to expect this whole year. I just contributed, did whatever I could do, do whatever coaches needed to help the team's offense. It was just a good opportunity to play the position I love and start, it's definitely a blessing."

(on his thoughts about next season and what he'll do to prepare) "I put a lot of pressure on myself for next year. I think next year is the sophomore slumps and I got to come out better than this year."

Texans DE Anthony Weaver

(on still having something to play for) "The character of this team has shined throughout the year. Starting 0-4, I've been on teams that have shut it down in that situation. This team continued to fight. To win eight out of your last 12 games to finish .500, although it's the same record as last year, I think we are a better team and you saw that today. We didn't have a lot to play for, same record as last year and that team (Chicago Bears) had everything to play for, and you saw the fight that we he had and went out there and won."

(on the play of QB Matt Schaub throughout the season) "I think most of the guys believe in Matt. He's been out there; he's been banged up, has the brace on his leg and he's continued to make throws. He hangs in there to take some hits and gets up. But as long as he continues to get up, we believe in him and we know he can get the job done when he's in there."

(on the team's growth from last year) "It's fair to say we are a better team than we were last year. Last year, we had the same record, but I think it's the style in the way we won this year. We started off 0-4, it would have been easy to shut it down, but these guys just came back and fought. We were not going to let this season slide. In the very end, we go into Oakland and could have had a winning season; that's pretty impressive starting off 0-4. I've been on some teams that have just shutdown and this team never did."

Texans DE Mario Williams

(on how he is) "I'm fine. I'm good."

(on his injury) "I guess I kind of over extended and I just stretched it a little bit, but its fine."

(on how tough it was not to be able to come back in the game) "It was really tough. We started getting momentum going and started having some things happen and unfortunately that happened but can't do anything about it."

(on the difference between what the Bears did on the first series and the rest of the game) "Well, we came out and we gave them some things. It was our mistake that we were out of gaps. There were dinking and ducking the ball. Pretty much, we started giving them stuff and once we got that taken care of things started to tighten up."

(on if he takes pride in head coach Gary Kubiak saying the defense kept them in the game) "Yeah, yeah. Definitely. For us to go out there and know that we have to put the game on our shoulders, know that it's going to be a close game because that's the type of football the Bears play, to know it's going to be a tight game and know that we have to come out and outperform their defense is very big for us."

(on if he was thinking that someone had to come up with a big play before his sack) "No. I'm not thinking anything like that. I'm pretty much just thinking that something has to happen just from somebody. It's not like that one play. Every play I'm thinking that. So, in the situation that we were in today, we kind of got in a little hole at the very beginning being 10-0. I was saying the whole time that we've got to get this going, we've got to get in the right direction and I knew a lot of the things that were happening was our fault. So I knew as long as we would stay true to our assignments and do what we're supposed to do, we would be fine."

(on the key to stopping RB Matt Forte) "Being in gap. That was pretty much the biggest thing. As long as we're playing assignment football, everything that they did we saw and we knew that it was going to happen. It was just that we were getting out of gaps and misplaced, and that's how they were getting yards on us. So as long as we just are where we're supposed to be at, we'll take care of business."

(on if he thinks this team is better than the team that finished 8-8 last year) "That's obvious. We're night and day from where we were last year and unfortunately we have the same record. This was definitely going towards playoffs this year and that we were really focused on from the very beginning. But from us being 8-8 and us being 8-8 last year, it's totally different. You can sense it in the locker room. You can feel it from the coaches. It's just totally different."

(on if he thinks the Texans should be a playoff team next year) "It's one of those things that just like this year: We've got to come out and start fast. I think the biggest thing that hurt us this year was we didn't start fast at all, obviously. I think if we had done that, we would have been in a different position than we are now."

Texans T Eric Winston

(on finishing the season 8-8 like last year) "The record I think says that, but I think this is a different team. I think this team would beat last year's team pretty easily. We've had some adversity this year. It's no excuse; it's just the way it happened. We rallied, we figured out a way and we got back to 8-8. We would love to be 9-7, but either way it's not in the playoffs. We got some work to do; we're going to get back to the drawing board, and I think coming up here everyone is going to take a nice little vacation, the players. Then, we're going to get back to work. There's a lot of talk in here, a lot of guys that want to go to the playoffs and want it now, not down the road. So I think it's in our view of the future."

(on QB Matt Schaub) "He's been poised all year and I think he's taken some shots. People like to get on to him by saying he's not tough enough, he's not this, he's not that, but name a guy that can play with a MCL, name a guy that can play with a separated shoulder. It's not a case to me of a guy who's not being tough or not this. He's taken, to me, some odd, unfair criticism. I got nothing but respect for him. I think the world of him. I think he's a heck of a quarterback and I think he's going to be a player that ends up getting us to the playoffs."

Chicago Bears

Bears head coach Lovie Smith

(opening statements) "Our football team fought its way back to get into the NFC North title run there. It was a big game today. When you start off with a lead like that, you have to be able to maintain it. You have to give them (the Texans) a lot of the credit. They played well, especially their quarterback, getting the ball to a lot of different receivers. We knew they had an all-pro at wide receiver (Andre Johnson), and he played that way today. Offensively, the first drive, of course, was good, but it seemed like there was a lull in the middle of the game where we haven't been able to be as productive as we need to. Turnovers, of course, always hurt you. Theirs hurt them early, and the one that we had after they scored their touchdown, that sequence right there really hurt us a lot. But it's disappointing. We knew what was at stake. The guys practiced well and prepared well throughout the week, but today, they played better than we did. It's kind of as simple as that. It was a disappointing end to the season. When you finish 9-7, you're close, and that is what 9-7 is saying: You're close. We will just evaluate where we are right now and go from there."

(on if he judges the season by whether or not the team makes the playoffs) "No, I think you have to look at what happened during the course of the season. We did make progress from last year. We were close. We were a better football team this year than we were last year but still weren't good enough to get into the playoffs. Our goal, of course, is to win the World Championship, and to do that, you have to get into the playoffs. We are disappointed with that."

(on if there will be any changes to the defense next season and how he evaluates the defense) "Like I look at our entire football team. You said the defense, I am going to say our team. Our team failed today. Overall, our team didn't play well enough. I am putting everyone and every phase of it all in the same group. We didn't play well enough this year to accomplish our goals. It's kind of as simple as that. We're not going to separate anyone or put anyone higher than the other."

(on if he knew about other games going on around the league and if it affected his decision-making at all) "No effect at all. I found out who won the games after our game, and that's the only way it should have been. We had one thing in mind, and that's playing our best football game that we could possibly play against the Texans. Everything else would take care of itself. If we didn't take care of that, nothing else really mattered. What else happened in the league really doesn't matter a lot to us now."

(on starting S Danieal Manning) "We needed a safety. (S) Mike Brown is out. We moved our next best guy back there. If you have an injury, it's the next guy up."

(on if S Danieal Manning has a lot of experience at safety) "Mike, you've been around here as a long as I have. Has he played there before? I think you know the answer to that. Yes, he has. He's played nickel most of the time this year. He was our best option today."

(on if QB Kyle Orton will have to compete at training camp for his position next season) "All players will have competition, every player. Everybody is in that same group, but Kyle Orton's our quarterback. He has done a lot of good things for us this year, but we all start from scratch and go from there."

(on when his evaluation of the season will begin) "It starts right away. Of course, you evaluate and you learn a lot going through a football season, which we've done, but I will start the evaluation right away. You don't want to go to all-star games this early in the year, but we'll start with the all-star game and start watching from there and just try to add a few more players. Again, when you're 9-7, you're close. You don't need an overhaul, you just need to add a few pieces to the puzzle, and that's what we'll do."

(on if S Danieal Manning will be the starting safety next season) "Do I know right now what Danieal's position will be next year? No, I don't know that. You know the positions he's played. He's played nickel. He's played free (safety). We have a little bit of time to figure that out, though."

(on if the players are hurting after the loss) "Now, what do you think? You think the guys are in there hurting right now? So, you have answered your own question."

(on if hurting is a good thing) "It's not a good thing to lose a big game like this, and most people would hurt. How about I just answer it like that?"

Bears DE Alex Brown

(on if there was a feeling of too many mistakes) "Every game. Every game. Every game it's the same stuff happening. It's just a repeat. It's too repetitive. It's the same stuff happening week in and week out, and we see it and can't correct. Why we can't correct it—I have no idea, but we damn sure have a lot of time to think about it now. So, the seasons' over; absolutely nothing we can do about it now. I don't know. What else can we do?"

(on how they fix some of the problems that happen week in and week out) "That's something you have to ask (head) coach (Lovie) Smith, (general manager) Jerry Angelo and the coaching staff. I'm not going tell you and sit here and act like I can run the team. That's their job. They do that. Their job is to put people in position to make plays and when they get in position we've got to make the play. So, you would have to ask them."

(on how he would sum up the season) "Disappointing."

(on starting well and not getting it done) "It's been tough. It's been tough."

(on if he can take consolation in improving on last year or does that not matter) "No. I don't believe we improved. We missed playoffs last year. We missed the playoffs this year. I don't know if that's improvement. It don't sound like it to me. So, I don't know."

(on what was the most frustrating thing this season defensively that they couldn't get done) "Because you kept seeing the same things happen. Same things happened week in and week out. We've got to fix it and it's not my job to fix it. I don't know. Hopefully, we can get it fixed and come back next year and let's see what we can do."

(on if nine wins is just a bottom line and how he judges the season) "We could have ten (games). We could have won today and still not made it. When you start the season, the goal is to win the division, get in the playoffs, win the Super Bowl. We didn't win the division. We didn't get in the playoffs. I don't see how that can be a successful season."

Bears TE Desmond Clark

(on how he would sum up the 2008 Bears season) "Up and down, up and down. A lot of great highs and a lot of great lows."

(on if he knows how to explain the offense starting off strong in the first of the year and then hitting a lull) "Not really. That was something we really tried to go out today and not have. We just try to be consistent. I feel like the second half of the season that's been who were are—just an up and down offensive team and today was the same thing. Being like that you're not going to obviously win as many games as you want to and we just didn't finish off the way that we wanted to."

(on starting off the game good and not building on it) "Oh yeah. Anytime you go up 10-0, you're feeling pretty good about yourself, but give them credit. They came out and put up 31 points and we only put 24. So, they came out and just wanted it a little bit more than us and took it away from us."

(on if he judges the season on whether they make the playoffs) "I mean, yeah. You play this game to try to get to the Super Bowl, and the farther away from the Super Bowl you are, that's how you kind of look at your season. And we weren't nearly as close as we wanted to be this year."

Bears Running Back Matt Forté

(on if he feels the team was a playoff caliber team ) "Of course, I know we are a playoff team. We just caught a few bad breaks. A couple of games here and there we know we should have won. We just can't go back on it now."

(on how he feels about his season personally) "It is disappointing. Personally, it is disappointing. I wanted to go to the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl. It is definitely disappointing. Everyone can look at stats and say you had a great season, a good season as a rookie. But when you go to the postseason, that makes it a lot better and that is what we aim to do."

(on if his injured toe affected him during the game) "I got it stepped on and sprained it a little more (in the game). It was hurting a little bit, but I got to play with that … I was out there trying my hardest. I am going to go back out on the field at all costs."

(on reflecting on his rookie season) "It was a lot to learn this season. I learned a lot as a rookie coming in, being able to start, and had a great opportunity in front of me. A lot of people look at the stats and say it's a great season for a rookie. It was good but also disappointing that we couldn't make it to the postseason."

(on preparing for next year) "We just have to regroup and come back this next season. With the team we got now and the chemistry, even more chemistry will be there and we know that we can win a lot more games this next year coming up."

(on if the loss is more difficult due to playoff possibilities) "Yeah, it makes it harder because we knew coming into this game that it was a must-win game, and we didn't win. That is what makes it frustrating and it doesn't feel good all at the same time."

Bears DL Israel Idonije

(on Houston's offense and the receivers) "Yeah, they've got some weapons, but it was more about us than about them. We didn't play our best as a defense and we left a lot of plays on the field and yeah you can't take anything away from them. They won, but at the end of the day it was more about us. We had them in a position and we just let them get back into it and then we let them kind of pull away. That's us."

(on putting a whole game together and consistency within a game being a problem all year) "Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Four full quarters—a great team has to put together four full quarters of football and we didn't do that."

(on if it stings more coming this close) "Yeah. Up to this point, this fourth kind of quarter of the season, we had to win all four games and we were able to get the first three and this was kind of like the last chapter (to) finish 10-6 and put us in a position for the best case scenario and we didn't do that."

(on what the Texans did today) "They didn't do anything special. They threw the ball and we weren't in position to make plays. They ran the ball and we weren't in position to make tackles. We played a few great quarters and we played a few bad quarters. At the end of the day, you've got to be consistent. You've got to play four full quarters consistently and we didn't do that today."

Bears S Danieal Manning

(on the fumbled kickoff return) "I just fumbled the ball … Of course I was trying to make a play. You don't just want to be out there running around. I just fumbled the ball. Bad ball security."

(on if the season went well for him personally) "Nope. We didn't make it to the playoffs. It don't matter personally. We didn't make it to the playoffs. It didn't go well."

(on the 43-yard touchdown pass to Texans WR Andre Johnson) "I bit up on the run. That was it. I know what coverage we had, but I just bit up on the run."

(on what head coach Lovie Smith said to him following the touchdown pass) "He just told me to stay deep. We don't really need you on the run support in cover two. That is just me trying to play outside the defense. I should have been more patient than what I was. I thought I'd read run, and it wasn't. Good play call on them; bad play on me."

(on if he was surprised by Texans WR Andre Johnson's performance) "Not really. When you are leading the NFL in receptions and yards, it doesn't surprise you. We knew what they were going to do with him. They were going to try to get him the ball and establish it early."

Bears QB Kyle Orton

(on his perspective of the game) "Tough lost. We put a lot of effort in the season, everybody did. I think this team has a lot of character and worked extremely hard. To come up short is tough, but that's just the game of football, I guess."

(on his awareness of the Minnesota game) "Just kind of knew the last few seconds of the fourth quarter is when I found out; I didn't really know. Throughout the entire game we were trying to adjust and trying to find ways to score points, so we really didn't know what was going on around the league."

(on the beginning of the game and the end of the game) "You know it seems like we've done a good job of starting fast and actually finishing, you know, we played pretty good at the start and finish of the game. We just have to find ways to make it last throughout the entire game. It seems like we go through a second- and third-quarter lapse where we don't do a whole lot, so we have to find a way to get that corrected."

(on whether it has hit him that the season's done) "Yep, it's just unfortunate. Obviously, not everybody is going to be together again, you know. We have a lot of camaraderie on this team. We're just great team mates. For it to be your last game with those guys is tough. It'll be a new team next year, but looking forward to it, looking forward to work hard in the off season and getting back and hopefully improving."

(on what he wants to work on) "Ball passes, somebody getting passes in the game. I'm a young player and I just feel like I can keep improving. The more experience I get, the more game time I get, it's just going to get better from there."

(on his ankle being a factor during the games) "It was a battle every game. It was a battle throughout the week to get it feeling halfway decent, and something would always happen in the game to re-tweak and stuff. I don't think it affected my game a whole lot. Everybody has to battle through injuries and I'm no different."

(on re-tweaking his ankle today) "It actually felt pretty good today. It felt pretty good, probably felt the best it has all year."

(on the late play during the fourth quarter on third down with WR Brandon Rideau and what went through his head) "I saw Brandon and the guy was trailing him and Brandon did a nice job trying to throw him by him and some contact. I just tried to throw it outside. Looking at the pictures, I probably wish I would have tucked it and ran. But in that situation I see my receiver and a little contact, but just tried to make a play."

(on considering going for it on the fourth down after the play with WR Brandon Rideau) "No, I wasn't really thinking about it. The punt team came on and that was it. Probably if he would have got something on third down, that thought would have went up a little bit more. So if we could have got it down to a fourth and five, something like that, that probably would have changed things a little bit."

(on if he would like to see more offensive weapons) "I think we have a great group of guys. We try hard. We just got to play better and we'll see who's here next year."

(on whether it felt like this is a playoff game) "I sure thought so. Just from the start of the season we always put ourselves in positions. We didn't close out a couple of games early in the season that obviously came back to hurt us, but for the most part I thought we played pretty good football. We gave ourselves a chance and not a whole lot of people were giving us a chance to start the season off. I thought all-in-all we played pretty well."

(on what he wants for the future of the team) "It's not my job. My job is to come here and play quarterback. That's really what I focus on."

(on winning his position at training camp next year based on the season he just had) "Coach Smith comes up next and he can answer that one probably."

Bears CB Charles Tillman

(on the disappointment of not making the playoffs) "We didn't seize the moment. We didn't seize the moment. Opportunity presented itself and we didn't take care (of it). There really is not a lot to say. They won; we lost. It is pretty cut and dry."

(on Texans WR Andre Johnson) "He is a great receiver. He has 1,400 yards in a season – over 1,400 yards in a season. He is a good receiver, no question."

(on ) "The ball came out. He made a great play. I had it and it was coming down. I thought I knocked it out, but he caught it. A great play by his part. Good receiver."

(on if he thought the team was a playoff caliber team) "Yeah, I think we are a playoff team. We made it this far and we were this close. Who wouldn't think we were a playoff team? I don't know. Maybe I am an optimist. I thought we were a playoff team."

Bears LB Brian Urlacher

(on what happened with the run defense) "Well, I don't know how long that run was, but we played pretty solid on the run all day until we gave up that 50 yard run."

(on having opportunities and being on the edge of the playoffs) "Well, edge doesn't count. It doesn't matter. I know that stuff would have mattered if we would have won this game, all the scenarios or whatever would have been great if we would have won. So, none of that stuff really matters right now."

(on if this is one of the hardest regular season losses he has had to deal with) "It is this year."

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