Johnson finished with nine catches for 82 yards and a tied a career high by scoring his sixth touchdown of the season.
Members of the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers spoke to the media following the Texans' 28-14 victory over the NFC South-leading Bucs.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the effort of the team) "I am just so proud of the effort of these guys. Like I just told them in the locker room, we've got some problems. We've got enough guys nicked up to fill a couple of rooms, but the heart of this football team and the direction of the future of the young kids it's just so bright. I'm so proud of their effort. We played a great football team today, and we said we had to do three things. We had to play great defense, and we did. We had to take advantage of every offensive opportunity we had to score points, we did that, and we had to make a big play on special teams, we did that. My hat is off to the kids and the coaches who did a tremendous job. That's a heck of a team. I think you're going to see them playing a lot of football in January. It's just a great effort by our kids and coaches."
(on RB Ron Dayne) "It's not good. It's just sore, and he took a shot at halftime. He tried to go for us. He's battling. The kid (RB Darius Walker) went in there and there was nothing spectacular, but he was very solid. He got to play in a football game against a heck of a team. He held up he did a good job of protection, he protected the ball, he made a couple of plays in the game, so that's a step forward for him and we'll continue to try to get him better and better."
(on the defense) "I don't even know where to start. We told them last night they would have to play tremendously for us to beat this football team. They just kept battling. We had our struggles offensively, they're a very good defense. Our guys kept having to go back out there, but they just kept stepping up. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) played hurt. We played with great effort. (DE) Mario (Williams) put the icing on the cake with his effort on the last play of the football game. I told Mario and I told (WR) Andre (Johnson) and I told DeMeco last night in front of the team, 'You guys are great players, but the key to this team and this organization is that you guys are able to lift everyone else and find another level.' If we can continue to get that we're heading in the right direction."
(on RB Darius Walker) "You guys know me pretty good after a couple of years. I just think that you have to earn your stripes in this league. I don't think you just go out there because you're next in line. I don't believe in that. I think players have to prove to their teammates that they're ready to go. He's a kid who's played a lot of big football. (Running Backs Coach) Chick (Harris)'s done a great job with him. He got a chance to get an opportunity a few weeks ago, and I didn't really like the way he responded to his first chance. I challenged him. He went right back this week and had a great week of work. Chick's done a good job with him. At the end of this past week, his teammates felt like he deserved to be out there. That's what you have to do. This game is about respect and everybody earning their way on that field. I'm proud of the kid. It's a step forward now let's keep moving forward."
(on Andre Davis's kickoff return) "It was huge. We talked about it at half time and said, 'we keep saying we've got to get back to this spot. Well we're here, and nothing would be bigger than a return to start the third quarter. Let's give him a chance.' We talked about it and that play was huge. We had some struggles there, but there were some great things that went on in the football game. I'm going to pull from the positive, and we'll continue to try to get better in the third quarter."
(on the moving players around on the offensive line) "We had no more players. (G Kasey) Studdard was out. Lights out. He's got a neck, head…he was lights out. We were out of players when (G) Chester (Pitts) left. As a matter of fact I told the official, "Would you do me a favor? If something happens to another one of these linemen would you all go to a commercial because we're just going to take some time." He just started laughing, but I was serious. We had nobody else. We suited seven. Chester jumped off the ground, came back, and played. That's the type of effort our team gave."
(on QB Sage Rosenfels) "He's a gutsy player, and I told him last night in front of his teammates. Sage has the desire and the goal to be a starter in this league. Him and I talked about that last off season when we acquired (QB) Matt (Schaub). I told him, 'you'll get an opportunity.' He's always taken advantage of his opportunities. He knew what type of defense he was playing today. He would have to play big, and he sure did. He got pretty beat up to, and I'm just very proud of his efforts."
(on Rosenfels in the offseason) "It was difficult but it was great. That's why you're in this business. When we made the trade for Matt, he was waiting at my door the next morning. I liked that it was awesome. He walked in and he said, 'You know I can do this, you know I can be the starter.' I said, 'I know that. I believe you can too, but you get your tail back to work and you prove it to everybody.' He knows that because he's been around long enough to know that's what he has to do. When you step on the field and you win games, nobody's going to take that away from you. He took a big step forward in his career today."
(on Rosenfels as a starter) "He hasn't had a lot of starts in this league, and when you get a few they carry a lot of weight. If you get one or two and they're not good they carry probably too much weight. If you get one or two and they're really good they can carry a tremendous amount of weight as far as your future. The bottom line is this group he stepped up against today and the way he played today is very good for him and our football team."
(on the short week before playing Denver) "This is a new thing for our team. This team has never been through something like this. We've got to turn right around here. I've got to go take a shower then head up to the office with the rest of the coaches, and come up with something between now and 9:00 in the morning because these kids will be right back. For us to continue to take steps forward we have to learn to do all these things. This is a new one for us. We'll go right back to work tomorrow. We'll get a break next weekend, but we get a chance Thursday night to play in front of all of America. I just want us to get ready to play, and go out there and play with the same effort we did today. The kids are excited about it. It's a great win, but we've got to let it go really fast and get ready to play Thursday night."
(on playing Denver) "It counts for one like everyone else. Is it special? Yeah, it's special. Across the field from me is going to be my NFL life. That's all I've ever been with, and we're trying to do the same thing here. My respect for (Broncos Head Coach) Mike Shanahan, their organization, (Broncos Owner) Pat Bowlen, those coaches, those players that I was with for so many years, that will always be there. From that standpoint, you bet."
(on the former Oilers players present) "That's great for today. Our kids in the locker room probably don't know how important that is to have those guys come back and to watch this team battle like it did today. I know how important that is. Before the game I had Robert Brazile and a couple of the guys screaming at me in the end zone. I went over and they remember me when I was a 16 year old kid. For our team to play with the heart they did today, that's what those teams did back in the day. It was great to see them."
Texans quarterbacks Coach Kyle Shanahan
(on is conversations with father and Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan) "Honestly, we haven't talked the past few days. We don't really talk to each other when we play each other, so I can't give him any chance to squeeze anything out of me. I know he'll try."
(on whether he and father Mike Shanahan are competitive with each other) "We're competitive in everything. I like to give him a little crap at any chance I can, so it would be nice to get a win and have that opportunity, but it would be nice to get a win any week."
Texans CB Fred Bennett
(on CB Dunta Robinson) "You guys see him out there; he's giving 110 percent every time he steps on the field. But he kind of took me under his wings in college and also when I got here, so that made it a lot easier for me to adjust."
(on the defense forcing turnovers) "That's what happens when you have a defense being aggressive and being physical. We were out there flying around, trying to knock some helmets off today – I don't think none came off, but that was our main objective and when the defense does that, we create turnovers like that."
(on backups stepping up) "Everybody knows the story; I think we've got like 16 people on IR, but it doesn't matter. People don't understand the heart and the character we've got in this locker room. We have guys that step up, that put the weight on their shoulders and say, 'Hey, this guy's down, but I think I can get the job done.' Today, it proved itself."
(on WR Joey Galloway) "He's a fast dude to be so old, but a well-respected receiver in the league and I respect him. Even though he didn't get out on us today, I still respect him. I thought our defensive backs did a good job of containing him and our front seven gave us a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That helped a lot."
(on the secondary developing continuity) "We've been in battles together, throughout practice, through OTA's, through mini-camp. People kind of rotate in different groups play in and play out every week, so I think we've got that chemistry back there in the backfield."
(on what the win does for the team's confidence) "It builds our confidence extremely high going into our Thursday night game. It just gives this team a lot of confidence to say, 'Hey, we can win the big games."
(on if the Texans are close to being a playoff team) "Yes, I think we are. With our coaches pushing us and putting in the work that they're putting in, my hat goes off to our coaches. I think they're doing a tremendous job with the game plans, with practice. I think our players are just taking that it and say, 'Hey, our coaches believe in us; we've got to believe in ourselves and we've got to go out there and perform,' and today it showed."
(on playing with a lot of emotion) "That's just me; I love the game of football. When you love the game of football, it kind of comes out of you at times. I really don't know I'm doing it, but it just happens to come out."
(on if he hopes to energize his teammates) "Yes, I want the team to feed off me. When (CB)Dunta (Robinson) went down, I kind of said, 'Hey, put it on my shoulders and I'll take it,' and that's what I try to go out there and implement."
Texans S C.C. Brown
(on the defense's solid performance) "We just took it upon ourselves to go out there saying that we need to take over the game, we need to help the offense out as much as possible."
(on the win) "This is big, man. We were kind of down and out on each other, but this game right here is a confidence builder and it helps us out a lot for the next game."
(on playing well in the third quarter) "I think pretty much we drilled this all through practice. We took it upon ourselves saying, 'OK, it's the third quarter – we need to step our game up,' and it helped out big in the game."
(on what that did for the offense) "The offense, they were walking around with smiles on their faces instead of just looking at each other confused. It helped them out big."
Texans G Mike Brisiel
(on playing in his first NFL game) "There's a lot of improvements still to be made, but I can't say nothing, it was so fun to get that victory under my belt. It meant so much to the team too. I'm still on cloud nine right now, I can't talk."
(on how he feels after the game) "Right now, like I said, I'm on cloud nine, and my dream is right in front of my face. I've just got to go grab it, and get consistent. I've got to work on some things, come back tomorrow and go back to work."
(on what his teammates told him) "They just said 'congrats.' Everybody is so fired up for me, because I've been working with them and trying to help them out every week, when I was on the practice squad, and now I get a chance to have some fun myself. Everybody has been real supportive and I'm just ecstatic."
(on playing this season after the NFL Europe season) "I got about three weeks off before training camp, so I'm feeling the effects of a long season, but its so worth it. This last game, I can't even talk right now, I'm just mumbling."
Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on how big this win was for the Texans) "Its huge. I think everyone knows the injuries we've had. We had tons of guys step up and play really well; (it was) the same thing today. (G) Mike Brisiel played really well for us. To beat a team like Tampa Bay; they're a good team. They're going to be a playoff team. They'll probably go pretty far in the playoffs. To get a win against them was huge, really huge for us."
(on Texans QB Sage Rosenfels) "The last couple of years, Sage has done a great job when he's come in and played for us. We know he's going to play well when he comes in the game, whether it's stalling (QB) Matt (Schaub), or as a starter, he went out and executed, had all the assignments down, made the right reads, and played really well for us."
Texans WR André Davis
(on the Texans' play in today's game) "Once again, it was a great job by everybody out there today, all 11 guys out on the field. That's what happens when everybody does their job, and we just need to get used to doing that; we need to get used to making big plays. I think now that we've got a taste of it, hopefully we'll be able to finish the season strong."
(on what his 97-yard kick return for a touchdown meant in this game) "Any time you can make a big play like that on special teams, it helps everybody out. You want to make sure that all three phases of the game are working together. A lot of times only one side of the ball might be playing well, but today we got a good effort out of all three phases."
(on how the backup players filled in today) "That's what it's all about; being able to have that depth so when your starters go down, guys can go in there and step in, and hopefully they don't skip a beat. I think everybody who had the opportunity to get in there today, really stepped up their job and did really well."
(on Texans QB Sage Rosenfels) "Sage did a great job today. He made sure that he didn't really take a lot of risks. The throws that he had, he took them, and guys made plays. It was a great job for us to go out there and just be very efficient with the way we ran our offense today."
(on how satisfying the win was today) "It's so hard to get wins in this league right now, so for us to go out there and get a win against a good team, it just feels great. Hopefully we'll be able to take this into our short week this week and try to get another one."
Texans S Will Demps
(on the defensive mindset today) "Its same thing we had all year. We always focus on to just finish."
(on the win today) "It was great. We knew going into the game that (QB) Luke McCown was going to play. We knew he was an athletic guy he makes some runs and throws and we were able to eliminate that. We just came out in front of the home crowd and executed our game plan."
(on the hope of ending with a winning season) "Right now it's just week by week. Just one week at a time. We are going to sit here and enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we got to come in and clean up our mistakes and get ready for Denver. It's going to be Kubiak vs. Shanahan. It's going to be exciting."
(on hitting Tampa Bay hard and setting the momentum) "All year you hear about Tampa Bay's secondary and how their whole defense in general is so tough and more physical than any other team. We just had to challenge ourselves to be more physical than Tampa Bay's defense. We took ownership to ourselves and wanted to show the world that we can hit too. It's an impression of our coaches and getting us opportunities to make plays around the ball."
Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on shuffling between two quarterbacks) "We feel comfortable with both quarterbacks. They both get reps during practice. (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) has been here for two years, and we have played with him before. We are comfortable with both guys. If one goes out, the other one comes in, and we don't miss a beat. We feel very comfortable with both of them."
(on overcoming injuries and the continuing effort to play) "Coach (Kubiak) challenged us last night, and guys were willing to come out and do what we needed to do to win. We've always sputtered in the third quarter, but (WR) André Davis got us going with a big kickoff return, and we kept it going from there."
(on the 6-7 record) "We've never been in this position this late in the season. We usually would only have about three wins or so. Our goal is always to try to get to the playoffs, because we've never been there before. At the same time, we've never had a winning season around here. With three games left, that's possible for us. So, we'll just have to take one step at a time."
(on his feeling about Coach Kubiak putting the win on the shoulders of the team's captains) "When he said what he said, I told myself we need to be ready to play and make sure the guys around us are ready to play. That's what it is about when you're a captain. Guys look at the captains to see what the captains are doing. If the captains are going out and giving it their all, the other guys are going to do the same thing."
Texans DT Travis Johnson
(on the overall defensive performance) "As long as we continue to work together we are going to be alright. I think that's what we have done today and we accomplished that. Now we can go forward and concentrate on Thursday."
(on defeating a playoff team and the Texans getting closer to the playoffs with today's win) "Our first goal is to be winners. We went out there and won today so we just have to keep fighting and keeping hacking away."
(on what today's win do for the team's confidence) "Of course this win brings out a little bit more confidence in us. We know what we can do it just a matter of us doing it. We went out there and hopefully we can feed off this win and get ready for Thursday."
(on being 6-7 and being in the playoff hunt late in the season) "It feels good right now."
(on stopping Tampa's running game early) "When you stop somebody from getting a yard in this league it takes a whole lot to accomplish that. It's all about who wants to make the next play and to get there that's big."
(on the performance of the defensive line) "(DE) Mario (Williams) is playing great that helps out a lot because when he plays great that help a lot of us to make plays. All we wanted to do today is to stay on the other side of the line of scrimmage and that is what we did."
Texans QB Sage Rosenfels
(on the game plan against the Buccaneers) "Their defense doesn't really allow for many plays on the field. My thought process and the some of our team's thought process was their check downs are going to be good and their cross routes are going to be good because they sink back and let me make a throw shallow and they get to the football so well. They come up against a lot of teams and force turnovers. We did a good job of keeping the ball and getting first downs and getting more first downs. There are just so few big plays that can be made against this team."
(on his comfort as a starter) "The more you do anything, the more comfortable you get at it. That goes for football and for any other job, too. I felt more comfortable than in the Oakland game. I'll feel more comfortable Thursday night—if I'm the guy going Thursday night—than I did today. So, I definitely felt better as the game went on. It's hard to feel good against that defense, because they're so aggressive. They're so good in the back and with their linebackers, and their front four are such tenacious pass rushers. So, it was a good win for us."
(on physical challenges of playing again on Thursday) "I'm sure Denver is going to be beat up, too. No one in the game is usually healthy this time of year. Any time you get into December it feels like everyone is playing at about 80 percent. Everybody has a little ankle or knee injury. That's football. Every year, it seems like it's getting rougher and rougher, but it will be easier to get to the next four games and get to Denver with the great win we had today."
(on comfort with RB Darius Walker) "He did a really good job stepping in for us. The hardest thing for him was learning the protection. That's what we were most concerned about with him, but he did a really good job with that and obviously ran the ball really well. He got his check down positions really quickly, which was great, because I hit him on a lot of check downs. He made one got miss and got some first downs for us. All around, it went well, he played well. Like I said, this was a huge win for us and for this organization."
(on competing for the starting job and his reaction when the Texans traded for Matt Schaub) "I was in Coach's (Kubiak) office that afternoon. I was told that I was going to get a chance to compete for the starting job around here with whoever they brought in, but when they decided to go with (QB) Matt (Schaub), that changed everything. Obviously, he is such a good player. I think it just changed where I was at as far as that conversation. I think at the time I was very excited. It was bittersweet. I was very excited because I know Matt and that he is a very good player. I know this organization would win a lot of games with him as the starter. It was bitter for me obviously, because I was looking for the chance to compete for the starting job. I've always tried to control things that I could control. I couldn't control that situation, so I tried to make the most of the situation. You have to make the most of any situation—whether you're the backup quarterback or the backup tackle—usually everyone gets a chance at some point in time. (G) Mike Brisiel couldn't control his situation. I'm sure he wanted to be on the active roster earlier in the year, but he was on the practice squad. All he could control was to make the most of the chance that he got. Mike came out and played great football for us today."
(on if he's proven in the last month that he is a starting quarterback in the NFL) "I personally feel that, but that is something that I can't control. That is up to the other GMs, other GMs, our coaches and others around the NFL. All I can do is play good football for the Houston Texans and try to win this game this week, because this is going to be another tough game. This is a four-day week. A lot of guys are injured and sore, but so is Denver."
(on Coach Kubiak's speech last night to prepare the team for the game) "I think Coach Kubiak gave a little something extra in his speech last night, a little more from the heart. I'm not a big believer in the Rocky speeches, but his speech—when Coach Kubiak talks, he talks from the heart. What he said last night was so real to us and it made so much sense. I think our guys could understand where Coach Kubiak was coming from. I'm sure as media, you are the same. It wasn't Ra-Ra speech. He told us our great players have to play great, and our good players have to play good to win. That's just what happened today. (DE) Mario (Williams) played great, (WR) Andre Johnson played great, (LB) DeMeco Ryans played great, and the other guys played good."
(on how satisfied he is with the win) "The most satisfying part about it is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are probably going to go to the playoffs this year, and they may make a Super Bowl run. That's how we felt going into the game. Their defense is the way we thought they were, like five years ago when they won the Super Bowl. They've got the type of players and the type of speed from the secondary to the defensive linemen that will put you in championship position. It was a really, really good football team that we beat today. It wasn't another team with three or four wins, it was a high-quality playoff team that we think is going to have the chance to make a run."
(on G Mike Brisiel's game at guard and G Chester Pitts going down) "I felt pretty good about Mike at guard. I got to play with him a lot in the preseason him the past two years, and he always played well with me. He's a smart guy, and he has a good frame for an offensive linemen. You know he's going to give a great effort, so I felt really good with him at guard. When Chester went down, it was a little scary seeing (T) Eric Winston get in a three-point stance at my left-hand side. He's a left guard, and I don't think he's ever done that before. It was a little scary, but we fought through that. Chester is a tough sucker and he came back, and we ran the ball at the end to run out the clock."
(on being 2-0 as a starter) "I wish we had more wins for the team. We have a lot of guys that I have fought hard. I wish those wins will be pushing us into the playoffs. We'll see how it all turns out. Hopefully, I can be 3-0 in five days. We can get a break and end the season strong."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryansz
(on his injury) "On one play, I came in and tried to make a hit and the guy dug down on me. My knee hit the ground and I banged it up a little bit. I'll be fine and I'll be ready to go."
(on what the defense did to slow down the Buccaneers) "In all of our games, we've come out fast in the first half. The third quarter has always been the big change quarter in the game. We had it in our mind to go out and play better than we have been in the third quarter. We did that and were able to finish the game off."
(on how it feels to be 6-7 with a chance to go to the playoffs) "Anytime we win a game at home, it's always important to win. It was a game we needed to get under our belts. This was a good team we faced. They were playing for home field advantage and gave us their best shot. We came and played well and ended up getting the victory."
(on what Coach Kubiak said last night to encourage the leaders of the team) "He just let us know that we are the leaders of this team. We need to elevate our play well. We need to elevate our game and take it to another level. Not just ourselves, but we need to take the other guys along with us. With that being said from the head coach, we always understood our position as the leaders of this team, but we knew we had to step it up another level, and we did that today. We brought the guys along with us and ended up playing a great game."
(on the satisfaction of the win) "It's very satisfying to know that you're playing a playoff-caliber team and to be able to go out and handle them for four quarters. It makes you feel great about yourselves, but we need to put it behind us and go get another one this Thursday."
(on if it is tougher to be an offensive or defensive player on a three-day turnaround) "I don't know. I've never had a turnaround that quick, so it's going to be a learning experience for all of us. I don't know if any of the guys have ever had a turnaround this quick. So, we'll see come this Thursday. As defensive players, I don't think we get as banged up as much. We don't get hit as much as the offensive players. So, probably the defensive guys will turnaround a lot more quickly."
Texans T Ephraim Salaam
(on Texans RB Darius Walker) "I just talked to him, and I told him I was proud of him. I've voiced my opinion of how I felt when he first got here, and how he is now, and it's like night and day. With young players it takes time to get adjusted, coming from college, and not being 'the guy.' Everybody has to come and start from the bottom up, and he's got it now. Watching him work in practice, he's a different player than he was when he first got here, and I told him I was proud of him. It was a good thing to see him go out there and be able to work like he did."
(on how it would feel to get a win Thursday night to move to 7-7 for the first time in franchise history) "That would be nice. We're always trying to create new records and things like that. If we can end up this season with a winning record, it will be something the Texans have never done, and that would be huge. It's just another step in going in the right direction; the direction we're all heading. We've still got work to do. We've got a game coming up in about four hours, so we've all got to put our nose to the grindstone. We've got a lot of guys banged up, a lot of guys tired. I'm exhausted. We'll see how this is going to go. But, they get a short week also, and they have to travel."
(on trying to make the offensive lineman, specifically Texans G Mike Brisiel laugh in the huddle during the game) "I tried to keep it loose for him. You never want to get too (tense). I think he did a phenomenal job. I think that what people don't realize is that this is his 30th week of football. He played in NFL Europe, and he played in the World Bowl, so he's been playing football for a long time this year. For him to come out and come off the practice squad, and get the opportunity to start and play well, it goes to show what tough a character he has, and the type of player he is and can be."
(on Buccaneers DE Greg White) "He's good. I underestimated him. I told him after the game, 'What's going on? Why isn't he starting?' He should start. I was watching film on him and he played Arizona, and he was making plays. He was in four plays and he had two caused fumbles and a fumble recovery in four plays, and I was like, 'man this guy is good, but he doesn't play a lot.' He's definitely earned my respect today. He's a good player."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on not playing in today's game) "It was tough. You just want to be out there and help your team win; be on the field with your guys, but for the long run, this is the best thing, so I just had to do what I could to help the team, and encourage the guys, and help with what I saw from the sideline. The guys played tremendous football."
(on Texans QB Sage Rosenfels' performance) "Sage did a tremendous job. He does a great job every time he's in there. He's been around this league before, and he stepped in there and he played tremendous football and led the team, and made the throws he needed to make."
(on whether he was giving any advice to Texans QB Sage Rosenfels during the game) "Well, definitely we talked, but he's a guy that's played in a number of games in this league, so he didn't need me to encourage him or say anything. If he needed something, I was there. If I did see something, I would let him know, just so we're on the same page, but other than that I just let him play."
(on whether he was surprised with Texans QB Sage Rosenfels' performance) "Not at all. He's played a lot of years. He's a veteran guy, so he knows how to go in and manage the game, so I wasn't surprised at all."
Texans RB Darius Walker
(on playing in today's game) "I was so excited to be out there in the first place. It's really live bullets, it's a whole different level from what I'm used to, but I enjoyed it, had a good time, and (I'm) glad to come out with a victory."
(on the fact that he got more carries than expected because of Texans RB Ron Dayne's sore ankle) "(I got) a few more carries than I expected, but I wanted them, and I was up for the challenge. I told myself that this is something that I really wanted to do, and when I got the opportunity, I tried to do the best I could."
(on how he feels to play in his first NFL game after contributing to the Texans on the practice squad) "It feels good, because it's been a long time coming; it really has. A lot of work went into it. It just feels good to get the 'W' with the team."
(on the Texans offensive line play after having so many injuries) "That just kind of shows you what kind of team we have, because there have been some injuries, and some guys who had to step in and take their part, and they really did that. I think it really showed."
Texans DE Mario Williams
(on the fact that the Texans won) "That's all that matters. Everybody knows that we're injured, and they're like, 'well how are you guys going to win?' The guys played their tails off. It was just phenomenal. Everybody was out there giving all they had to the last stroke. That's all that matters, and we came out with the victory."
(on the entire team contributing to the victory) "That's how it's supposed to be, and before the game, last night coach made the statement that in order for us to win playing against this great team, we were going to have to step up in those places, and everybody was going to have to make the big plays to win the game. That's what we did. It was a team effort, and we got it done."
(on what has contributed his five sacks in the last four games) "Just the coaches being on me; the players being on me, making me be accountable, and me just being comfortable. I'm just out there and I feel so much more relaxed. Things are just coming together."
(on the Texans effort this game) "Like I said, this was the biggest team effort I've ever seen. In the position we're in, like I said about the injuries, for the guys to step up that had to replace the guys that were down, they played their tails off, and it's just phenomenal."
(on what he thinks the Texans can accomplish over the final three games) "The sky is the limit. We just have to come out here and play our ball, and play hard, like we did today. We came out and played hard until we had nothing left. Now we've got a quick turn around. We've got to get back and get our feet back under us, just get back and recover real fast and get ready for Thursday."
(on if he feels like he is on roll) "I try to come out and feel comfortable and relaxed and just play ball. I just let it go. Whatever happens, happens. If I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll. It is what it is."
(on the significance of this win compared to others) "We understand that it's a very tough end of the season. Winning late is very important. It's a good thing for us when we're trying to get something going. To have this win is very phenomenal for our team."
(on what he is doing now that was missing earlier this season) "I don't know. You tell me. I really don't know. I feel like I'm doing pretty much the same thing. I can honestly say that after our break I felt a lot more rejuvenated. It's not just me. I was averaging 70 plays. It was something that was pretty tough. Not just myself, but all of the team has helped me out. The offense has stayed out on the field, the players on the defense are keeping me up, and the coaches are keeping me up. I have to stay out there. It's not just me. The offense has really helped out a lot. They keep the ball for a long time and that helps out a lot. I've just been feeling fresh and been able to go 100 percent the whole game."
(on whether football is fun again and if it ever stopped being fun last year) "No, it didn't stop being fun. With everything that I had thrown at me, it never stopped being fun. The only thing that was a bad thing was just my foot, because it something that I really couldn't get around. Football is always fun. If it ever isn't, that's when I'll have to consider other things, but I'm sure that won't happen for a while."
(on the physical demands of turning around and playing again Thursday) "It's my first time to do it, and I'm sure it's the first time for a lot of players to do it. It will be a change up, but something we have to do. We just have to be smart with what we do in practice and after practice. We have to make sure we rest after practice when we get the chance. We just have to be ready. Everyone that I have talked to is ready for Thursday's game. This game is behind us. We'll break down the film quickly because we have a short week, and we'll get ready for Denver."
Texans T Eric Winston
(on players stepping up) "We're going to find guys out there that want to play and want to win, and that's what's all about being a team."
(on being comfortable with G Mike Brisiel in the lineup) "I think I'm comfortable because Mike Brisiel's been in every meeting, doing the right thing. And it'd be pretty easy for a guy like that on practice squad to pack it in and say, 'Hey, you know what, I'm not going to keep up with the offense, I'm not going to do this.' But you take a guy like him that's kept up with the offense and done the right things, been doing the right things to help us win even though he's on practice squad, that makes for an easy transition into the starting lineup. I watch him every day in practice, I watch him grind, and that guy can play and I think he showed it today."
(on if he offered G Mike Brisiel any advice during the game) "No, he knows what he's doing. And that's the thing, and that's why I was comfortable, because I know he knows what he's doing. It's bad if you get in there with a guy and, 'Man, I'm not sure he knows what's going on.' I know Mike knows what's going on and he has the physical skills to do it, and he went out there and did it. Now, are we talking, are we keeping up with each other? Of course. But that's football, and that's what we're doing."
(on QB Sage Rosenfels stepping up) "Well, I've been telling a lot of people this, that we've got two pretty good quarterbacks, two real good quarterbacks. And a lot of people wanted to write off Sage (Rosenfels) or say, 'Oh, when (QB Matt) Schaub went down, that's going to be the end, Schaub was doing everything.' Sage is a smart guy and Sage is a very capable guy, and we see it a lot in practice and a lot of people don't get a chance to see it. You look at the games he came in, against Tennessee, you look at the Oakland game, he's great at managing a game, knowing, 'Hey, what's the situation we're in, what do we need to do,' and I think you saw it with a lot of sustained, long drives. He brings that to the table. Very smart guy and he did what it takes to get it done."
(on having a short week) "There's nothing that energizes you like a win, and then you get a chance to go out there and we're going for .500 now. We're 6-7, going for .500. This team's never been .500 this late in the year. And we said at the beginning of the season, yes, we want to make the playoffs, but we want to be a winner and this is our next step to being a winner. That's what it's going to be all about on Thursday."
(on this being a gratifying win) "Every win's a gratifying win, whether you're 0-10 or 10-0; every win's a gratifying win. I think it shows exactly what we've been saying, that this team's got heart, this team's a different team. It's not that team from a few years ago or even last year. This is a different team. We're building certain characteristics of a big-time team here, and I think you saw one of those things. When someone goes down on a big-time team, someone comes in and steps up and plays well, and we had three guys do that today on just offense, not even on defense. So just on offense you have three guys come in and contribute and play well, and playing well enough to win. If you can play well enough to win in this league, you'll be playing for a long time."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden
(on the outcome of today's game) "The Houston Texans deserve a lot of credit today. They're a talented football team and we're disappointed, obviously, with the outcome of the game. We had two turnovers deep in our territory, one at the end of the game and gave up a 100-yard return, and really didn't get off the field very well on third downs today. I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can."
(on the possibility that Tampa Bay could still wrap up their division today) "We are going to take care of all of those scenarios later. We didn't play enough today to win. The goal is not necessarily just qualifying for playoffs- the goal is to win a championship. We have to play better to do that. We lost a couple of players today and it's getting very difficult, but I'm proud of our team. We've won two out of the last three games with our backup quarterbacks and we're looking forward to (QB) Jeff (Garcia) returning next week against the (Atlanta) Falcons."
(on his decision today to not play QB Jeff Garcia) "I'm sure there has been a lot of debate and I have done the best I can to not let the whole world know what we are doing. It's hard enough to make a 1st down in this league, without everyone having your game plan. The medical people said that the injury would take two full weeks as you know, Garcia would tell you, he could've played. And he could have. He played against Washington (Redskins) after he got hurt, but the injury took two weeks to heal. We have to let the injury take it's time to heal. When I walk in the building Monday, #7 will be back."
(on the performance of backup QB Luke McCown) "Luke has got to get rid of the football. There were some times when he needed to throw the ball away. Sometimes that's the best play you can make. There were four or five situations where that came into play today. When you get guys wide open, as we did in the 3rd quarter, you have got to make those plays. We had (TE) Alex Smith and then we had (WR) Joey (Galloway) on back-to-back plays and that would have tied the football game and get us some real momentum. There were some positive things and also some things to learn from."
(on if they were able to bounce back from the kickoff return) "We did bounce back from it. We bounced back with an immediate score and we got the ball back and we had two wide-open looks to tie it. That's the kind of football team we have here. We lost (WR) Ike Hilliard today, which really compromised us. He is a clutch, go-to guy for us on 3rd downs especially. We're searching right now to find out his availability for next week."
(on his decision to go for it on fourth-and-two early in the game) "Was it 4th & 2 or was it 4th & 1? I was right there and I thought it was a little bit closer to one. That's always one of the toughest plays in football. We were on the 34-yard line. Last week we kicked a field goal, it was a 52-yarder and we missed it. Today we had two shots and we felt pretty good about our short yard points selection. We didn't get it on 3rd down and we didn't get it on 4th down. I don't believe I would do any different there. We're not going to punt and we choose to go with two runs in succession that we thought would get it done. In fairness to (Texans DE) Mario Williams and (Texans DT) Amobi Okoye, they thought differently."
(on the fumbled snap in the shotgun) "Obviously, it was a blitz situation and it looked like we were changing the play. It's the first mishap we've had in the shotgun all season, but obviously, (C) John (Wade) and (QB) Luke (McCown) weren't on the same page in terms of their communication."
(on the injury suffered by WR Ike Hilliard) "I don't know exactly. He's had a number of nicks and nags here the past couple of weeks. He's the toughest guy that I've ever coached at that position. I don't want to take anything away from anybody else, but I'm concerned about his overall health right now. He's beat up a little bit right now, but we need him back."
(on the Bucs pass protection) "It's pretty good. At times we had some good protection. When there is a blitz coming there's going to be a free guy. You don't change the play. We just weren't able to recognize it a time or two. Let's give these Texans some credit- they're not easy to block, but I thought overall the pass protection was good enough. We just didn't make the plays."
(on third down conversions on both sides of the ball) "We had a 3rd down conversion and we made the 1st down, but then fumbled the football. We had some opportunities to make some plays, but we overthrew a couple receivers. We had a couple of 3rd and extra longs, which are tough, but that's football"
(on if the possibility of clinching the division title comes into game planning) "I just try not to get so wrapped up in playoffs and advantages and scenarios and things of that nature. As I said several weeks ago, we do have the train on the track again and we're competing every week. I'm proud of these guys and looking forward to getting our QB back for the rest of the season. Everything else will take care of itself. Our goal is to improve and clearly there were some areas today that weren't good enough to be a great football team. That's what this team here in the locker room wants."
(on if his team has had a drop-off in focus) "There's no drop-off in focus. We missed a couple of tackles. We missed a couple of open receivers. I'm not going to get into lack of focus. This team is working their tail off. I want to say that perfectly clear. If anyone deserves blame it's me."
Buccaneers DE Gaines Adams
(on the biggest difference today versus when the team rolled off four straight wins) "We just didn't get it done. Houston came out and executed very well. They played great. What we did today was unacceptable. We'll come back tomorrow and try to solve this problem."
(on 3rd downs on both sides of the ball) "We just didn't execute, that is the bottom line. I can't say what the problem is. We just didn't get it done."
(how disappointing was this game, after coming off of four straight wins) "Four game win streak or one game win streak, it really doesn't matter. We just didn't get it done. Everything we did today was unacceptable."
Buccaneers RB Earnest Graham
(on scoring a TD in five straight games, tying a team record) "I think we are where we need to be as a running game on crucial third and fourth downs and around the goal line to cap our drives and we have been able to do that. We would have liked to have done that better today."
(on Bucs QB Jeff Garcia saying that he is the key to the offense) "That is flattering, but (QB) Jeff (Garcia) has played his butt off. I am playing well right now. Jeff has been playing his butt off. (QB) Luke (McCown) came in and stepped up. The guys in front of me are doing a hell of a job blocking. I'm just doing what I do, as is everybody else on this team."
(on the improved play of DE Mario Williams) "The guy is a physical specimen. He has a presence. Just like our defense end Gaines Adams, those guys find their grove and understanding what they need to do out on the field to be successful. He (Williams) is showing that it was not a mistake for this team to draft him where they did. He has been doing a hell of a job, just like the other guys on the defense.
(on the play of QB Sage Rosenfels) "He put together some long times. He didn't turn the ball over, and took what the defense gave him. He managed the game very well."
Buccaneers QB Luke McCown
(on what the miscommunication was about) "Yeah I take full responsibility for that. It's a situation were I had a change in play and I was making sure that everyone on the offensive line got it. I didn't know if (C) John Wade got the signal, the snap was called, so I was giving it (play) to him (Wade) again, and when I did I missed the snap. So there was miss communication, but I take full responsibility for that."
(on what about getting the ball out of your hand) "There were certainly two or three plays that I would have liked to get it out of my hand quicker, but again you know what they (Texans) did a good job on was cutting down our options with a single safety, zone coverage, and blitzing one guy which takes away your check guy. So in a game like that try and make something happen, get something going. Just got to do a better job of getting back and in depth and finding your check guy somewhere. "
(on what the understanding that this would be your game) "You know, this week (QB) Jeff (Garcia) is kind of working his way back into it, but I was fully prepared, fully prepared to play. I felt fine and confident of what we had going and you just got to tip your hats off to the Texans.
(on what his feelings were about going for it on 4th down during the 1st drive) "That was the play that was called, they gave us a look that I wasn't necessarily ready for. It brought a free safety off the weak side. In my thinking it was a situation were we lost about a foot or foot in a half and we got hammered in there. So we are going to have to take a timeout in the situation, regroup."
(on feeling the pressure from incompletions like WR Joey Galloway and TE Alex Smith) "The rollout were Alex pops out just surprised me, I certainly was expecting him to pop wide open like that. And then I didn't know if I had enough time to gather myself and give my throw so I just tried to pop it up in the air and give him a chance to catch it. I was a little wide with it and he's not our primary on that particular play. And the on with Joey was 12 inches to far. I understand that you aren't going to get every play, but when you get opportunities like that (to score a touchdown) you got to take advantage of those situations and get those guys the football."
(on turnovers being a factor) "Oh no question, turnovers are a brutal fact that they will lose the game for you. And one way or the other the bad snap by me, (TE) Alex's (Smith) play; we just got to do what we can to take care of the football. And we got to capitalize on the ones that we get from them and we didn't capitalize on all of them. And so we got to do a good job on that.
(on your emotions) "We got to do a better job, taking care of the football, finishing drives and a lot of things go into this game. If we would have done that the outcome would have been different."
(on the summary of your play) "That's not for me to say, it is for you guys. I try to help this team win the best way I can; that's my goal."