Head Coach Gary Kubiak**
What's your reaction? "Well, the effort of our football team was tremendous, not always clean obviously, but I thought we played extremely hard. We had some very difficult situations to play through and then, offensively, when they can pin their ears back, they are very, very difficult. They came and got us pretty good there late in the game, they had a couple of opportunities. We played extremely hard, they're a good football team, hats off to them. But, I'm proud of my team's effort, I'm just very disappointed in the result."
What about Brian Cushing? "It doesn't look good. He's got a knee (injury). I mean, just from the little bit that I know. I mean, obviously very concerned. We'll see where we're at, but I can't give you—I have nothing for you right now, but a big concern."
Case Keenum made a lot of big plays. Did he bring the spark you were talking about? "Yeah, we definitely did. We found a little heartbeat today. I thought we came in here and played the type of game we had to play if you're going to come in here and win. We had ourselves in that position. Our running back situation was very detrimental to us, especially when we were on the one-yard line, that situation that we had. That would have been huge to get the ball in the end zone right there, but we played through some tremendous things. He did a great job, he's got some things he's got to understand better when they come after him that he'll learn from and he'll learn quickly, but boy, he made some great football plays to get his team in position to win. He had his team in position all day long; we just couldn't make the one play to make the difference."
A couple of times you didn't see that there were more guys out there than you could block. "That's part of playing, and this team knows you're going to throw it and it gets really difficult. We were really able, throughout the course of the day, to keep them off balance from how we were playing the game and what we were doing. Then with our running back situation, we got in a situation where we had to throw the ball. They pinned their ears back and that's what they do best. So, hats off to them."
How bad is Arian Foster's hamstring? "He's got a hamstring, obviously bad enough where he couldn't come back and play. We do have a bye week. Ben (Tate) has some ribs, Duane (Brown) has an ankle and (Shiloh) Keo has an ankle, so we got beat up on top of everything."
Was Ben (Tate) playing because he flat out had to? "I wouldn't say that. He came in and took a shot, wanted to give it a go. We kind of were trying to weather the storm and wait on him until he got back out there and we did. We really made some plays, we got the ball out of the hole, we got backed up and made a big play to DeAndre (Hopkins), and we were right back in midfield. Then, we wait until he comes back out and he comes back out and we tried to run the ball a few times and sometimes it wasn't very good. Then we get in a throwing mode, and that's not where you want to be against this group."
Are you going to keep Case Keenum in shotgun going forward? "I try to approach the game with what I think he does best, and I had one week to do it. So, we went to the pistol and tried to get him out there where you could see really well. We functioned well and we functioned with the ball well, we didn't have any problems with the snaps or anything. We didn't have any turnovers until the end of the game there. So, I liked the way we functioned for a team that really made a big change for four days, I liked the way we functioned."
What about formations tonight? "When you go empty, you know you're going to get blitzed, so you try to have plans where you can get rid of the ball, where we can hurt the blitz. A couple of times we did get rid of it and hurt it, a couple of times he held onto it too long, a couple of times there's tough places to go with the ball, so there's a lot of things involved. When they see you on the field with no back on the field, they come, so that became a hard deal."
What about the attitude of the team? "It's tough anytime you lose in this business, and we've been on a bad streak. I think the heartbeat of our team was there all day today in how we played and how hard we played. I think we played in the toughest place maybe there is to play in the NFL right now. I'm proud of their effort. I don't think I've ever seen my team play harder. It just hurts, because we've got nothing to show for it right now, but if we play that way the rest of the season, we'll win our share of our football games. We have to regroup and figure out who we've got and move forward."
What is your reaction to the loss of Bum Phillips? "Yeah, that's tough. I think, if anything, it would have been really nice to win that game for Wade (Phillips) and his family today. He was always Coach to me and I was thinking about him all day today. My first taste of the NFL was him bringing me to this stadium as a little boy. It was ironic that I was here today, this weekend. So great moment, great person, we'll miss him."
How do you feel about the game? "I'm really disappointed and frustrated. I thought our team played really hard there towards the end. We put the offense in a position and me in a position to go down and win the game, and we didn't. I didn't make the plays there at the end. You've got to give credit to Kansas City. They've got a heck of a defense, and they did a good job disguising looks and bringing pressure. But our receivers did a great job getting open all afternoon. I just didn't make the throws when I needed to."
Did you feel like you made some good things happen? "It's nice to make good things happen, but I'm going to watch the film and I'm going to think about those couple of plays where I didn't. That's just how it goes. I'm learning this game. I'm learning that it's those few plays in the crunch time that make the difference. You could play as well or as bad and make a few plays. A turnover here or there or whatever it is, it's very small. I want to make them next time."
The series where you guys made it down to the one yard line and couldn't punch it in. How critical was that situation? "Yeah, it's tough. I think we were down a running back at that point, maybe two. The sneak, I wish that would have got in, and I can make a better ball to DeAndre [Hopkins]. It's a matchup we love, him on the goal line there. It wound up being a big play. It's one of those plays where I want that ball back."
The last three possessions ended in sacks. Was Kansas City doing something differently? "Yeah, they were doing a good job, and I got confused. My guys were working to get open, and I just need to get the ball out. My offensive line did a great job protecting all day. They did an extremely good job, especially running the ball early. I thought we had some really good drives. We just didn't make the play at the end."
What did you learn about yourself, the NFL, and the game? "I learned a lot today. That was a big stage, obviously, and a really good football team. I learned that it's those small, one or two plays here and there that make a difference. Being consistent throughout the game and making sure that I'm the same guy in the first quarter that I am in the second quarter and third and fourth. Continuing to press and to grind out each play."
Are you proud that you showed you could play at this level? "I had belief that I could do that before. I had confidence in myself, but I know I can do better. I want to do everything I can to help this team win. That's what I've said from day one. There were a few plays out there today that I didn't and that frustrates me."
You stayed in the shotgun today. Coach said he did everything he could to make you feel most comfortable, is that the way you thought it needed to go, too? "I showed up on Monday ready to get a game plan just like anybody. I thought the coaches did a great job of calling the plays and put me in great positions at times, and I just didn't make it when it counted."
What comes next for you? "When we go to work Monday and Tuesday we have to get better. It's a big week for us, and we have to get back to the fundamentals."
What were your emotions coming into this game? "I had a lot of emotions. I try not to think about it too much on a big scale. I tried to keep my head down each day, keep grinding and do what I do. I thought there is no better stage to have my first start then here."
How did you sleep? "I slept pretty well actually."
You felt like you were relaxed? "Yeah, I was. I felt good; I knew everyone had my back. I felt good about the game plan and wanted to come out swinging it. My mindset was to attack."
What about physically, were you tired? "Yeah I think it showed there at the end with the ball security. Taking hits and they do a good job of rushing the passer and strip sacks, but I felt fine. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow."
RB ARIAN FOSTER
On the performance of quarterback Case Keenum: "I thought he played well. I am extremely proud of him. He had a lot of pressure on him, but he showed what he could do. He is just going to grow from here. He played well. He has a bright future. He is young. I think he played extremely well. Who knows what is going to happen moving forward, but he definitely showed his stuff out there."
What is your injury? "It's a hamstring. It doesn't seem too severe right now, so we will just play it out. I have a bye week coming. It's tough."
How tough is it for the team to deal with the injury to Brian Cushing? "It's a tough situation for him. He works so hard. Injuries are a part of the game. He is going to come back strong and be ready for next year. It's a tough break."
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS
Comments on his touchdown catch: "It was man-to-man coverage. Case trusted me, and I went up and made a play. It was a great throw by Case."
Comments on an incomplete touchdown pass: "I am always disappointed when my hands touch the ball and I don't catch it."
How hard is it to lose a game this close? "We know we have a good team. We know what is ahead. It is a long season. We have to scratch this one out and go onto the next game."
DE J.J. WATT
Comments on the team's performance? "I thought this team played extremely hard. I thought we fought very, very hard. In the second half especially, this defense started to feel like the old defense. The defense we know and love. If you are looking for a positives, that is definitely a positive but in the end an 'L' is an 'L.' Everybody, everybody battled and fought hard. That is one thing you can take away."
How big of a loss is losing Brian Cushing? "I think we all know how big of a loss that is. Obviously, it was the same thing last hear. We will hope for the best and wait and see."
Can this season be salvaged? What is the big picture? "I am not packing it in. I don't know one guy in this locker room that is packing it in. Like I said earlier in the week, 'Work is all we can do and work is all I know how to do.'"
How much of a spark did quarterback Case Keenum provide for this team? "He played well. He came in, in a very hostile environment against a good football team, and he played well. Some of those plays he made, that's exciting stuff. That's what you like to see. It also shows faith in your defense when you see a guy out there taking shots like that. He knows the defense can go out there and shut it down if it has to. We just need to play a better first half on defense. That's my thought. Like I said, I am proud of our second half on defense. It's just the first half, we really need to step it up."
How encouraging it is to get a couple of takeaways: "It is nice to get a couple there. We need to get a couple more and need to stay on that streak. It's one of those situations where you get a couple and you hope it starts a roll, and that's what we are looking for."
How much did you want to win this game for Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips? "Very much. Very, very, very much. Obviously we are disappointed by the outcome. For him to even be here, he his fighting for us. It's a tough situation for everybody, when your coach loses his father, when a city loses a legend, when you lose somebody who you look to as a mentor. I think all of us had some sort of experience with Bum (Phillips). I know I had a few conversations with him over the years, and he was a special guy. He means a lot to the city of Houston. He means a heck of a lot to our defensive coordinator. We were going out and doing everything we could to try to get a win in that situation and try to put a smile on our defensive coordinator's face, for east a couple of hours. Unfortunately we were not able to do that."
C CHRIS MYERS
Talk about the goal line stand that the Chiefs made, and of course you don't have Arian [Foster] available to you. "You wish you could have those back. We called three plays to be able to get it in – with the [quarterback] sneak, the running play, which we should have been able to get it in there, and then the play action. It's just something as an offensive lineman we take pride in. All around today, the offensive line needed to play better. But, they've [the Kansas City Chiefs defense] got a very talented group, give them all the credit in the world. We need to be able to learn from this."
What kind of impression did Case [Keenum] make on you today? "I think he controlled the game well. He kept everyone upbeat in the huddle. I think that's the biggest thing that he could have done as a young player was to come in there and kind of try to wrangle everybody when we were in a pressure situation the whole game. I think he did a quality job controlling the game."
How tough was it when Arian [Foster] went down so early in the game? "It's tough. Arian and Ben were the only running backs we had. Greg [Jones] is there for emergency cases. But, once Arian went down, it was a one-man back field. To be able to establish some yards in the first half was good. But, once we kind of got one dimensional, we couldn't call a ton of running plays in the second half."
What kind of challenges did the Chiefs defense play for you today? "They're a talented group all the way across. From the D line to the secondary, they're quality guys. To able to have those two guys on the outside rushing and (Dontari) Poe on the inside [makes things tough]. He is a talented player. I told him after the game he's made strides from his rookie year. He's making plays left and right. To be able to have [Derrick] Johnson there, kind of feeding off all of those guys, it's impressive. You've got to give them credit."
On Brian Cushing's injury. "It's very unlucky. You feel for Cush because of the comeback that he made from last year. And, to have to go through this again, it's crushing. It's a big blow emotionally. He's our leader on defense and one of the leaders of the whole team. When something like that happens, it crushes you. But, you've got to be able to rally and get the guys to be able to play behind him."
WR ANDRE JOHNSON
What kind of impression did Case [Keenum] make on you today? "I think he did a great job. He kept plays alive. He gave us a chance. In certain situations, you could tell it was his first time starting in a game like this. But overall, the kid came in energetic."
On the crowd noise. "To be honest, thought it would be louder. I played here before and I thought it was louder then than it was today. I did think it would be louder than it was. I don't think the noise affected us that much today."
What were some of the problems the Chiefs defense created for you today? "They've got a great pass rush. We knew that coming into the game. There were times when we did not pick up the blitz and things like that. They made us pay. That's the thing. We had a big turnover at the end [of the game]. Those are things you just can't have happen. They're really good."
LB BROOKS REED
What do you think Wade [Phillips] has been going through with his dad? "He's going through a tough time right now. This defense has backed him up. We played for him today. We tried to put it all out there. It was an inspired effort. If we keep playing like this, good things will happen down the road."
On Brian Cushing's injury. "That's a big loss for the defense. He's the inspiration for our defense. He's the guy that brings the mojo and he's going to be missed – big time."