The Texans won their fourth consecutive game with a 13-12 upset over the Tennessee Titans. After the game, members of both team spoke to the media.
Texans owner Bob McNair
(on the game) "It's exciting. We beat a very fine football team. They had two turnovers; we had one. Of course, we did have the opportunity to add a few other points there that we left out there. It was just a hard-fought game and it just shows you what our team is capable of doing."
(on beating the team with the best record in the NFL) "Well, that's terrific and it's terrific to do it at home. You know, we've been playing well and to continue playing well and clean up our game a little bit, as we did, it just shows that we can play with anybody in the league. I think that's wonderful. I think that's what we've all been looking forward to."
(on the Texans' defense) "Well, the defense really came to the front when we needed them. They played so much better. We held them to 100 yards rushing and we rushed for 107, I believe. They've had one of the leading rushing attacks in the game and they've been about as good as it comes on stopping the other team from running the ball. So, we beat them at both of those. I just thought that was outstanding and I think the way we came back on that last drive, it was a little bit like the Packers game, and when we needed a big play, boy (QB) Matt (Schaub) made a terrific play and (WR) Andre (Johnson) a great catch. And then when we needed the first down, (RB) Steve Slaton broke through there and I think (LT) Eric (Winston) came out and made that tackle to free him up on the sideline. It was just making a play when you need it and that's what this was all about. It was exciting."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if the win made up for WR Andre Johnson dropping passes at Tennessee) "He was ready to go. We were all ready to play. They're a tremendous football team. We knew it would be that type of game. I'm just proud of our guys. We got it in a nasty, physical football game. We're willing to play that way all day long and find a way to win like that. They're a heck of a football team. I'm very proud of our effort, and Andre was very special today."
(on if he was surprised that Tennessee didn't kick a field goal at the end) "No, I wasn't, because that wind was a factor down there. With (K) Kris (Brown), and just talking to him throughout the game, that would have been a 54 or 53 (yard field goal) or something like that had he tried it. It was a pretty long field goal. I thought they might try to draw us offsides and then come out and kick the field goal, but they did not do that. I think it would have been a very difficult field goal today with the breeze."
(on shutting down the Tennessee running game) "They did a couple little wrinkles early. They didn't run different plays. They changed their scheme a little bit on the back side, and we got a little confused and they popped out a couple runs. We did a good job of adjusting and our effort, our tackling, was very good today. Our red zone defense was excellent."
(on the play of the Texans' defense) "They've been playing really well. This is two weeks in a row that a football team is in position if they get five or six more yards to beat us with a field goal, and both times our guys stood up and said 'No' and made a play. They did that again today. They've just been playing very, very well. We had some guys come in today and help. (LB Xavier) Adibi went out, (and LB) Morlon (Greenwood) came in, played well. Just great effort. We put our guys in a lot of man coverage, none bigger than at the end of the game, and they responded. I'm just very proud of the job (defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) and his staff have done and the effort that we're giving on that side of the ball right now."
(on the play of DT Amobi Okoye) "He was a factor today. He's been playing hurt for us, which we well know, for the last month. We've been talking to Amobi a lot, expecting more out of him as we move forward here. We let him know we understand he's playing hurt, we're just trying to push him, and I think he started pushing himself better this week. And he was definitely a factor in the game."
(on WR Andre Johnson's personality) "He doesn't say much. Very quiet person, whether it's practice or the game. Just a worker. Very well-respected person both on and off the field. He's kind of like E.F. Hutton – when he speaks, everybody listens. Today, he stood up and talked in front of the team for a few minutes. He doesn't do that very often, but they know they can count on him. He's a special guy."
(on QB Matt Schaub's toughness today) "They definitely got their shots in, but that's what they do. That's what this team does. They're very difficult to score points on. Excellent red zone team. Very physical team throughout the course of the day. They're going to keep pounding on your back. They're going to keep pounding on your quarterback. And if you're not ready to do it with them for four quarters, you're going to be in some trouble at some point in the football game. I think the difference today was that we were willing to do it for four quarters."
(on using WR Andre Johnson differently) "We always try to get him balls. I carry a little sheet with me in the back of my pocket – I've done it for years – (that says) how to get X the ball, how to get Z the ball, how to get Y the ball. I've always done that. Believe me, his list is long. Sometimes, people do things defensively that you have to try to make some big plays by using him in certain situations to get the coverage you want, and he is very unselfish from that standpoint. As I've always told you, the reason to me he's special is because I can move him all over the place and it doesn't bother him. There are some players that you ask them to play too many spots and they get bogged down. He says, 'Where do you want me to go? I'll play inside, outside, I'll do whatever you want me to do.'"
(on how he is impressed by his team's growth) "It's growing in mental, in physical toughness. You're sitting there at 3-7, things haven't gone good, you've played some good football games that you haven't won, you could really go into the tank in this league. It's easy to do. I think it all started when we played well at Indianapolis, we got beat, and in the locker room, we didn't sulk or talk about getting beat. We talked about going to Cleveland and winning a football game. I think since then, we've just kind of rallied as a team. We've gotten a few breaks, but we've earned our breaks."
(on if in the locker room at Indianapolis he said, "Who's with me?") "I never said, 'Who's with me?' That's just a big, big story. That thing's grown. What I said after the game was, I told them, 'I'm excited about your effort. I'm proud of the way you played today. I know we didn't win, but all that matters right now is we're going to Cleveland to win. Are you guys in?' And they said, 'We're all in.'"
(on RB Steve Slaton's ability to run today) "They did nothing specific to him. They're just good up front. They're so physical, so big. You can't reach the big guy (DT Albert Haynesworth) in there, so it's hard to get the ball outside. The ball stays between the tackles. They're just so physical, but we stayed committed to it. The thing that has impressed us so much about this kid is he seems to run better at the end of games. For a small player, he gets stronger as the game goes on. Believe me, he took a pounding today. He'll be sore in the morning, but that run he made at the end of the game was special coming out of that pile."
(on what he attributes RB Steve Slaton's run ability to) "I just think he never stops his feet. When he gets in crowds, with his stature, sometimes he gets lost in there. They'll think he's down and he's still moving, and our guys keep working up front. That's a sign of a good football team, when everybody knows you have to run and at the end of the game, you still find a way to run it. That's a nice step forward for us."
(on what, other than controlling the ball, was the best thing they did about Tennessee RBs Chris Johnson and LenDale White) "I think early, we could have gotten frustrated. The first two carries, they popped off almost 30 yards, if I'm right. You're going, 'Holy smokes.' We just kept working, and the coaches did a good job of adjusting. I think we tackled better. They're very committed. They're going to run that football. When they came out in the third quarter, it was obvious what they decided to do. They were going to pound us. But we rose to the occasion and we played good red zone defense. Two good backs, great group up front, you just hope you don't give up the big play. And we didn't today."
(on his reaction to the Titans' incompletion on the fourth down) "The first thing I knew right there was that there was still a lot of football to play. Even though we stopped them, they had three timeouts, so we could very well be right back off the field. We were a first down away from ending the game, if it takes us three downs. The fact that he (RB Steve Slaton) busts out on first down, now we needed another one, need to make two first downs there to be able to hit a knee, and the guys did a great job."
(on how he felt personally after the game) "I'm just proud for the guys. I don't worry about me. These coaches, these players, this organization, everyone is working extremely hard. We've had a hard time beating this group. To me, they're the best team in football right now, and for us to step up today and play the way we did, I'm just proud and happy for everybody to be able to walk out of here with a smile on their face today."
(on if he's excited) "I'm excited. You know I'm excited. I don't show it very much, but I'm very excited."
(on what he'll do later to show his excitement) "I'll go spend some time with my family. I'll go enjoy it just like you guys are."
"Let me tell y'all this. You didn't ask, but let me tell you all this in case it comes up. (CB) Antwaun Molden has a fractured ankle, so he's done for the year."
Texans CB Fred Bennett
(on the game) "There were a couple plays today that could have gone the wrong way. But like I said, we kept fighting, scratching, and we believed. That's one of the main things, we believe."
(on how surprised he was on the Titans fourth-and-3 call) "I wasn't surprised at all. I knew they were going to throw it. I was hoping they'd throw it. Being a corner, you want that challenge. I'm a competitor. The guys on the back, we're competitors. We really kind of want the pressure on us. So whatever happens, happens. Today, we came away with a win."
(on his interception) "Yeah, they were driving. It was a big interception. I played my technique. It was a good play on my part. But I thought our front seven today got pressure on the quarterback. I thought our front seven gave us opportunities on the back end to make plays."
Texans LT Duane Brown
(on what this win did for the franchise) "Over the past years, everybody looked down on them. To be here and just see the progression throughout this year and to be a part of it, it's a great feeling for me. We see now that we can play with anybody. It's all about us taking care of the ball and executing and just finishing games, and we've done that the past four weeks and have a few weeks left to try to finish it off strong."
(on how it feels to finish the season strong going into next season) "Everyone is confident. Everyone sees what we can do against the great teams of the league. We know what we can do now. As long as we play the way we are capable of playing and protect the ball and force turnovers on defense, we see what we can do. These past few weeks have really given us extra motivation for the rest of the season and heading into next season."
(on any difference from the first time he played against the Titans) "I've played 10 games since the first one and so I have a gotten lot of experience. Also, we're at home, so we have the crowd on our side, the homefield advantage. There are a number of factors that go into it. I just felt more comfortable out there. I knew we were going to be in for a dogfight and I was getting my mind prepared for that all week and that's exactly what it was. We won by one point, but that's all it takes."
Texans K Kris Brown
(on the game) "Kudos to our defense. They played tremendous and I owe them big time."
(on the Texans first four-game winning streak) "Oh, I mean, it's exciting. I think that what we've done in the last four weeks, that's what it takes to win in this league. We just need to keep rolling and keep doing what we're doing."
(on if this is the best Texans team he's been a part of) "Oh absolutely. The talent and then looking at we've been able to do, especially the last four weeks. We just need to keep it going."
(on if he is surprised the Titans didn't bring K Rob Bironas on for a 49-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game) "Yeah, I mean, the wind was blowing a little bit. I don't know if that factored into it. But I thought, originally, I think he went out on the field and they called him back off the field. But yeah, I was a little surprised."
Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on lack of red zone touchdowns) "I think we need to run the ball better down there. That will open some things up for us. I think we need to commit to the run a little more when we're down there. I think we just need to focus on these last couple of weeks, and hopefully we can have a better percentage down there."
(on being 7-3 after the 0-4 start of the beginning of the season) "We put ourselves in the hole. We sucked it up this whole season. We knew the type of team that we were; we knew we were a lot better than our record showed and we wanted to prove it. A lot of people were doubting us - fans were doubting us, and we just wanted to prove to them that really we did improve. We're better than the team we were last year. We just want to finish this season strong and we're trying to do that right now."
Texans FS Nick Ferguson
(on how it felt to beat the Titans) "It felt wonderful. I don't think that this franchise has beaten that team in a while. They you look at us being somewhat of a mediocre team, but today we came out and played some good offense, defense and special teams. Sometimes under these last four games that we won, we've been able to put all three fazes together. Early on in the season we were not able to do that and it showed. Now, we're starting to come together."
(on physicality of the game) "We knew coming in it was going to be what we call a '9-5-7' in a smash-mouth game. We knew we were going to have to come out here and make some tackles and our corners were going to have to hold up on the outside. We did a great job. We took their best shots and now we're victorious. Now we look forward to our next game."
(on how 9-7 is still realistic) "You want to start the season this way and finish out this way, instead of playing in the backend. Your main joy is winning. Coming in next year, there are things to look forward to."
Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on his speech to the team after the game) "Over Thanksgiving, everyone was talking about what they were thankful for in the chapel service that we have. We were sitting in a circle and everybody was just saying what they were thankful for, and it was kind of shocking because other than the guys' kids or their families, the first thing that came out of their mouths was this team. I was telling everybody about that, even the guys who weren't there. I was just letting them know that the guys here are really thankful for their teammates. I think that's showing this past month, that the guys are just giving it up for the team and it's not about one guy, it's about everybody."
(on how things have changed since the beginning of the season) "Well, when we don't go out and hurt ourselves, we can go out and win games. We had a turnover today, but the defense managed to get a turnover, so I think we broke even in the turnover column. But normally when that happens, we're able to go out and win football games. There's been a lot of frustration at the beginning of the season. I've talked about it; you guys know that. But I've put all that in the past. I said to myself before that Colts game that whatever I had to do to go out and help this team win, no matter the situation, just put everything that is out there in the past behind you, all the frustration and things like that."
(on the journey the last few seasons) "It's been a long road. I didn't think it would take this long when I first got here. But we're growing and we've learned a lot about ourselves. I think right now, we're starting to find our niche."
(on if he ever doubted his team's capability to win four games in a row) "No, I never doubted we could win four in a row. I never doubted that. We had big expectations coming in to this season and things just didn't turn out the way that we wanted them to turn out, so we could have easily just gone in the tank, but guys were determined to just go out there and do our best to try and win this big game. "
(on how much he was in the slot today) "I was in the slot a little bit, not too much. They played a lot of single-eyed safety and they played the coverages really well. Just from looking at the last game, the first thing I bring up are the two catches I dropped. Those were plays that had to be made. I took full responsibility for it, and I felt like those are points we could have had that maybe could have won the game for us when we played them up there. We also didn't do a good job in the red zone against them when we were up there, and that was on everybody's mind coming in to this week. We know if we made those plays, we would've beaten them, and we were just determined that we were going to go out and make those plays today."
(on Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) "Same thing. He's still irritating. He's feisty; he's a feisty player. If you watch the game, you'll see me, (WR) Kevin (Walter), (WR) André (Davis), (WR) David (Anderson), all of us get into it with him. That's just the way he plays. I never used to speak to him, to be honest, but after the game, I talked to him and he seems like a great guy. But the way he plays on the field, I think sometimes if you don't have control over yourself, it can cause irritation."
(on the two penalties called on Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) "Those are the rules. I think he hit on (QB) Matt (Schaub) headfirst and I thought he hurt himself the way he dove at (TE) Owen (Daniels). He dove head first into Owen, so I thought he had hurt himself at first. You see a lot of times that guys go headfirst and they're not able to get back up, so I was glad he didn't hurt himself."
(on if QB Matt Schaub has anything left to prove) "I don't think he has to prove nothing to nobody. Matt's a good quarterback, he just hasn't been healthy; we haven't been able to keep him healthy. And when he's healthy, he goes out and plays well for us."
Texans DT Travis Johnson
(on what it means to beat the Titans) "They almost guaranteed a victory, so that really kind of just was a slap in our face. They thought they were going come in here and just beat us in our house, but that wasn't going to happen. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Richard) Smith and all the coaches really had us focused and really ready to go along with (Head) Coach Kube (Gary Kubiak). I think we just took so much pride, a yard at a time and just be better than the man in front of you."
(on what the talk on the field was about) "All they were talking about was home field advantage if they beat us. I guess they don't have it anymore, huh."
(on what it meant taking home field advantage from the Titans) "They are a good team. You can't take nothing away from them. Actually, they are a great team. They are in intentions to win the Super Bowl. It's something to come out here and beat them and really just build on our history. Because the Titans use to be the Oilers, so they have a history and we are history and everything we do is part of our history. So it's special to us."
(on how it feels to be 7-7) "I think it's good because we never been on the positive, as far as the win-side of this franchise as long as I've been here and it wasn't before I was here. Really, we just have to continue to just work and stride to get better every day."
(on if this was their best defensive game) "I think it is. We played a lot of sound football. We still made some mistakes. I could name a couple of mistakes I made and a couple of other folks made. We're getting there. We're striving to be perfect and trying to get there."
(on how he would describe this team) "We're trying to be great. We're trying to get mentioned up there with those guys. We're taking it one day at a time, and (Head) Coach Kube (Gary Kubiak) is doing a wonderful job getting us ready for that task."
Texans DT Amobi Okoye
(on the defense against the Titans) "It's a rivalry. That's what it is. So, defensively we just had to go out there and prove what we had to do."
(on what the defense was saying when the Titans lined up to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal) "The whole time we were saying to ourselves that obviously we didn't want them to catch us off sides. So, everybody listened to the, 'Don't jump offside.' And then if they do go for it just go after them, attack them. So that was the whole thing, don't get drawn offside because I'm sure that was their first goal, to see if anybody can jump."
(on if he was able to turn around and see the incompletion on the Titans fourth down play) "Yeah, I turned around and I saw the ball going in and saw the guy almost catch it and (CB) Jacques (Reeves) knock it out of his hands. I just ran to the end zone and he was excited. I didn't really get to celebrate with him then, but on the sideline I kind of hit him in the chest and he fell down (laughs). So, I didn't mean to hit him that hard."
Texans G Chester Pitts
(on if this is the best win he's had) "You know why this one was the best? Because that was the best frickin' team in the NFL and beyond a legitimate shot, they are by far and away the number one contender to win the Super Bowl. I mean, the Giants are playing well. I'll just be honest with you, we definitely, as a team playing other teams, it is a mark difference of how good they were as a team. In comparison, I feel like we really played our best game of all the ones we've played and snuck by with a one-point win."
(on if the way the way they've gotten beat by the Titans in the past adds to the satisfaction of the win) "We do our best not to buy into all that, because that's all talk. What happens on the field on Sundays is all that matters. But it always tastes good when you're playing the best and you find a way to get a W. For me, that's big and that's the most important thing. That's all I care about."
(on the Titans playing a normal game today) "They were here to win. They didn't fly in to rest their starters. No, no, no, no, no. This was, I have a feeling, this was the game where he (Titans head coach Jeff Fisher) told them, 'Go out and here, we win this one we clench it, then I'll rest you guys after.' So, they were out there playing to win. This was not messing around. There's nothing about the way they were playing saying they were resting themselves and getting ready for later. They were playing as hard as they could."
Texans CB Jacques Reeves
(on what he thought about the Titans throwing the ball on fourth down) "I felt disrespected, but I knew somebody had to make a play. It was fourth-and-three, so that's what we did."
(on what he thinks about the team going 9-7) "Thinking about winning the next game, going out to Oakland, beating up on Oakland, winning the next game. That's it. We can't too far in the future. We can't think about a winning season; we have to think about next week."
(on physicality of the game) "We played that type of football today. No disrespect to them. They played good. They played a heck of a game but we came out on top today."
Texans DT DelJuan Robinson
(on if the fourth-down play caught the defense off guard) "Well, yeah. It took some guts by them. But once again, we rose to the challenge and got off the field."
(on stopping the Titans run game) "That's all you heard all week - 'Smash and dash' and all that. We just rose to the challenge and played good, solid run defense."
(on what type of rhythm he was in) "They been drilling it in us all week, 'We have to stop the run, we have to stop the run'. We just got off the football. Plus, I have a teammate over there that plays offense line from college, and he was talking smack. So I was like, 'Hey, we're here to play'."
(on the defense's mindset) "We're going to stop them. We were going to get off the field because they really tried us. They really didn't expect us to play like that."
Texans CB Dunta Robinson
(on motivation of playing so hard today) "We're just finally realizing what kind of team we have. Sometimes, win streaks help, and winning football games help a lot. But we're just going out there and playing with emotions. We feel like we have all of our pieces back. '07 ended with a lot of injuries, and we feel if we had everybody safe and no injuries at the beginning of the season, we showed what we could do. Now that we have everybody back, we are just showing what we knew we could do."
(on it being a huge challenge for the defense going up against the Titans) "It was a huge challenge for this defense. All week you watch ESPN and NFL Network and they talk about how these guys were supposed to run the ball down our throats. We feel now that we have the type of defense that we take those things like that personally. We believe we have a lot of good players on this football team, and we just went out there and got the job done. We're not counting on one person to do everything on defense. Guys are going out there collectively and making plays to win football games."
(on what the defense was expecting from the Titans on the fourth-down play) "Actually, we were expecting them to kick a field goal. When they came out, we thought they were going to try and draw us offsides. In no way did we think they were going to go for the home run, which they did. They did, and it kind of backfired on them. We got off the field and ended up with a 'W.'"
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on the enthusiasm of the defense throughout the game) "Yeah, enthusiasm was sky high. It was out of the roof. Everybody was into to what we were doing. Everyone was excited. The enthusiasm was there. Nobody withered on me the entire game, so it was awesome, an awesome feeling. It's good when you're playing like that and guys are into it and bouncing around. You play a lot better defense when guys are doing that."
(on the tone of the game being set early by CB Fred Bennett's interception) "Yeah, that's what we talk about every week. We set a number for the number of turnovers we want to get. So, we're conscious of it ,and for (CB) Fred (Bennett) to go out there and start it off for us - I think they kind of moved the ball on us well on that first drive, and for him to end it with an interception, that was huge for us."
(on the big fourth-down stop at the end of the game) "Yeah, we though they were going to kick a field goal, but they went for it. They tried to make a play to finish us off, but once again, we stepped up to the plate and we finished. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game. In the past, we played these guys, we kind of let up in the fourth quarter and then we come in saying what we should have done and how we could have gotten the win. But today we got it done. We played all four."
(on beating Tennessee) "It's an awesome feeling. We've never beaten Tennessee since I've been here. So, it's an awesome feeling. It's like we got the monkey off our back so-to-speak. It's good to beat the best team in football. It was a huge game for us and I think our confidence level is rising every week. Guys are playing with a lot more swagger."
(on if he took it as a sign of disrespect when the Titans decided to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal) "No, I didn't take it as a sign of disrespect. I felt like they were trying to make a play and they just challenged us to step up and stop them. That's what football is all about, taking chances and someone stepping up and making a play. That's what they tried to do but our guys prevailed."
(on if it put pressure on the defense knowing that the Titans defense was so good) "It wasn't pressure. We just felt like we had to go out and do our job. We talked about it all week, 'Everybody just do your job.' There wasn't a certain call that was going to throw them off guard or there wasn't this special play that (defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) was going to call for us to win this game. Everyone on defense just had to man-up and make a play."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on the Tennessee defense and the Texans' ability to control the ball) "It was very important. Any time you are in a game of that type, low-scoring, close game, you've got to control the tempo and the time of possession and keep your third downs manageable and convert them when you have the opportunity to. For the most part, we were able to do that today. I think we controlled the ball for a great portion of that game, and it kept their offense off the field and our defense fresh when we needed them to go out their and make the play."
(on physical and emotional feelings after the game) "I think the emotional feeling far outweighs the physical feeling right now. We are just really excited about this win as a team. It's a big win for us. The way we were able to do it is big for us. I think the physical side of things will settle in the next two days, but I feel good. I came out of it alright."
(on the helmet-to-helmet shots he took today looking bad from the press box) "That's why you're up there [press box] (laugh). No, it was fine. It was a normal hit. It didn't bother me. It was a little guy who hit me."
(on Tennessee playing tough and hitting him late) "It's the type of game you're going to get into against them. We play them twice a year, and that's how they play, and that's how we stand up and play it back to them. Each person within himself did that today. They stood up and said, 'We aren't going to take that today. We are going to take it right back at you.' We just played our tails off (from) start to finish."
(on RB Steve Slaton) "Great game. Early on, it was tough going, and that's the way it is against a defense like that. You're going to get those tough one-, two-, three-yard runs in. But eventually, when you wear them down, you're going to break out and get your 30-, 40-yard run like we saw there at the end. He just remained patient and just trusted the offensive linemen with his reads and was able to break out of the pack there at the end and get a first down and end the game."
(on the team maintaining poise at the end of the game and not self-destructing) "It was a big portion. I think our second-to-last drive after I hit (WR) Andre (Johnson) down the sideline, we got a penalty and there were like four, five minutes left in the game when we were crossing the field. And we could almost ice the game right there and we get a penalty, and then we have an incompletion and then, before we know it, we are giving the ball back to them back up there with something like four minutes left or whatever it was and giving them a chance to come down the field. But our defense went out there and was able to hold up and stop them on the fourth down, which gave us an opportunity to go out there and win the game offensively. It shows the perseverance of everyone on this team — just go out there and forget what's happened and just play the next play."
(on what their motivation is to play hard even though the team is out of the playoffs) "Just the fact that we get the opportunity to go out and play a game, to play for each other and play for our team. We can still have a very successful season if we can end this on a positive note. You know, we have won four in a row now, and we just have to find a way to go to Oakland next week and get the fifth one. We are just excited about how we are playing and where we can take this organization and this team. When we have another chance to go out there and play a game. We are excited about it, and we are going to play 60 minutes."
(on WR Andre Johnson and what he brings to the team) "I think he displayed it today. He has big-play ability and has a way to spark us by getting a big catch. He did that numerous times today for us. He brings a whole lot of excitement and energy to our team when he goes up like he did on that one drive and catches that go-route over everyone's heads. It brings an energy level to our team when he makes a play like that."
(on WR Andre Johnson's locker-room speech) "He doesn't speak all that much, but we make sure that when he is supposed to or when he needs to, we let them [the team] know he's got a speech. And he is standing right there (laugh). But no, he doesn't talk much, but when he does, he has something to say and it's important and we all listen, because it doesn't happen very often. We are all thankful, like he said back at Thanksgiving, going around talking about things we were thankful for, everyone on the team said they were thankful for the guys in the locker room. That's the bond that we all have."
(on WR Andre Johnson's excitement at the end of the game and all that he has gone through the past few years) "Without a doubt, I can understand all the years he has been here, the tough years, and he can sense things are changing, things are heading in the right direction. That's with him, (G) Chester Pitts, Petey (CB DeMarcus Faggins), and (K) Kris Brown. Those guys have been here all these years. You can sense the excitement. I was feeling the same thing out there. I just wasn't feeling like jumping around."
(on Tennessee's intimidation and DT Albert Haynesworth) "I knew they were going to pressure. I don't care if they are going to talk. I've got bigger things to think about and worry about. I knew they were going to bring pressure and they were going to get to me, but so it's my job to drop back and get rid of it. You know they're going to do what they do, and I'm just going to keep throwing the ball and keep getting back up. And that's what we were able to do today."
Texans RB Steve Slaton
(on the game and the offense doing what they needed to do) "That's what our game plan was. We knew it was going to be a very tough game that was going to last to the last second, and it definitely did. We knew that we had a good game plan running against them, and that's what we did."
(on the hard-hitting nature of the game) "Yeah, every game is a hard-hitting game. You get hit so many times over the course of the game, you're going to feel it the next few days. But I have two days off, so I'll be ready Wednesday."
(on the Titans being ready to contain him, but he was still able to grind it out) "Yeah, I mean, that's what (head) coach (Gary Kubiak) preached all week - that it was going to be a very tough game and it was going last all four quarters. We haven't been doing that in the past, but the past four games we've been playing all four quarters."
(on how he is physically after 14 games) "I'm feeling good. I'm feeling real good. I'm better than I expected coming into the season. I'm just happy we've got two games left we can finish strong."
(on getting that last first down and locking up the win) "I mean, I think the defense was getting tired, and (RT) Eric (Winston) actually helped me. He actually pushed me along and keep on moving."
Texans WR Kevin Walter
(on team confidence after the 0-4 start of the season) "We got Oakland; we're looking forward to the challenge there. It's huge; we're 7-3, and if we didn't start off 0-4 like we didn't want to, we could be right in the hunt. This season right now, will carry over to next season. We just have to keep working and playing good football."
(on what needs to be done to finish this season and prepare for the off-season) "We got to keep playing good football. I think these last few games we've been playing as a whole. We're playing well as a whole team, and that's what you need. A win like that today against a team like this is huge. We all had to work together and we did. We just got to keep carrying it over each week and carry it over to next year."
(on the offense being blamed for losses throughout the season) "If you look at the past few weeks, defense is one of the reasons we won that football game. They really kept us in it and hats off to them. They've been playing extremely well, guys are making plays out there, and we're playing well as a team. We just have to keep it up."
Texans DE Mario Williams
(on what he was expecting the Titans to do on fourth down) "I figured they would kick the ball, but they went for it and it paid off for us."
(on why the Titans passed the ball on fourth down) "The defense was pretty stout today and we managed to hold them in check, so maybe that is the reason why."
(on how good the defense played in this game) "It's the best game that we ever had. This was a slugfest, and we knew it was going to be like that and we came out and we performed."
(on what's next for the team) "We're going the right direction, but we have to keep going that way. We have to keep it up and keep things going."
(on winning four games in a row) "It's phenomenal for us to come out like we're coming out right now and playing ball and we just have to keep building."
Texans T Eric Winston
(on being one of the best offenses in the league) "We have two backs to go 100 yards, obviously he's (Steve Slaton) broken some good runs, but that comes with what we're doing. Those are one yard runs we keep getting; that's why we keep doing it, because you're a guy away from going to fifty. And they do a great job of tackling, but we knew that we could break one at any point."
Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher
(on his thoughts about the game) "We knew after watching the Texans, in preparation for them, that they were a very talented team. Congratulations are in order to the Texans on a great win for them. Clearly, it was not a very well played game by us. We had too many opportunities in this game and we didn't make the plays we needed to make. I thought defensively that you don't give up all the yards. I told the players, 'I'll take this one.' I should have taken the wind in the fourth and not the third, and that's exactly why I decided not to let (K) Rob (Bironas) kick. It was not within his range. I knew exactly what his range was, and I just felt that we would get things going into the fourth quarter that it wouldn't be a factor. So that's why we went for it on fourth down. It was not a good coaching decision.
(on what K Rob Bironas' range is) "I know he was about five yards outside his range. He made attempts before the game and couldn't get them close, and we were outside his range with wind a factor and wind was clearly a factor in here."
(on if K Rob Bironas lobbied to kick the field goal) "No he didn't. He said, 'I'll give it a shot.' "
(on if he has seen a better receiver than Texans WR Andre Johnson all season) "No, we've faced some good receivers, but today clearly he was the best one we've faced."
(on the status of DT Albert Haynesworth) "I'll have a report for you after we do some tests."
(on if he was worried when Albert Haynesworth was taken off the field) "I'm always worried when a player goes off. I don't have any information for you right now."
(on CB Cortland Finnegan and his helmet-to-helmet) "The defensive player has a responsibility to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact. Regardless of how much the quarterback's head moves, you can't hit him in the head. That's the way, that's the rule. It looks like it was an accurate call."
(on if Texans RB Steve Slaton is surprising) "He's a good football player. We knew he was a good football player before the draft, and they got him as a franchise and they play well together."
(on the if onside kick was a surprise) "It was not a surprise onside kick. It was a kick that we didn't want lateralled around with both returners back there. So we were going to kick it 11 yards; they pick it up, half is over. I was surprised we got it, but it was not a surprise onside kick."
Titans DT Tony Brown
(on RB Steve Slaten rushing for over 100 yards) "Hats off to him and the offensive line and those guys blocking well for him. We don't just think that we're some kind of juggernaut or nothing or just undefeated or anything like that. Those guys get paid to do the same thing that we do - that's execute. And they just came out and played well."
(on if looking at the scoreboard, he thought some how some way they would get the win) "To be honest, yeah, because we still knew that we had time left. We still have a lot of fight in us as a team."
(on how concerned he is about Titans DT Albert Haynesworth) "I'm definitely concerned about him. That's my guy, that's our guy. It is sad to see a guy go down period, from any team, especially our guy."
Titans LB Keith Bullock
(on how Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton affected the game) "Slaton didn't do anything. Slaton busted that run at the end of the game and we pretty much had him in check. To tell you the truth, I don't think their running game hurt us at all today."
(on if he was surprised at the coaches decision not to kick the field goal) "Whatever. We lost. We probably lost before that. We went for it. That field goal may have won us the game, but I think we did a lot of things to lose the game before that."
(on the difference between Andre Johnson this game and the first game they played this year) "I don't think they threw the ball as much this time around. He is one of the best in this league. He is very underrated. I always root for him, except for when they play us. It was a day at the office for him. That's all that was."
(on the Texans controlling the clock) "The Houston Texans have the third best offense in the league. They just don't score any points. They moved the ball very well, you know. The name of the game is not to not let them get yards; it's to try and keep their points down. We held them to 13.
(on the defense always keeping them in the game) "You know, with this defense we always give ourselves a shot to win at the end. We just didn't come through this week. Honestly, I am very ticked off about this loss. If we are one of the best teams in the league, we have to come in week in and week out and show it. This week we did not prove ourselves."
(on next weeks big game) "Hopefully, we will be up for the challenge and guys will come back from vacation. I think we were on vacation this week knowing we got a bye and other good things happen for us last week. As a team, we need to get our heads out of our asses and come and play football. Pittsburgh is playing for way more than us next week. We didn't show anything today, but next week we better come out firing."
Titans QB Kerry Collins
(on not kicking the field goal at the end of the game) "There was certainly some discussion about it. It was going to be a 50- yarder. (Head coach) Jeff (Fisher) made the call and we go with his call, and I overthrew. There was a play there to be made, and I didn't make it."
(on having an off game) "It wasn't my best performance, obviously. I know we were in a position to win at the end and to make plays, and we didn't make enough."
(on being surprised that Rob Bironas did not kick at the end) "No, because we were in to the wind. If you factor in the wind, it was probably going to be 54 or 55 into the wind."
(on giving credit to the Texans) "You've got to give them credit. They won the ball game. In my mind, we didn't make enough plays. We didn't make enough plays to finish the game and that's on me."
(on the effects of losing a close game) "It doesn't settle well. We're all sad; we're all mad. Like I said, we've found we used to win those games and we didn't get it done today. That's the bottom line. We can't hang out heads; we've got to learn from it and move on and get ready for next week."
(on the loss magnifying the importance of next week) "Every game is important. We will certainly be adding importance to this game coming up. The biggest thing right now is to let this one sink in and realize that we should play better."
(on the last play of the game) "Yeah, the recovery was bad. There was going to be somebody on the outside. I think it was the right read; I just overplayed it."
(on being concerned with the playoffs right around the corner) "Certainly. I'm not happy with the way that we played today. I think we need to be cognizant of the fact that we did not play our best game today. There's a lot of football left to be played. By no means should this end our season, but we all need to play better."
(on struggling with third downs) "There were opportunities there to make throws and I didn't make them. That's on me."
Titans TE Alge Crumpler
(on if he thought that at one point they were going to make that one play to win that game) "I felt that way. I never waiver. I never doubt it."
(on what was going through his head when they decided to go for it on fourth down) "I was just waiting for the call. I thought we were going to kick it. The wind was swirling a little bit. So, that's just the call that Fish (head coach Jeff Fisher) made, and I don't think anybody on this team should ever question it."
(on this team trying to focus on one game at a time and the big game against the Steelers coming up) "Here's what I know about playoff football teams: The hot team is going to win it. So I'm hoping if we stunk it up to this point for that game, it's over with. We'll get things going and we'll get rolling and we'll make some things happen so we can get in the playoffs and play well."
Titans CB Cortland Finnegan
(on if the Titans could tell the Texans were fired up today) "Yeah, we knew it was going to be a dog fight. We've been known to give up yards and not points. And for the most part I think we bent but didn't break there in the red zone and gave up field goals. So we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end and we came up short."
(on if the loss is disappointing) "It is but at the same time we control our own destiny. We play Pittsburgh next week and we look forward to a good Pittsburgh team at home, and we can knock them off and we can then control our own destiny. This one hurts, but we have to move on."
(on how tough it was to get Houston Texans RB Steve Slaton down) "Yeah, he's a little jitterbug. He's definitely lived up to the hype; he is a great rookie running back. We expect some good things out of him. And, like I said, when it counted, he came up big for them. So I accredit him."
(on his costly penalties) "I'm going to play the game the way it's supposed to be played at a high level so we'll worry about that stuff on Monday, Tuesday."
(on the helmet-to-helmet penalty between him and Texans QB Matt Schaub) "If I did I was just giving him a quick, you know - kiss, welcoming him back to Houston you know from the Oilers. So that is about all that is."
Titans WR Justin Gage
(on if he thought the offense was close enough to kick it at the end of the game) "That was the coach's decision and I'm not sure. I don't know how far (K Rob) Bironas can kick or what not. I don't know what was going on. But as a player, we go out there and do what we're supposed to do as far as playing and let the coaches make the decisions and we just execute them, and we just didn't execute on that last play."
(on how much of a struggle was it for the offense to not ever get any rhythm) "I know it was tough, but a lot of it had to do with not converting third downs. We did terrible on third downs today and it showed. So, that ended having us punt the ball to the other team and when you're doing that bad on third downs it's tough to win."
Titans CB Nick Harper
(on what was the difference between shutting down WR Andre Johnson in Nashville and his game today) "They schemed him (WR Andre Johnson) up. They moved him around. Like I said, he came to play. He had a lot of deep balls. The first game we did a good job of not letting him get those deep balls. But, today I guess he felt like he was not going to be denied. There were a lot of jump balls he came down with."
(on struggling to get off the field on third downs) "Penalties. Penalties killed us. We killed ourselves. We left a lot out there today. That's two weeks in row penalties are killing us. We need to evaluate ourselves. You can't go into the playoffs with all of these penalties. You'd definitely get beat every time. As you've seen, if you play a team that has a little bit of heart in them, a little drive you just can't stall out like that on third down. You have to get off of the field."
(on if this team is ready for the playoffs) "The way we played the past two weeks, definitely not. Right now, we're going to take these last two games and evaluate ourselves and see where we're going to be going into the playoffs. We definitely need to step it up and everybody needs to have a gut check and evaluate themselves and just see what changes they need to make."
Titans RB Chris Johnson
(on struggling on third downs) "I'm not really sure what happened on it really. I'm not sure. I'm going to look at the film and see what's really going on."
(on not seeing any deep passes to him or other plays to get him the ball and how much of that was in the game plan) "It was in the game plan. Those plays just weren't called. That's all on the coach what plays they want to call and we've just got to do our best job to execute the plays when they call the plays."
(on what kind of challenge was it going against the Texans defense) "Every time I got the ball, I ran hard and tried and make plays. This game, we needed that big play, and it wasn't able to happen and we couldn't get in the end zone - all field goals. So, we weren't able to make that big play today."
(on if it is frustrating to not get the offense going) "Of course, it's frustrating anytime our offense is not able to get it going, (not) able to get it in the end zone. We got done there towards the red zone a couple of times and couldn't get in the end zone. If you don't score a touchdown in this league, it's going to be hard to win."
Titans DE Jevon Kearse
(on holding the Texans offense to field goals most of the time) "I don't know what to say. Just go back to the drawing. They kept getting some of those big plays. That's what they depend on, big plays here and there and just capitalized on them. But we've just got to go to the drawing board, so we don't let this thing just hang over our head and let other teams try the same thing."
(on what were the Texans doing that was working) "They just were making the catches they needed to make and making the runs that they needed to make and then penalties also hurt us as well and that's all to it."
(on how much of the impact did the pressure they put on QB Matt Schaub have on their offense) "That's just doing what we do right there. That's what we do. You get after the quarterback and get as much pressure as we can. We just were messing up here and there, just letting them get the big plays, which was killing our efforts."
(on if he was as active as he has been all season today with batting balls down) "Possibly. I would say so, but I would give it all back just to get the win, just try to continue to do better and better each week."
(on how QB Matt Schaub responded when they knocked him down) "He got up one time and was like, 'Good job, freak. Good job 90.' I was like, 'I don't want to hear any good job. I want the ball.' But, I mean, things happen."
Titans TE Bo Scaife
(on Titans K Rob Bironas being on the field and Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher calling the offense back in) "He's the head coach, he makes the decisions. He makes the calls, so we live and die by the decisions he makes and we have to have full trust in Coach Fisher."
(on if he felt QB Kerry Collins was a little off today) "Yeah but it wasn't just him, guys gotta help Kerry out there. We have to catch balls and run the right routes and we can't just put it on him, you know. We all have to do better."
Titans RB LenDale White
(on having a chance to win) "We had a chance to win and do a couple of things. We just came up short at the end. We've got to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to capitalize on turnovers. When we get in the red zone, we've got to score; things like that we've just got to do."
(on this not being the first time they lost this season) "Yeah, I mean, we've been in this situation before. We've come a long way. It feels good to be 13-2 or whatever we are. What is it? 12-2. OK, I mean it's a long way from my first year, 8-6 to 10 and whatever to 12. We would like to win this game so we could better ourselves and put ourselves in a situation where we can clinch home field throughout the playoffs. But, next week is going to be a big game for us now. We've got to step our game up. We've got to do everything right. Everybody has to make a play, everybody. You can't exclude anybody. We all make our mistakes but at the same time when you have the opportunity to go ahead and make a play you've got to do it."
(on the key to getting past this loss) "Just forgetting about it. Put this game behind you. This game means nothing anymore. We will not be playing this team anymore. It's a big win for them as an organization I guess or supposedly. No matter what they do they'll still go home on playoffs. We have a lot to look forward to. The main thing now is Pittsburgh on our plate and we've got to go in and fight. It's a great team and they're not going to come in and hand anything to us. So, it's all on us to what we're going to do to get the win."
Titans QB Vince Young
(on UT's QB Colt McCoy not winning the Heisman trophy) "It's going to happen. You know he's coming back for another year, so he should be alright. I'm proud of him. I talk to him every week. I talked to him before the show. You know, things happen for certain reasons, the same case with me, things happen for a reason. You have to be patent as a quarterback and get stronger, and definitely I know he is going to be great when he comes back next year. Colt is a real phenomenal athlete."
(on Bud Adams support for him being the QB for the franchise for the future) "Bud to me, ever since I was drafted, has always showed me a lot of love. Every time he comes to the football games, he always greets me and talks to me. So I think he is very supportive, but everything happens for a reason and all I can do is sit back and learn and pay attention to Kerry Collins."
(on if he sees himself as the QB and the future of the franchise) "Whatever happens, I have no control over that. All I can do is thank God that I'm blessed to have a job everyday and come to work everyday, do my responsibilities at work and that is basically it; that is all I can do. What goes on upstairs, I have nothing to do with that. All I can do is be supportive of my teammates."
(on what he is doing on the sidelines since it is the first time he has had that role) "Just being a leader on the sidelines. Paying attention to every play that is called and paying attention to everything QB Kerry Collins is out there doing, reading the defense just like he's reading the defense. Putting myself in the situation and asking, what would I do if it was me in the situation - you know, just learning the game. That's all you can do, even though you are not playing the game."