Q: What do you think contributed to some of the struggles on third down tonight?
A: It’s just execution. We played a little different on defense, they didn’t pressure in the first half and then they brought a couple in the second half. It’s just execution, getting guys in the right spot, me making the right throw, we just weren’t on the same page with a few of those.
Q: Your thoughts on what you saw on that last play in the end zone…
A: I came to him late, I was trying to buy time and it ended up being a bad throw. I would assume, based on the separation that I saw, that he ran a great route. With Rhodes out there, I gave him a double move, because he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL. I just missed the throw.
Q: Your thoughts on not targeting Adams very many times during the 3rd and 4th quarters…
A: Xavier [Rhodes] is a great player. They played more two shell than in the years we’ve played against Mike [Zimmer]. There hasn’t been any true cover and tonight they played some. That was a change-up. They slid some of their coverage and that’s why we tried to put Jimmy [Graham] down the middle. We just ended up going elsewhere with some of the calls.
Q: Do you think the playoffs are still realistic for you guys?
A: We’re going to need some help. We need to win these five [games], and then get some help.
Q: How frustrated are you in your own performance right now?
A: I missed the one to Davante [Adams] and threw a no-lace ball to Equanimeous [St. Brown] in the dirt. Other than that, I don’t feel like I missed a lot of throws. We just weren’t executing.
Q: Did you think you had a touchdown on that free play?
A: I thought we had a pass interference call, and it looked to be questionable but the referees don’t end up calling the penalty. It was a 50/50 ball and I could have thrown it to the outside more.
Q: You said at one point that you were looking forward to finding that galvanizing moment for this team. Are you worried that it might not come that it’s too late?
A: We are where we are right now, record-wise, and we are going to need some help from some teams and then we have got to take care of our own business. We are going to have to find a way to win a game on the road. We are 0-6 on the road. We just need to go back home, get some rest, beat Arizona, and then come back, beat Atlanta. Then we need to go to Chicago, a place we’ve won a number of times, beat them. Go to New York around Christmas, beat them, and then come home against Detroit, beat them. Get a little help.
Q: Does a 9-6-1 record get you into the playoffs?
A: I don’t know. But I can tell you that 8-7-1 won’t get in, I don’t think.
Q: What has this season been like compared to other seasons since the playoffs seem to be more of a reach this year?
A: Yeah it seemed like that in ’16 as well. Nobody thought we could do it. Then we came together in Philly, got the job done. Came around and beat Houston, beat Seattle, went on the road and beat Chicago, came back home and beat Minnesota, went on the road and beat Detroit. We’ve done it before. We just have to find a way. The way our defense played tonight and with the injuries they had, to hold them to 24 points, we got to win this game. So, offensively, we got to be a lot better. We all got to play better, myself included. We started off the game nice. We had a couple good drives, we were rolling there, and we did our unfortunate typical lull and couldn’t get it going again.
Q: On what the difficulty has been…
A: I say it a lot, but it’s the execution. The difference is in the details, and I think there are just a few plays when we’re just not as detailed about our assignment at times, and it’s often crunch time, or a time where if we do everything exactly right, there’s a chance for a big play, but instead I got to throw it away or we’re just not making the right plays at the right times. Third down, we’ve been pretty bad in comparison to how we’ve been over the last 10 years.
Q: On the quality of work at practice…
A: I would say that this week we had our best week of practice in a while. We’re humming on Wednesday and Thursday, had a good practice Saturday. It’s different when you’re playing a team in practice compared to playing guys who are getting paid to play on the other side of the ball. Just the small little details and angles and points. Those guys make plays too, but we got to tighten it up.
Q: Did you see this struggle coming?
A: I knew we had a tough stretch, four really tough places to play. I didn’t think we’d go 1-4 on that stretch, but that’s where we’re at. We’re here; 4-6-1. We have to win our last five, and even that might not be enough.
Q: On the rest of the season…
A: We’ll see what we’re made of for the last five weeks. Are we going to stick together through these tough times or are we going to start splintering? I’d like to think that the leadership is in place that we can stick together through whatever happens. But these five weeks will show it.