Q: Can you sum up yesterday?
A: I think you've got to look at the good things and look at the bad and we had some opportunities. We got down in scoring range four times and got no points. A lot of them were third and short circumstances that we didn't convert on… fourth and short circumstances we didn't convert and that's really the tale of the game right there is those plays. Atlanta stepped up and made the plays in those situations and we did not. You throw in the three turnovers in there, but the two turnovers in the first half… That was just kind of the way it went. If we could have executed better in those circumstances on the crucial plays of the game, we could have made it a tighter game and put ourselves in a chance to win, but we did not. The second half, again, we drove down there, got an opportunity to score and couldn't convert on a third or fourth down and got no points. At that point, we were just running out of time.
Q: Are you guys a little bit confused about which team is going to show up every Sunday?
A: No. We could have executed better. I think it's just a matter of certain plays. If you look at the first half, having 200 yards of total offense and getting down there having good drives, we just didn't finish. That's just a part of football and each week it can be a matter of certain plays that can dictate the game and how things turn and obviously we didn't play our best. There's things we've got to improve on, things we'll work on to get better, but it's not going to change our desire, our focus this week to prepare and go out there and try to put ourselves in a chance to win games.
Q: How is the team's confidence?
A: The confidence is great. Your confidence is high because of the coaches that we have, the character of the players we have, the talent of the players we have and our preparation will be good. We're going to have a chance to go out there and perform well.
Q: How do you expect your team to react?
A: I think we're going to react great. If you say at the beginning of the season that you have two games left and you've got to win both of them to be in the playoffs, I think you'd take it. This is an opportunity you ask for. These are circumstances you want to be in. Could there be better circumstances? Yeah, of course. There can always be better, but there could be much worse. We like our chances. We know what we need to do and it's right in front of us and we've got to go out there and win this game this week.
Q: Why has your team reacted well to being in those circumstances in the past?
A: I think just because we trust each other and our preparation is good and I think we just have good character guys and guys who understand the importance of this and understand that they treat their football careers very seriously and understand that this is a big game for us.
Q: How do you avoid having guys in the locker room question the kind of performance that has been put on tape?
A: For the most part, I think we've been in every game that we've played in this season, had a chance to win every one except this one, which got out of hand. But for the most part we've been tight in every game and not every game is going to be perfect. Not every game you're going to score 40 points. That's just a part of football, but you've got to execute. You've got to have great toughness to you to overcome bad plays or bad situations and try to rebound and respond well to that. I think guys understand each week is a new week and we've got to have great energy and focus and come out and prepare well and go out and play well.
Q: You've played well in must-win games in previous seasons. What is it about this situation that you enjoy?
A: These are the circumstances you want to be in. You want to be fighting to make it in the playoffs and that's just football and you understand it's tough to make the playoffs. You've got to work. You've got to win games. You've got to win important games and this is a chance. This is as important a game as you can have, this upcoming game, and our mindset is the playoffs have started. This is it. This game right here is huge. It's the most important game and it's a must-win game for us.
Q: Are you aware that Baltimore is in a similar position as you guys?
A: Yeah. We're well aware of what Baltimore is going through and they lost a few in a row. They've got a new offensive coordinator. They're going through some circumstances as well and they're going to be fired up. They're going to have that kind of same attitude and want to get back to playing well. I think they've secured their playoff spot if I'm not mistaken, but they want to get back to playing their style of football, what they expect of themselves and we're expecting the same thing from ourselves.
Q: When you don't score, do you just look at the guys and say it's unacceptable?
A: You just look at certain things and you want to look at the specific reasons in why it didn't occur. There were some good plays. There was some good execution. The crucial moments of the game we didn't execute.
Q: As a competitor, do you appreciate the pressure that comes along with trying to get the team out of a situation like this?
A: Yeah. You've got to understand I've got to do my job. I've got to play at a high level. I've got to make the plays that are there, but I think everybody has to take that same mentality. Everybody has got to do your job. You don't have to try to do someone else's. You don't have try to play outside the system. You've got to have great preparation, great work during the week in understanding what's going to go on and get your guys ready and then on game day when there are plays to be made, you've got to make them.
Q: After having such a stranglehold on the division during the middle of the season, is it difficult to look up now and say that it's out of your hands?
A: No. Each week you just prepare for the next game. That's all you do and you try to win each game and nothing has changed right now. We have the next game coming up and we're preparing to go win it.
Q: Have you gotten better at putting bad games behind you?
A: Yeah. I think that's just a part of sports. You're going to have games where you wish you could have played better and at this level you analyze it, you look at it, you see what are the plays that you could have made and is there any reason why a throw was high or something went wrong and you try to correct yourself, talk to your teammates to fix things and then you move on and prepare for next week expecting to go out there and play your best.
Q: Will your talk with Peyton this week be a little bit more game centric since he's played them?
A: Yeah. I'm sure I'll have a few questions for him. I haven't seen their game or what's going on. Our offensive philosophies are a little different some ways, but I'll ask and see if he has any tips for me.
Q: Do you feel like you need more attention on what you're doing versus scheming against the other team in terms of the execution?
A: It's a combination, I guess. Obviously, you've got to scheme. You've got to understand what they're doing, what my reads are going to be based on certain plays versus the defense that they're playing and then you also have to look from this past game where are the things we have to improve as an offense? Are we as sharp as we need to be? Are our routes as precise as they need to be? Am I making the right decisions on where to go with the ball? Is the offensive line sustaining blocks? Yeah. You definitely look at all those things and find out what you want to work on in your technique during the week of practice this week and then you work on what routes you're going to run and for me what my progression will be based on each defense.
Q: Do you think fear of not making the playoffs is a strong motivator?
A: No. I think the excitement and the opportunity to make the playoffs is the greatest motivator. I don't think fear is a motivator.
Q: Were there things that Peyton told you leading up to the Bengals game? Was it beneficial at all to have that conversation with Peyton?
A: Yeah. It's definitely beneficial and it might be on two things. It might be just a certain look or you might be getting this if you get this look. Something I might have figured out in my preparation anyway, but you get it kind of to start with. It's not scheme of where you've got to run this play. Again, we have different styles of offense, but there might be a few little tips that he's… With Baltimore, it's a team he's played many times over the years and I don't know if it's the same scheme or changed up the last few times he's played them, but you call and maybe get a few ideas or just a few tips on trying to decipher what they're doing defensively.
Q: Did you know about the wild card and if you win out you're in before today?
A: Today. Last night, I was trying to kind of figure it out a little bit and look at it and got word about it today to kind of confirm that win and we're in.
Q: Is that different than win and you win the division?
A: No. In is in. You always want to win the division. That's always kind of the goal at the beginning of the year because that's the only way to insure that you make the playoffs, but ultimately it's about getting into the playoffs and our focus is to win these two games and we're in, whether we're division champs or wild card; it doesn't make a difference.
Q: Is that something Tom confirmed with you guys today?
Q: When he says that, is it a relief?
A: Excitement that you don't have to rely on anyone else and you know what's ahead of us, you know what the stakes are and I think you should be excited about the opportunity that's ahead of us.