(Opening… ) This was a very good day of cooperation. First off, I think San Diego’s a really good football team, a terrific program, they won 13 something games last year or whatever. We loved the chance that we had to match up with these guys here at Qwest, and it was important to us to show that we could play against a team that has been a very very strong team year in and year out for some time. It took so many different aspects of cooperation to get this thing done. I can’t imagine a stadium in this country crazier than those last couple of sequences. It happened too, with the penalties and their jumping around at the line of scrimmage. Cooperating with the fans was incredibly cool. To have that much energy in the stadium and come up and get the win and get the big plays to do it. Also on this theme of cooperation, for the special teams to come through in such a big way. Brian Schneider and Jeff Ulbrich and those guys putting this scheme together in the kicking game, and Leon; boy he was just magic out there today. We needed everything to get this done. We needed the offense to execute and do the things they did, we needed the defense to finally come through. We made a number of mistakes on Gates as we were shuffling some guys in there and he had a big day, and so did Philip. But when it came down to it, guys made the right plays at the right time to get the win. Very happy locker room, guys were excited about this and kind of the way that it happened, that it was so challenging for so many different aspects for us and the guys came through. We’ll grow with this one and it’s fun to play at Qwest.
(On the impact of the crowd in a game like this…) I had heard all kinds of glowing comments about what it’s like to play here and all of that. I was surprised the first time out against the 49ers, and then this game was beyond expectations. I knew that Norv was aware of it too, with some issues for those guys. That’s what home field is about. We certainly have that. The 12th Man was alive and well and going crazy. It was really exciting to be part of it. Way back when we first started talking about coming here, that was one of the amenities of this program was the big time stadium; it’s really important. If you want to have a championship football team, you have to win at home. You count on that by showing up and playing great, but then you have to work in cooperation with your fans and it’s a beautiful setting. We’ll try to get another one the next time we come back.
(On whether they saw something on special teams that would get Leon free…) He had a chance for 3 touchdowns today, really. He slipped and went down; there’s no question that he’s full speed. You can’t do that like that; one of the few guys in the history of the league that’s done that; 10 guys or something. He’s back and he’s ready to go. We did think that we had a chance, we’re very excited about our special teams, we’ve had excellent performance from our guys all three games. We talk as though that’s a big part of our football team and we’re counting on them. Whether it’s been in the punt return game that showed up or whether we’re covering a guys kicks that kicks the ball so well. Punts and kickoffs, we’re really counting on these guys to be a factor. Today it was an enormous factor in our win. We’re trying to learn about ourselves and learn about what we’re capable of doing, and trying to play to our strengths, and this is definitely showing to be one of our strengths, and obviously today our play on special teams won the football game for us.
(On the play of the fill in guys on defense.…) We had Curry down, Mebane was banged up, Tru went down. Those guys were all out. What we’ve said since the time we started about issues that can come up during the course of the season is that guys have to step up to the challenge and play like the guys that went down regardless. It’s not about who you lose, it’s about who’s stepping up. Walter Thurmond did a great job today to come in and play against that kind of passing team and that kind of quarterback. They knew he was out there, it’s not like we fooled them. They knew he was out there and he did a beautiful job. Will Herring came in and had a very, very good game in the second half to help us out. That’s part of it, and it will continue to be called upon. It’s just a mindset, a mentality. We’re not going to lament about who’s not there, we rejoice around the guys that have to answer the call, and that definitely happened today. Will Herring had an extremely difficult week, but he did get it done. He’s such a good study and he’s diligent about getting his job in order and he did that. Doesn’t say much for practicing. [laughter] We were really happy that he could come through for us.
(On the situation right before halftime…) We had a shot to knock it in the end zone, we had a play that we hadn’t run before that we felt was going to knock us a couple of yards, a QB draw, Matt has been scoring every week, so we thought we’d run him in again; we thought we could get it done. The problem was we weren’t able to know if we’d made the first down or not, so if we didn’t make it we were going to the field goal, which we had in order; they did a really good job of holding Spencer down. I think it was Chris that couldn’t get up, he couldn’t get off the field. It was 13 seconds, that’s as hard as it gets. Usually it’s 16 seconds that you can get it done and we were just a bit short there.
You guys can ask these questions about those kind of situations but sometimes it just comes from your gut that you just want go do this, or you want to do that. We had a good call, we practiced it, we liked it, and we felt that we would knock it in the end zone right there. We weren’t trying to get the first down, we were trying to score. I think it was a really good call, and it didn’t work. Unfortunately, that happened. In this game we had great opportunities, the one with Deion scoring, that was just inches from being in there, and then that one. We had 14 more points on the board there in the first half that we could have had. I’m not going to overlook that, we were in position to really have a big score at halftime, but didn’t get that done. The handling of the time to get the ball back and the things that happened, we did very well; I just wish that the call would have gone, and we would have knocked it in the end zone.
(On whether he was OK with how the officials handled that situation…) There was no chance to do anything but if we didn’t score, we had to kick it, because we wouldn’t know. We had to go do that. We couldn’t wait it out. Time would have run out. If we didn’t score, we knew we had to go for the field goal, and see if we could run it on and get it done; I didn’t count on the field goal happening, although we were ready, we wanted to score a touchdown right there.
(On whether there was a thought that if they got the first down but not the touchdown that they could spike it…) But, the problem is that we wouldn’t know. We could have spiked it on fourth down, and then we would be talking about that. We just made the decision clear about what we were doing, we had to go for it, if not, then we would kick the field goal, because we wouldn’t know what was going to happen there. It was a very unique situation, and that doesn’t happen very often.
(On the injuries…) Tru tweaked an ankle a little bit, Mebane a calf muscle, Curry had a hamstring and he wanted to play but we held him out. Mike Williams hurt his shoulder a little bit in the first half.
(On the two huge red zone stops…) It’s just grit and the determination of these guys to get it done. The first interception, there’s only a few people in the world that can make that catch. Running like he was running to go down and grab that ball at his shoetops was a fantastic catch. The last one, that’s Earl. He’s playing back there and he has a chance to make a play, read the quarterback, and he saw it beautifully. Gus did a great job of keeping the pressure on those guys and having to protect, and also it was hard on the quarterback to see what was going on, and he lost sight of Earl, and he jumped in and made a great play to end the game.
(On whether he was disappointed about the personal foul penalty…) I didn’t see it, I don’t even know what happened. We’ll talk about that later.
(On his emotion in the fourth quarter…) I wasn’t that tired, I was pretty good. [laughter] When you score on kickoffs like that, and you’re right back again, you kind of get ricocheted back out there; there’s no rest there. Those are challenging for the guys, in terms of energy and all that. You love it, but it’s hard. Emotionally, I was just trying to make sure that we were clear, and we were communicating and we were calm. Those kinds of situations don’t make me crazy. That’s the fun of the whole thing. We were talking about all of the situations, and talking our way through it and making sure that we were able to make the calls that we wanted to make. When you get down to the end like that, you want to make calls that you feel ok about. I won’t tell you what that is, but you want to take the time that’s available to make the calls that you really feel like you did a good job to give the guys a great opportunity to make a play out there. You have to be calm to do that. It’s fun and crazy and exciting and all, but then there’s moments for that, and there’s moments for all the clarity that you need to handle it. It was fine, it was not big deal.
(On what he knew about Leon Washington before this season…) I knew about him in college, but I think we just barely touched bases in recruiting way back then, but we didn’t get after him in recruiting. I picked him up early last year in particular when I was watching Mark [Sanchez] a lot, and early in the season as they were getting started and winning games, Leon was a big factor in those games. That’s really where he caught my eye, and I never felt we would have a chance to get him. But, what a fantastic trade that was.
(On the unorthodox way this game was won…) I love this today. It’s not the way you draw it up, but it is what it was. It was that game today. How could Deion get that ball knocked out inches before he scores and how could we not knock it in when we’re down on a great quarterback draw call, and we didn’t knock it in. That made the game closer and called for other situations. You know, they did a fantastic job of getting back in this game. They came roaring back, it was a big call, we were right all over the guy that they went downtown to, and he still makes the throw and the catch, and then we have to battle; did they make the two point conversion three times, or twice? It seemed like three or four times. [laughter] It just shows what a marvelous player Philip is. He’s a great player, and he showed that about 30 times today on plays and throws and leaning back and falling down and still making great throws and stuff. To get that win and beat those guys, I have a lot of respect for them, it’s a great accomplishment.
(On beating San Diego despite some mistakes…) You can live with those mistakes and still beat them, because we did. Obviously, that is not the way we want to do it. Deion was just so close, and I don’t know how that happened, but it did. It was a great play by their player to knock the ball out. And it was stop-action, super-super slo mo to see it, that’s how close it was, but that shouldn’t happen. That shouldn’t happen to our football team, and it got away from us. The other one, we had a chance, and we didn’t knock the ball in the end zone, we didn’t get it done. Could it not have been two more touchdowns in the first half? Those were legitimate right? We were down there, we give them the ball, we stop them, we get the ball again, we go down again; so those were legitimate 14 points. What was the score at halftime, 10? It could have been a pretty nice score out there. We’re not going to win like that all the time. It took something out of the ordinary, and that’s where the kicking game stepped up and came through for us.