RB LEON WASHINGTON
(On his kickoff returns) “When you have a returner that has faith in the guys in front of him, he can hit it hard and fast and like I did in New York, I’m just coming here bringing the same type of attitude, knowing that in the return game you get a chance to instantly change momentum because of the first play of the game, right after half time, and right after the opposing team scores, so I always take heat of that and I always try to relish the opportunity to change the momentum.”
(On his second kickoff return) “Yeah, I’m like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this, they’re still kicking it to me.’ On that one they blew and I ran up and caught it I almost made it and I slipped and fell and I told Schneider, ‘Man, keep those guys blocking, they’re doing a heck of a job and I’ll get another one for you.’ So you have to give glory to God, I’m a strong man in my faith, and my wife told me today I was going to have a good day, so I can’t wait to see her.”
QB MATT HASSELBECK
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(On the win today… ) It was tough. They have a really good offense, and we were playing with the lead, but sometimes it can be a challenge, surprisingly, playing with a lead and sometimes an offense gets rolling when they go with an up-tempo, not a two-minute; what they were doing, they have great players, and Philip (Rivers) did a nice job of driving them down the field. It was amazing. It was a great game to watch, probably. Our crowd was great, they were into it. Offensively, too, for us, part of what we’re doing is that we’re trying to be successful, obviously, but we’re also working the clock. We probably made it harder on our defense at times, but trying to get rid of their timeouts and trying to get to that two minute mark, where we have the ball, they have no time outs, we just need one first down to win it. All in all, it was a great game, good for ratings, I think everyone enjoyed it. We’ll take it, but we felt fortunate to come away with a win.
(On whether he has been around a performance like Leon Washington before…) I don’t know. It’s not just him, there’s guys blocking for him. But, he’s great, he’s great. Actually, sometimes you talk to guys around the league or on other teams, and this week some guys talked to me and asked, what’s Leon Washington like? I talked about how great he’s been, and how we love him, and he’s going to break out here. I don’t think anyone imagined that it could have been like that. Huge play from our special teams today. All those guys on special teams, great job. Any time special teams score twice like, offensively, you really have to work to stay loose. No one is complaining; it’s great. But, you have to keep your rhythm going; it was just amazing. Those guys bailed us out in a big way.
(On the change in the roster impacting special teams…) In a sense, that’s part of why the roster got turned over so much. If you’re not going to be a starter, or whatever, you need to be a big time player on special teams. So there’s guys, you’ve seen them, like a Roy Lewis or a Matt McCoy or a Michael Robinson; guys that are really, really good at special teams, and that’s why they’re here, and they showed up in a big way today.
(On the play right before halftime…) It was a bad feeling coming into halftime, knowing that we left at least three points out there. Time was running out, we had a couple of chances; I don’t even know where to start. We called time out, instead of spiking it. You could replay those situations all the time. We practice it every day, and then we evaluate it in practices; what could we have done better, what could we have done differently? Sometimes there is a difference of opinion of what you should do. We liked that play during the week; we saw Carson Palmer score on it, we saw Jay Cutler score on it against these guys, and we like that play, and we called it. It wasn’t exactly the same look, maybe we were just a little closer. At the very least, you might be able to get the first down there, but it’s hard because I’m under the pile; I couldn’t tell if they gave us the first, or what the situation was. We have a call, it’s a hurry up and get the field goal off call, we practice that too. I believe we had like 19 seconds or something. It was really unfortunate. It’s a bad feeling. Then we come out in the second half and we open it with a kickoff return for a touch, and it felt better right away. In the end, it was just one of those games, back and forth.
(On the play of the offense…) Sometimes a big part of a game like that where you’re up with the lead, but it’s still so early, you really need to stay aggressive and on it and we really didn’t do a good job. We had too many 3 and outs, we had the safety. Then, the last two we were fighting the clock more than we were fighting the Chargers, and we’re fighting their time outs. We need to get better, I know we can and I know we will. We left our defense out there too long.
(On the safety…) I think it was two linebackers that blitzed. We can do better. We can find answers for that.
(On where the team can improve on offense…) Penalties before the snap of the ball; it’s ridiculous, it’s out of control. I take it as my fault; I have to own that. That doesn’t have anything to do with the opponent, that doesn’t have anything to do with who we’re playing or any of that stuff; that’s just us. We’ve had far too many; one’s too many. We’ve had far too many 5-yard penalties and first-and-15s, getting off schedule, false start penalties, before the ball’s even snapped. That’s on me, I have to get better there. It puts our play calling in a tough spot, it puts our offense in a tough spot, which ultimately hurts our defense; special teams, everybody.
(On what’s causing the issues…) I know there’s certain stuff that I am more comfortable than others, but it’s a growing process, and we’re trying to improve and get better. I think communication has been great with the coaching staff, and I think everyone is working hard and everyone is excited about what we’re doing. We just have to take our really good week of practice and put it into a really good Sunday.
(On the importance of winning at home…) It’s absolutely essential that we dominate at home. For us to accomplish our goals, for us to win our division, we need to dominate at home again, and that’s been made very, very clear. Sure, our crowd helps us a ton, they’re amazing. I saw a lot of Charger fans out there today, and our fans were still amazing. It’s part of that stupid ticket-exchange commercial [laughter], but our fans are huge for us and at home it’s huge for us. For years, we dominated at home, and people hated to come up here, and because we weren’t a very good team for two years, we sort of lost that. It’s going to be real important to get that back. The 49er game that we had, that felt like the old us. The way our defense played, the way our special teams played today, I would say the same thing. It was real electric, it was exciting. We get to play in all of the stadiums all across the league, and this is by far the best.
(On whether these two wins are a turning point…) You can call it whatever you want to call it, we’re going to forget about it tomorrow and get going on the next opponent. I think the 49er win was big; everybody in this room picked the 49ers to win our division, I’m sure, and maybe more. The Chargers are a great team; they’re probably going to go on and be a great team, but we’ll enjoy this game, you can call it whatever you want, tomorrow after we watch the film, I know that Pete is going to hammer it into our hands to forget about it. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do about that game, it’s over. But we can affect what happens the next week.
CB ROY LEWIS
(On the defense in the fourth quarter) “Yeah, I know. Guys we’re kind of winded, we just had to get down there, we just knew it was time to (man) up as they say and make plays when the plays came. So regardless of how tired you were, guys were going to have to swallow their pride and get ready to just go up.”
(On the stop on fourth-and-15, stepping in front of Antonio Gates) “Well, we were in the pressure zero blitz and I know I didn’t have any help so it’s just man-on-man and you constantly go through those situations in your mind. I knew now is my time to stand up and contribute for the team and that’s exactly what I did. We had a lot of pressure from the D-line and linebackers, he threw a terrible throw, and I kind of got a chance to undercut it, wish I would have finished the play and made the interception.”
(On the third-and-15 play on the last drive) “Same thing man, he kind of threw it up, quarterback was in a rush, kind of threw it up, I kind of located the ball and at the same time I could feel the receiver getting ready to run into me, so we both went up, and my whole attention to it was, ‘If I can’t catch it, he sure can’t catch it.’ That was the end result and I think guys kind of got pumped up from that, stepping up and making that stand. And we had to get right back and get ready to do it again.”
S LAWYER MILLOY
(On the game) “No matter what happens throughout the game we stay focused understanding that this is the league, they’re getting paid to do a job too. And in the end, we’re conditioned enough, we believe in our preparation enough, where we have winning on our mind.”
(On if he’s ever played a game where his team has given up 500 yards and still won the game) “We won the game and I don’t want to talk about all that, but it’s one of the better quarterbacks in the league. That’s one thing we knew going in. To say we’re going to shut them out or whatever, shut down the receiving core, (shut) Gates out, you know is really silly. If they make their plays we got to hang in there and that’s what we did. We had turnovers, we hit them. I don’t think they’ve been hit like that. So you can focus on the 500 yards, I’m focusing on the win, and that’s what we’re all about.”
(On if the turnovers were the equalizers) “Yeah, and that’s what our whole philosophy is built around. That’s the structure and our foundation through (Pete) Carroll, it’s all about the ball. That’s the first thing that he said to us when we had our meeting and that’s what he’s all about. No matter what happens, if they go for 500 yards and we get that ball, and they don’t score, who wins the ball game? You saw that today.”
S EARL THOMAS
(On his performance today) “I think I made a couple of mistakes, but I made up for them in the end. Our D-line did a great job and they pressured the quarterback and all. And I was able to get two picks today.”
(On how they were able to come up with big stops in the second half) “Where the whole year we’ve just been talking about keeping it tight and our defense did a great job at keeping it tight and just sticking together, nobody pointing any fingers, and basically we just got the job done. Our defense, like I said, our D-line did a great job at pressuring the quarterback and we rushed his throws and that’s how turnovers come.”
(On his interceptions today) “Well, the first interception I was just the middle safety and I kind of went down on a dig and he muffed it a little bit and it came up and I caught it. The second one I was just playing like a little robber player. I had the back, but the back didn’t go out, so I just dropped to the middle of the field, and he threw it right to me.”
(On the second interception and if he saw it coming) “Yeah, a lot of times I get in trouble for kind of jumping routes like that, but today it paid off for me.”
DT COLIN COLE
(On if he feels like he got the pick on the pass he deflected) “Hey, you know what, if it was about another inch closer to me, you guys see me out there when I warm up, I’m catching the ball. So I’m waiting, it’s going to happen, trust me. It was just a little bit too outside, but I would have caught that one if it was just another inch inside. I wouldn’t say it would have been a pick-six, but it would have been a pick for sure. But you know, big game, big plays, each and every play counts, and for us to come out with that win…who would have known two kickoff returns, almost three kickoff returns, would have been the deciding factor in this game. Excited about our special teams, our offense, and our defense, and I think as a whole we just have to keep digging, we’re going to keep making things happen this year.”
DE CHRIS CLEMONS
(On what the team did today) “Our main objective was to come out and try to close this team out. We knew that team would not give up today. Going into the game we knew we had to stop the run first and foremost and get after Philip (Rivers) because we know what kind of competitor he is. He just showed the whole game that he would never quit.”
(On if he feeds off the veterans on this team) “Coach wants me to be a leader and so my thing is I have to try and lead all groups. Go out and set the tone as far as the defensive line is concerned, but these guys work so hard. We work hard all during the week and we come out and we show it on Sunday. So the thing about it is I think we’re a self-motivated team and we all thrive off each other. Offense thrives off defense, and special teams, and everything. To me it was just a clear sign today, as Leon (Washington) was just returning balls back and forth like a track meet, so just going off of that, and going off of defense, you know. We played real well the first half on defense and we held them to a shutout, so it was just allowing the offense to get in a rhythm and special teams to get going and just trying to shut them out.”
(On the front seven of the defense inspiring the whole team today, Leon Washington returning the kicks, and if this whole team is feeding off each other) “Well, yes, that’s the way this team is. Everybody taps in and everybody says, ‘I’m in.” And that means that the man next to you, he’s accountable and you’re accountable and it’s just a chain of links, all the way from the coaches all the way down to the last players, so we all just thrive off each other every opportunity we get. It’s the same way in practice and that’s how we bring it to Sundays.”
TE JOHN CARLSON
(On the offense today) “Yeah, we made some plays and moved the ball at times, put a few drives together, but ultimately we didn’t put enough points on the board. We had opportunities to score touchdowns and get a couple field goals that we didn’t capitalize on. Defense, I don’t know how many times we turned the ball over, five times, we need to come away with more points. With that being said, it’s a team game and the defense played great, stepped up big time at the end and really played great in the first half. Leon Washington and the rest of special teams did a great job, so fortunately special teams and defense did a great job today and offensively we did enough to get a win.”
(On missed chances and how it could have been the story of the game had they lost) “Yeah, we had missed opportunities, but it’s a team game, that’s the beauty of the game of football.”
(On his touchdown reception) “Yeah, it was just an empty formation, so we had no backs in the backfield and we were just running little slant routes. I was running the clear route in the middle and I was one-on-one with the linebacker and Matt (Hasselbeck) gave me a nice back shoulder throw and it worked out well.”