QB MATT HASSELBECK
(Opening…) That was fun. It didn’t start out so good, but we hung together.
(On his approach…) The whole season, the whole year really, has been different. It’s had a different feel to it this season. Even still, we accomplished our goal this year, which was to win our division. It was a good start, and something that we want to get back to doing, year after year after year, like we had. Still, throughout the tough stuff that we had to go through, the opportunity was there for us to host a home playoff game against a really good team and I think we just all excited about it. I think that our team is starting to come together in some ways that our special. It was a great pre-game in the locker room, stuff like that. And, it was at home.
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(On how he feels right now…) It feels great. It feels really, really good. It wasn’t just one thing. I felt like everybody did a little something to help us get the win and there was an awesome feeling. Kind of an answered prayer, in a way, we were 10-0 against the world champs, my third pass of the game, I think, was intercepted. It was not exactly how you want to start a game, but that’s one of Pete’s messages. He has a few that he goes to all the time, and one is that you can’t win or lose the game in the first quarter, and you have to win it in the fourth. A lot of the stuff that he’s brought up this year has kind of come true.
(On the situation in the fourth quarter…) We know it’s Drew Brees, one of the great quarterbacks in our game, and one of the great offenses in our game, and we knew it was going to be tough, and never at any point were we talking about getting conservative on the sideline even though we had a two touchdown lead. We were talking about hey, we just have to keep the pedal down. We sputtered a little bit, but having the run at the end on the second and 10, I think it was, it was huge. It was almost unexpected. But, Marshawn was amazing, and the guys blocking for him did a great job, and he kept it going and it’s what we talk about. We talk about running the ball in the fourth quarter when they know you’re trying to run it. It was big for us.
(On what that play is designed to do…) If you get 4.1 yards, you’re patting yourself on the back. That’s just power to the left. 17 power. First time we called it today.
(On what he was doing downfield on that play…) I was looking [to block], but I was just looking.
(On how the season progressed…) It’s football, there’s ups and downs. You kind of get cold, you get hot. You kind of get in a rhythm, I can’t really put my finger on any one thing. You could point to certain things, but somebody’s got to get lucky, and we got some breaks today. And, some guys made some plays, and thing swung in our direction after a while. I don’t really have a good answer for you.
(On how he feels about the team overall…) I feel good about our season. I’ve felt good about our season this whole time, even though other people don’t, and they want to say what they want to say. But for us to handle the adversity, and all the change and all the things that we had to go through, the injuries, and still come out on top of our division; I think was a tremendous job by our coaching staff, a tremendous job by our players, holding it together, and just finding a way. We were not a good football team the last two years; we didn’t win many games and we didn’t have the ingredients, we didn’t have the recipe, we didn’t have the camaraderie, the feeling like a team, the unity, that kind of thing. It was a lot of hard work to get that feeling back and to do it through all of the change. I’m proud of the season that we’ve had. I’m really proud. I know that the guys in the locker room, they should be proud too.
(On getting prepared this week…) I guess there’s a chance, if it didn’t go well. But, our doctors, they did a great job, and this is the third time that we’ve done that, so it’s getting to be routine, unfortunately. They aspirated it, I don’t know medical terms, but they took a bunch of fluid out.
(On whether he thought about that this might be his last game…) As a football player, you never know when you’re last play is going to be. You really don’t. There are guys that are on this team, that they played their last play at some point this season. And, whether it’s Ben Hamilton or Chester Pitts or Max Unger, or all these guys we went into training camp with. It’s just one random play, there’s nothing special about the play, it’s just a random play, it’s the last play of their season. And, it’s tough, and that’s just football. I know you’re talking about my contract being up this year, and all that, but it’s football. I’m sort of just trained, it’s sort of my mentality, you never know. You just never know. I don’t think it’s been a huge deal.
(On how he felt when he walked off the field today…) It was awesome, seeing my kids out there. I was doing an interview, and I saw my son Henry getting carried out by one of our guys. It was just really cool. I remember as a kid always wanting to go down on the field with my dad, and I don’t know if I ever did. I don’t know if it was a Parcells rule, that you weren’t allowed to, or what, so it was just really cool. I know it’s special to them, it’s special to me. The atmosphere was just awesome.
(On the satisfaction of the win today…) My mindset was that we just beat the world champs. I’ve got so much respect for their coaches, their players, Drew Brees. Those guys are awesome. We just beat the world champs, and that’s a great feeling. And we worked hard to do it. It wasn’t like it kind of happened. We worked hard this week, and we prepared and we believed, and we laid it on the line, and it was an emotional game. I’m emotionally drained right now, I’m physically drained right now. It was just satisfying.
(On whether he felt like he was in a zone today…) I think we got on a roll there, we got a rhythm going, with pass protection, and I was using my cadence pretty good, and quick counts, and sort of quick counts, normal count, hard count, double count. Using those things in our tool box. We had a rhythm going, we had them on their toes just a little bit. You try to recreate that when you go back out on every series, but sometimes you get lucky; you have a run to the right that looks into the left, or they have the exact matchup that you’re looking for. But, yes, there were stretches in that game where we connected. This year, we took some shots on Third and 1 and Fourth and 1, those kind of things, and talk about how that’s something that we’re comfortable with, we like doing it, and it hadn’t really showed up. It showed up a little bit today, so that was good, too.
(On the touchdown to Mike Williams…) On that one I believe I was trying to go to Justin Forsett, and it might have been Darren Sharper, I’m not sure, but he’s a smart player and they sort of, not that they doubled Justin, but the two guys converged on Justin, and I don’t know that we’ve hit Mike on that play, but he was there, it was an opportunity, and I gave it a lot of air and let him run under it, and he did a nice job.
(On getting John Carlson involved in big plays…) When you are playing a really good team, you have to come up with some ways to sort of trick them a little bit. And we came up with some of those things. They’re a very aggressive defense, they take educated guesses, both in off coverage and in short-yardage situations and in run situations, they get real physical. We just sort of felt like there were opportunities to get the tight end, sell run, and come out of it. That stuff only works if the run game’s going though, and the run game was going for us, and that was a huge reason for the success on those plays.
(On Mike Williams…) Every job is available. No matter who you are, Mike Williams came in here at some point in the offseason, and he was just a guy. The coach said, I don’t care who you are, or where you’re drafted, what you’ve done, whatever, you have a chance to be on this team and contribute. Now, he’s a staple. He might be the best player on our offense. He’s going to be here a while. It’s a guy taking advantage of an opportunity, a coach says I’m giving you an opportunity, then actually does it. I think it’s been a good thing to see. Some guys have really stepped up.
(On Brandon Stokley…) I don’t even know what week of the season he got here. He got here on like a Wednesday, didn’t practice that day, practiced some on Thursday, caught 6 passes that game, probably led the team in catches that week. He’s a great player. He’s a great player, we just have to keep him healthy and he’s meant a lot to the younger receivers. I know he’s helped me quite a bit. So, it’s been great having him, also. We have a great group of guys, so I appreciate that also.
(On the difference today when they fell behind by 10 points…) I give Pete a lot of credit, I give our team a lot of credit. We were down 10-0 to the world champs, and my third pass was intercepted and you could easily tank it right there. The crowd could have easily tanked it on me, too. But, Pete came up to me and he said, ‘hey, listen, there’s nothing you could have done about that first one,’ and they were about to score, I think, ‘and even if they score here, there’s nothing you can do about that.’ He basically just showed some confidence, I think. And, I appreciated that, it allowed me to really focus in on what we needed to do, and then what I knew we needed to do, we needed to get a score, so the game could still be balanced.
(On whether the team has bought in to Pete Carroll…) I know guys have bought in, because if you didn’t buy in, you’re gone. So, I know guys have bought in. I think what makes it easier to buy in is that it’s legit. It’s not just some rah-rah thing. The way he explains stuff, it seems to happen quite a bit. He told us a Bud Grant story last night about the Vikings and the 49ers, and whatever year, and our game was just like that today. ’84 I think, ’85 maybe. He’s been really great, and he’s steering the ship in rough waters, so to speak, at times this year. But, he’s been very consistent, and as a player when your coach is real consistent and steady, it makes your job a lot easier.
(On the Bud Grant story…) He’ll (Coach Carroll) have to tell you.
RB MARSHAWN LYNCH
(On how the team is feeling and about his 67-yard TD run) “It’s something to (build) off going into next week. I feel it was a pretty good feeling for us all. The offensive line did a great job of getting me to the secondary and I think instincts just took over from there.”
(On more than five guys having a chance to bring him down on that touchdown run) “Is that right? I was just pretty much determined, man – determined.”
(On the Seahawks needing to have that run right then in the fourth quarter as the Saints offense was chipping away and coming back) “Well, I think that we did a pretty good job of just popping three, four (yards) here, eight, nine there. I just think it was overdue for one of the running backs to have a long one and it just so happened that my number had gotten called and it was fun.”
(On if that was the biggest run of Lynch’s career, based on timing and significance) “Oh yeah, most definitely. Most definitely.”
(On beating the defending Super Bowl champions in his first playoff game) “We got to get preparing to come back next week.”
(On everybody doubting the Seahawks going into the game) “That’s alright. That’s alright. The only thing that matters is what we believe in our group. Within us, we believed that we could do it and we did it.”
(On Matt Hasselbeck) “It was great to have him back out there running the offense, doing what he’s doing. It was great to watch, it was great to watch.”
WR BRANDON STOKLEY
(On having some big catches and a touchdown today) “I take pride in still getting open and like I said, it’s not just me out there. Matt (Hasselbeck) made some great throws and the line did a great job blocking.”
(On having already played whoever the Seahawks next opponent is and how that helps) “It helps a little bit but none of that matters. We played the Saints earlier in the year and it didn’t matter. This is a whole new ballgame in the playoffs. Whatever happened five, six weeks ago, it doesn’t matter. Throw it out the window. It’s a new ballgame in the playoffs. Everybody has the same records now and you win, you go on, you lose, you go home.”
(On how good Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard TD run was) “Best I’ve ever seen, especially when we needed it. It was second and nine and we needed a couple first downs there to run the clock out and he just ran through the whole team. It was unbelievable. I was watching. I was hoping he’d just break through that first line and get the first down and he just kept going. And that’s kind of what he’s brought – he’s brought that mentality all year to us. One guy can’t bring that man down.”
(On the Saints chipping away, coming back and not giving up) “Well, they’re the defending champions. You expect nothing less from them. They’re a great team, they’re well-coached and we knew we had to finish it off right there with some points, a couple first downs and that’s what we were able to do.”
TE JOHN CARLSON
(On getting a couple touchdown catches) “(The) coaches came up with a nice game plan – had a couple trick plays, play action passes, and they worked just like they were drawn up.”
(On if this victory makes all the work and effort in throughout the season and the offseason worth it) “I think we have to be careful to be satisfied. We’re not done yet. We’re really happy with the win, we’re excited to be playing another week and again, it’s a one-game season at this point and if we win we get to go on again. So we’re going to enjoy it tonight, rest up tomorrow and then get refocused for next week.”
(On Matt Hasselbeck) “Matt’s always focused, he’s always very well prepared, but this week he had a little extra edge to him. In practice he was whipping people into shape, making sure we were on point. He came out and made plays. He made great throws and led us to victory.”
WR MIKE WILLIAMS
(On the win) “It was a great win for us. We were locked in all week. I think the players have been saying that we felt real good about this game, mainly from a game plan standpoint, and we went out there and got it done.”
(On why they were able to generate so many big plays on offense) “You know, just goes back to the film. Coach (Jeremy) Bates and (wide receiver coach) Kippy (Brown) and (quarterbacks coach) Fisch put together a great game plan. I think guys that are around the facility and interview the players, you can feel the confidence in the game plan. One thing about them (the New Orleans Saints) is they make you beat them. They play their system – they blitz, they play their scheme, they make their you beat them. Either you make your plays, or you don’t, and we were fortunate to make our plays.”
(On what statement Matt Hasselbeck made today) “Matt is just a warrior, man. He’s had a bad little stretch a little way through the year with interceptions and everything, and everyone jumped on him. But in our locker room, and especially in our wideout group, we trusted him and we knew he’d get it done. We’re just so happy for him to bounce back on a huge day, with a great quarterback on the other team. And for him to come out and play well and lead us to a victory just sets (the tone the rest of the way).”
(On the mindset coach Carroll tried to establish going in to today) “He’s trying to simulate the environment, a championship environment, a championship game. He’s been trying to do that all year. We’ve answered the call at times and sometimes we’ve let it get away from us. Last week (against St. Louis) was just a practice for us, last week we came in here in front of our fans, we understood the level we had to play at, and we came out here and executed and I’m sure he’s happy that his preaching paid off today.”
C CHRIS SPENCER
(On Marshawn Lynch’s run) “Well, that’s what you do as a group – you keep pounding, you keep pounding. The coaches always talk about it when you get in the fourth quarter, everything’s going to pop. We’re running the ball and all the sudden you hit it with power, and now we’re out the gate, and Marshawn did a heck of a job. I was just running, I come off and I hit the safety and I felt Marshawn come off me and he was running down field. I see linemen down field, I see receivers down field, and Marshawn’s stiff-arming people, and I was just like, ‘Oh, man, just go! Just go!’”
S LAWYER MILLOY
(On the atmosphere in the Qwest Field) “I do know that the atmosphere (and the fans) – they’re called upon and it’s deafening. It was loud today. It was fun. It was just that energy that when the world champion answered the bell – when they get up 10-nothing or they’re coming back and we know they’re going to have that champion heart to come back – our fans are right there to give us that extra boost. There’s no place like it.”
(On if the Seahawks are one of those teams that are rounding the corner and coming on strong right at the right time) “What do you think? That’s why you play the game. At some point, hopefully it’s later than earlier, your team just kind of gets it and I think that’s what we’ve done over the last couple weeks. It’s been fun and we got so many new guys, it’s such a young team, that I think starting with last week, being in that situation – really a do-or-die playoff atmosphere – it made us more ready for this week. I told you last week, anybody who won that game last week was going to be better during the playoffs. Now we carried that into a good week of practice. Everybody was focused. When the world champions were up on us 10-nothing, we didn’t blink. That’s the mental part that we were struggling to find all year. I think we’re starting to figure that out.”
(On what he says to Matt Hasselbeck after his up and down year) “Welcome back. Welcome back. He knew that the way we got into the playoffs kind of without him – on the sideline or whatever – he had to come in and do his part. All week, you saw how focused he was. He wanted to get on this ship with us and he’s definitely our leader. I’m happy for him.”
DE CHRIS CLEMONS
(On the importance of holding the Saints to a field goal on one of their drives) “I mean it was just stopping them, period. They’re a very good offense. They’ve got so many different formations that they run. It was about matchups – getting the best matchups on the field and being able to match up with them and being able to stop them.”
(On what the keys were to stopping the Saints in the red zone) “The thing was just rush and coverage. We were able to get some pressure on Drew (Brees) and the guys on the back end held up, limiting them to catching the ball for short yardage and allowing us to have some yardage on third down to be able to work with.”
(On the Seahawks not caring what everybody else thinks and still having things to prove to themselves because of things seeming to fall apart at the end of the season) “It’s not about that. When we got in, people said we didn’t belong here. They were like, ‘How could a 7-9 team go to the playoffs?’ It really doesn’t matter how you get in the playoffs. It matters what you do once you get into the playoffs. We just had our first glimpse of what we are able to be as far as going into each and every week.”
LB DAVID HAWTHORNE
(On what the team did to regroup and come back from being down 10-0 at the beginning of the game) “It wasn’t nothing major. We just went back to the game plan and came out and tried to execute better. We didn’t scrap the playbook or nothing like that, we just homed down, people focused up and realized that this game could be ours if we just do the fundamentals and get back to the basics and I think we did a good job of that.”
(On what the last two weeks have been like) “The last couple weeks for us have been playoffs. It’s been win-or-go-home. We’re in a we’re-all-we-got kind of mode because I’m pretty sure everyone was listening to the media and they didn’t believe we had a chance out here. All week, they tell us we don’t got a chance but we see the work we put into this and we know how much goes into it. This is just a blessing that it all paid off for us.”
(On Marshawn Lynch’s run) “He’s a clown so I knew he was going to style a little bit. I’m happy for him. He wants the ball and when you do stuff like that, you get it.”
(On what that meant to the defense on the sideline) “It meant a lot, just to see him going, see the offense rolling and just knowing that we want the same thing. We feed off of them like they feed off us sometimes, and we feed off special teams. When they’re rolling, we all feel that. And we go out there and we can’t let each other down and I think we got that kind of feeling from him.”
DB MARCUS TRUFANT
(On the Seahawks taking on the underdog role) “The underdog role, I think we cherished it and kind of took it to heart. Nobody gave us a chance and we just kind of shrugged our shoulder. We knew we were going to come out and play our ball, stay within ourselves and just see what happens.”
(On taking the Saints offense out of their game during the second and third quarters) “You got to show the Saints look after look. You got to show them a whole bunch of different looks because they’re going to come out and they’re going to put up points. They’re a great offense. They’ve got a great quarterback, they’ve got great receivers, they’ve got great running backs so they’re going to get their points and they’re going to get their yards, you just got to try to limit the big play.”
(On head coach Pete Carroll instilling confidence in the team) “Pete’s just a great all-around coach, all-around guy. He makes sure that you’re mentally into the game and he’s just an all-around great teacher.”
(On Carroll’s message before the game) “Try not to make this game too big. It’s still football. Everybody go out and play ball and we’ll be alright.”
DE RAHEEM BROCK
(On beating the Saints, the team who beat him in the Super Bowl last year when he was with the Colts) “It feels good to get them back and hit (Drew) Brees a couple times. It’s a great feeling to take those guys out of the playoffs.”
(On what the plan is for the Seahawks moving forward) “Next game, one game at a time. I’m going to go home and relax and get ready for next week.”
(On the Seahawks believing in themselves regardless of how many outsiders believe in them) “We don’t really worry about what other people say. We believe in each other and we just want to go out there and play like we know we can play. If we keep winning games, we’ll get more believers. It’s really up to us.”
(On having unlimited possibilities from here on out) “Exactly. We’re going to go out there and keep playing our game, trying to make plays and get those wins.”
CB KELLY JENNINGS
(On having one more game) “The playoffs are a whole new season so we went out and showed today. In our minds, like we said in our locker room, we believe and we know that we can get it done so next week, we’re going to go out and give the same (effort).”
(On enjoying the win for a night before getting back to work to prepare for next week) “Definitely, and then you got to let it go and look forward to next week.”