TITANS at COLTS
Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020
# # #
After two road wins and now you're back on top of the AFC South, how important was getting this win today against the Colts?
"We were playing for first place. We were going on the road. We knew it was a tough place to play. We played them 17 days ago and we knew it was going to be a challenge to start fast and finish stronger. Give the Colts a lot of credit. They played extremely well in the second half of football games. It's a testament to them and their team. Just proud of the way that our guys finished, though."
How much was it about execution and how much maybe was it about attitude and maybe was it a combination of the two?
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things. Playing complementary football, playing better, coaching better. When you can run the ball for what we did and hold them to what we did, that's the difference in the football game. That's how you define physicality, being able to cover kicks and also the way they run the football and stop the run."
I know they had a couple of guys out due to COVID-19 today, but how impressive was the job that the offensive line did upfront regardless of the shuffling parts that you guys have had up there?
"We just block the guys that are in front of us. We can't control who's out there. David Quessenberry stepping in making his first start in six or seven years. Pretty impressive with the journey that he's been on. Happy for a lot of guys. They work together as a unit, and that's what I can say. They finish. You saw us pushing piles and try to get some extra yards, so they protected him on that fourth-and-four, Ryan (Tannehill) had time to progress and hit Corey Davis and he made a great catch down there before halftime."
Is that maybe as well-rounded as it gets? You talk about complementary football, could you expand on that in terms of all three phases working in sync?
"Yeah, this is an excellent special teams group. We know how good they are. I thought our guys were up to the challenge. We protected our punter, our kicker. I thought when they forced us to return the football on the kickoff return, I thought we took care of our – we protected our returner as well. To be able to get those points, get a stop, it just was – at the beginning, it was tough. It was a lot of offense. We finally came up with a three-and-out and was able to score and again, just proud of our defense and the way that they battled and settled down."
Talk about the decision to go for it on the fourth-and-four after you sent the punt team out and then called a timeout and sent the offense back out. What caused you to change your mind on that and just the play that Ryan Tannehill and Corey Davis were able to make?
"I felt like it was an opportunity to continue the drive. They didn't have any timeouts. I thought the way that our defense was playing and also just the confidence that I have in our offense. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. You mention Ryan (Tannehill) and Corey (Davis), he was able to progress through and we kept a clean pocket, and we complete a lot of passes when there is a clean pocket. Again, Corey continues to build confidence. He is playing well and I'm happy for him."
Obviously, you had Brett Kern back today, just curious about how big that was, but also the special teams the past two weeks in general? How good is it to see the unit clean up some of the mistakes there?
"I think that's what you do as professionals. You respond, you take the coaching, you work on it, make sure everybody is on the same page, you emphasis it and you execute it. It's always good to get guys back. Brett (Kern) is an important part of our football team."
As you enter the home stretch over the last month of the season, do you think this team is improving and getting better at a lot of things?
"We beat the Ravens and the Colts on the road back-to-back weeks. I think that's a start in the right direction. We have to continue to build on that and come back home for a new opponent – a very good opponent with a lot of weapons, somebody we don't know quite as well maybe. We opened the season with them last year but that's it's going to be a completely different team, a completely different coaching staff. So that will be critical for us to be able to prepare and to get healthy as quickly as possible."
Back on that fourth-and-four decision, initially were you going to do something different and how effective are those plays where you kind of are making it look like you are just trying to draw them offsides and you snap late in the clock? How much work does it take to do that exactly? How much does that mess up a defense if you do it well?
"Well, we had had a double reverse call with Brett (Kern) but I figured with him coming back from the IR and the risk that we probably shouldn't do it. So Steck (Luke Steckel) told me to call a timeout and just throw it to Corey (Davis)."
Philip Rivers looked uncomfortable today. The whole Colts offense never looked in sync. What were you guys doing better then you were a couple of weeks ago. Was it better coverage, pressure, both?
"Both. I'll tell you what he looked pretty comfortable early – just continuing to get those third-and-shorts and convert. We ended up being able to be better on second down. Being better on second down was creating some of those third-and-longer situations and allowed us to break on the football and our guys did a great job of that, made him move around a little bit in the pocket. He is a tough guy to sack, but I thought we did disrupt him. We got our hands up at times. We had a lot of PBU's from where I was standing. He threw us another one that we dropped before half, so just continue to build on what we did. Again, we coached better and played better. We definitely played better and when we win that's a testament to the players, and they went out an executed. We made good adjustments and we'll move on to the next opponent."
A.J. Brown and Corey Davis two weeks in a row both have had really good games and I wonder how much of that is them getting better throughout the course of the year? They both had two games in a row and how important that is to make the offense as multi-dimensional as possible?
"Yeah, I think it's about those guys continuing to develop and understand coverages. Each week is a different opponent. How one guy is going to play them as opposed to somebody else. Taking the coaching and executing it on the field, developing a relationship with Ryan (Tannehill) and then just their ability to go out there and be big and play physical, take on contact and being able to break tackles at times. That is always important."
When you got off to that 35-14 lead, it seemed like you were able to continue wailing on them with the rushing attack. It kind of forced them out of their game plan. How big was that stretch for you guys in this game?
"Well, we had watched our second half. We had watched the Packers second half and that was 41-3 they had outscored their opponent. So I think our guys were ready when we were sitting there at halftime saying it is the same message we talked to you about on Tuesday. It was the same message we had today. We have to continue to establish the line of scrimmage. They ran the ball eight straight times last week against Green Bay down 14. So, I think we were prepared to finish the game off and that is a credit to the players."