TENNESSEE TITANS VS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS POSTGAME TRANSCRIPTS - Sunday, September 24, 2017**
HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY
I know a statement was released prior to the game in regards to the national anthem and what we did and I'm going to stay with that and let you know that I was supportive of it and I'll be glad to answer any questions in regards to football today.
(on being patient with the offense in the first half)
Pretty important, could easily get frustrated. I think we had, if I'm not mistaken, four three-and-outs. I know we didn't flinch, we talked through the 15, we talked through what we had, we came back to some things, hit them the second time when we didn't hit them the first time. I thought it was pretty impressive of our guys to just stick with the plan, just like last week, and not get frustrated. That was a big key, not getting frustrated.
(on having two touchdowns called back)
That was frustrating.
(on how he and the team kept their cool after getting two touchdowns called back)
Those are things that if you can overcome that and still come out ahead, that's a sign of we're growing as a team. I really believe that. We're getting better and better. Those are things that maybe in the past we'd be so frustrated we couldn't overcome and get back in the game because of it.
(on the emotional challenge that this game presented)
I've played them, I made it pretty clear from Monday on what this is going to be about. I've played them enough times to know how they play and so do we. I knew it was going to be that kind of game.
(on if the Titans wore the Seahawks down over the course of the game)
I hope so. We obviously moved the ball much better, ran some of the same things in the second half that we did in the first and stuck with it. Had some big drives, obviously had some big plays, really big plays, big effort plays. DeMarco (Murray)'s run, watch the number of bodies down there blocking, still, way down the field. That's an effort you can't ask much more from people. When you've got players that play like that, you've got a chance. Look what happens when you do things like that.
(on if he was surprised that Seahawks CB Richard Sherman wasn't ejected after his hit on QB Marcus Mariota)
No, nothing surprises me anymore. I asked him how they thought we should react when they do something like that. Do they think we're going to take that? There's no way we're going to take that, we'll never take that. I'll be disappointed if we don't retaliate when someone does something like that.
(on no players getting ejected)
I'm surprised by that. That says a lot about our team.
(on the significance of leading at halftime)
That was a great drive by our offense. We executed a number of things we practice a lot, even that last play to DeMarco (Murray) to see if we could get five more yards. We had a time out, knew we had a time out and if we didn't get out of bounds we could use it. We were just trying to get closer for Ryan (Succop) to get a field goal. To come back and respond to their score was important for us. coming into the locker room, little bit of momentum going for you at the time.
(on if they 'saved big plays' for the second half)
No, if the situation comes up in the first half, we play the game on Friday basically, and when we put the game plan, the calls together, and when we get into specific places including has marks, we have plans for play calls. (The touchdown pass to Jonnu Smith) was one of them.
(on what he credits the Titans strong second half to)
Just patience and guys just playing.
(on if he had a doubt that RB DeMarco Murray would play and the significance of his 75-yard touchdown run)
We needed a big run. We haven't had that this year, even in the preseason we haven't had one break like that. This is a good defense, it's a really, really good defense up front, very stout. They've been that way for years. I didn't have any doubt. He looked me in the eye and said he's ready to go, and I trust him.
(on DeMarco Murray's performance today answering questions about his health)
He answered them Friday when I talked to him, he did, he answered them. I was ready to go with him.
(on if he said anything to the team about the national anthem)
No, I let the team make a decision and I supported it.
(on the effort that WR Rishard Matthews showed on his touchdown run)
It was a great play. I think he thought he was going to get caught the whole way, I really do. I think he was waiting to get tackled, and then when he put the breaks on, I think he almost went down and then everyone went flying by him. He was like 'Holy cow! I'm not that much further away, it's right there!' It was a great play. We had an offsides on them, Marcus did a nice job with the cadence today, had a free play. We had a bunch of guys make big blocks down the field for him to make that run.
(on during TE Jonnu Smith's touchdown play, if they hope the Seahawks defense doesn't realize Smith is in the backfield)
We do enough things, we shift them, we do a lot of things with him back there. No, (Phillip) Supernaw's been back there, Jonnu (Smith) has been back there, Delanie (Walker) has been back there, so no, it's not a surprise.
(on if the success of the run game plays a part in the execution of Jonnu Smith's touchdown)
It does. It's a hard play action.
(on what he thinks is going through CB Adoree' Jackson's mind after his touchdown gets called back)
Just keep running, he's going to break one. That was a great play.
(on if he felt bad for Adoree' Jackson after his touchdown was called back)
I do. I feel bad for him and us.
(on the penalty that brought back Adoree' Jackson's touchdown)I don't think of it as a foul, but when (David) Fluellen puts his hands up like 'I didn't do it,' whether he did it or didn't do it, that gives the appearance that he did something wrong. I wouldn't do that, I've told him not to do that. Don't do that. It was a good block, a clean block.
(on if Marcus Mariota got more comfortable as the game went on)
He did. He got better as the game went on.
(on what Marcus Mariota getting better as the game goes on says about his overall development as a quarterback)
It says a lot about who he is and what kind of player he is. He didn't let that last the whole game. He sticks with what we're trying to do and trusts us with the play calling. He knows we always have a chance, we'll never be out of a game as long as he's our quarterback.
(on if RB Derrick Henry was inured)
Pretty good thigh bruise.
(on if Derrick Henry's injury occurred during today's game)
(on ILB Wesley Woodyard's strong performance against the Seattle offense today)
He's a man on a mission. He has made multiple plays, tackles for us for at least three games. It doesn't look like he's slowing down at all. He's been playing extremely well.
(on the blocking during DeMarco Murray's touchdown run)
Yeah (Jalston Fowler) was down there. The first block was outstanding, the first block got him through. Even the second block down the field.
(on the blockers staying with the play all the way down the field during DeMarco Murray's touchdown run)
A lot of guys do that, we've seen that a bunch.
(on avoiding losing two straight games at home)
It was a win we needed to have against a good football team at home. We don't go in here and go crazy over the home, it's a game we've got to win, that's way every week is. I'm glad we're at home with our fans. I thought it was a great atmosphere for our fans, a great day to see and come and watch.
(on the Titans success against playoff teams)
Well we're capable of it if we play good football in all three areas, and I thought that we did that. Was it pretty early? No, it was a grind, it was a grind for both offenses. You're talking about two good defenses going against two offenses. That's what they're capable of doing if we can put three phases together and play good football.
(on QB Russell Wilson's strong performance today despite being consistently under pressure by the Titans defense)
Not getting frustrated, that was talked about early. He's going to extend plays, he's going to make plays. He made some plays on there that will be on Top 10, falling to the ground and finding a receiver on fourth down. That's what he does. That's why that game was all the way down to the last whistle, because of him. You can't get frustrated with the back end that's covering, you can't get frustrated with the front end that we're not getting him. (Sometimes) the front end can get mad at the back end that they're having to cover him for so long. It's working in unison together. Don't get frustrated, stay patient, we'll make the plays. Just trust each other, and they did.
(on what he thinks T Taylor Lewan said to Richard Sherman after his hit on Marcus Mariota)
I have no idea. I can only imagine.
(on if it was difficult for him to leave the decision about the national anthem to the team)
We made a statement about it, the teams had talked, we're unified as a team. It had nothing to do with disrespect to the anthem or the flag or this country; it did not. It was about making a statement that we were together. We don't appreciate some of the things that came out of Washington, it was more about that. I just want to make it clear—this is a team. Watch them every Sunday how they line up for the national anthem. Don't tell me this team isn't proud of this country and this flag. Just watch them.
QUARTERBACK MARCUS MARIOTA**
(on what he attributes the offense's second half success in Week 2 and 3 to)
A lot of credit goes to the coaches, they do a great job of making some adjustments at halftime. Guys (were) motivated to come in and make some plays in the second half and we did. Hopefully we can continue that success, I think that's critical. It's important to be able to have that in the second half and being able to score a lot of points.
(on the importance of staying focused during the consecutive three-and-outs in the first quarter)
Yeah, it was tough. It's a great defense, got to give a lot of credit to Seattle. Our defense did a good job of keeping us in the game and that's all we knew. We had to keep grinding at it, never stray away from our process. I'm happy for the guys, we were able to grind it out and score some points in the second half.
(on if passing more to set up the run was part of the game plan)
I think it just kind of happened. Again, you've got to give a lot of credit to Seattle. They made some plays in the run game. Again, when we're able to do what we do and everybody is on the same page and executing, we're tough to stop.
(on the importance of wide receiver Rishard Matthew's 55-yard touchdown in terms of creating momentum)
Huge, huge. Those guys on the outside continue to make plays. Rishard (Matthews) has done an unbelievable job all year of either converting third downs or making a big play when we need it most. That's the expectation now. He'll continue to get better and that was huge for us today.
(on Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman's late hit on him and if he's disappointed with the outcome of the ruling)
Not at all, it's part of the game. I appreciate the guys coming over, but it's part of it.
(on how unanimous the decision to stay in the locker room during the anthem was and if it shows the unity of the team)
Yeah, it really just came down to – I think guys just wanted to make sure we were united in our decision. I'm proud of the guys for doing that collectively as a group, I think it shows a sense of community. I'm just proud of the guys that were able to make that decision. Happy with the organization, Amy (Adams Strunk) was a part of it as well as Coach (Mike) Mularkey. It was our belief to express our American rights and I'm proud of the guys in the locker room. I thought we did a good job with it.
(on if the decision to remain in the locker room during the anthem was a long conversation or if it was a built up conversation)
It was probably the last day or so. Again, we've got a lot of (veteran) guys that wanted to express their opinions. Again, we were able to do it together as a group. I'm happy we were able to do it as a unified front and that's what it's about. It's just showing that sense of community, really, to the world.
(on the media attention about who should start at running back and if running back DeMarco Murray quieted critics about his game with his play today)
I think both of those guys are great. To be able to have those guys in the backfield is such a luxury, DeMarco (Murray) played really, really well today. Derrick (Henry) did a great job of coming in and making some big plays. To be able to have that, it's really a privilege and we're very fortunate to have those guys.
(on the importance of running back DeMarco Murray's pass protection when playing a defense like Seattle's)
Huge. You've got to give a lot of credit to the guys upfront, pass protection was awesome today. We had a lot of time to make some plays on the field. To have a back that understands protections, understands all those things, is very important. DeMarco (Murray) does a good job of that.
(on how proud he is of the team rising up to beat Seattle)
It's huge, but it's one game. It's good momentum, we've got to turn our focus to Houston. But, that's part of it. This is our process, this is the step that we need to make and I'm glad we were able to do it.
(on if winning is more fun)
Yeah. I just love being a part of the process. I enjoy being around the guys and growing with them. Hopefully we continue this in the right direction.
(on if he was worried about missing plays when he came off the field for hydration in the third quarter)
No. A lot of credit to the staff, they had a walkie talkie that was kind of doing the play-by-play. I knew when I had to be back out there, so a lot of credit to them. I was able to come back and I was able to get through those cramps.
(on how much he enjoys seeing his team come to his defense like they did after Seattle's late hit on him)
Very humbled. That's all I really strive to be, is the best teammate that I can be. I appreciate the effort of the guys. That means a lot.
(on if he was dazed at all after taking the late hit)
No, I felt good.
(on if Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman apologized to him after the game)
(on his impression of Alabama quarterback and fellow Hawaiian Tua Tagovailoa)
Tua (Tagovailoa) is a stud. I've gotten to know Tua over the course of playing in high school. Just kind of seeing him grow. It's fun to watch him, fun to see him have some success. I just continue to wish him the best, I think he's kind of carrying the torch now for that next generation of athletes from Hawaii. I think he represents it well and just wish him continued success.
(on how good it was to see running back DeMarco Murray rush for a 75-yard touchdown)
It was great. I thought it was an important time of the game, guys upfront did a great job. That's kind of the expectation for DeMarco (Murray). I think he can make those plays and I'm happy he pulled that one off there.
(on what he attributes the Titans' second half success two weeks in a row to)
A lot of credit goes to the coaches. They make some great adjustments at halftime and put us in the best situation. Guys just go out there and execute.
(on how thorough players have been with their blocking on big plays)
I think it really starts in practice. Guys running to the football, trying to extend plays. To sort of see that in the game, it just shows all that hard work during the week pays off. Again, there's so many key blocks on both those big plays. Got to give all the credit to (all of) the entire guys.
(on if tight end Jonnu Smith's touchdown was set up by the jet sweep to wide receiver Taywan Taylor)
Yeah, to have a guy like Taywan (Taylor), it's awesome because you can do a lot of different things. He causes a lot of stress, causes a lot of matchup problems. In that situation, we had shown obviously that we're able to run those fly sweeps with him and I think that's what really opened up Jonnu (Smith) on that touchdown.
(on if the Titans expect to win games now)
For sure and it's just a mentality. You've got to give credit to Coach (Mike) Mularkey and Jon Robinson for building that culture and building that atmosphere. As we continue to get better, that's the expectation and the standard. We'll find ways to improve and always get better.
(on how critical the field goal drive at the end of the first half that gave Tennessee the lead was)
I thought it was important. We got back up on top, scored some points, slowed some momentum down. Actually, probably gained a little momentum. To be able to come to the locker room with a lead was huge, and then that answer in the second half on that first drive as well was very important. The guys did a great job of executing.
(on if he feels bad for cornerback Adoree' Jackson who had his punt return touchdown called back due to a penalty)
He'll find one for sure. Those guys just continue to block and he'll hit a crease for sure.
LB WESLEY WOODYARD
(on the Titans' defense stepping up today)
Bend but don't break defense. Our defense made the plays and we kept our team in the game, pretty much the whole game. But we have to get better on those little things. Overall, we got a team victory, and that's what it's all about.
(on the Titans victory today over the Seahawks)
Any time you can go up against a Seattle team and get a victory, like (LB) Derrick Morgan said, 'You've got to earn 'em all.' They are a great team and they've been to the playoffs multiple years, and been a figurehead in the NFC South. So it is a pretty good victory for us, but we have to come back next week and get better.
(on the team not coming out of the locker room, for the playing of the national anthem today)
It just shows that we have a bunch of guys on our team that believe in everybody, and that it's a real band of brothers. We stand for each other, and we support each other's causes.
LB BRIAN ORAKPO
(on the Titans having a later 3 PM start time today against Seattle)
It's kind of weird. I had my car ready at nine, thinking a normal 12 o'clock (noon kickoff) schedule, as we're leaving the hotel, forgot it was a 3 o'clock game. So it lets you know we're not used to it. But it was pretty fun. Pretty entertaining.
(on how he feels about the Titans win today)
Very very proud. We knew that they had been criticized as far as scoring touchdowns and things of that nature. And we did a great job at the beginning. And then you could see Russell (Wilson) get into a groove, moving around trying to make things happen. And that's what he does. He's a helluva quarterback, and they've been to the Super Bowl (two) times because of that. And we did a good job of containing him and finishing at the end. It is a great win for us. It really is a measuring stick for us moving forward, playing a team like that with a great defense, and a great QB. They have everything you could ask for, but I was proud of our defense and we kept giving the ball back to our offense. Every possession mattered.
(on the decision to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem)It was phenomenal. It was all about unity. Whether you stand, kneel, or whatever the case may be. It's all about unity and bringing everybody together. I thought that was huge that our coaches, our owner, on both sides had our back, the players' back, because we got together before the game with the Seahawks, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. It was remarkable that everybody was able to go through with it, and be one.
TE DELANIE WALKER
(on approach to playing Seattle)
This was a challenge to our team. We answered, we came in and said, 'All we got to do is play physical football. Don't talk back and just play football' and that is what we did.
(on rebounding from slow offensive start)
You know the last few weeks that is what has been happening. We come in at halftime and made adjustments. We come out there started getting things going, moving the ball. That's all we can ask for. Our defense did a great job of stopping them until the second half. We came out there and put points on them. So you can't ask for anything better than that.
(on play on sideline involving Marcus Mariota)
You know, Marcus is one of our leaders. We look up to him, he runs this offense. When we see something like that happen to our quarterback of course you are going to see a melee like you seen. The O-linemen and everybody is going to protect him. We don't like to see stuff like that. I am sure he wasn't trying to be dirty, but it happened. We don't need that type of stuff.
(on decision to stay in locker room for National Anthem)
Well, you know we had a group text message with the Seattle Seahawks and you know we sat down and talked about it amongst the team. The head coaches got involved and we came up with the solution that would be perfect for everybody, and that was staying in the locker room.
(on comments made by President Donald Trump)
Well 45 is gonna say what he want to say. That's his point, he can tweet whatever he wants to tweet. We are here to play football. For a long time, we have been united, playing with one another, all races. That is all we are trying to show, that we are united and you can't separate us. This is what the league is all about.
WR RISHARD MATTHEWS**
(on what he saw on his long touchdown play)
It was just a screen play. We had been running it all week. I saw the guy jump off sides, so in my mind I was just like, man let me make the catch and get as many yards as I can out of it. First I was trying to make it to the end zone but I realized I wasn't going to make it there and I was getting kind of gassed, so I thought everybody would be hitting me, so I stopped and then (Phillip) Supernaw came and cleared everybody up. So kudos to (Phillip) Supernaw and Eric (Decker) helped me stay up and then I was just trying to get into the end zone.
* (on how important it was not to let Seattle get in their heads and if it was discussed)*
Yeah, definitely, we know what type of players they are. You know they are great competitors and that's what competitors do. They talk and try to play their game. Like I said, we got some great players in this locker room and when we are on point, it is hard to stop us.
(on if decision concerning National Anthem was talked about a lot before the game)
I wouldn't say it was talked about a lot. It was just a decision that needed to be made and I am glad the coaches and everybody came to that decision.
RT JACK CONKLIN
(on what it says about the Titans offensive to respond against a solid defensive team)
That's our smashmouth football. The first half, we are trying to break trams down, trying to wear them down. That's what we did last week. We came out here and that is what our plan was for this week and we were able to carry it out and stay physical the whole time.
(on what went in to decision concerning National Anthem)
As a team, we don't want any distractions. As a team, we don't want anything to come in between any of our players or anything. So it was decision as a team to stay in (the locker room). A lot of guys in college went out there…(inaudible). For us it brought some focus on the game, stuff that didn't have anything outside of it. We just didn't want to bring any of that into our locker room and it was a team decision and that is what we came up with. Me, personally I respect the troops completely and everything they do for us. That is something that we were not trying to disrespect them at all. This is our job and we were trying to make sure our team was really focused and that's what we did.
(on being able to have strong second half after slow start)
It's tough, that first half was tough. We want to score touchdowns, we don't want to settle for three field goals. Like last week, it is a smashmouth game and we want to wear a team down. The big thing for us we thought about this the whole week, it is was so hot. We look at Seattle and it's 60 degrees. We knew we were going to wear them down at some point. It was big emphasis for us to practice in the heat all week and not go into the indoor and that's what we did. We fought through it and we knew if we kept grinding on it they would wear down.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
Disappointed in this game here today. Couple of different reasons – we didn't play very well, particularly in the game and had trouble getting started offensively. Defensively, terrific in the first half. We did all kinds of good stuff. We're on it, and got a little burst at the end of the half, got a little burst at the start of the third quarter and weren't able to hold it. I thought the Titans were a good football team today. They were tough and they ran the ball really well in the second half in particular and were able to control it. Really surprising characteristic to see big plays. We just hadn't seen those, no explosive passes last week and we had a few today. So, we have to find our consistency. We've got to get it right, and we're not there yet. Hopefully we have enough time to get going. We need to work together, play together so that it shows up where we're connected. Right now, it's kind of spotty and not consistent enough. We've got a big challenge and we've got to get together.
(on bickering in the first half)
It was energy we didn't need to be expending, that's for sure. (Richard) Sherman was trying to get an explanation on the call and he got too hot and made a mistake and got a penalty on him. Mainly it was just field position but we run pretty hot. But on a day when it was difficult…it was a challenging day for both teams with the temperature and you didn't need to expend any wasted energy. We might have done some of that.
(on whether the unsportsmanlike call was understood)
He threw his helmet off. You can't take your helmet off.
(on offense in the second half)
Yeah, there's no question. We know we had the opportunity to make plays and move the ball up and down the field. We missed a lot of passes in the first half, didn't throw the ball very well, catch the ball very well, and we left some huge plays on the field, so that made it difficult. That's why you put the third down numbers in there, in the first half, that's why you don't get to run the football. It gets to be one of those games. Lost a good opportunity to play the way we wanted to play because of those things.
(on what prevented running back Eddie Lacy from being on the field today)
I don't know. How many times did we run the ball about 15 times today? We didn't get a chance. We ran about six or seven times in the first half. Chris (Carson) was doing fine. We were going to see how far we could go with Chris and then see if we had Eddie coming off the bench but it just never got to that.
(on decision to not participate in the national anthem)
That was a decision that the players were really hoping we could do and based on all of the concerns, and the Titans wanted to do the same thing. So that's just a statement that they felt they needed to make and I thought it was in a way, it wasn't a demonstrative thing on the field, I think it was a classy way to demonstrate your dissent for what had happened and all of that. I don't think it had any factor in the game at all. The fact that…I was proud of Mike, Mike wanted to do the same thing so we did that together and it was a statement that all the players wanted to make. I know there was different statements around the league. I don't know…I didn't see any of them so I didn't know what they were, but that struck a main nerve with the football players and I respect that.
(on whether a decision to not participate in the national anthem will happen in the future)
I don't know. I don't know. We take one week at a time. I don't know that.
(on whether there was a discussion with the Titans in decision to not participate in the national anthem)
There was, yeah, there was.
(on when that discussion took place)
Couple of hours before game time. It might've been three or four hours before game time.
(on how much of Saturday was devoted to coming to a consensus on how the team would approach the anthem)
There was just sit-downs with some guys. We met with kind of the leadership group and then we talked about it after our meetings last night.
(on decision to go for it on fourth-and-22)
I just wanted to take a shot. Sometimes you've just got to take a shot.
(on the heat and humidity taking a toll on the defense in the first half and effecting the second half)
I think it did some. Both teams were tired. It just depends who was out there. It just looks worse when you're getting beat.
(on giving up big touchdown plays)
Well, I can't tell you all…. We missed coverage on the wheel route. It was a clear responsibility. On the long run, on the screen, we missed a couple of tackles early on and then we just got outmaneuvered down the field, which is unusual. And then the long run they had, I don't know what happened at the line of scrimmage on their side of the field, I can't tell you right now. The tackling in the midst of that breakaway, we were in the right mode to get him down. He outran us. He outdid us and we need to be better than that.
(on Doug Baldwin's condition)
He's got a groin strain of some degree. I don't know what the degree is.
(on Dewey McDonald's condition)
He hurt his knee, right off the bat. There's ACL concerns and we've got to see when we get all the tests done and stuff like that.
(on concerns about the special teams with so many injured players)
It's a big factor. Yeah, our top guy D.J. (Alexander) and Neiko (Thorpe) weren't there and Dewey (McDonald). Those are our three top guys who went bang, bang, bang. It hurts your depth. It factors in across the board. Those are three terrific football players for us, so we miss them, for sure.
(on the impact of not having Doug Baldwin at the end of the game)
I don't know. We were running down the field so I thought Russell (Wilson) and the receivers and the protection was great. They gave us a chance to be back in the football game and we felt like we were going to win the game. As odd as that may sound, the way that game looked, we were just one ball bounce away from getting the ball back and we're going to go win. That's how we felt and went about it. Russell was on it throughout the fourth quarter and the receivers made fantastic plays. Jimmy (Graham) did great, Doug (Baldwin) did great. Everybody contributed across the board and the pass protection was excellent throughout that. That's not uncommon for us. I have to say to the guys, 'what do you think? We're not going to come back? We're not going to be close in this game and have a chance to win it?' That's how we've rolled for a long time and that's our expectations. We don't want to be in that mode at all, of course. That's not where we want to be.
(on the touchdown with the screen that was a free play)
Although we practice that consistently, there is a mental moment in there that you can relax. You think they are going to blow the whistle and they didn't. They did it properly, I'm sure but we just didn't hit it like we normally hit. Those plays are nothing to us and somehow that one went out and went.
SEAHAWKS QB RUSSELL WILSON
(on the decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem)
I think, first of all, we wanted to do something as a team. Last year we did something and locked arms and I thought that was very good and stuff, and then we wanted to figure out how we could do something as a whole team. Collective effort to show that the injustice in America for people needs to be fixed. I think that we have so many players who do such a great job in the community, represent the Seattle Seahawks really well, represent their families really well, try to do things to help change our community one person at a time, one individual at a time. I think there were a lot of guys that really, really wanted to do something and try to make a difference. I definitely was one of them, too. I wanted to do something where we could do something unified. We believe in love. The only way that we can defeat the hate is by loving people, and so that's what we believe in.
(on his reaction to President Trump's comments)
It was sad to see that. I think that there are so many guys across the National Football League, not just on our team, but across the National Football League that truly want to do good things and do do good things. I think, ultimately, a lot of the guys who have done stuff try to do it without aggression or anything like that. They try to do it peacefully and everything. I know the guys in the National Football League, their hearts are right, the guys that are trying to do stuff and make a change – and I believe that we're a team that really wants to make a change. It was definitely sad to see that, we were on the plane and I saw that. You think about people who have gone through stuff, and the people from Michael Bennett, to people who have gone through stuff all across the country. It's a serious issue and it can't be taken lightly. I feel like honestly it's being taken lightly, and I think we need to do something about it, and we have to be able to communicate and we have to be able to work together to show love and make a difference in our world. I think it starts at the top but it starts in our communities, too.
(on the Seahawks offense improving near the end of the first half)
I put that on me, I think we could have been better early. We had five third-and-long (situations) in the first five series really, and then we had one third-and-short and didn't get it, unfortunately. But, the score was still close. Our defense was playing lights out. They were tough as nails in the first half and throughout the game really. So, all we needed was to get something going and we were able to do that (at the end of the first half). Doug (Baldwin) made a great catch down the sideline and made a few other plays here and there, and then we scored on that touchdown in the front right corner of the end zone, which was a sweet play by Doug (Baldwin). We did some really cool stuff there and got the momentum, and then we came back out and I think what it showed was the testament of our team and we keep showing that. But, I think that ultimately the courage that guys played with tonight was the most remarkable thing in terms of the courage that they played with. It wasn't going to be easy. This is a great football team. Tennessee is a great football team. They're going to be good all year long. So, for us, we had to circle the reins and keep battling, keep playing. We believe if we get that onside kick, that maybe we can find a way. Unfortunately, they made a good play on that, so that's the tale of the game. I thought we had a great second half on offense and made a lot of plays, but we needed one or two more series there.
WR DOUG BALDWIN
(on the state of America given President Trump's recent comments about NFL players)
I think it's scary that we have a man in office who was elected to protect our basic rights and yet he has shown recently the opposite. I think the media – a lot of the media – can understand, because they've gone through very similar situations with him. But, for us as players, directly being called out about not being able to express ourselves – which this great country, and many men and women who have sacrificed their lives for us to be able to express ourselves in that way. That's the foundational core of who we are as a country, and for that to be threatened by the man who is at the head of the table for our country is a very serious thing. I hope that that message is loud and clear for anybody who's listening, anybody who's watching, that they recognize that this is a dangerous time and we recognize that.
(on why the Seahawks stayed in the locker room during the national anthem)
Well, we're hoping to unite people of all colors, all races, all religions, all beliefs to come together and realize the severity of the situation. This is our country, you know? This is what we were founded on, (it) was a protest. The Boston Tea Party, that was a protest. I think there's something to be said to make sure we protect the sanctity and the importance of individuals in this country being able to express themselves, and I understand it's a difficult topic to talk about. I understand we all have our different opinions, we all have our different viewpoints, but that's what makes our country so great. That's what makes our country unique and beautiful. That's why we are where we are, is because we don't always agree. Just getting 63 guys to agree to do something is difficult in itself, so I can understand how difficult it is for the country. But, sometimes I feel like there's a line that needs to be drawn and to me, the most important thing we can do at this moment is be unified. Not just as a football team, or as an NFL, or as a city, as a red state, blue state, as a country, as a society, because again, the severity of the situation cannot be understated.
(on being encouraged by the play of the Seahawks offense during the second half)
I was really encouraged by Russell Wilson's play. He had a lot going on, and for him to be as resilient as he was today just reminded us all of why he is who he is. Why he is Russell Wilson and why we love him so much. Offensive line picked it up, running backs picked it up, the receivers picked it up, it was a whole team effort. I wish we could have done more for our defense and we will, that will definitely be the case. We will figure that out, but definitely encouraged.
SEAHAWKS DL MICHAEL BENNETT
(On what it meant for the entire team to make a statement to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem)
It meant everything. It was us coming together beyond football and just recognizing that as human beings there is something bigger than this because at the end of the day somebody wins and somebody loses in football but at the end of the day it's about coming together and collaborating and figuring out how to unite people together and I think as a team we did that today. We showed what we have compassion for and we showed what we stand for. We stand for equality, we stand for all of that and so it was pretty exciting to be a part of something that was revolutionary as far as the whole NFL and people coming together as one. It didn't matter our race, it didn't matter our politics, it didn't matter our religion. We came together and we united and we showed that we have power as people and that's what we were doing today and I think that was super impressive. It was just about showing what we stand for. We stand for equality and with all of the things that are going on in the United States right now, we just wanted to find a way to not isolate people but to come together as a team and we stand by the decision that we made as a team.
(On the team's decision to take a stand by not coming out of the locker room at all as opposed to coming out and taking a knee)
People felt more comfortable (staying in the locker room) and we didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable with anything we did and we felt that that was the best way to do it.
(On the process of the way the decision was made by the team to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem)
There was a lot of discussion. We discussed it and everyone has a lot of compassion for each other and have compassion and conviction for what other people are going through and I think for us it was just finding a way to make everybody feel included. In this generation you don't see a lot of sports and people spending time to even talk about the issues. It's beyond politics, it's about being a human being and having dignity and compassion for other human beings regardless of their race or gender it's just about bringing people together and I think for us it's always going to be about that. At some point it's always bigger than sports. You're only a football player for a certain amount of your time and for the rest of the time you're a human being and you want to be able to bring people together and be able to unite people and for us that's what it is about.
(On if the team grew as a team through all of this)
I think we grew as a team. I think we exercised our first amendment right to be able to protest and have freedom of speech and I think it brought us together. We might have lost this game but this is just one game. We got a long season ahead of us but this is beyond football and I think this brought us together and is going to take us beyond our football years and is going to keep us connected even when we're done playing football.
(On if the team will continue this throughout the entire season)
I don't know if this is something we're going to continue. I don't want to say what we're going to do because we haven't talked about that as a team but that was what we did today and I think we're still going to be able to play good football and do what we need to do.
(On his assessment of the way the defense played today)
I think we played a really good game except for a couple busted plays. Guys jumped offsides more than we should have and I think the plays that they scored on us were pretty much just miscommunications and being in the wrong position and I think those are things we can bounce back from. I think when you make a mistake and we can go back to the tape and see it wasn't something physical, it wasn't like we were dominated. It was just miscommunication, a lack of concentration and those are things we can go back and fix and that's what we're going to do.
SEAHAWKS TE LUKE WILLSON
(On his touchdown catch)
I saw the ball and Russ (Wilson) threw a tremendous ball and I knew at that point in the game I knew I just needed to come down with that no matter what happens, I got to catch this ball. I kind of lost where I was, I wasn't sure if I was on the five or in the end zone so I just focused on coming down with the catch and then making it into the end zone.
SEAHAWKS LB BOBBY WAGNER
(On if the Titans changed anything offensively in the second half that caught the Seahawks off guard)
I don't think they changed anything they just kept going at us and they got us on a couple plays and so we just have to deal with that and make sure it doesn't happen again.
(On if the National Anthem protest was a distraction)
We were still focused on the game. We have a great mentality in this building and ability to be able to multi-task and I don't think our focus steered away from the game and once the game got started we were ready to play. They just got us on a couple plays.
(On the team's decision to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem)
We're always sticking together, we're always a team, we're a family and Coach (Pete) Carroll is always going to be behind us 100 percent as is the organization.
SEAHAWKS CB RICHARD SHERMAN
(on the decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem)
It was a long process. A lot of discussions happened, we took everybody's input. It's tough anytime you're doing something unique and want to take a stand. You have guys from so many different backgrounds, so many different cultures, so many different walks of life. I think we did as good of a job as you can, because we wanted to focus on messaging. I think football – for a long time, the players weren't even out there during the anthem, and now that's become kind of a distraction away from the message that these guys are trying to present. You know, there is inequality out there. You know, there isn't liberty and justice for all, and I think guys for at least a year now have been protesting that by taking a knee, sitting down, putting up the fist, et cetera, et cetera. But their voices were watered down, they were drowned out. They were drowned out by the noise, because people were saying 'Oh, you're kneeling during the national anthem.' But, these are the same people that today at the Patriots game are booing guys during the national anthem. They don't see that as disrespectful. It's really a strange hypocrisy that we see, but people don't seem to see it while they're doing it. So, as a team, we wanted to do our best and not ostracize our guys, any of our individuals – allow them to feel welcome and not really make them uncomfortable. That's the worst thing you can do as a teammate, is put your teammate in an uncomfortable position. We don't go out, the whole team doesn't come out, then it's easier for him to defend himself and say 'Hey, it's a team decision. I just did what the team did.' You're a good teammate. Perfect. Fine. But if you get out there and you ask a guy to kneel or sit, going against his values, going against his family, you know, you put him in weird spots. So, we never want to do that. We think that we did a good job getting our message out and trying not to distract from it.
(on how the Seahawks arrived at the decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem)
There were tons of proposals. I mean, we sat there for hours. They sat there for two hours and then we got to team meeting and we sit there for another hour and a half because it's one of those topics. This is a world-changing, life-changing event. Once in a lifetime. You have to capture a moment like that, and the moment doesn't affect everyone the same. Some people, it's a moment that has no effect, has little effect. It won't move their needle either way which is fine, but they sympathize with their teammates so they do want to do something. Whether going out there and sitting down during the national anthem for some guys was unacceptable and that's fine. That's fine. We made that decision with that in mind. For some guys, there was a suggestion that we kneel with the flag half-staff because that symbolizes that there's an issue going on in our country, and there is, obviously. So, there were a ton of things thrown around but I think we came to a good decision and we stand by it.
(on deciding to stay in the locker room during the national anthem instead of an on-field demonstration)
Anything we did, we had to be unified when we did it. So, if we went out there and we couldn't get everyone to kneel, or everyone to sit, or everyone to lock arms, or everyone to do something, then there was no point in doing it. It's not as powerful. We did it a time when there were two or three guys. I think there were 27 with Jacksonville today. Baltimore had a good number of guys, but it doesn't show the kind of power unless it's the entire team. And not only did we get our team to do it, we got the Tennessee Titans to do it too, and that just shows the strength of our league and the strength of our union and our unity. They're still our opponent. We still went out there, a hard-fought battle and they came out victorious, but today was something bigger than that before the game.
(on communicating with other NFL players regarding what to do before the game)
Oh, there was a ton of communication. A ton of back and forth throughout the day, the night. There were talks with players on other teams. The Denver Broncos, the Cowboys, et cetera, et cetera. Because, we're trying to be on the same page. Guys want to do right by their people. They want to take a stand. They understand things happening in this world are not right and that we have the platform to make a difference, and to make a change and help millions of lives be better or at least bring awareness to the situation, then we will. Guys like Von Miller, I don't know what he ended up doing, but we were in discussions until right before game time.
(on the Titans also remaining in the locker room during the national anthem)
It was awesome. It was awesome. But I have to give them credit, they were discussing this just as much as we were discussing it beforehand. It was to the twilight hour before we came to a decision that we were all going to do it, because it's more powerful if both teams make a stand and put out a statement. You have to give them their credit for having those discussions, those difficult talks, too.
(on what staying in the locker room during the national anthem means)
It means strength. It means hope. It means there's a chance. It means we have enough people that care enough, that are selfless enough, to sacrifice for the greater good of others. When you do something like this, even as a team and as an individual, you're putting yourself in harm's way. You're putting yourself with a bullseye on your back. And we're putting our teammates in that, but in order to make a point, in order to be like the Muhammad Alis, the Malcom Xs, the Martin Luther Kings, you have to do that. You have to take those tough roads instead of taking the easy road. Today, we could have went out there and played a ballgame and did nothing, just played it normal. And I'm sure there are some teams that went out there and did that, and that's fine too. There's nothing wrong with that. But, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to go out there and represent the people that are the same skin tone as you, the people you know are still suffering out in the streets and being treated a certain way. You want to make sure that they understand that we're with them too.
(on his personal foul penalty versus Titans QB Marcus Mariota)
No, he was still in bounds so I play until the blow of the whistle. If the quarterback slides, or kind of gives himself up or does something like that, then you stop. But, if there's still yards that he's gaining, you're taught to play to the whistle. It's so crazy the way the game is nowadays. (Marcus Mariota) came up to me and said good hit because he understood that I'm playing till the blow of the whistle. I'm not waiting until you took two steps out of bounds. It's a game of inches and you can't give up anything, and it's just one of those plays. It's football. It seems like the world is getting a lot softer in terms of the way it's officiated and the way it's seen, but it's football at the end of the day.
(on the decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem)
I don't know. I don't know what's next. With the president, what's next? You know, your guess is as good as mine. Today I'm a black man in America, tomorrow I'll be a black man in America. That is all I know is true.
(on the decision to stay in the locker room during the national anthem)
I would stop dividing it. I would talk to people like I had some sense. I wouldn't talk from a pedestal. I would talk even keel with everybody. I would try to help as many people as you can, you don't have to be divisive. I don't have to call anybody SOB. I can say I don't agree with it. I can say I don't agree with their methods, I don't agree with the way things are going. But, I don't have to say there are fine people on both side when there are people running around with swastikas. I would never do that. I would condemn them as much as we condemn that regime. There are patriots out there that say they're patriots and say, 'Man, I'm just conservative, I'm alt-right.' And that's fine. Politics are politics, but sometimes you have to put politics aside and understand that you're dealing with human beings. Put politics aside and realize this is a fellow man. This isn't about, 'Oh, I'm alt-right, I'm conservative. I'm a Republican.' It's they're running around with swastikas. That's wrong. Put your political affiliations aside, that's wrong. There's no place for this anywhere in the world and you can condemn both sides if that's what you have to do. If there's violence on both sides, they're wrong on both sides. Condemn both sides. But, you can't say there's fine people on both sides when one side's running around with swastikas and I'm looking for the fine people. I think those are things I worry about in this country. But, if I was president, you know I wouldn't have all the answers. I'm sure there'd be people around me smarter than me that could help me.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)