In regard to the difference between the first and second half, where did you feel that was, especially passing the ball? David Culley said you went up-tempo there. What was the conversation at halftime and how did you feel the second half went?
"It just felt like at halftime we needed to switch up some things to come out and start the second half fast, so we decided to use some tempo. We were able to come out and really just get up on the ball and make the defense declare to what they were going to do, and we could call the play after that and just start playing fast. Obviously, it worked. We were moving the ball, and it was a really fun second half football."
How comfortable did you feel in this game as opposed to others? On first downs especially it looked like you were playing some of your best ball.
"I think over the course of the season I feel like I've gotten better and better and more comfortable out there, so that's the big thing. Just going out there and being comfortable in the offense and being able to play fast. I feel like I did that, especially in the second half, and it was fun. I think a lot of guys on our team played really well today. Obviously, the line protected extremely well. Danny (Amendola) had a great game and made some big-time plays. It was just a great day for the team."
In the second half with the Titans up by 21 points, how did they play you differently considering they had that lead? And, also, do you think you've established yourself to definitely be the starter going into next season?
"Well, I hope so. Obviously, my whole thing is just going out there and playing my best, playing my heart out on the field. Obviously, it's the front office's decision, the coach's decision to see who plays, but I think, I hope I've proved enough to get that opportunity for next year. I think just coming on the second half we played fast. We were able to use some tempo and really just spread the ball around to our playmakers. My whole job out there is to get the ball to the guys out in space and let them make plays. We really did that. Some guys had some big-time catches. Nico (Collins) had some big-time catches. Chris Moore got us started on that flea flicker that he caught. Really, we were able to play a full team game in the second half. I feel like if we were to get the ball one more time, we would have went down and won the game. Just too little too late, but it was a good one."
What about the way the Titans played you in the second half with the big lead?
"It was a little conservative. A little less pressure in the second half, but I think it kind of goes to show when we got in the tempo mode, it makes them declare a little faster, gives them a little less time to call in plays from the sideline and kind of dial up those pressures. So, we were able to just move the ball on them when they had to adjust to our speed."
What do you think about the job that Head Coach David Culley has done this season? There's been some speculation about his future, so do you hope that he is back again next year?
"Yeah, I think he did a great job all season. Obviously, he was a great leader for the team. In the game of football, ultimately, it comes down to wins and losses, but he had full faith in the team and really led us well all season. I loved him as a coach, and I hope he is back."
When you look at your growth as a quarterback, what are some things that you're proud of from the season, and what are some things in the offseason that you would like to improve on as far as nuances of the game?
"I think throughout the season, I just improved on my knowledge and comfortability within the offense. Felt like I was able to go out there and play fast and really just react to what I see from defenses rather than having to think and take time pre-snap or post-snap to kind of realize what's going on. I'm able to play faster in that sense. And then I think I just want to build on staying consistent with different concepts in the offense, building chemistry with the guys who are able to stay in Houston in the offseason because I'll be here working every day, working every week to get better for next year. I'm trying to convince as many people as I can to do the same. It will be fun, and we're looking forward to the offseason and just getting better."
What does it mean to you when guys on the other side of the ball like DL Maliek Collins say he is proud of you and you didn't blink? What does it mean to you coming from vets like that?
"It's pretty cool. I think really the whole year when I had to step in and play, the team had full faith in me, and I think it kind of goes to show how great our team was. We had some really good teammates and leaders on the field, both offense, defense, and special teams. I felt like when we all kind of came together and played together, we were playing some of our best football. So, that was awesome."
You lose WR Brandin Cooks, but you have a veteran in WR Danny Amendola still on the field. Did that give you comfortability knowing that he was going to be able to get open? And also WR Nico Collins, what did you see from his growth throughout the season?
"It's tough when you lose a guy like Brandin [Cooks]. He got a little banged up, and we weren't able to use him in the second half. But guys, like you said, Danny [Amendola], a vet, was able to come out and make plays. Nico [Collins] was making plays, and the running backs were making plays. It was just a great team game. I think a lot of our guys stepped up and were able to work and perform and show what they could do, so that was fun. Overall, I wish we started faster in the first half, but everyone played well in the second half, and I think everyone has a good feeling when we walked off the field today."
As you have shown this growth and improvement over the course of the season, how much has your role changed in the game plan and the play calling and the things that you guys run? You talked about wanting to start off faster. I figured you might have a voice or influence in that. How much has that changed over the course of the season? How much would you like to see it change going into next year?
"It's been consistent through what we've done for the most part of the year. I've had a really good dialogue with Coach Tim Kelly, Pep (Hamilton), and Coach Culley about how we want to play the game, what we want to run on offense. A big thing we do each week is script some plays for the start of the game to start fast. The past couple of weeks we were able to do that, go get some opening drive touchdowns. Some games you are not able to do that, and you have to adjust to how the defense is going to play you, and I felt like we made some really good adjustments at halftime to come out and play fast. I think it doesn't need to change too much. We were able to kind of do our stuff and execute at a high level, and we can be successful against anyone."
Would you like to throw more often earlier?
"Not necessarily. I think the biggest thing is just taking what the defense is giving you. Run to open up pass, or in some games, you might catch them off guard and pass to open up the run. But I think the big thing is just being balanced and kind of keep the defense guessing."
On that, in the second half there it seemed like whenever it was multiple scores, you were able to go up-tempo more. Is there room for that in situations where it's closer, and how does that go into kind of game planning week-to-week in the scheme that you have?
"Yeah, definitely. That was something we kind of started doing in training camp. It was really trying to utilize that up-tempo and really teaching it to the guys that we can use it if we need to on the field, and I think our team functioned at a high level when we were in that mode. Going forward, I'm hoping we're able to do it a little more. Kind of maybe to start out games or just kind of mix it up on random drives throughout the game to kind of keep the defense guessing. But I think the biggest thing is just continuing to mix it up and keep the defense guessing. Just execute as an offense."
You set the record for most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in Texans' history today. When you sort of look back on your rookie campaign, did you have any real goals for yourself heading into the season? How would you just evaluate how the season has gone for yourself?
"That's actually pretty cool. I actually just heard about that right before I walked in and started this. I'm just extremely grateful for the opportunity I've had. My teammates trust in me, protecting me and really just having fun out there when we go out and play every Sunday. But I think the biggest thing is I've just been grateful for my opportunity, and my whole goal this season, I didn't really set any stat goals, but just go out there and do my best