HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
Opening Statement: "The game got out of reach early. They made plays, we didn't make plays on both sides of the ball. Then we got some momentum and got some things going, got some points, got a surprise onsides (kick) and then we're offsides. You've got to execute near perfection when you get down where we were and we just didn't do that. We got beat today by a good football team, a well-coached football team. We just didn't make the plays when we needed to to keep this game close."
On the Chiefs offense: "They were executing. They were highly explosive early. During their first drives they did some things that we had to adjust to. We settled down, but we didn't make plays. We didn't get them into third downs and get them off the field. Early, we couldn't get off the field. Congratulations to them to converting a third and 15, but you don't convert third and 15 against a good defense and that's how we played at times today. … We had missed tackles, we had guys coming underneath blocks. They're a very talented offense. Both backs are outstanding. You've got to make the tackles and make the plays."
On the turnovers killing momentum: "It's not an easy thing to overcome, but hey, we came back and made some plays. We got ourselves in some really unusual long down and distance situations in the second half, which is hard to overcome. That's hard to manage with the penalties and then the sack."
What did you tell the team now that you've been eliminated from playoff contention? "We're going to finish up. We're going to come back to work this week and finish up. We're going to take a professional approach this week and get ready and prepare to play a good football team in Indianapolis."
QB KERRY COLLINS
How much of a factor was the wind in that long ball? "I don't think the wind was a factor at all today."
Did your arm get hit on the play that went short? Was that pass intended for Jared Cook or to Kenny Britt? "Britt….. Kenny. He was open, but things happen you know. My arm got hit and I couldn't get it to where I wanted to get it."
I know it was a loss but what does it mean to reach 40,000 passing yards? "Not much right now. It's hard to feel good about anything. I understand that it's a nice accomplishment and all that but, right now at this moment with the way today went, the way the season has gone, it's not possible to feel good about it."
When you got down to 24-0 what did you have to throw out of the game plan? "It's hard to stay committed to the run when you get down that early? There was still a lot of time left and we ran the ball some. But when it comes right down to it you've gotta throw it. We got put in some tough situations second and long, third and long. You get second and long and it's hard to run the ball. It's kind of indicative of the way the game went today."
How tough is it to realize that there are no playoffs in your future? "When it finally hits you that you are out of the playoffs, your season is not what you hoped it would be, expected it to be. It's extremely disappointing, you know. Everybody's worked hard, everybody has put the effort in. When you come up short it's very difficult to take."
What happened on the Eric Berry interception? "That was a bad decision and a terrible throw on my part. I've got to know the coverage and I've got to know that he is going to be there. It just wasn't a good play on my part." **
WR JARED COOK
Talk about what you did in this offense today? "I think I had an alright game. There's some things I could have done better. It still doesn't change the outcome. But it's a start in the right direction, I guess."
What's it like to get your first touchdown in a game like this? "Bittersweet of course. I mean, It finally came. It's what I have been waiting on. The only thing you can do is continue to play ball."
Offseason, OTA's, how did it feel to put it all together? "Man, it feels real good. I mean, it's a team effort. You might have a great game but the fact remains, we still lost."
Talk about the touchdown play today? "Just a simple seam. It just opened wide up. Kerry (Collins) found me in the hole and I just caught it and kind of stumbled in the end zone."
WR KENNY BRITT
*Can you talk about the 53-yard touchdown? Do you wish they would go deep more often and set you up for more pass plays? * "It was just a well-designed play that we were working on during the week. A couple of double moves in there and stuff like that…it was more like a post-corner-post. Kerry threw the ball on the money. And it worked."
RB CHRIS JOHNSON
With the score 17-0 early in the ball game, that took you out of the equation awfully early? "It's always disappointing when you are not able to run the ball, you're not able to get the touches, but [really] anytime you get down like that. There is not to much you can do. That's how the game goes."
Did they do what other teams do against you and stack the box and not let you get an opportunity? " Stacking the box, I wouldn't say that's the reason I didn't have a big day. It's the number of touches I have. Anytime you go down by that many points it's going to be hard to have a big day."
LB STEPHEN TULLOCH
What was it like fighting against the Chiefs rushing attack? "They're really good. I told Brian Waters at the end of the game they have come a long way since I have been playing them. I have played them three times in my five years here. That team has turned around. The head coach there has done a great job. Everybody's [part of] a sound team: you've got Dwayne Bowe on the outside, Leonard Pope they bring him in; they're a solid team. The o-line is solid; Cassel is holding his own; they are a sound team and they did a good job today. They executed the way they have been executing all season. They're the number one rushing team in the league. They threw the ball today just doing different things. You have to take your hat off to them."
Talk about your game plan coming in and what the Chiefs did to disrupt your plans? "The main objective with them being the leading rushing team in the league was to slow them down and, for the most part, we did so. They had a couple of plays here and there in the air. They made plays. They made big plays and they jumped out early and they held their own."
CHIEFS HEAD COACH TODD HALEY
Opening Statement: "It was a big step for us as a team. Nothing's changed on this end. We went into this game with the sole intent and purpose of trying to figure out a way to play better than the Tennessee Titans today, at home, in front of our crowd, and get to two wins in this fourth quarter of the season, and we were able to do that. It was far from perfect, but I'm really happy with the guys for the effort and the enthusiasm with which they played. Their focus was really good. We did some things we've got to clean up and that we've got to understand can hurt us in different situations than today, but we'll handle that. A couple of the keys here for us were special teams, number one; we wanted to play well on special teams. I thought our punter and punt coverage was terrific, against a guy that's done some real damage to teams – this young (Mark) Mariani. I thought Dustin (Colquitt) and the cover team were terrific. Kickoff team/kickoff coverage was another area that we had to be real good in. We didn't have the best kicks. When it's cold and the weather is like this…we still have a young kicker in Ryan (Succop) that's got to understand the conditions. He'll get better. As far as his kickoffs go, he is in this cold weather and you go from an indoor stadium to an outdoor, cold atmosphere…he's just going to get better and better. That being said, our cover guys were really good, did a terrific job of flying down the field, making plays for us. I thought our return game in both areas was pretty good and that's been something that's been getting better. That was one of the keys to this game for us going in; we wanted to be real good on special teams and feel like we won on special teams and I feel like we did that when it was all said and done.
"Defense…I thought again we have to eliminate these potential game-changing, one-play big plays that have kind of hurt us throughout the year. Other than a couple of those big plays and a couple of penalties at the wrong time, which we've got to eliminate, I thought our defense played really good against one of the best runners in the league in Chris Johnson. We made Eric Berry one of our coach's pick captains this week which is a big deal having a first-year guy doing it and I thought he stood up and made a big play when we really needed it; knowing that they were going to get the ball to start the second half - interception for a touchdown and had another interception called back…Brandon Carr had a big play defensively…I can't name them all. I thought the pass rush was good, for the most part, throughout the game, but again you have to stop the run first, make them one-dimensional…I felt like we were able to do that. I'm really proud of our guys on defense and I thought the plan we had going in was terrific and the guys understood it and were focused and did a great job.
"Offensively, there were a lot of really good things. Dwayne Bowe has been a little quiet here for a couple weeks, but he was challenged and stepped right up to the plate. He stepped right up and made a bunch of big plays for us. I thought Matt played terrific for the most part, really operated well, was efficient, especially early in the game, which we wanted to do (to start well). He took us up and down the field and did an excellent job and the runners combined, fought it out against a team that was clearly intent upon stopping the run. We were still able to get enough running in there to make the game go the way we wanted it to go. It was a big win for us. I don't think a lot of people thought we were getting to 10 and that's a big step for this team. I know I don't mention it a whole bunch, but I am proud of these guys and what they've done.
"I'm going to take this opportunity to wish everyone happy holidays and Merry Christmas. Thanks for coming out - all the great fans. It was loud and it was hostile and that's just the way we like it. These guys like playing here."
By the end of the day, you guys could be division champs. Worst case scenario, you're playing Oakland next week for the division. What kind of accomplishment have you seen with this program, just being in that position? "I mentioned the 10 because double-digit wins in this league is a milestone, but it's not why we're playing, not why we've worked this hard for the last year and three quarters. We're in the present tense and we're trying to get to three wins in this fourth quarter and that is really all that we're worried about. I told them that they could root for whoever they want to this afternoon, but I'm rooting for this team, for the guys in that room. We've got a nice group of guys that are learning how to really look out for each other and really stick together when things aren't great. When you can do that, weather little interruptions and storms, good things happen and you have a chance to become a really good team, so that's where we are. Next week we've got a chance to reach our goal, get to three wins for the third time this year and that would be huge."
On taking Matt Cassel out in the third quarter and playing Brodie Croyle instead: "I have a great respect for the Tennessee Titans. It was not a situation where we thought we had the game in hand or anything like that. It was a strategic area that we had to get cleaned up. I've got complete faith in Brodie and it didn't hurt Brodie to get a little playing time in there. We just had to get something cleaned up strategically with Matt, what we weren't able to get done during the change of possession. There was a fairly quick turnover, so Brodie got some snaps, but unfortunately, we tipped the ball to them."
Why Eric Berry as a team captain? "That's been something that we as a coaching staff have done all year, giving guys an opportunity to get up in front of their teammates and help lead the team and we haven't had a young guy. We've already said to these guys they aren't rookies anymore. They've got enough experience under their belts that we've taken that label off of them."
Not because it was against Tennessee? "Some of those things factor in; he's not from there, but he spent a lot of time there. It's a big honor for those guys that we give it to because the rest of the guys are team-voted and this is just a weekly thing and it was a big thing."
On the play of QB Matt Cassel, especially since coming back from the appendectomy: "He was very efficient last week and again this week in all phases. He's clearly become the leader of this team and these guys are looking to him for that leadership. I think when you go through some things like he went through it just adds to [the leadership]…the guys already knew everything that he's shown [prior to the surgery] that he's going to be willing to do anything and everything for this team to help it win."
On RB Jamaal Charles' productivity, especially in the passing game: "Jamaal coming out…I always thought Jamaal had real good hands and has natural receiver skills; it was more with Jamaal being able to handle all facets because being a running back in this league is a difficult job because you are one of the few guys, you and tight ends, that have to transition between run and pass and that adds in a whole bunch of factors that can affect you as a play's going on. I just think it's been more of Jamaal developing and getting a better grasp of his role on this team and that's what we've been talking about for the last couple of weeks. The next step for us, as a team, is just guys understanding their roles. I believe firmly that on good teams, that's what really starts to occur as the year goes on – guys understand their role on the team. It may change due to injury and things like that, but when you get to this stage of the season, the more that guys understand, and it may just be being a practice squad look guy but that's the most important job. Once they understand their roles, they can just do it to the fullest of their ability and then you start to really operate as an efficient team. When you see teams really blossom and become good teams, that's one of the things that occurs. In Jamaal's case, he's got a big role on this team. He does a number of different things for us and he's got the ability to do it. He's just done a wonderful job of understanding his role and making plays for us, both run and pass."
How much did the way Matt Cassel bounced back from his surgery reinforce his leadership, maybe even step it up a notch? "I think all the guys knew that he was willing to lay everything on the line for this team way before that occurred. When you do have something like that, you're talking about having an organ removed from your body, it takes a guy fighting to get back into the lineup as quickly as he did that strongly reinforces what [his teammates already] knew. You can't say enough about him, but really just the way this team has developed into a team that believes in each other, knows their roles and embraces them…we have a lot of guys like that. They are not going to be taken out. It's going to take a lot for them to be out of the game because they want to be in there helping their team."
On WR Dwayne Bowe: "I can't say enough about Dwayne, how he's developed here…you've seen him just blossom also. There are too many guys to talk about. I was mad at Dwayne for a second because I thought that he had over-celebrated, but the officials told me you could only have one guy jump into the stands and I guess we had multiple guys, so we'll have to get them on that. I was mad for a second because I thought there was a slip up, but Dwayne was like, 'Coach, I knew you were yelling at me but I knew I didn't do anything wrong.' Dwayne has really developed and that is the name of the game."
QB MATT CASSEL
Opening Statement: "Huge win for us. It was just a great all around win. It was a collective effort. Offensively, we got off to a great start today, which I think set the tone for the day. The defense played well throughout the entire day. Special teams stepped up. Again, it goes back to a great team victory for us and puts us one step closer to our goal, which is to win the AFC West."
Talk about when you hit your first eight [passes], you hit Dwayne Bowe right away out in the flat. Why were you so efficient today?"I just think the coaches did a great job of putting together a great plan to start the game. Everybody came out and executed well. We were very efficient. It was run-pass. We gave them different looks and guys just stepped up. It was a great start for us."
You had a lot of time [to throw the ball]. Can you talk about the pass protection? "I think the offensive line has done a great job for us all year. I continue to say this, but our success starts with them – whether it's in the run game or the pass game. They gave me a tremendous amount of time today. I was able to sit back there and go through my reads. It was a wonderful thing."
What kind of accomplishment is it for this program that you could clinch a division championship by the end of the day, depending on what happens to the San Diego Chargers? What does that say about this program after what you guys went through last year?"It's a huge accomplishment. It's a huge turnaround for us [after] being 4-12 and going through the year we did last year. I know there was a ton of adversity and all of those things were difficult to handle at times. But, to be here with 10 wins and one win from a division championship, it is remarkable to say the least."
At the end of the third quarter, we thought you were getting a curtain call. Brodie [Croyle] went in. Todd [Haley] said that you were going to go back in, that you weren't done, that they wanted you to clean something up. What did you need to clean up? "Coach just made the decision that we needed to fix a few things on the sideline, so he brought me off and we talked about [it]."
Define, what's "fix a few things?" I don't want to get into specifics right now about what we were going over and all of that. But, [he] wanted to talk about a few specific things as we move forward and we did. Then, I went back in the ball game. We talked about things I was going to do when I went back in."
Talk about some of the pass plays to Jamaal Charles. "Jamaal's been a guy that has continued to grow in the passing game throughout the entire year. He continues to get better and better. Today, was a great example of that. If you can get him the ball in space, he does some great things and really increases your stats in passing yards. So, you've got to love that. Throw him short passes and let him do the work. But, he continues to grow as a player. He's outstanding and he just keeps getting better and better."
I know you want to win every game. But, last spring, in the off-season program, how out of reach would 10 wins out of the first 15 games have seemed at the time after winning just four games last season? "I don't know if we ever thought of it in that manner – 10 wins being out of reach. We knew there was going to be a lot of hard work ahead of us to accomplish that feat. Thankfully for us, everybody embraced the challenge. [They] came in and worked hard in the off season, in the camps and throughout the year. And, it's put us in a great position."
On the play of Dwayne Bowe: "He got going today. It was another outstanding performance by him. He made some outstanding catches, especially the one on the sideline at the end of the game. He's been a playmaker for us all year and a guy that I've looked to and depended on. He's continues to show."
On Dwayne Bowe's touchdown. "It was just an in-cut. I was able to put the ball on him and he did the rest. He ran a great route and he was open."
Compare last week with this week. Last week you didn't really practice. This week, you got all the reps. Can you talk about how significant that was and [how that led to] you being so efficient today."I think that getting back out there and also having another week to heal [helped]. Each day, the doctor said it was getting better and better. I felt good last week and I feel better today."
Were you reluctant to come out?"As a quarterback, you always want to be out there on the field. But, you also have to respect the fact that Coach makes a decision and come off [the field] when he tells you to."
Can you talk about the chemistry between you and Dwayne Bowe?"I think Dwayne has done a tremendous job this season of becoming a leader of that receivers group. You can see him in meetings being attentive and really understanding what we are trying to get accomplished, and then also practicing well throughout the week. I think that a big part of his success is the way that he prepares and the way he practices because he's done an outstanding job all year of going out and giving 110 percent effort in practice. Everybody always says, 'Practice preparation, become game reality.' And, that's really been the case for Dwayne this year."
With what you went through with the surgery and then coming back last week and having the game you did, how much did that reinforce your leadership and your confidence? "I think for myself, I've always been a confident guy. I always try to go out and do my best. I don't think that surgery changed my approach or anything else in terms of how I would go out and perform."
S ERIC BERRY
On his interception return for a touchdown: "I just read the quarterback. He threw it and I ran and caught it. After that, my offensive instincts clicked in and I went to the house. It was setup by great pressure by the defensive line. They just turned and blocked. They turned into the greatest blockers I've ever seen. I just followed them; they always tell me to follow them when I get an interception, so that's what I did. … I dove into the end zone. I got up and I couldn't really do anything because my teammates were so happy, so I just celebrated with them."
Is this the most you've rushed the passer? "Not this game, but we did do a lot of it this week. It was fun. I like going after the quarterback. Tamba (Hali) and Javier (Arenas) they came in there and got sacks and got in there and got some pressure on the quarterback and got him kind of rattled."
On the overall defensive game plan: "The big plan was to stop the run and make sure that Chris Johnson didn't get outside and wasn't able to use his feet. We tried to shut him down early and force them to pass. I think it worked out pretty good."
On helping the punt returner get his first block: "I love that man. Javier has been my roommate ever since I became a Chief. We're pretty close and I'd rather me be back there than anybody else because I'm going to take care of him. He's like family to me. Whenever he has an opportunity to return it, I want to make sure that I'm back there and make sure I protect him and he secures the catch and do what he does."
DT SHAUN SHMITH
On the number of penalties today: "It's hard to eliminate penalties when guys are going hard and competing out there. I'm not worried about it, as long as I don't get fined. In this situation of a cold-weather game, people were just out there competing. I think overall that's what everyone was doing. There was that one drive, where there was penalty after penalty after penalty, you bend but you don't break. We'll take it and go back to the drawing board."
Does this team have a sense of accomplishment or is there still work to do? "You want to win every game you play. Right now we're trying to get to number 11. We got to number ten and now there's going to be people jumping on the bandwagon and a lot of people need to respect us that we got to ten wins. A lot of people only expected us to win four games this year, but you can't worry about the hype."
On stopping RB Chris Johnson: "It was a great defensive effort that started up front with us big guys and the linebackers and the guys in the back. We just played a great defensive effort, all 11 guys were going towards the ball. Did you notice that every time (Johnson) got the ball, everyone was jumping on him. … We were just coming out there trying to be tough and physical and trying to stop the run. We knew that when this back gets going what type of back he is. We stopped his momentum and they brought in the other back to try and get something going and that still didn't work. So we just take our hats off to the front seven and to the whole defensive line."
WR CHRIS CHAMBERS
On Matt Cassel's performance: "We got off to a great start and (Dwayne) Bowe made some great plays early on and Jamaal (Charles) with the early touchdowns he had. We knew he was going to be able to come back and be healthy. He was able to take more snaps in practice this week. We had an excellent game plan and guys were just ready to go."
On the defense's performance:"Our defense played outstanding today and got the guys on and off the field. As an offense we were able to score some points early and put the game away."
On the game's initial drive:"That was the game plan, to go out and take what they were giving us. Once we got back into the game we wanted to run the ball and milk it a little bit. We had some great drives and there were some mistakes that occurred that we can learn from. It wasn't a flawless game, but we kept playing and working hard."
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On his touchdown reception: "It wasn't designed like that. I was just trying to go out there and make a play for my team. We needed a victory, we were at home and feel comfortable at home. It was a good job by Matt throwing it in the right place…It was just an adjustment; I looked up for the ball and I knew it was probably coming to me so I just tried to catch the ball."
On the fast start of the offense:"We just wanted to get out there and get to a fast start and we knew were going to be playing in cold weather, and people don't like coming out in the cold weather. We just knew we had to jump out and start moving the ball and see how they were going to react, that's why we got the ball first."
Is this the most comfortable you've felt catching the ball out of the backfield?"I was just in the game more today catching the ball more. I just want to go out there and make plays. That's what I did today."
G BRIAN WATERS
On Matt Cassel's performance: "That's a great job between him and the receivers and doing the things they need to do. The guys up front, we want to be more than just being good pass protectors. We want to be able to run the ball and to be able to do it at will. We want to be able to control the game. I don't think we were as consistent at that as we wanted to be today."
On the offensive performance in the first half: "We did some things in the passing game, we were effective running, but we weren't as clean as we wanted to be. They were doing some things, they were trying to stop the run as much as possible. We were effective and we did what we needed to do to put some points on the board. We want a more consistent performance."
On the overall performance of the team: "We have ten wins. We haven't had ten wins in three years. I'm happy. I'm definitely happy with that. I don't have any complaints there."
On Jamaal Charles becoming a complete back: "I think we've been saying that all year. It's just about how often do you want to give him the ball and how often can you get him in situations where you know he's going to be the more dominant person, whether it be running the ball, or whether it be catching the ball out of the backfield. I think Jamaal is doing a great job of continuing to grow and continuing to turn into the superstar we know he can be."