TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK(on coming back and winning the way they did today) "We know it was going to be different. They have had a number of injuries. They lost their quarterback; they lost an (large) amount of players. We knew they wouldn't be playing all of their players throughout the game. We knew their philosophy was a little different than ours. The game was obviously a lot more important to us than it was to them as far as what was on the table for us. We played better in areas, we obviously could have played a little better, with the turnover at the end that almost cost us the ball game. We know what a good football team they are and that if we come back here in a week it could be a totally different game."
(on what he is thinking about as far as the team's playoff chances) "We are happy. We put ourselves in the situation we are in, so if we don't get a pass it's our own fault. We had chances the last four or five weeks to better our situation to be more in control of our own destiny. Once we lost a couple games that we shouldn't have that took that out of the picture for us. The last two weeks we did what we had to do, we won two games that really that if we lost one we were definitely out. I think Houston is still in the conversation and that is the best we can hope for. So we will see what happens."
(on adjustments he had to make at the wide receiver position with Nate Washington going out and Donnie Avery coming in) "It was difficult. Chris Palmer and Dave Ragone did a good job. We suited up (Donnie) Avery for a reason. We knew we were going to throw the ball more than we ran it. I think his first catch was for a touchdown, which was a great catch by him. That was obviously big points for us. He has been put in situations where he hasn't played much, so with adjustments and things like that, we aren't always on the same page. But I think overall the fact that we lost Damian Williams, who is a big part of our offense, Matt (Hasselbeck) did a good job of adjusting and not getting frustrated when we weren't getting first downs, when we were going three and out, spot some good field positions, defense was giving us a chance to take over the game, we weren't able to do that. Credit to the Texans for that. When you kick field goals instead of touchdowns that is when it come down to the end."
(on Nate Washington's touchdown catch) "I am glad he caught it. I am glad they didn't overturn so it worked out. It was taking so long it seemed like it got knocked away and it didn't. Nate made a great catch and Nate had a great year for us and Made great catches all year, I think his first 1,000 yard season. He has been a warrior for us all year and he did the same thing again today."
(on his opinion of TJ Yates, considering he is a third string quarterback) "In their type of offense he fits nice. There is not going to be a lot of pressure on him to perform. They know what a great running game they have, what a great passing game they have and that makes it a little easier for the quarterback. Being a young gun like he is, will help him be productive in the playoffs. Coming in again when you have a defense ranked second in the league, you can rely on them a bit, it is almost like just don't make a mistake. It is almost like when the Ravens won the Super Bowl. When they won it a few years back it was the great defense, the great running game and the quarterback did a solid job, but he wasn't asked to do too much. I think if it was a different type of offense, a throwing offense, a Patriot type situation, it would be a lot harder for a rookie to come in and win but I feel they have a great shot. They had a great year and I think with weapons they have, they will be able to win with him as their quarterback."
(on Jamie Harper's run and Ahmard Hall's fumble) "It is just how the game went. Every time we had a chance to end this thing or get ahead the Texans made a play. That was a great hit on him. He carried the ball earlier and we have confidence in Ahmard carrying the football. Jamie's run was a big run because we thought that would help us run the clock out. In the worst case we would get the ball back there with seconds left and no time outs so we felt we had a great shot after he converted the counter play to the right. He had a nice run there and we thought there that one more first down ends it but if not worse case is we are given the ball back with probably 30 seconds, 20 seconds left in the game. And they made a play and that is what you want to do with four minutes. We took a huge hit there and the ball came out, and gave them a chance to win the football game. Those are the ups and downs of the League right there."
(on the pros and cons on going for two points as the Texans did) "You will have to ask (Gary) Kubiak that. Their situation was different than ours. I think if they were shooting for the playoffs they would probably kick the extra point and go into overtime. I mean I don't know, some guys have done that but that is a question more for him than me."
(on injuries) "Damien (Williams), with the rib. We couldn't run him with that. Ahmard (Hall) at the end there, and (Mike) Otto got knocked out on the first snap. Ahmard (Hall) got knocked out, and he fumbled. So we've got two guys with concussions probably, and Damien with the rib."
(on making Shaun Smith inactive) "He's hurt from last week with his knee (and) ankle, didn't practice a lot this week. Because of the type of game we thought this would be, we thought it would be better to have a healthier guy out there."
(on Jurrell Casey's performance) "He's a good football player. He's been good all year. He's been a rookie who's really committed. Jurrell does a great job in there. You can't move him. That natural leverage he has with a lack of height helps him and he's hard to move. He's been big for us and he made some big plays today."
(on the Texans' run game) "When you run the ball as well as the Texans do, a lot of things open up for you on offense. And we found that out the first time we played them, when they were at full strength. Even watching them today, they played well. They play the system well, and I know they're playing more players than they normally would play, but they're doing good stuff this year and they've had a good year."
(on Brett Kern's performance) "I think both of our kickers all season have been a huge plus for us. Last week, we broke a record with nine games of 40-yard or more field goals. He had a great percentage, directional kicking, kicking it deep. He did a great job today pinning the Texans back numerous times, and that's a great weapon to have."
WIDE RECIEVER DONNIE AVERY
(on making an impact with the Tennessee Titans) "It feels great. All I was telling myself all month was stay patient and stay with a positive attitude and that's what I did and it got me here and I'm trying to contribute. It felt great. I've been patiently waiting, finally got out there and contributed. That's what you get paid for. At first I had jitters being at home. I'm from Houston, went to college in Houston and I just had to tell myself I've been here before, been in Reliant before so I know this feeling."
(on waiting to see if they'll make the playoffs) "We have to wait. It's going to be exciting. Hopefully we can get in."
(on if he had a lot of friends and family here to watch ) "Yes, yes and my kids. That's whose outside waiting and that's who's most important."
(on if he was the first option on his touchdown catch) "It's whatever (QB) Matt (Hasselbeck) reads. He read single high and he was inside on the corner and he just threw it up and I had to make a play on it. "
CORNERBACK CORTLAND FINNEGAN
(on them waiting to see if they are going to make the playoffs) "It's like Christmas Even before Christmas. That's basically what it is. I think the Ravens are up 7-0 right now. We have ourselves a chance. We did the best we could. We ended the season at 9-7. It was a winning season for Coach Munchak."
(on if he was surprised the Texans went for two points) "Not at all. I'm definitely not surprised at the Houston Texans. I think they wanted to show that no matter who they put on the field, they want to embarrass us and beat us and we ended up winning."
(on their red zone defense) "We just let them get as many yards as possible and then we decided to bow up in the red zone. We bowed up when we needed to. I feel like in the red zone it shortens the field and what they do. We were able to stop them today. It wasn't a beautiful win, but we'll take it."
SAFETY MICHAEL GRIFFIN
(on the Texans going for two points at the end of the game instead of kicking the field goal) "They had nothing to lose. They knew they were going to be playing next week. It didn't really matter. I think what really matters is who they're going to play. They had nothing to lose. They had a home game no matter what."
(on the victory) "Our offense scored a touchdown. (Donnie) Avery came up big as well. It was a hard, tough game that went back and forth. We managed to get a win. That's all I can say."
QUARTERBACK MATT HASSELBECK
(on winning the game and now just having to wait) "We knew that was the situation that we were in. We could only do what we could do. We knew that after we lost to the Colts, which was kind of a low point for us. At that point, I think we were 7-7, and (Head Coach) Munchak came and said, 'Hey, there's a lot of things this season that could have gone better. We could have done better, but we didn't. It's in the past and there's nothing we can do about that. What we can be proud of is that we finished strong these last few games and finished 9-7. That's all that we can control.' We were hoping. We thought there were some pretty likely scenarios, but we weren't focused on that at all. We were just focused on taking care of business of the things that were in our hands, and that was finishing 9-7."
(on the status of his hand) "I took a hit and it got a little swollen during the game. It's nothing major."
(on the adjustments that had to be made during the game) "It was a physical game and both teams lost some players. We lost (WR) Damian Williams, and I didn't actually even know that he was out. There was a little bit of confusion in huddle. There were some plays that (WR) Donnie Avery didn't get to rep. Mostly our game plan was three wides, but we went to a two tight ends and two wide receivers set for a little while until we figured out who was who. I think that was important. We kind of regrouped. We've been through this before this season. In terms of Donnie, he hasn't gotten a lot of playing time, but he's played a lot of football. His strength is obviously his speed and going deep. He had a really nice touchdown catch for us on a third down and had some other opportunities deep but we just weren't able to come up with it. He made some catches, and we needed him to make plays.
(on his thoughts on the regular season) "I think every team can look back and say we would have, could have, should have done this. We're no different. Every team is going to say that, even the Green Bay Packers. It's a weird feeling right now because the season is not over for sure. We could be right back here next week. Tonight could be 'get your mind right and study the film'. Then again, there's a real possibility that it's over. So, it's a weird feeling. I don't think it has the finality feel to it right now. All in all, at the point when we were 7-7 and in the tank about playing poorly against (the Indianapolis Colts), it was important for us to regroup. I think Coach Munchak did a nice job of splashing some water on our face and basically saying to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We can be proud about finishing 9-7 and controlling what we can control."
(on WR Nate Washington making big plays) "He's a guy, like many guys, that has been playing through some injures. He's trying to tough it out. He came up big on the two big plays, for sure the touchdown that put us up and then the deep ball down the sideline. He wasn't wide open it was just a great catch, and he might have gotten banged up on that play also. It was a good year for him. I think he finished over a thousand yards, I believe for the first time so, I'm happy for him."
(on if he believes WR Nate Washington is the MVP of the team) "We don't vote on that stuff here. I think some teams do, but we don't."
(on what changes were made from the last meeting with the Texans to be able to produce more offensively) "Last time we really struggled running the ball. This time we didn't really try early, we just decided to throw it. Our shorter throws would be like our runs. I really don't know. I think we've grown and we're a much better team. In that game we lost (WR) Damian Williams also to a concussion. We lost some guys to injury and I think we handled it a lot better today than we did last time."
(on if their plan to throw was because they saw a weakness in the Texans defense) "No, it wasn't so much that. We've just been up and down in the first drive of the game. We really haven't done a great job on our first drive. So, on our first drive, we knew it was going to be loud, we decided to come out with a gun, silent count. It's just something I felt comfortable with."
RUNNING BACK CHRIS JOHNSON
(on how it feels to still have a chance to make the playoffs) "It's a great thing. I had a team goal to make the playoffs and hopefully make it to the Super Bowl. We haven't been in like three years so just giving ourselves something to look forward to instead of packing up and not making the playoffs and leaving Nashville. We have something to wait for."
(on if he likes the way the team is playing right now) "I can't say I like the way we're playing right now because we were playing against second-teamers and things like that and it was still tough to get the victory. I feel like this should have been a game we scored more points in and not been as hard to get the victory but any time you're playing against another NFL player they have talent too. So, you just have to execute your own plays."
(on if there were issues with the turf after the college bowl game played on Saturday) "No, there was no issue with that. I've played on this field so many times it's the same as every other time."
(on if he expects a different Texans team if they play next week) "Oh yeah, if we come back next week we're going to see the starters the whole game so if we want to beat them we've got our work cut out for us. We're going to have to make plays."
(on what makes the Houston Texans' starting defense so good) "They just run to the ball and they're very disciplined. Getting (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips in here and running the 3-4 and things like that, it's always kind of hard to go against that defense and the kind of plays they call and the blitzes. You and the offense have to be on the same page."
(on Texans going for two to win the game) "They really didn't have anything to lose so it wasn't a hard decision."
WIDE RECEIVER NATE WASHINGTON
(on his 1,000-yard season) "It feels great. Like I said, this wasn't only for me. The coaching staff, the players in this locker room, to really believe in me the way they have, this is kind of a pat on the back for everybody. I've been working very hard this season, have been through a lot in my career, so it's has been a long time coming. I'm proud to finally be here at 1,000 (yards), and I'm looking forward to getting even better."
(on the Texans' two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game) "I'm kind of glad they did it. It was going to end one way or another. I had a feeling our defense was going to stop them anyway. This is a new Texans team that takes pride in even their backups coming in and playing hard. Doesn't matter if they have guys in there that are starting or not, you're going to have guys coming in with the attitude to play hard."
(on the Titans' season) "Definitely not the season that we wanted, you know. We had a couple of games that slipped away from us, but to have a winning season after coming off a couple seasons that didn't go so well for us, it's really paid off. We've been working very hard with the new coaching staff, and I think this is a true testament that we can only get better."
(on waiting to find out if the Titans will be in the playoffs) "It's like Christmas. You know that it's coming, but you don't know what you're going to get. We've had an up and down season. Some things didn't go our way, but we've worked through a lot of adversity. We're very proud of the things we've done, and we're looking forward to the future. We just need to make sure that we keep believing in each other going into the off season or the playoffs. This team can only get better."