HEAD COACH MIKE VRABEL
(on how important it was for quarterback Blaine Gabbert to come in and finish the game off with a win)
It was huge. That's why he's here; that's his job, is to be ready to go, to prepare like a starter, and then if his opportunity comes to come in and make the most of it. I'm really proud of him. I'm really proud of the entire team because they stuck together. I give Washington a lot of credit, they played hard and had a really good game plan. That's probably why our guys were able to come back and win the game the second half.
(on the status of quarterback Marcus Mariota)
He's still being evaluated.
(on how big cornerback Malcolm Butler's blitz was)
We were trying to do some stuff to get off on third down and the little time I've spent with Josh Johnson, he's a true pro to be with that many teams in that amount of time, for him to come in there like he has the last couple of weeks, he's done a good job for him. It was hard for us to get some pressure on him, they slid the line some, they maxed up, and he's mobile. Dean (Pees) called a good blitz and Malcolm (Butler) executed and obviously KB (Kevin Byard) with a huge catch and we need plays like that when games are kind of stagnant. We need plays like that to turn the momentum.
(on how running back Derrick Henry didn't rack up the numbers he has in previous games, but he was good down the stretch)
He was. Looking at the first half, there just wasn't enough opportunities. We had three drives and one of them was essentially a two-minute drive. He was frustrated; he was frustrated that he overthrew the ball. I kind of tried to joke with him in my own way, said he's a better running back than he's a quarterback. He puts a lot on himself to be really good and that's a great quality, but I was glad he was able to move past what was going on and run hard, run physical. I give our line a lot a lot of credit, give our receivers a lot of credit. Corey Davis is a phenomenal blocker. Whatever you think of him as a receiver, if you watch the tape closely, he's going out and getting out safeties. When you play single high somebody's got to go in there and block the extra guy and I told Corey after we scored, those 10-yard runs are on you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that as a head coach to have a receiver draft- he was drafted, our number one receiver going out and blocking like that, setting the stage for the rest of those guys that have to block.
(on what the conversation was like with QB Marcus Mariota after he went down)
I think the conversation is, 'How are you doing.' I've been out there on the field and you never want to leave. That's why you play. I think that you just feel for every guy that goes down, whether that be Jurrell (Casey) or Marcus (Mariota), and every time you walk out there you hope they are going to be OK, that they can be physically fine and to help us. I think it was just an unfortunate, like a lot of injuries.
(on if Marcus Mariota's injury was an arm numbness)
I think they'll let us know here where we're at. Marcus (Mariota) may or may not talk, I don't want to tell you he's going to talk, I made that mistake last time, I thought he was. So I don't know. But when he does, he'll be able to talk to you about what he felt. I'll talk to doctors here in a little bit.
(on how important it was to play complimentary football in a game like today)
I think for our team to- when we're not, I would say, at our best, you've got to have good special teams play. Somebody's got to make a play. We took care of the football and we got the huge turnover. But again, Adrian Peterson and their offense what they did, I give them a lot of credit, and their defense played extremely hard like they always do.
(on if he'd prefer to see Malcolm Butler get down at the end)
As many times as you say get down, I think Malcolm (Butler) realized there was no time on the clock and that- I would say that there wasn't as much risk as there normally is when, let's say there's a 1:45 on the clock and they don't have any timeouts and you get an interception, your offense still has to go out there and take a knee. I trust those guys to make good judgment when they're out there and I would say that was fairly good judgment.
(on why they decided to drain the clock when kicker Ryan Succop kicked the field goal at the end of the first half)
I think that the idea is that we're going to go down there and we're going to score and never give them a chance to touch the football and try to double them up. That was the first time we've been in a situation in awhile where we're getting the ball in the second half. I felt good about the way our offense was playing, that if we could- obviously we want to score a touchdown, and then make sure that they don't get the ball. We got the first down and unfortunately took a sack and then things kind of come back from that. You're really at that point in time playing for a field goal.
(on if they just sit back and wait after winning today)
I think we talked awhile ago that the only scenarios- which there was a million of them, I wasn't good at math- but the only scenario that we're smart enough to worry about is us preparing to win and ultimately winning, and that's all we can do right now. We'll enjoy this, we'll work tomorrow, and we'll do everything we can to get ready for a great football team in Indianapolis.
(on if he saw a lot of play passes from Blaine Gabbert)
I think that we ran all the same stuff. We hit some passes. They were loading up to stop Derrick (Henry) and the ball that Taywan (Taylor)- whether we thought Pru (MyCole Pruitt) might of got a little tug there on his route down the middle. I thought that ball was right there. Matt (LaFleur) called a good call on the goal line there with the bootleg, was able to hit MyCole (Pruitt).
(on the three extra points missed in four weeks)
Just try to make them and we have a lot of confidence in Ryan (Succop). He's been really good and he is really good. All I can do is just go over there and offer words of encouragement. I kick the ball with the front of my toe and have no idea about kicking, and so I can offer support and say, 'Hey, we have a lot of kicks here left in this game to make, just like we did after the field goal in New York.' Walk over, blame it on the holder or the snapper and they kind of laugh and we go on. It was a bad hold, or a bad snap, which one, and they always end up blaming the snapper.
(on the decision to kick the field goal to start the fourth quarter)
It just felt like we needed, you know, wanted to get some points, just wanted to get some momentum and get some points there. I had confidence in Ryan (Succop) at that point in time, a lot of time left and for us to get it back to within a point, I felt like was the right thing to do.
(on if there was any symbolism in Marcus Mariota getting treatment during the second half)
Symbolism in far as- you know, I'm not sure. I think the medical staff takes care of our players that aren't in the game and they felt like probably they needed to keep him in. If it's like Willis Reed, if that's what you're alluding to, where he walks out and everybody cheers, I'm not really sure where you're going with that.
(on if he's impressed with what Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden was able to get out of his team)
Absolutely. They went down- they had a terrible game, which everybody does, against New York; a terrible game. They put Josh (Johnson) in there and he got them two touchdowns. They went on the road to Jacksonville, kept it close, played the game exactly how you needed to play it, they made a play late in the game, they got the ball, tied, gave it to Adrian Peterson six straight times and then kicked a field goal to win the game. So they were confident, they were ready to go. Kind of like they did today, they tried to keep it close and find a way to win at the end and we were able to make a play.
(on tight end MyCole Pruitt giving the team a boost)
I've had history with MyCole (Pruitt) when he was on our practice squad when we were in Houston. I thought that he always did good things for us there when he was running plays and working for us on a scout team. So when we had an opportunity, you always like bringing in guys that you know and you don't have to get to know and you know who they are- he's done a good job. He's taken advantage of those opportunities, which is everything you can ask for. He continues to get better. I think that group, I think Arthur (Smith) I've said it before, does a good job with him and those guys are helping us out.
QUARTERBACK BLAINE GABBERT
(on his mindset coming into a critical game like today)
It was just go win the game. That was really all, kind of we were talking about, just get something going on offense. Get some positive plays on first and second downs so we could stay in third-and-manageable. During that last drive I think we hit Taywan (Taylor) on that high cross and they had a first down. He did a great job getting open. The O-line did a great job blocking.
(on if this was the biggest win of his career)
I don't know. It was a fun one. We got a big game next week. It's always fun to win big games. Just go out there and just play with the guys. A lot of people take for granted not being out there. You work hard day in and day out. Sometimes you don't get the chance to play so whenever I'm out there I just try to make the most of the opportunity and have fun.
(on getting the ball back needing to score to win)
Yeah, we needed a touchdown. I think we were down four at that point and we had some decent drives, leading up... I'm trying to think back, but no it was go time. It was that drive or we had to put it on our defense but the guys did a great job of starting fast, executing those plays. Derrick (Henry) did a great job churning up some tough yards, you know, and then Matt (LaFleur) had that great call on the keeper down there on the goal line. So he ran the ball a couple times in that formation in the game and MyCole (Pruitt) popped right open.
(on what quarterback Marcus Mariota said to him after the game)
He was happy and I just told him how I've got his back. He works so hard for this football team and we have a lot of fun together in the quarterback room. Anything I can do to help him succeed, and I know he feels the same way, I'm willing to do.
(on what has helped the team overcome times when players have gone down injured)
We're just gritty, tough, you know, and it starts top down. Guys will put it all on the line for Coach Vrabel and I'm just so thankful to be here and play for a guy like that who's been there, done that and instills the right things in this team. You can see how guys respect him that play for him.
(on if he said anything to the team before heading out for the final drive)
Just go do what we do. It's not the first time the team has been in that situation before. It's just a lot of fun kind of being in that pressure packed moment and being at your best when your best is needed. I'm just glad we put it out there and win the game.
(on how much the big pass to wide receiver Taywan Taylor helped with momentum)
Yeah, anytime you can hit a big play to start a drive, you just get juiced. And then we started getting the run game going. The O-line started to get that look in their eyes like 'keep this thing rolling' and you know, it was a lot of fun. I have to go back to watch the film to kind of diagnose everything that happened but that was the drive we needed at that point in time.
(on how it felt when running back Derrick Henry was getting cranked up)
It is fun to watch. You know, you hand it off, you try and sell the fake but you always try and steal a peek to see what he's doing over there. He's always falling forward, some ugly runs that go for four or five yards that keep a drive alive, keep us on the field. He's a great running back. He does so many things for this offense and it was fun to see him get going in that last drive.
(on his mindset going into next week with Marcus Mariota potentially still injured)
It's the same mindset, week in and week out. We've had this conversation in Indy, in Miami. I prepare the same, starter, backup, whatever role I'm in because like you saw tonight, it can happen in a split second that you're in the game so you've always got to be ready when your number is called.
(on doing what he was brought here to do)
It's been fun. Playing for Coach Vrabel, playing for our coaching staff, the guys in the locker room. You guys know as well as I do it's a tough, hungry group of guys and they're a lot of fun to be around so when you get a chance to play for them on a big stage, it's a lot of fun. I just embraced it.
(on the sense of pride that comes from being called upon and delivering)
It validates every ounce of hard work you put in throughout the week, throughout the season. Being a backup sometimes you don't see those instant results, week in and week out because you're not on the football field. It's always staying ready, staying hungry, staying humble and just rolling with the punches. When you got to go in the game, it's your job to go win it and that's what we did tonight.
(on when you don't see the instant results if the wins are sweeter)
It's sweet. Being in the huddle with the guys, that's the thing you miss the most. The little conversations. The conversations with the line of scrimmage and talking with Ben (Jones). It's just those little things that you miss and it was fun to get out there again.
RUNNING BACK DERRICK HENRY
(on what changed and caused the offense's momentum to pick up during the second half)
Blaine (Gabbert) stepped up. Tay (Taywan Taylor) made that catch. It was a huge play in the drive. We gained some momentum. Everybody did their job blocking and executing the plays to finish off with a touchdown. (MyCole) Pruitt got his touchdown. He's been doing a great job blocking, so I'm happy for him to get a 'tutty' (touchdown).
(on the must score plays in the game)
We just kept reminding each other that we had to score here. Defense did a great job. We just had to go out there and score, that was the drive. We wanted to get it going. Credit to Blaine (Gabbert) coming in with a lot of poise and making plays while the offensive line was doing their job. That carried over and we got a touchdown.
(on whether there was any doubt that the team would win)
We had confidence in each other. We knew as long as we did what we needed to do, everybody does their job, beat the man that's in front of them and go out there and make a play, that we would go out there and get a score.
(on whether the team was frustrated with the Redskins' time of possession)
They had the ball for forever. AP (Adrian Peterson) running like he was in 2006. He did a great job out there, man. Credit to those guys. Credit to him. We were able to get the win. Our defense did a great job at the end to give us the opportunity to go down there and go score. I'm just happy we got the win.
(on what Redskins running back Adrian Peterson told him after the game)
Just to keep doing what I am doing. I've been doing a great job these past couple weeks. He's one of the guys I looked up to, him and Marshawn (Lynch), so I have a lot of respect for those guys.
(on whether it looked like there were 12 men in the box at times)
It looked like they were all up in there. We just had to focus on what we could do, and that was us getting that win. That's what we did.
(on the play fake that resulted in the touchdown from tight end MyCole Pruitt)
See? We got a touchdown out of it. Like I said, it was a great play. It was a great call. We executed it well and got the touchdown.
(on whether he thought Redskins CB Josh Norman was trying to hurt him)
I don't really care about that. All I was trying to do was get positive yards. Whatever he was trying to do, he was trying to do. If he was, it didn't work, but I don't think he was trying to do that. He was just trying to help his team. I don't really look at--I got nothing negative out of it. Like I said, we got the win so I'm happy.
(on the success behind the team winning when he carries the ball 15 or more times)
That's just us clicking in the run game, you know? I just have to go out there and do my job. I feel like I could have played better. But, I played well enough for us to win, so I'm happy. As long as we win, I'm happy.
(on how he's able to get into a rhythm when he has a major role in the run game)
I feel like once I'm in the flow, I'm seeing everything. I'm finishing runs and being able to get north and south and have momentum. The offensive line is clicking, too. That carries weight with it as well.
(on quarterback Blaine Gabbert's ability to take over for quarterback Marcus Mariota)
Very smooth. Blaine (Gabbert) has that attitude. He has that killer instinct. I don't think anything scares him. He doesn't shy away from anything. He goes in there like he's the starter. One man goes down, you have to step up. That's what he did.
(on the team still being in the playoff picture)
Still alive, still alive. Hey man, don't get on me about my pass. I wish I would have gotten that, but I'll keep working.
(on whether the he heard the fans chanting his name)
They were saying my name and I was saying, 'Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown!'
(on the key to the consistency of the team over the last month)
Us just making it about us--knowing that if we do what we need to do, we give ourselves a good opportunity to win the game. We can't worry about what's going on outside of what we have going on. Ignore the noise. Prepare the right way in all three phases and go out there and play our game. Execute the play and what we have installed in for each week while taking it one day at a time.
(on what his teammates said about his pass)
Marcus (Mariota) made fun of me. He said it looked bad on TV. I wish I would have gotten it. I'm going to be mad about that for a long time.
(on whether he thinks the team will reinstall that play for him again)
I want to redeem myself. I'm Peyton Manning Jr. I can't be doing that.
TACKLE DENNIS KELLY
(on today's game-winning drive)
We have confidence in ourselves, faith in ourselves. We were going to get the ball moving. As Coach (Mike Vrabel) mentioned, it just takes one guy to start the thing off. That first play, we got that nice pass for a nice gain. I think the guys were pumped on offense, and saying 'It's time to get it going.'
(on being able to gain yardage in chunks on the final drive to set up a touchdown)
It was awesome, I am happy for MyCole (Pruitt). I guess it is his first touchdown, so we have been trying to get it for him for a little bit. I am excited the team executed when we needed to, and we got the win.
(on if he was aware this was the first game where quarterback Marcus Mariota was hurt and another quarterback came in to lead team to a win)
I didn't know that, that's awesome. Blaine, (Gabbert) obviously, he is always ready. He's a great player and we are very fortunate to have him.
(on if battling back with a backup quarterback to post a win shows something about the team)
This team has shown all season that it has a lot of fight in it. It's a special group of guys. I am really excited to be here, and fortunate to be a part of something special.
(on if the team got away from what was successful on the opening drive and in recent games)
I mean, to be fair, they held the ball for 10 minutes or whatever. We didn't have the ball that much the first half.
WIDE RECEIVER TAYWAN TAYLOR
(on what quarterback Blaine Gabbert was saying to the team prior to final drive)
You know Blaine (Gabbert), he was preaching start fast. That was our whole motto this game, start fast just like the past few weeks when we started fast. Like I said, we knew they were going to come in, they were going to clue in on the run a little bit. So, as receivers we wanted to make sure we were locked in, ready to attack vertically in the passing game, and I think we were able to do a good job with that.
(on the feeling in the huddle with Blane Gabbert heading into final drive)
Same as Marcus (Mariota), same as Ocho. Like I said, we trust Blaine (Gabbert) just as much as we trust Marcus as our leader. When he comes in, he takes over the huddle. He keeps us calm, keeps us poised. That's what it is all about.
(on doing what was necessary to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot)
Yes, that's our mentality, survive and advance. You know, this is our playoffs right here. Lose. you go home, That's our mentality, so we are taking it one game at a time. Like I said, it is going to be fun celebrating this week, this win tonight. Unfortunately, we have to put it behind us and get ready for the Colts.
TIGHT END MYCOLE PRUITT
(on his thoughts when he saw the ball in the air on his game-winning touchdown reception)
No, no, I knew I was going to catch it the whole way. I have got confidence in myself, I knew I was going to catch it. I've got confidence in Blaine (Gabbert) to get it to me. I've got confidence in everybody that was blocking to block for me, to get that for me.
(on making catches to contribute to the win)
Any contribution that I can make, I feel good about it. Whatever coach asks me to do, I have been ready to do this whole season, and whenever I need to step up, that is what I am going to do.
(on if he would have guessed he'd be open for the game-winning score with the way team was running the football)
I felt like I would. I mean, we got Derrick Henry, he's been running crazy for the last couple of weeks, and they all probably expected a run in that situation. We also sold the run. I just snuck out of there and (was) wide open.
INSIDE LINEBACKER RASHAAN EVANS
(on Titans' defense being patient in the second half with the game tempo)
We wanted to come back after the first half and just change the atmosphere of the whole locker room. We felt like we could have played a lot better the first half, and I feel like that is what we did the second half. Once we got the ball rolling, and we got our guys out there. You know. Just better communication and playing harder. You saw the outcome. Shout out, to KB (Titans' FS Keven Byard). That last play, I felt like, was the dagger to the Redskins. For him to come up big like that, and for us as a defense to come out and help finish this game, you know it gives us confidence going into this next game, so we can do the same thing.
(on the Titans' injuries and other players having to step up)
It just says that everybody plays for each other, regardless who is up, or who is playing in the game. Somebody goes down, then somebody needs to step up and be held accountable to be able to play as good as the guy who was in there before. That's the type of standard that we have here, and you can see that on the field.
(on the Titans' mindset after this win today over the Redskins)
Survive and advance, and right now, we don't even want to survive. We want to make sure that we dominate everybody that we face from now on. That's the key right now. Everything that we do from this point on, is going to solely be off of making sure that we do every single thing we can possibly do to help us win this next game.
CORNERBACK MALCOM BUTLER
(on not dropping down, after securing his game-ending interception against the Redskins)
I wasn't going to go down. I know I should have, but as long as I took care of the ball. I was thinking ball security the whole time. I was thinking just take care of the ball in those situations. The game was already won with the catch itself. I saw more opportunity and decided to take advantage of it. If I scored or not, just take of the ball and I was headed the other way. I scored. That was my first touchdown and we got the win.
(on the Titans' defense stopping the Redskins' final two drives, and preserving the victory)
It was pretty good. It was pretty good. We just had to step it up for the offense. We are a team. You know when we are not doing good in one department, the other department is going to have to step up. So you know, we did a good job today. That's what we live for. We are on the sideline, telling each other the game is going to be on us. We want that responsibility, so it worked out all right today.
(on the Titans being in a must-win to make the playoffs next week)
We are in the playoffs right now. We've just got to keep winning. Can't really say too much right now, but next weekend will tell everything, so we'll see then.
SAFETY KEVIN BYARD
(on the Titans' effort today as a team)
Big time Titans' football. You know, just the way the entire game went. We knew what kind of game it was going to be. You have a Hall of Fame running back (Redskins' RB Adrian Peterson) on one side, and you have a beast in Derrick Henry, on the other side. We for sure, we were not happy how we played in the first half. We didn't stop the run well enough. So, we made a conscious effort coming into the second half that we were going to play big-time football. And we stopped them a few times and were able to get those turnovers to finish the game.
(on describing the play where Redskins' QB Josh Johnson throws the interception to him )
I was reading his eyes, and his eyes just kind of took me to the play. And our defensive backs did a great job of jamming their receivers up. And our defensive line did a great job of pass-rushing, forcing him to pass the ball early. He just kind of threw the ball up, and I was just right there and able to make a play. Credit to all my guys around me, for helping me to make that play. I was kind of surprised he threw it, because like I said, he kind of rushed the throw. But at the end of the day, he made a bad throw and I was in the right spot and made a play on it. So credit to all my guys for helping me make that play. I am just grateful to be able to come out here and make plays for my defense and help guys win. That's all I am really worried about.
(on the emotional roller coaster of trying to win with Marcus Mariota leaving the game)
There is no discussion. We are not an emotional team that rides waves. We are always sticking to our guns. Sticking to what we know. Like I've said, we had full trust when Blaine (Gabbert) got in the game, that he was going to drive down the field and score on that last drive. Credit to Blaine for coming in and being prepared, like a back-up should. We have full trust in him, no matter what happens going forward.
INSIDE LINEBACKER WESLEY WOODYARD
(on the Titans' having to step up, when an injury sidelines a starter)
You know, in this game, it really is the next-man-up mentality. This thing about the NFL is you have guys that are waiting to get in. Waiting for their chance or the opportunity to play good. That's what happened today where Blaine (Gabbert) stepped in and making plays. It's a great thing. Guys don't really care when they get their shot. They just want to go out there and ball.
(on the possibility of having Titans' DT Jurrell Casey miss next week's game against the Colts)
Jurrell (Casey) is a key piece to our team. He'd be a key piece to anybody's team. Huge loss if we can't get him back. All we can do is pray and hope he gets a speedy recovery. But whenever you are one of the best defensive players in the NFL, whenever you are not there, your presence is going to be missed. So it will be up to me, the guys, and other leaders on our team to step up and carry that weight, if he can't play.
REDSKINS HEAD COACH JAY GRUDEN
(Matt) Ioannidis has a hamstring.
(on the way quarterback Josh Johnson competed)
I thought he competed like a champ. I thought he made some great plays with his legs, some scrambles, keeping some drives alive. I thought AP (Adrian Peterson) ran the ball hard. Our offensive line blocked pretty well for the most part. We just didn't make enough plays at the end of the day.
(on the defensive effort)
That's unfortunate. That's not a lack of effort. I think they have a good running back, and a tough, physical offensive line. We gave up a couple of uncharacteristic runs again, and a couple play action passes that hurt us. The last call on Fabian (Moreau), I've got to see it. Third down, a couple of third down conversions they had in the first half. It was a combination of things, but you've got to give credit to the Titans also.
(on the tempo of the Redskins final drive)
Yeah, we stuck with the running game pretty – we had four and a half minutes to go, and I wanted to make sure we still continued to pound them a little bit. I didn't want to continue to put it all on Josh (Johnson) right there. I think once Jamison (Crowder) caught the ball on the choice route to make it third-down-and-two. I thought we had a good play called and got a corner blitz, and they made a pick.
(on if Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota leaving with injury worked in the Redskins favor)
You never think that. Blaine Gabbert's played a lot of football, too. He's started a lot of games and has been pretty productive as a starter. He's very skilled, very much like Mariota. He can run, very athletic, which he showed today. You've got to continue to play and know they're going to stick with their game plan. It's not like Mariota is going to drop back and throw 50 times either. Gabbert's going to hand the ball off and work his play actions, and they kept with their game plan and did a nice job.
(on Washington's playoff hopes)
I think I'm just trying to wrap my head around this game. I think we played with great effort and it's just tough. The guys played hard and we just didn't make enough plays to get it done. I'm just going to watch the games tomorrow I guess, and take a day off, our players will, and figure out what happens next.
_(on cornerback Malcolm Butler's interception) _
It was not Josh (Johnson). It was it was a play that we just worked on the wrong side of the field, unfortunately. We got a corner cat and I think that just throws Josh Johnson a little bit, and I think he saw a flash of Josh Doctson and tried to throw it in there, and Josh (Doctson) wasn't going the right inside. He was supposed to be an outside breaking route.
(on if this loss stings 'the most')
Yeah, I think they all sting pretty bad, but this one is the most current. So, yeah, this one stings. I think the way these guys came out and played our style of football, physical style of football game, and I feel like we left some plays out there on the field that we could've made. We missed a pick by Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix), just missed that by an inch. Michael Floyd just had that ball and got it knocked out by (Kevin) Byard there in the red zone, and we just had so many close plays that – we just had the P.I. on Fabian (Moreau). There were so many 'what if' plays, but at the end of the day they made the plays. Hats off to Coach Vrabel, he's doing a great job with that team.
(on what worked for running back Adrian Peterson in the run game)
We were getting movement. When you see your offensive line moving, you're going to stick with that. AP (Adrian Peterson) was running the ball physical, right up the middle, getting us four or five yards. You could see what type of offense we want to be when we're getting four or five yards on first down, we're not just going to drop back. We're going to continue to pound them until they stop. We worked some play actions, tried to hit a couple of shot plays off of those same looks. Didn't have a lot of success, but the running game was outstanding.
(on assessing quarterback Josh Johnson)
I think you couldn't ask for anything more from a guy coming from his couch, playing pick-up basketball a couple of weeks ago. To learn everything, to go in here with full speed, and people coming at him full speed, handling the play calling, protections, handoffs, the run game; I just can't say enough about him. I'm very proud of him. I'm sick for the way it ended for him tonight because he really displayed just great poise, courage, effort, leadership, all in three weeks. I hate for him to be judged on that one pass, but overall I'm just very, very proud of the way he came in here and led this game.
(on if injuries this season can become too much for the team to overcome)
It's hard. You're talking about very good players that we spent a lot of time with. Quarterbacks, guards, tight ends, running backs. It's just difficult, but that's pro football. It happens from time to time, and it just seems to hit us pretty hard. The guys who came in here played hard and did some good things. It was our job to coach the guys that were available, and I think Coach (Bill) Callahan and the offensive staff did a pretty good job coaching the guys we had, and defensively the same thing. It's next man up, and the guys did a pretty good job.
(on the healthy players continuing to play hard each week despite the injuries that the team has experienced this season)
That's what hurts the most. I feel like these guys are putting it all on the line. It's too bad they couldn't get it done.
(on the offensive line's depth after injuries during the game)
Yeah, Zac (Kerin) got banged up a little bit, hurt his knee, so we went with (Kyle) Fuller. We just got him a couple of weeks ago. He was playing pretty physical, so we left him in there. We were trying to run the inside power game duos and inside zones, and we were getting some movement, so we let him ride in there. I don't know how many false starts. We only had one or two false starts, and then we had a couple of offsides on defense. That's just guys trying to get off, trying to get after the quarterback, and those happen.
(on evaluating the failure and success of the season)
We can evaluate it. We're 7-8, and there's the evaluation right there, and that's not good enough.
REDSKINS LINEBACKER RYAN KERRIGAN
(on the final Titans' drive)
He (Derrick Henry) had some running lanes that he hadn't had throughout most of the game. We've got to do a better job, us on the edge, constricting those rushing lanes. It's what we did all game, for most of the game. We tackled and had good edges. We just didn't do that effectively enough on the last drive.
(on the toughness of this loss compared to others)
This one's right up there as one of the toughest. We had it. We had the game, we played so well. For the team to not come away with a win, I'm still kind of wrapping my mind around it. I feel like we – offensively, defensively, other than two drives at the beginning and end of the game defensively, I feel like we played really well. It's really disappointing that we wasted such a good effort from our offense and from ourselves defensively.
(on 'letting down' the offense)
Our offense, to do what they did, to control the clock the way they did, especially in the second quarter when they just dominated, it's just very disappointing. They did enough for us to win. We did a lot for us to win defensively, but not enough.
REDSKINS WIDE RECEIVER JOSH DOCTSON
(on quarterback Josh Johnson's leadership in the huddle)
Perfect, great. You can tell that he was better than last week, and everybody was able to rock with him this week, and we felt more fluid out there.
(on Josh Johnson's quick impact with the team)
He's a pro. He's been in the league for a minute. He knows what he's doing back there.
(on how motivating the loss is)
It's another game. We get 16. That's motivation enough right there, to play another game.
(on summarizing an 'up-and-down' season)
Football. Life. Life's up and down, football's up and down. You're just trying to stay consistent. That's all it is.
REDSKINS LINEBACKER MASON FOSTER
(on the game coming down to the final drive after playing so well throughout)
It's real frustrating, but that's how it is. We knew it would come down to this, that's how it has been all year. They just made the plays, and the refs called stuff for them, but we knew it was going to be like that. It's just tough. You wish you could play perfect and stop them every time, but it doesn't happen like that. It sucks. I thought we had them. We have to keep working and getting better, and making big-time plays because that's the defense we can be.
(on how big of a hit the loss put on their playoff chances)
It doesn't really matter to me. Everyone in this locker room is going to keep fighting until the end, and then they can tell us what happens after that. I am focused on correcting this film, and going out and getting ready to play Philly at home. At the end of the day, all you can do is play as hard as you can play, and control what you can control. We have one more game at home to make a splash. You can't give up, or say it's over and lay down. I'm going to keep fighting forever and that's just how it's going to be.
(on how running back Derrick Henry compares to other backs they've faced this season)
He's a good back. He made people miss, but I felt like we had a good read on him until he busted that little 15, 20-yarder. For the most part, he's a physical back and they did a good job. He's going to make some runs. Those two backs, 33 and 22, (Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry), they had a good little one-two combo.
(on if the game became difficult when quarterback Blaine Gabbert entered in relief after preparing for quarterback Marcus Mariota)
It kind of changed up their offense a little bit when you are preparing for (Marcus) Mariota, but it wasn't nothing that we haven't seen. He did a good job. He didn't force balls into situations and he made the throws when he had to make them. That's what you want out of your backup quarterback. He did a good job of managing the game, and keeping it close until they could make the play.
REDSKINS RUNNING BACK CHRIS THOMPSON
(on what kind of quarterback he thinks Josh Johnson is)
He is a guy that is confident in his game and in what he does. He lets us know what he expects from us, and in my opinion I think he is a really good quarterback. I think he's got some leadership qualities that probably has never been noticed in his whole NFL career. But, I tell you what, I really enjoy playing with him. He's just got that thing about him. You can't explain it, you can't make everybody have that. It's just something that he has that everybody's not blessed with.
(on if this was as tough as a loss can get)
Of course. I mean, this was a must-win. That's pretty much it. As a group we didn't do enough.
(on if the character of this team makes the loss harder)
Yeah. I have been on some teams 2-14, to winning the NFC East championship, and every group brought something different. Like I've said for the longest – this group has definitely been better than any group I've ever been around. Guys on defense knew what we were dealing with, and they continued to fight every single play. They just never get down or get upset with us because we weren't playing as good, or putting up enough points when they were. They just continue to stick with us and fight with us. I just wish we can all continue to stay together, because I felt like this year we really grew together and became a true team.
(on if the team felt their season was over with the loss despite having a playoffs)
We told each other we were treating every game like a playoff game. We have to win every game to get a bigger chance. You never want to be in a situation where you are depending on other teams to lose or win, or whatever the case may be. At this point now, guys are upset about the loss because we felt like we had every opportunity to win. Come Wednesday we have to get over this game, and get ready for Philly.
REDSKINS RUNNING BACK ADRIAN PETERSON
(on his milestone-day despite falling short on the scoreboard)
It's a tough pill to swallow. I feel like guys played their tails off today, Tennessee just did a good job of making a more plays than us today. We had our opportunities, and unfortunately we had to settle for field goals a couple of times. That can come back to bite you, and it did for us today.
(on if he can appreciate the career milestones today or if the loss overshadow that)
Yeah, the loss overrides that. Hopefully, maybe I will appreciate (the milestones) after Christmas. I play this game to win and have the opportunity to win a championship. Falling short of having that opportunity is what is heavy on my heart right now. I just have to let this one sink in, and bounce back and finish the season off on the right note.
(on the level of competitiveness despite so many injuries at key positions)
It's like there is no excuse. You can look at (injuries), but you can't say that's the reason why. I honestly feel like we were the better team, we just didn't do enough. That hurts. It stings more when you know that you were better. You can say that we lost a lot of offensive linemen and quarterbacks, but at the end of the day, for 60 minutes we had the opportunity. We weren't able to execute. The field goals, they hurt us today. Not being able to keep those drives alive and finish with seven points – that was the tale of today.
(on quarterback Josh Johnson and what he brings to the Redskins offense)
Confidence. You can look in his eyes, and you can tell that he is giving everything. He did a great job of commanding the huddle, keeping us upbeat and high tempo. There were a couple of times where I was like, 'Hey, slow down. We got this. Let me catch my breath really quick.' But, he is so intense, and locked in and ready to roll. That really gave us a spark. I feel like he did a great job. We just didn't pull it together. I can't help but blame myself, because they put the ball in my hands a lot today. There were some opportunities that were like, bam – almost. For me, I have to make those count. When we came back and lose and the opportunities were presented, it eats at me. I feel like we can learn a lot from it moving forward. I don't think anyone can question the heart and the desire that each and every guy played with these last couple of weeks. I'm still proud of the group for going out and giving their all. Sometimes you give your all and you fall short. That was the result today.
(on if there was one specific play from today he felt like he would want back)
Third and one on that last drive. I just locked in my mind, "Hey, just let me get the first down." It was a bounce to our side. I saw it and I should have taken it. But it was just get a first down and get a new set. I just pressed it and jumped over the pile. That was an opportunity that I look at, and it hurts. If I bounce that one I hit my head on the goal post. It wasn't good enough for me today, the way I played because of those missed opportunities. I know it looked like we were productive and we ran the ball well, but there were so many missed opportunities by me and I hold myself accountable.
(on Coach Gruden and the job he has done despite all of the injuries)
I tip my hat to him. He did a great job of making the adjustments that were needed and presenting us, along with the other coaches, with a gameplan. It is up to us to go out there and execute it. I think he has done and said all of the right things. Great leadership. I tip my hat to Coach Gruden, he is a heck of a coach. He helped us throughout this whole year, just reminding us to stay focused on our goals that we were trying to accomplish. I tip my hat to him.
REDSKINS QUARTERBACK JOSH JOHNSON
(on if it was frustrating seeing the defense unable to get stops after the offensive scoring drives)
I don't really look at it that way. As an offense, we were just focused on the things that we needed to do. That team is a great team as well. They have NFL players over there, and they made plays when it mattered. Honestly, we had an opportunity to be right where we wanted to be at the end, but today it just didn't go our way. That's the thing in sports. Last week it went our way, this week it didn't. What I liked is that we stuck together. Everybody played to the end, and every man in that locker room gave it all on the field. That's all you can really appreciate. A lot of things are going to haunt us a little bit, but that is how it is in sports. You learn from these things, then you come back and you try to improve on it. At the end of the day, hats off to the Titans. They took advantage of the mistakes that we made, but I don't really look at it that way. As an offense, we just try to do what we are supposed to do, and then let the defense do what they are supposed to do. (The defense) still fought hard, but (the Titans) made plays in the end.
(on the tempo of the final drive and the drive as a whole)
We just wanted to stay in a nice rhythm and smooth tempo, and we were doing that. We were right at the 50-yard line when the interception happened. At the end of the day, they made a good play. I felt like the way I hold myself accountable, I could have handled that situation differently. But, at the end of the day, hats off to them. They did what they needed to do to put us in a bad situation. They capitalized off it. That's what playoff football is like, and we got a glimpse of it today. We learn from it and that is the best we can do. Learn from it and then move on.
(on what it meant to him personally to get support from his teammates after a tough loss)
I have so much respect for these guys in the locker room. They have rallied around me. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate playing with these guys in just the short amount of time that I have been here. This is going to eat me up for another 24 hours. We were right where we wanted to be, and the opportunity was there, and we just didn't capitalize. It is a great learning lesson for me, there are no excuses and no anything. Hats off to them. They did what they needed to do at that moment, and we didn't. I wish I could have that opportunity to do that again, but right now I have to learn from it, and be able to move on to Philadelphia.
(on what he has seen from this team and the effort given each week despite injuries)
I am very impressed. I have been around teams where people have shut it down. This team never did that. We played hard every snap, we stayed together, we believed in one another. We had the opportunity to be right where we wanted to be. Nobody was ever worried about who got hurt or who wasn't playing. We were all like, 'Next man's opportunity.' Everybody took that mindset, and tried to take that approach on the field, and we fought hard. We fought very hard. It just hurts right now because we're not on the side of the win, that we felt like we should have been. But, in sports there is always a winner and a loser. I like to always say that a loss is just your biggest lesson. You never lose, you either win or you learn. We have to learn from this one and get back out there next week, and get our mind focused back, and try to come away with a victory against another great team. That is the next opportunity and we are focused on that.
(on what was going through his mind on the last drive)
I just stay as clearheaded as possible. I have little conversations with myself, and just focusing on the play. Engaging with the guys helps. You are just kind of in the moment. This time, in that moment, the ball didn't go our way. It happens in sports all the time. But, I would love to be in that situation again. That's all I can say.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Washington Redskins in Week 16 of the 2018 season on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 16 of the 2018 season on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)