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POSTGAME QUOTES VS. OAKLAND RAIDERS 9/8/13

COLTS HEAD COACH CHUCK PAGANO & PLAYERS

 

COLTS STICKER

Head Coach Chuck Pagano

 

Opening Statement:

“Alright, injury-wise Dwayne Allen is the only guy that didn’t come back. He went out with hip injury I think in the third quarter, that ball down the middle, kind of landed wrong. But it’s a hip and I don’t, until we get an MRI and a scan on that, don’t know exactly what his status is, it’ll be day-to-day. We’ve got a couple other guys nicked up but nothing significant. Hats off to the Raiders. We knew that they had a good football team, a talented football team. We knew the quarterback was a talented, talented guy and how important it was to contain him. And obviously they did a great job and had a great plan, but congratulations to everybody in that locker room: our players, our coaches. They did a phenomenal job. Our players did an unbelievable job of just hanging tough. We always talk about the process. We talk about playing 60 minutes, all you got, one play at a time, don’t judge. We come out smoking, go up 14-0, then you go in at 14-7, you come out and you kind of hit a lull there for a little while. They score 10 unanswered points and things like that, but that’s why you play 60 minutes. It came down to a last-play situation. We were trying our dangdest to get that guy on the ground and we knew it was going to be tough because you can get into situations where you go after a guy like that and you may have a guy free, and we had guys off the edge and in position, but the guy’s one heck of an athlete. Again, credit (Terrelle) Pryor on that. He did a heck of a job. Our guys played their tails off. They overcame probably some coaching a little bit. We got confidence in our guys and going for it on fourth-and-that-much, middle of the field, we could say whatever. But that’s how I feel about our team, both sides of the ball and special teams. We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to play aggressive. So we’ll take a look at it. Like we said, we don’t want to play our best ball today. We want to play better than we played today next Sunday, a week from now, against the Dolphins. You want to play your best ball at the end of the season. So we’ll take a look at the tape, but there’s a lot of outstanding, outstanding performances. The quarterback was unbelievable. Reggie (Wayne) was unbelievable. Reggie is Reggie. Darrius Heyward-Bey, the play that he made toward the end stretching, reaching, grinding for a first down and then getting a personal foul penalty was critical. And then the scramble for the touchdown by the quarterback. The play of the defense, the way they hung in there and hung in there and held these guys out and made the play at the end, (Antoine) Bethea. I think (LaRon) Landry, we were wondering what we were going to get out of Landry, right? Well, I think it was 15 total tackles on the stat sheet is what I saw, 10 unassisted and five assists. I’m missing some guys. The pressure situation, sack situation, you’re probably going to ask me. We gave up some hits, but credit them. We knew coming in that Dennis (Allen) and Tarver, that’s their mindset. We knew we were going to get pressure and they did a good job. But when we protected and we keep that guy upright in the pocket, he’s going to burn a lot of people and our guys made a ton of plays. I’m very, very proud. I want to thank the fans. They were unbelievable today. When we needed them most, they came through at the end of the game and it was crucial. Fire away.”

 

Were you guys doing anything wrong offensively from when you had those two strong drives to open the game until that last scoring drive of the fourth quarter?

“No because you come out with, like you said, you have the two drives, the touchdown drives and then you kind of stall. It’s self-inflicted wounds. We talked about it. You have negative plays, you have a holding penalty and it’s first-and-25. You have a negative yardage run and it’s second-and-13, second-and-14. Credit them for making those plays, but it’s awful hard to stay ahead of the chains and stay on track. Again, we didn’t go into a shell. It was more either a penalty, a negative play or a sack that took us out because we still drove the ball. We still got it to midfield. We were still on their side of the 50 but then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”

 

Talk about the confidence you have when you need a score and you have a quarterback like Andrew Luck.

“It’s huge. It’s defense go out and make a play, get a stop. If you give him, like you saw last year, seven fourth-quarter comebacks and you got a quarterback like Andrew and you got playmakers around him, you feel good about playing aggressive, doing some different things. Nothing crazy, out of the ordinary, but you got a guy like that, it sure makes you feel good. If there’s a minute left on the clock and we need a score, there’s no one I’d rather have under center than that guy.”

 

Can you talk about the difficulty of defending Terrelle Pryor when he breaks into those sandlot-style plays?

“That’s exactly what it becomes. The option was the option. They did a nice job with their scheme and we kind of got the thing calmed down. But the one drive where he had the two long runs on the read option coming out to the open side. Again, credit them. They did a nice job with their scheme. And then when they drop back to pass and you think you got him, we talked all the time about upfield shoulder, keep him in the pocket, keep him contained. Those things are easier said than done. It’s hard, especially in the opener. You watch the tape and you watch the preseason and it’s really hard to gauge and know exactly what you’re going to get. We knew we had a heck of a football player coming here, a talented guy, a great athlete, a guy who could do that. We knew that and we knew what we’d be in for. But again, he did a great job. It’s a great learning lesson for us because we’ll be able to go back and look at the tape and the next time we have to face it, the next time we have to see it, we’ll be better the next time.”

 

Terrelle Pryor’s mobility gave you fits all game but you made plays when you needed to. What does that say about the character of the defense?

“It says everything. That’s our whole mindset. That’s the whole mindset of that locker room. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about making a play and when they had to make a play, they made them. I think we were plus-two in the turnover deal, and I’ve talked about it all the time: if you’re plus-two, you’ve got an 83, 84 percent chance of winning a football game. So the one at the end of the game and the other one that we had were major. Those guys believe in each other, they believe in the system, they believe in the scheme, they believe in the call. Again, the guy was making plays but we talked about it the whole week. We talked about it last night in the meetings and defensively we talked about it in the team meeting. We said this guy is going to get outside and he’s going to make some plays. Don’t worry about it, just move on. Play through it. Don’t judge. Even when things are going well, just keep playing through it. When they’re not, just keep playing through it. And ultimately put yourself in position, play hard, play hard for 60 minutes and when the play shows up, make sure you’re there to make it.”

 

What did the refs say to you on the non-call on the deep pass to T.Y. Hilton that looked like it could have been pass interference?

“The guy told me that he was turned and making a play on the ball. You guys can, you guys saw the jumbotron, you guys can make your own judgments on it. It is what it is. We ended up getting a call late that worked out for us, so that’s how the ball bounces sometimes.”

 

You saw a lot of these fourth-quarter comebacks from a TV screen last year. What was it like being right in the middle of that situation this time?

“It was awesome. Much rather be down there than anywhere else. It was great. And again, it goes back to the trust and accountability. These guys prepare, they prepared their tail off. I don’t think any team around is more ready for that type of situation than our team, just because of history and just because of what they went through a year ago. That helped us. Even though we have 19 new faces out there on the 53-man roster, those guys saw it and they understand the mindset of that locker room. It certainly was great to be out there and it was really good when Antoine (Bethea) picked that ball off, and then went to a knee and did exactly what he’s supposed to do on an interception there in the fourth quarter. It was great and I can’t tell you how excited I am for this organization and this football team and the city and the fans, they’re unbelievable.”

 

What did you establish today from a running-game standpoint?

“We made runs. We blocked up some things and Vick (Ballard) hit some holes and you saw what Ahmad (Bradshaw) can do in limited amount of snaps and exposure. But we knew coming in, and he’s just going to get better and better as he gets back in the mix. I thought our guys blocked these guys up. Again, give those guys credit, they’ve got a formidable front seven. They got big guys, they got athletic guys. It’s tough to go down after down after down, slugfest. There’s going to be a lot of sparing going on. But there were some plays there that were blocked up really well. I think we averaged 3.9 or 4.0 in the first half per carry. We had some good runs. I know we probably left some yards out there and we had some times, some penetration that we’ve got to clean up where we had some negative plays because of hits in the backfield. But we’ll go to work and get that fixed.”

 

Were you trying to get Ahmad Bradshaw eased into that today?

“We had a number. I don’t know what the stats were and exactly how many he had. But we had a number and we weren’t going to overdo it and press the envelope there.”

 

Safety Antoine Bethea

 

What was the mindset of this team going into the final drive? Terrelle Pryor was able to get some third down conversions in the third and fourth quarter, he’s threatening again, what was the mindset going into that final drive when you got that pick?

“Play 60 minutes. We said he’s going to make some plays. As far as the defense side of the ball, we just got to continue to play hard, make plays, we hung in there and was able to make a play.”

 

Playing a quarterback that’s quick on his feet like Terrelle Pryor, does that make it difficult to pass rush as well?

“It makes the defense disciplined. You got to be disciplined in the rush lanes and things like that. Like you say, he’s a good player and when you have a quarterback who’s mobile like that, it’s going to be tough. Like I said, it’s always good we can go watch film and make the corrections after a win.”

 

You guys have a mobile quarterback too. What about Andrew Luck’s 19-yard touchdown run?

“12 is looking good out there. He’s able to step up in the pocket and go ahead and get that go ahead score. It helped us a lot.”

 

Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw

 

Defense had their hands full with Terrelle Pryor, obviously that play at the end of the game, how big was that?

“That was huge. Like I said, they stuck in there, they fought, they got a couple first downs that we didn’t want. Like I said, they pealed their ears back and kept fighting and we were able to pull that out with an interception at the end.”

 

Your thoughts about the job by Vick Ballard today getting the bulk of the carries?

“Vick did a great job, man. He took what was given to him and he did a great job running the ball today.”

 

Even if it wasn’t perfect, you know as a veteran the importance of getting that first game. What’s it like being 1-0 after Week 1?

“It’s a great feeling, it’s a great start and it’s a start to a great season I think.”

 

Wide Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey

What goes through your head when you see Andrew Luck running at you?

“I am still trying to finish my route and I see 12 coming at me, I have a guy on me, block him, I turn and Andrew scored.”

 

What kind of leadership does Luck bring in fourth quarter comebacks?

“It’s great. We just listen to his command and follow him.”

 

How does it feel to get a win against your old team? 

“It is always good to get a win in the NFL.”

 

How do you keep the momentum from the first two possessions going into the second half?

“We just have to adjust. (The Raiders) started throwing different things at us and at halftime we tried to make some adjustments. This is the NFL. They get paid too. They’re going to try and do some crazy stuff, but we just have to keep on rolling and stay on schedule.”

 

Was it helpful to have the defense step up at the end of the game?

“I was happy that they made that play. (Antoine Bethea) made a big play at the end and we need that one.”

 

Quarterback Andrew Luck

 

Was your touchdown run a designed draw or did you just see something open there?

“No, it was a pass. They doubled Reggie (Wayne) so that means one more guy out of the box, if you will. Great protection. Sometimes when it just opens up like that, you can’t help but go. I knew I wanted a first down if I took off. Then Darrius (Heyward-Bey) did a great job of sort of coming out of his route and just pinning a guy, blocking his man in and led a nice lane into the end zone. I’m glad we could score that touchdown. I really am and what a stop by the defense at the end.”

 

Does this ever get old? We’ve come to expect these fourth-quarter comebacks.

“Yeah, I guess the fans shouldn’t leave early. I don’t think any Colts fans ever do which is one of the great things about playing here. A win’s a win’s a win. We know it’s tough to get wins in the National Football League. Obviously you don’t want it, you don’t want to have to go down to the wire every game. Oakland, tough guys, tough team. Defensively, they did a great job. It’s not fun watching Terrelle Pryor run around and do his thing. I’m sure for everybody else watching it’s pretty electric. What a great job he did. I think something this team has is some fortitude, some backbone. We managed to eke it out again I guess.”

 

What was the difference between the first two drives and the last drive?

“I think just a little lack of focus here and there. It’s a credit to Oakland. They’re the ones we were playing. They put us in a tough bind. Again, we’re glad we won, but we’re going to go back and we’ll watch the film and we’ll get better. We will improve to Week 2.”

 

How did the success of the running game help you?

“I thought we established a great rhythm running the ball on those first couple drives. Still, coming out the first play of the half was a 10-yard gain. I think guys worked their butt off on the O-line all week. Wide receivers were blocking. I do think that that run game will continue to flourish and continue to do well.”

 

They brought a lot of pressure off the corners. How were you able to manage that?

“Part of their defensive nature is to be aggressive. At certain points, they did a good job of bringing some different blitzes, some tough blitzes. They got us a couple times but we went back and made sure after they got us, we knew how to figure it out and how to pick it up the next time. When it counted, we did pick up the blitzes and put a good drive together and scored that last touchdown. Again, credit to their defense. They made it very hard on us all afternoon.”

 

What happened on that fourth down sack?

“Tough play. Good tackle by the defensive guy. They sort of sniffed the play out. Obviously not ideal but we realize it’s a 60-minute ball game. A lot of things can happen. Obviously don’t want to put your defense in a short field like that, but defense does such a great job of responding to adversity. It’s such a tight-knit locker room. It’s not just three units: special teams, defense, offense. It truly is a Colts football team. We feed off of each other and if offense is failing, defense is going to pick us up, or special teams will pick us up. We try to do the same for them.”

 

Does this feel like last year?

“Some things, sure. I guess winning the late game is nice. We did have a couple of those. It’s a new year. I think every win is special, no matter rookie year, second year. I’m sure Reggie (Wayne) will say the same thing in his 13th year and (Adam) Vinatieri. I think every win is special.”

 

Do you enjoy those fourth quarter drives? What’s so special about them?

“It doesn’t change your approach but I think the DNA of the team is that maybe there’s just a little extra focus when that comes. Maybe guys realize ‘Hey, let’s convert this.’ Maybe that little bit of pressure pushes us in a sense. We know we can’t live like that every week. We’ll lose our fair share at the end of the game if that continues to happen. Again though, I think Oakland put us in a tough spot.”

 

What was it like watching that last drive from the sideline?

“I’ll tell you Terrelle Pryor is a stud. He made some unbelievable plays. Guys don’t quit on the defensive line. You probably saw Rob Mathis running a total of a mile back and forth and he’s still going hard. Erik Walden, Bjoern (Werner), the interior guys, they work so hard. It paid off when that pick was thrown at the end. It’s fun to have our defense on our side.”

 

On that touchdown run, have you ever seen so much open field?

“No, I don’t think so. Again, they doubled Reggie (Wayne) which takes one extra body out of there. Then the O-line did a good job of pass-protecting and it seemed to open up in the middle.”

 

When did you decide you were going to run?

“I don’t know. I went through my reads and as I was sort of stepping up, you sort of realize ‘Hey man, there really is no one here.’ That decision: ‘Okay I can make the first down’ and you start running and ‘Okay let’s go for the end zone.’”

 

How about that block from Darrius Heyward-Bey?

“Great block from Darrius. Great block from Darrius. Sort of play ball, backyard. Come out of your route, don’t get the ball, see the quarterback running. It sort of looked like a box-out technique in basketball. But it’s legal and it got us in the end zone.”

 

What do you make of Darrius Heyward-Bey’s performance today?

“Darrius has been nothing but a great addition to this team. Football-wise, obviously he’s got the speed. He makes the plays. A big third-down conversion, or second-and-long and he gets it and we get a first down. That’s huge. The blocking on the touchdown run. Beyond that, he’s a great teammate. He’s a hard worker. We all talk about Reggie’s (Wayne) work ethic and that sort of legendary ability and Darrius is definitely on that path of work ethic. He’s a lot of fun to play with.”

 

Outside Linebacker Robert Mathis

 

How many miles do you think you ran today?

“About 5.3 miles. It was a hard fought game. (I’m) very, very tired. We were able to get the win so it was all worth it.”

 

Were you shocked about what you saw from Terrelle Pryor?

“That’s what we made adjustments for. That guy (Terrelle Pryor) is fast. He definitely showed up to play today. We just had to make one more play.”

 

What did you think of the secondary’s performance today?

“They are the MVP by far. We got to get on their level, so we have to pick our game up a little more.”

 

What did you think of the defensive performance today?

“We are still growing as a defense. Bend, but don’t break, but we’d rather not bend either. We are still working towards our goal.”

 

How does your group stick together against a guy like Terrelle Pryor?

“It is the group that we have. Nobody started pointing fingers or anything like that, we just stuck together. We know it was going to take all of us to get this guy under control. We were able to do that in the end.”

 

Cornerback Greg Toler

Your interception in the first quarter, Antoine Bethea’s interception that sealed the game, how big was the play of the secondary today?

“We just tried to come in and execute our game plan. We’re just trying to keep the deep ball off of us, we executed on that part. We gave up a few plays with Terrelle Pryor stretching the plays on defense so we just had to contain our man, but I think we did pretty good. We can go back in this week, work on our mistakes and get ready for next week.”

 

How difficult was it with Terrelle Pryor being able to make plays with his feet?

“It gets hard, talking from a DB aspect, just covering your guy with your back to the quarterback. You try not to grab because the refs, it’s an offensive league. It’s just kind of hard not knowing where he’s scrambling to, if he’s up on your back, the guy’s trying to run a comeback, it’s pretty hard, but I think we did well and we can get better.”

 

Describe the feeling when you see Antoine Bethea intercept that last pass?

“I fell to my knees because you know the defense we were in, he’s sneaky, he always does that at practice. So I think Terrelle Pryor, he baited him.”

 

Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne

What did you think of the team’s start to the game?

“We did what we wanted in the beginning of the game. We wanted to come out and start fast. We had two good drives offensively, kind of had a little spill in the middle, but we knew it was going to be that kind of game. First game of the year, it was tough but a win is a win.”

 

What is your confidence level with Andrew Luck?

“Yeah, he plays better than the average second-year quarterback. He inspires everybody in the huddle; nothing seems to get him down even when they took the lead today. We went out there and he said ‘This is going to be the drive, this is going to be the drive to win the game right here.’ He is always confident and he knows it what he can do with his ability. We are blessed to have him and have nice strong legs. He plays like he is a 15-year vet.”

 

What does the team use as inspiration to come back from behind?

“It’s just doing what we preach. We preach 60 minutes no matter what. Games are going to be tough. Guys who were here last year will understand it that you haven’t played a game until a game is completely over. The new guys are starting to get a little of that. It’s just never quit and continue to play, no matter what, continue to believe in each other and just hope that we go out there and do the things that we are capable of doing.”

 

Can you talk about Luck’s ability to run the ball on that last touchdown?

“It was big. Like I just said, we are lucky to have him on our team. Me and myself, I am not used to having a quarterback that can run like that. He does a great job with his legs. He can keep drives alive and continue to move the chains, scramble for big gains and score touchdowns. A big play by him, way to read the coverage and believe in his ability.”

 

Were you pleased with the balanced offense in the first half today?

“Yeah, it was. We wanted to start off fast but now we got to try to figure out how to take the same intensity into the second half. Throughout the game, we know it is not going to be perfect, we know it is going to be tough but some kind of way we have to continue to move the ball and keep the balance and continue to make plays and try to help our defense out a little bit.”