The NFC Division Champs were swiftly ousted by the LA Rams 30-20 Saturday afternoon at Lumen Field. The unexpected an season ending loss left the team in a state of shock and bewilderement. Here are post game transcripts.
HEAD COACH PETE CARROL
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
I told these guys I have no place in my brain for this outcome. We were planning on winning and moving on and getting going and playing really good football and doing the stuff we need to do to win.Their defense was really effective today.The two turnovers were really costly. That’s how it goes. You can look at our whole season and when we take care of the football and we don’t give it up, we win. Today, being down two, it’s really hard to overcome it. You can do it.We just haven’t.This season has been such an extraordinary year in so many ways and so much around us, and just all that has to do with life. I’m really proud of these guys for hanging tough throughout the whole process of it, being so strict and regimented.
To make it through this time as healthy as we did. We’ve learned a lot, and they’ve grown a lot in all that we had to come to understand. This football season, it was supposed to just keep going for us and that’s the way we were planning. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it done today.So, a nice job by the Rams. Really good by their defense, and they found enough in their running game to keep it going for their offense. So, it’s really frustrating to be done. The suddenness of this, there’s nothing like it. You just have to deal with it. So that’s what we’re going to do. We have meetings tomorrow, and we’ll come back and try to figure it out a little bit more and put it in perspective. But, really disappointed in this outcome.
(On what happened on when Seattle considered going for the Fourth Down, and a penalty ensued…)
Yes, we were talking it over and we discussed some plays and I kind of got in the middle of it. Then, we just got late. That’s why we wound up jumping; we screwed it up. It just wasn’t clear enoug. That’s one play. We didn’t function the way we needed to right there and so we had to punt the football. Punting the football wasn’t a bad idea, either. Just to get them on down, and take them to the next couple sequences But I would have really liked to have made that, and so that’s why we went ahead and tried to get the chance and then we just didn’t function cleanly like we needed to.
(On whether he felt like the Rams coached better today…)
This defense has been playing terrific all year. That’s no surprise. They were hard. It was hard to get enough time. Hard to find the stuff we wanted to find downfield in the throwing game. We ran the ball some. We ran the ball okay. That didn’t change. They’ve been like that all year long. I thought they did a really good job.
(On the play of Russell Wilson today…)
I thought it was really hard. I thought it was really hard. They make the fantastic interception for a touchdown, which is a great play by the kid.He took a shot and got it, and that was a big play in this game as it kind of loomed the whole time, that seven point. That’s no mistake on Russ’s part at all, that’s just a great play by them But, it was hard. When you get rushed like that, get sacked five times, against that group, it’s just tough.
This is no surprise; this is how they’ve played against other people. We needed to keep this game like we played them last time, where we kept it down, where they scored 9 points and we found a way to score 20. Like I’m saying, and maybe I’m not saying it very clearly, but Russ, it was really hard on him. The pressure was hard, the coverage is good, and we weren’t able to function clean enough. A couple of times we had penalties and situations and we got backed up, we had First and 25 a couple times, it seemed like. Those are, like, impossible situations against this defense.He was up against it all day.
(On whether they considered calling time out before the Fourth Down play…)
We thought we were going to get it off.Honestly, right there, I could have called time out.I realized, I could see it was going, and then I didn’t mind that we were going to have to kick the football, because that was not a bad choice there. We just had to take it.
(On why the Rams rushing game was more effective than it was two weeks ago…)
Akers did a really nice job running the football. I thought they were really consistent in how they did it They’ve played us enough, and they found out where they wanted to go We just didn’t stop it There were a lot of similar plays that they ran, and we were doing our things to get them stopped, but they just were able to keep pecking away. It was a game that they were in control of, score-wise, I felt like, once the game got going. I think after that touchdown.
Both teams knew it was going to be a tight game, and it was going to be a defensive led game, and they just stayed real close to the vest with it, and just kept hammering away.They did not throw the ball on us much, effectively, but they difference probably was the two 44 yard plays.They were kind of really fortunate plays by them.It was a scramble to Akers up the sideline, and there was the one to Cooper that they get that he makes a great catch on. Those were two really big plays. When you look at the game, that’s 80, 90 yards of offense and those were significant plays in a really close game that changed the field position.
(On what were they trying to do with the passing game that didn’t work…)
Some things I don’t want to speak to. But what we wanted to do was we wanted to continue to play-pass and find our chunk opportunities. That doesn’t mean we throw the ball over their head all of the time and going for just bombs. But there’s a lot of space we create in the play-passing game, and it seemed like during the course of the season, after the half-way point, we had hit so much early, we had been so effective that people found a way to stay back and just try to bleed us and make us have to throw the ball underneath and we were maybe really going for it more than we needed to and didn’t take advantage of switching gears a bit there, as effectively as we would like.
We like chunking them and like going after them. As I look back now, I have a lot of work to do to figure it out, but I would think that we might think that way a little differently.At one part of the year, it was available, and we took it, and then in the second part of the year, against the really good defenses that we played, they were able to keep us out of that kind of a mode.I wish we would have adapted better under those circumstances.
(On the Rams getting 16 sacks in 3 games against Seattle…)
It starts up front with their rush and the way that they’re playing.They did a nice job, scheme-wise. The 5 man rush was difficult. That’s how you stop the passing game; you rush the passer and make it really hard on them. If you can’t find ways to get the ball out, if you can’t find ways to slow them down, then you’re up against it, and that’s when bad things happen. That’s where the turnovers happen and the sacks happen, that’s how it goes. We weren’t able to do it effectively enough. We did it in the last game against these guys, enough, but they had some success then, too, even though we won the game.
(On the message to the team heading into the offseason…)
We’re going to try to find a little bit better place to put it, tomorrow. I didn’t have any answers for them today; just frustrated about this. But, like I said, we didn’t plan on getting knocked out. We were trying to find a way to win this football game, all the way up to; you know how we are; all the way down the stretch, too. We weren’t able to do it, and they had their game.
So, we have to find a place to put that. Eventually, we will get back to the mentality of getting ready for the next go-round. There’s a lot of stuff that everybody has to deal with. I can’t even imagine all the stuff our guys are going to have to adapt to once they leave and get out of here, because we’ve been in a very controlled setting The world’s going crazy out there with all of the COVID and all that. I’m concerned for our guys in that regard, we have to figure out how to get our minds right so that we can stay disciplined, stay safe and all of that and protect our families, too.
(On the difficulties encountered by the first-string offensive line…)
I wish we would have found the way to run the ball more, to slow them down, and keep them from rushing us. I think we had run it, 12 or 14 something in the first half; we were about even So, we were attempting. When Donald went out we wanted to try to throw the ball, without him in the pass rush and we weren’t able to get enough out of it.
(On whether some issues seem to be recurring…)
Yeah, I think that’s a way you can look at it. We have so many clock opportunities that you don’t even mention, because they work out fine. But, there are times when you don’t quite hit it as clean as you want. And we always want to do all of those perfectly. What has been part of our makeup has been a lot of sacks.
We haven’t been able to keep Russ as clean as we’d like to, and that’s been a problem for us over the years and that causes other issues and it also causes problem for the opponent, too, because once Russ starts moving around like he almost knocked them dead today, just missed DK on the one on the scramble, but he was really effective when he got out and moved around .It does cause a problem, we do get sacked a lot, and that’s something that has recurred.
(On why it seems like Seattle hasn’t been able to find holes in the Rams defense, despite familiarity…);
There is one factor in this whole thing, the whole thing, since we’ve been here playing these guys, and that’s number 99 He hasn’t just torn us up, he’s torn everybody up. He continues to be a significant factor He tilts it, somewhat That’s why I had hoped, when he got banged up, we could take advantage of him not being out there. I don’t know if it’s going to look like that, numbers-wise and all thatThat’s the factor.I wish we could find a way to stop him.
I don’t know who has. But, we haven’t found enough ways, and what happens is when you pay as much attention to him as you have to, other guys can factor in, as their guys have over the years. They’ve had fantastic pass rushers and that’s a huge part of being a good football team.So many things feed off of that. So, they have a really good nucleus of what it takes to have a good defense. And their coaches have done a good job of utilizing over the years, and that factor has not gone away.
(On how much does this loss mar what was accomplished in the 2020 season…)
Today it does, tomorrow it does, and as we run through the playoffs and watch everybody else still be playing, it makes you sick to your stomach. Seriously. It feels like almost life ends, in a sense, for this season.It’s very difficult to deal with.
Right now, this is not the day to talk about all of the stuff that we accomplished. It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like today to acknowledge what we did together and how we have relationships that we have built and relationships that will last in moving find. We’ll find time to look back and reflect and find the good things to take away from it, but that’s not today. Today you feel like crap, that’s what it is.And anything you ask me, it makes it more like that That’s just what it is. I’m up here knowing it. That’s how we have to live with it.There will be time. We’ll heal. But, it’s unfortunate, because these years are hard to come by. It’s hard to get to 12 wins It’s hard to get yourself situated with a playoff game at home. We’ve won a lot of playoff games at home, and it is tough to give one away.We have won every one of those playoff games with a raucous, wild, crazy fan base, and not today, we needed you. I wish we could have had you. That’s not an excuse, that’s just unfortunate. I wish we could have shared it with you.
(On what happened with Rashaad Penny…) He stumbled in practice on Thursday, maybe Friday. I’m all screwed up in my days. I think it was Thursday’s practice on a normal week, and he hit the ground pretty hard, and it just kind of rocked his knee a little bit. It was actually the other knee, I think.But he just couldn’t quite get back. So, we had Alex ready to go, and jumped him into it.
S JAMAL ADAMS
(On how disappointing it is to be eliminated in the first playoff appearance of his career)
“It’s tough. This wasn’t the plan but, we could come up with a million and one excuses but the fact of the matter is we’re not going to do it. Our hats go off to L.A., they did a phenomenal job. They controlled the clock, and they flipped the field on us a lot of times and made more plays than we did. It’s tough to win ball games when we’re not hitting on all cylinders, all three phases. The marathon continues, we’ll be back. It’s not the end of the world. Our season is cut short, but we have to learn from it, get healthy, and come back next year swinging on all cylinders.”
(On if he had a hard time reaching up to defend the long completion to Cooper Kupp)
“I’m not a person that’s going to make excuses.
Yes, I did have a harness on that restricted me from going up or going across. That’s not an excuse. I have to make the play. It was a hell of a grab, stuff like that happens. Obviously, the ball just didn’t roll our way on that one.”
(On what it was like this week to be able to play and being out there)
“It was tough. Any game you play, especially in the playoffs, you want to be as healthy as you can going into it. I was just getting really, really healthy and the ball didn’t go my way. I came up with an injury and it is what it is. The offseason is for everybody to get healthy and I’ve got probably about two surgeries coming up. I just want to get healthy. I just want to get back to ball. The marathon is going to continue, and we’ll be back, we’ll be back next year.”
(On what he needs surgery on)
“I’ve got to take care of these fingers for sure, and this shoulder. It’s part of the game. I’m not sitting up here making excuses for anything, it’s part of the game. There was never any doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to go out there and attempt to play. I did what I could, I wish I could’ve done more to go out there and help the team win but things didn’t roll our way. I think we shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times on both sides of the ball. Against a good team like that, you just can’t do it. I have a lot of respect for that organization over there, they just do it right. We just have to continue to get better, continue to work on ourselves as a team and that’s our focus.”
(On if this season is considered a “failure”)
“Yes, it’s a failure. That’s our goal. It’s not about individual goals, it’s not about anything else. It’s about getting to the Super Bowl and winning it. A positive you can take from it is hanging a banner. We did win our division but, at the end of the day we knew what our mission was, and we fell short. To me, it is a failed season, but to me that doesn’t mean anything. That just means you have another opportunity to get back swinging and fight for a Super Bowl next year. It’s just not our year.”
(On what kind of shoulder injury he was playing through)
“I tore my labrum. I’m also playing with two broken fingers, all on my left side. I guess I don’t have any luck on my left side right now. So, yeah, a torn labrum. A lucky little hit last week on my shoulder by a running back. It is what it is. I prayed on it; I knew God was going to cover me out there today. I was in a lot of pain, but I fought through it. It’s never going to be about me. it’s about this team, it’s about winning, and as long as my legs are moving, I’m going to be out there.”
(On if he thinks he will need surgery on his right shoulder)
“Hopefully not. I’m just trying to stay positive with it. I’m dealing with that side as well. That’s really the least of my concerns.”
(On what happened on the hit to John Wolford)
“He was coming and he slid. I kept my head up and he kind of ducked a little bit. My intentions were never to take a cheap shot, I was just trying to play clean football. I hope he is well. I did talk to him when he walked off. He said, ‘I know you were just playing football; you didn’t mean any harm.’ We shook hands and moved on. I’m definitely praying for him. I hope everything is ok with him and he can continue his career because I am never trying to end anyone’s career. I’m just out there playing fast and physical.”
(On if he thinks an extension with the Seahawks is something that will be done this offseason)
“That’s something that is out of my hands right now. I sure pray that I am here, I love being a Seattle Seahawk. I love being a part of this organization, it’s a special one with special people with special guys around and young ladies as well. When that time comes, it comes. I’m worried about getting healthy right now and getting back and into the flow of everything and figuring out everything. I’m not really focused on that right now.”
(On what made Cam Akers so tough to defend today)
“He’s a good back. He came out of Florida State, I remember watching him a little bit. He’s a hell of a back, he runs downhill, gets positive yards, and I have a lot for respect for him and the way he runs the football. We’ve just got to be better as a defense, we have to be better. We can’t make excuses; we just have to do our job. Everybody on the defense has to their job to the best of their ability. Hats off to them again, we just have to be better. The marathon continues.”
QB RUSSELL WILSON
Q. I guess just with the offense the Rams made it tough on you guys. What was so difficult about this and how do did you fell about the performance?
RUSSELL WILSON: They did a pretty good job up front obviously. They got me a few times. I think that for us we just didn’t play our best game. We weren’t on our stuff as much as we needed to be.
We kept battling. That’s the thing about us. We kept battling to the end of the game, so it felt like we still had a chance. You know, it was a tough matchup for us. We didn’t play great today.
I think that was the unfortunate part about it. The real unfortunate part is that’s it. End of the season, and after all this time of putting in all the hard work in and everything else and how spectacular the season has been along the way.
It’s unfortunate we didn’t get it done for the 12s and everything else.
Q. Could you just take us through what happened on the fourth down in the fourth quarter when you guys were going to try to go for it, and then ended up getting the penalty and having to punt?
RUSSELL WILSON: We just went offsides. Went offsides on that one at the very end, unfortunately, and so we were going to run it there and try to pick up — it was like fourth and couple inches, and unfortunately didn’t work out.
So got backed up, punted it, and still had some time left to potentially win the game, come back, and unfortunately didn’t work out that way.
Q.What you do you make of kind of way the offense shifted in the second half of the season? You guys were leading the league in scoring over the first nine weeks, and then it seemed like you hit a wall and that continued Sunday. What do you make of just the way the shift went?
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, I think that started off the season great. Obviously we were going so many spectacular things. Guys were making so many great plays. I think we were blocking our tails off.
We dealt with some injuries along the way in a really tough patch of games, especially up front. And I think this league is tough. It’s tough every day. But I think there had obviously been some great things along the way, too, some of the things we been able to do.
Obviously DK and Tyler had spectacular years. Were threw a bunch of touchdowns, made a lot of plays, did a lot of great things.
But I think that — listen, we ended up 12 and 4, regular season; we won the NFC West, and then we get here to the playoffs and we didn’t play our best football across the board. We didn’t feel like we really got going. I think we really got the tempo going late in the fourth there and moved the ball really well up and down the field, but first quarter was gone basically.
That’s just the reality of the first quarter. Second and third we just kind of faltered and didn’t — weren’t on our stuff all the way. I do think that for this season though there has been a lot of great things to it, a lot of great players, a lot of guys who have done amazing things and are going to be a pat of our journey for a long time.
I think about guys like DK, Tyler, Freddie Swain, how he stepped up in the past several games and how he has been really key for us. You know, and just I hate this feeling obviously, so…
We felt like we had a chance today. When the game was down by 7 we had a couple penalties, I think I had the long one and got the penalty and we got backed up, and next thing you know the game flipped and we felt like it was a little bit out of reach.
Then we still went after it, we still kept believing. We were down 17; kept trying to make a — find a way. They just made more plays than us.
Q.Kind of to piggyback off that, you guys made it look so easy relatively offensively the first half of the year for it to feel like I was such an uphill climb for you guys in some of these later-season games. How do you kind of square that away in the way that this game went today with the struggles with the third down and all that?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, I think that we’ll — yeah, it’s kind of the same question, same answer I guess I should same. I think the reality of is what this season has been is it’s been a battle in so many different ways. I think I that we know who we are, who we can be. I think that obviously what we have, the type of talent we have, so many great talented players and guys that can catch the ball and do some things, run it too, as well.
So I think that for us, we have to keep continue to press and know that this is not supposed to be easy. It’s not like it’s one of those things that every game is going to go as perfect as it can be.
The key to this game a winning. That’s just the reality. And the reality is that we didn’t do our part today. We didn’t win.
So I don’t want overcomplicate it. I think for us we have to continue to get better. We have to continue to find new, creative ways to do stuff, and also as well I think just continue to press into the best version of ourselves every day and continue to believe that great things are going to happen.
We have a great football team. Don’t get me wrong. You guys can write whatever you want, but the reality is we have a great football team and I think we have guys, but we didn’t play great today. That’s what matters most.
Throughout the season there is always ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s we didn’t start early or fast enough early on; sometimes, man, you guys are doing great right now late in the season.
So there is sometimes that part of it. That’s just the journey. As a player, I think as an organization, too, and as a teammates in the locker room and everything else, you can never — you just have to be able to go understand the process of it all.
I and I think for us, there has been — it’s been a crazy year, a year that I was hoping for us to be able to win it all. We didn’t get to do that today.
Q.What exactly did defenses take away and what were you trying to counter the last half of the season that you just didn’t do? What specific areas of the passing game didn’t work that you were trying to counter?
RUSSELL WILSON: Well, I mean, I think that we started running it really well for a little bit there, and so I think that was part of it.
And the games just — I think for us we were able to — early in the season we were able to get the deep shots and stuff like that early on. I think that as well as — I think our tempo, our pace and stuff, getting in and out and all that, we kind of lost that a little bit I think along the way a little bit.
I think that’s something that we do really, really well, and so to keep that tempo and pace I think is something that’s — I’m going to really try to study a lot this off-season and see how do we continue to put our foot on the gas and everything else along the way.
I think that’ll help us a little bit. You know, I think also, too, is like I said, I think that some of our guys got dinged up along the way up front. I think that the first five games you look at, the first five or six games or so we had all our guys up front.
Today was really the first time we’ve played with everybody in while. I think they did a good job getting to me and trying to — pressuring and stuff like that. You know, I had to move around.
The reality of this game, guys, I can talk about the season, but about this game, more than anything else, I think we had some big plays that got called back or this or that, and next thing you know, it’s the middle of the third quarter.
That’s what it felt like at least. It seemed like. So felt like we were always playing — and that’s always kind of been — whenever we get behind like that, not in the game score-wise, but more so situational football or first and 20 or something like that, it’s tough sledding, especially when you’re playing NFC West division opponents, great teams, and this and that and they’ve got great pass rush and all that.
So we got to on schedule, and I think that that was kind of the thing that showed up today more than anything else.
Q.Do you think or wonder if you just played your last game with Chris Carson?
RUSSELL WILSON: I hope not. I think he’s a great football player. Hopefully we get to play a lot more football together. There are so many great guys in that locker room. So that’s always the hardest part of a season, of life, and professional ball, you know, is that there is always change, movement, and this and that.
But hopefully you build those relationships with guys and hopefully you get to play with guys again and everything else. I’m not going to diminish this season by this game. Unfortunately it feels like it.
But I think this season has been such a joy for me to be around guys, the amount of sacrifice that everybody has put into it with COVID and everything else, how hard, challenging it’s been along the way, for guys not to see their families and this and that. Unfortunately just today didn’t work the way we wanted it to.
But a guy like Chris, one of the best players in the game. He’s such a great dude, and hopefully get to do it again.
Q. Pete said, he said I wish we would’ve adapted better in the second half of the season in regard to playing some good defenses and they were able to take away some of the deep stuff you were doing. Do you feel like there was enough sense of urgency in terms of making those adjustments as opposed to getting by and feel like you were okay with things as things were?
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think that, yeah, I think that teams know that we throw it down the field well and stuff like that. Also too what they fear is our pace, the tempo, and all that. I think that I feel when the game is on the line, two minutes in the game or whatever, teams obviously fear that because of the feeling of me going and all that stuff.
I think that is something I think along the way that kind of lose track of a little bit. I think we kind of lost track of that maybe along the way. I think that could have helped.
But I also think that we still played some really good football. I go back to the Eagles game, and didn’t feel like it was one of our better games, but going there and everything else, we could have — really that game could have been a massive game in terms of making plays. DK went for however many yards he went for and this and that, but I think there were touchdowns in that game, and you go to the next week and then it just kind of — next thing you know the weeks add up and get here and you go down to Arizona, play the 49ers; doesn’t feel like our best game.
But go back to the Washington game and it’s like our first half was great. First two minutes of the third quarter was great. Then feels like we kind of got flustered there along the way. Not flustered, but slowed down along the way.
And I think that kind of you get to the end of the season or end of the road and it’s like — a few games, and it’s like, Why didn’t that work and this and that, and you can question this and that.
But I think for us, to sum it up for today, I just don’t think that — we obviously didn’t play our best football. I think that it’s — we got to do the little things right along the way. Didn’t feel like we did that all the way.
Q.Third quarter Donald sacked you and you fell on him. He got hurt; left the game. Were you aware that he went out right away, and did you think you had a great opportunity there to start moving the ball with him out of the game?
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah, I noticed that he obviously got hung up there. Hopefully he’s all right. But I think that — you know, we notice that had along the way, and I think that the reality is we still didn’t do great. I feel like we still didn’t get going there:
We needed it going. The game felt really stale I guess in a way. We were kind of flatlined. Felt like we needed to get going and make that happen.
Next thing you know we didn’t, and we’re down 17 or whatever it was. Okay, let’s go. So it’s a little bit — not late. I would never say late. There is always a way. But we were a little bit too late in that situation.
That was kind of a key moment where we could have really flipped the game there, and unfortunately didn’t happen. Obviously such a great player.
Q. This is the second time in three years you guys have lost at this round of the playoffs; it’s been six years since you guys have reached the championship weekend. Do you have a growing sense of frustration about the lack of deep playoff runs you guys have had?
RUSSELL WILSON: The lack of deep?
Q. Deep playoff runs you’ve had in recent years.
RUSSELL WILSON: Yeah. We got to be better. We got to find ways to win these type of the matchups. Frustration, I mean, yeah, of course I’m frustrated. I think you always want to win. You always want to. But I think that along the journey, you know, the great thing is our standard is high in the sense that when — I remember when I got here in 2012, you know, I was hoping to make the team and this and that and get to where we wanted to go.
But I always had visions of Super Bowls. When I walked — flew here, got on the plane and was flying here, middle of the air all I was thinking about was winning multiple Super Bowls and finding a way to do that and getting to championships and winning NFC championships.
I’ve always had that vision and I’m never going to let that go. So we have that capability. We got great players in terms of guys like DK and Tyler and Jamal and Bobby and K.J. and Diggs. I can go along the list. But I think there is another level that we have to go to as a collective group and all do it together.
We’re going to play great matchups, great teams in this division and our conference and there are going to be guys that have great defensive lines and know how to do things. So we got to make that next step. I think this is part of the process to figure out this off-season along the way and how we can do that and do whatever it takes.
So I’m looking forward to — I’m looking forward to starting 2021 with a new season come next fall. So like I said, unfortunately today we didn’t get it done. I think that I believe I’m a winner. I always want to be one and always will be.
It’s about winning, and that’s what I really care about. You got to do whatever it takes to do that. I think we got to figure that out.
Thank you guys. Hope you guys stay safe along the way. COVID is still going on, but just grateful for all you all. I wish I could see you in person. This has been a crazy year. Praying for everybody. Unfortunately didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but just want to say thank you for you all and just thank you for ya’ll’s consistency along the way as well.
Appreciate you guys and stay safe. Go Hawks.
WR TYLER LOCKETT
(On how disappointing it is to have the season come an abrupt end)
“It’s hard for the season to come to an end like this. I don’t think anybody expected it or wanted it to come to an end like this but, that’s what happens when you come to the playoffs. It’s win or go home. The Rams did a phenomenal job this week/today. They stopped us in a lot of the things we wanted to do. They stopped us in a lot of the explosiveness that we wanted to be able to do in the game.
The hard part is not only do you lose in a playoff game but, now we have to go back to our homes and – you think about all the stuff that we’ve been through this whole year. Having to be tested every day, having to try to stay away from as many people as we possibly can, being careful with who we fly up here and who we’re around. Now, we literally have to go back to being at home, back into the real world. It’s hard being in the real world when we have been away from it for so long, and now we have to figure out where we’re going to go, who we’re going to see, who we’re not going to see. We don’t get tested every day anymore so, it’s basically back to what life was like before we came up here.
It’s going to be hard to adjust but, it’s just going to be something that we’re going to have to figure out. We don’t know if we’re going to have OTA’s. We have to figure out if the NFL is going to pay for us to get tested again so, probably won’t come back until the end of July. That’s a lot. Being at home all the way until the end of July especially during Covid when everything is shut down. It’s just one of those things where you kind of have to re-wire your mind and figure out how to adjust again.”
(On what happened to the offense in the second half of the season and beyond)
“I just think teams probably did a great plan game planning against us, scheming up against us. A lot of times, teams that we play just play defense a little differently from what we’ve seen on film. They just came out with a whole different game plan that we haven’t seen them run in games. That just comes with us this year, being a passing team, because we became a passing team it became easier for teams to try to scheme a little bit different.
When we ran the ball a lot, we didn’t have to worry about teams trying to throw out all these different coverages that we haven’t seen before; because they had to figure out how to stop the run. Sometimes when you start passing the ball like we did; we did a great job of doing it was well. But now you have teams that’s starting to figure out, ‘let’s drop eight people back, let’s do all this different type of stuff’, that they normally haven’t shown on film and now we have to try to adjust.
Even in the last eight games I think we did a great job adjusting, we didn’t really know what teams were going to do. We did a great job game planning; they just might have thrown out different things in the game and we would have to adjust. That’s what we would have to do on the fly, and we did a great job at it. I think it was better, we ended up winning the last four games of the year.
We’re not always going to catch five touchdowns and stuff like that in a game. We were 4-0 in the last four games of the season. We did what we needed to do to be able to win the game. You don’t need to be explosive every single game to be able to win. Teams just did a great job taking away things and trying to make us less explosive. A lot of the times where we did do a lot of great things in the first eight games of the season, we were very explosive.
Teams just tried to take that part away and make us throw it short. That’s why I said they did a great job of doing that but, I don’t think it takes away from the best season we had as an offense, and all the things we did, and all the things we continued to do throughout the whole season. We just had to continue to learn how to adjust.”
(On if it’s frustrating to have the same issues in the playoffs year after year)
“No. It’s football so things happen. Flags are thrown, flags are not thrown, you make mistakes, you don’t make mistakes. The whole game is full of mistakes. It’s just trying to figure out how we can do our best to avoid certain things or make the best out of everything that’s happening. I think the most frustrating thing is, you get to this point and just lose. I haven’t been able to make it past the second round yet, that’s frustrating. It’s football, it happens.
You’re going against the best people in the game. Things are going to happen; things sometimes don’t happen in your favor. To me, God is still good. I find little blessings in the midst of all of it. I made it through the whole year without getting hurt. We didn’t even have an offseason to prepare or do anything and people were getting hurt all around the league, a lot of the star players on teams. I made it out healthy. I wasn’t even going to play this year.
I probably really wasn’t going to play this year at all. It was really 50/50 and the fact that I came out here and I’ve seen what God did in my life throughout the whole season. I had the chance to have 100 catches. That’s a blessing in it’s own. I had one of the best seasons in my life and I went through a whole bunch of stuff this year. The fact that I was able to still play, and still focus, and still be able to make it through. For me as an individual, I’m proud of myself. From not going to play, to having one of the best seasons, to sometimes limiting myself, to seeing that God can do and see abundantly above all that I can ask or think. Sometimes you just have to realize that life isn’t always going to happen the way that you want it to be. You just have to find the little stuff in between that makes you happy. Football makes me happy. I love to just come out here and play the game of football.
(On what it is about the Rams defense that makes it tough on them…)
“I mean the Rams, they have a really great defense, man. The got a really great defensive front, and they do a great job of being able to stop the run, and when you make a team one-dimensional, their defense is literally based off of knowing how to be able to stop the pass. They do a lot of things that are very interesting, but a lot of times when you watch their film and see the things that they do, they make you have to play one-on-one in the boundary and stuff like that because the do a good job and drop a lot of people back, stop the deep routes.
They do a good job taking over all the routes on the other side of the field and so, I mean they just have a really good game plan. I know a lot about their defense and I played at K-State and that’s all we ran. They did a great job. They got a phenomenal defense and you can tell they made a lot of plays in the secondary. You have to give credit to the way that they played. Every time you watch their film, secondary guys were making a lot of great plays, too. When you play against the Rams, you have to be able to just run the ball. When you’re in the playoffs, too, it’s hard to be able to keep winning if you’re going to be one-dimensional on any team.
You have to be able to control the clock. Those are things you start learning when I do listen to coaches and I do listen to players and I start trying to learn the IQ of the game. It’s hard to be able to control the game unless you’re able to run the ball and the Rams did a great job with that. Even as I watched other teams in the playoffs previously they do a good job of controlling the clock and running the ball and that’s one of the things that we just weren’t able to do today. I can always do a better job of blocking, too. I try to go out there and block, you know I’m 178, 180, I’ll be back, probably 186, or try to be. I just try to do the best that I can to help out the team, and everybody did the best that they could, but the Rams got a great defense and we were able to capitalize on it the last game, but they were able to get us in this game.”
(On what it was like playing with Jamal Adams this season…)
“It was great. Jamal is a phenomenal player. Lucky to be able to have him. He came in, he got to see how energetic we were as a team. He got to see what it was like just to be around us and I think he fit in perfectly. I think they did a great job being able to use him, I think he brought a lot of great things to the table. He played very hard, like the whole entire year, regardless of whatever he’s dealing with with injuries or whatever.
He came out there and he was like a warrior. I’m thankful to be able to have him on the team and just to be able to have guys like that just to be able to come in day in, and day out, put in the work. They treat it like this is really what they want to do in life and that’s the type of people that you want on your team is people that you know you can count on, people that’s going to put it out there every single day on the line, and I think we were able to see that. I’m glad that we were able to get a chance to get him, as well.”