Dolphins Postgame Quotes (Week 15)

Head Coach Mike McDaniel

Q. What let you know this team wouldn’t have consecutive letdowns?
MIKE McDANIEL: I don’t know, just having my eyes open for the entirety of the season. It’s one thing that I mentioned to the team last night, what’s given me confidence is how they’ve responded to adversity throughout the season. We’ve had four losses, and it was just a point of emphasis from the year previous where our losses came in streaks. We’ve had four losses the previous three. We’re one-game losing streak. There’s a lot of character in the locker room. There’s a lot of character just in the organization. They’ve been really going after it. The players, coaches and support staff, every day, treating it like it’s the most important day. Football is not a game of avoiding adversity or it’s not a game of you go through a season and you don’t have things happen to you. It’s actually quite the opposite. You need to have things happen to you to grow and be able to handle some of the moments that come in December. There’s a litany of individuals in that locker room and beyond that gave me absolute confidence that they would come and compete today.

Q. You brought a running back with you from San Francisco, RB Raheem Mostert, who his career high going into the season was eight rushing touchdowns and now he’s breaking all sorts of touchdown records for this club. What are you seeing from him?
MIKE McDANIEL: Well, it’s the same thing that got him in the position to be on this team. There’s a lot of people on the team that have been told that they couldn’t, and there’s certain types of people that really thrive in those type of scenarios. Raheem was told he shouldn’t have an NFL career from his first draft day. You go undrafted, that’s something that people don’t really pay attention to, but that’s a heartbreak. Then you’re cut from a multitude of teams. He’s one of the strongest-willed people that I’ve ever been around. By the way, he’s a unique athlete, one that I think – second to Tyreek in ’16, he’s the only other player to ever go 23 miles per hour and he did it when he was like 28 or 29. That’s a different type of athlete with a different type of mindset, and just very happy for him, and the first thing he said to me after the game was, yeah, I know, I’ve got a game ball for setting a franchise record for touchdowns, and he immediately came to me and said, every single player on the offense should get one because he understands that for him to exhibit some of his unique traits, each and every play people really have to grind for that to happen. I think a lot of our guys totally understand that at this point in the season, which is why you see inspired football. That’s really fun to watch.

Q. Your defense did some impressive things today. What was the most impressive thing that the defense did today?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think it was really the whole team. The whole team – I can’t overstate how – I don’t know, it was a punch to the gut last week, and I think in a situation where it wasn’t because of lack of effort or attention to detail. So to be able to go into a game and to have so many different question marks all week, for no one to bat an eye and for guys to go have fun playing football without the anxiety of what’s induced from last week, it takes a special unit of people. I thought that Eli Apple did an awesome job, really jumping in the reins. I thought Bradley Chubb was phenomenal, obviously, but guys like Brandon Jones who had to learn the system during the year as he was recovering from a season injury last year. There’s a ton of guys on defense. Then you have some of your – Christian (Wilkins) makes a great play on special teams, and then you have Jaylen Waddle really rise to the occasion when the team absolutely needed it. Collectively that’s what I was impressed with was all three phases being unfazed with such a disappointing end to a game that was important to them last week. So you can’t do anything about the past and the future doesn’t exist. They really leaned into the day each and every day this week, and I was very, very proud, as proud as I’ve been of any performance from this team since I’ve been here. I was extremely proud with the resolve and just that — I was happy that everything that I’ve seen behind the scenes came to fruition, because it doesn’t surprise me.

Q. LB Bradley Chubb had three sacks today. He has been hard on himself. He came here last season and part of the season started off, you said he started to exorcise those pressure demons? Is he doing that right now?
MIKE McDANIEL: Absolutely. Every so often you are trying to take yourself to another level, and you’re inspired to take your game to another level, and you kind of have to realize that it’s the work that you do day in and day out, and nothing has to change on game day. You have to be yourself. Yourself is absolutely good enough. You don’t have to try and go above and beyond. You just have to be diligent and play with your teammates. He’s one of my favorite players on the team simply because of how important it is for him to do right by his teammates, and as you can see, him being him is plenty good enough. He was really, really hard to block today.

Q. You mentioned players that had their doubters – obviously QB Tua Tagovailoa was on their list, people doubted him going into the season and even this week or who were wondering can you do it without Tyreek. He was 21 of 24, 224 yards and a touchdown. How do you think he did today?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, I think him – it’s not like we talk about that, but noise is loud. You embrace adversity for the opportunity that it is. But far from surprised me. I could tell all week there were certain things that him in particular, him and Jaylen Waddle were doing together that I knew they were going to be able to do some explosive stuff, and he really did a great job playing within the play. There was a couple times that there was a shot down the field, I think on the two sacks, if he would have had a tick longer, he probably would have thrown the ball. But he would have been pressing to do it. I was really fired up about his sacks, to be honest. I think what we’re watching as a team is a bunch of young players really coming into their own, and he’s one of the primary ones, Tua is, because he’s learning from everything. That doesn’t mean everything goes well. Again, I think that’s fake. That would make me nervous if at this point in the season we hadn’t gone through adversity, just because I know what is coming. I think that it was a great example of him worrying about the right stuff, which is his responsibility each and every play, and he definitely commanded the game entirely.

Q. How close was WR Tyreek Hill?
MIKE McDANIEL: You know, pretty close. That wasn’t the easiest decision, but when you look at what’s the best decision for the team and what’s the best decision for him, it was a collective decision that when you’re faced with, all right, do we press forward and just hope or do we do the thing that the individual player and the team needs for the season; it became easier in the moment just because we have the right well-intentioned people that are looking at this as their responsibility to protect players first and foremost. I think some decisions are hard but easy at the same time.

Q. QB Tua Tagovailoa said you guys came out and threw a lot of short passes early so you could see how the defense set up without WR Tyreek Hill out there.
MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, football is about a collective group of people kind of putting together a plan, and there are a lot more — this is the first time Tyreek hasn’t played since I’ve been here, so there could be extra unknowns disbursed because you usually have an idea of how people are going to be threatened and how they’re going to really approach the game. There was more unknowns than usual because of that, so there was kind of a feeling-out process that was intentional in the opener to kind of get a grasp as to what was going to go on.

Q. You come out there (indiscernible), you came out first down you threw a 60-yard – did you see something that said, okay, we’re ready for this?
MIKE McDANIEL: It something that when you watch it, I’m sure that play will make its rounds on the internet because it was more about the flow of the game, what I kind of thought about protection, and there’s not many people that could cover the route that Jaylen Waddle ran because there’s not many people that are capable of going vertical. He did a left-right move and then still found an exit angle, which is a very hard thing to do. We really liked the player, the match-up, and just kind of the way those two were connecting all week. Yeah, that was pretty easy to call.

Q. How important is rest at this point in the season? I know you all said on WR Tyreek Hill, but is it a possibility Tyreek may sit next week to have him at his best in January?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, there’s people that – there’s no such thing as resting to me at this stage in the season because you don’t just all of a sudden create a scenario where you have momentum. You have to be playing your best football when you’re going against teams that are good football teams that in December there’s no easy games really. I think the – shoot, all those guys want to be a part of these type of atmospheres, to be a part of these type of games, and to crystal ball and say, we don’t need you, I don’t think that’s fair to the team or fair to them. I think resting players and just assuming that – sometimes there’s costs at trying to play your best football. The second you let your guard down and start not taking a game serious is the second you lose your edge. I think really we had a ton of guys really, really do everything they could. I can’t say enough about the work that our training staff did this week. I mean, you want to talk about overtime in a lot of ways. Then there was guys that put some inspirational efforts, Liam Eichenberg is first and foremost the first guy that I gave a game ball to this week for his performance and how he willed his way to make sure that he was the starting center. There’s a lot of guys that way. When you have guys that approach things that way collectively, you can do some pretty cool things like they were able to do today.

Q. When you say you saw some things that Tua and Jaylen worked on throughout the week, is there anything you can share specifically that you saw them doing?
MIKE McDANIEL: Well, I’ve been talking to the team. It was probably two – Jaylen had probably the best offseason, if not the best, right there with the top three offseasons of any player on our team, and he came into the season with a lot of momentum or came into training camp with a lot of momentum and then had just some random injuries that he was dealing with. One of the coolest parts about this season has been watching him progress through those injuries, and then for the last three weeks probably, I thought that he was going to have a performance like this today and I think he had his best route running game the week previous against the Titans. Then he just continued that in the week of practice, so there was some stuff that we had up that I knew our quarterback was supremely confident in because he watched the tape, too, and watched the same progression. So when you have players who are very confident, one running the route and one throwing it to him, you’ve seen that story throughout your career and you know that’s what leads to some special stuff on Sunday for sure.

QB Tua Tagovailoa

Q. On the television broadcast, Tony Romo described the 60-yard touchdown pass to WR Jaylen Waddle was a ”big arm throw.” How would you describe that throw and that play?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: It was just me, just me throwing the ball to our playmaker. That’s all it was. Jaylen (Waddle) made a play on that, and the result was a touchdown. That’s all that was.

Q. I know after the Titans game, you said that the offense was a little bit out of sorts without WR Tyreek Hill. There was a lot of uncertainty about whether he would suit up during the week. How do you think getting in those practice reps without Tyreek helped with the execution of today’s offense?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, you know, as we looked throughout the week, not having Tyreek, yeah, it’s tough not having one of your star guys out there. But as a collective group, it’s like, well, what are we going to do; are we going to run the ball the entire game or are we going to do action game the entire game? No, we shouldn’t change who we are as an offense because one guy is out. We’ve got a lot of other guys that we trust, that we believed in, to keep on the team, and that’s what happened out there. It’s just the trust that we have in each other, and we just go out there, play what we see and play fast. As we prepared, that’s sort of the mentality that we had going into this game.

Q. After the touchdown pass, you gave a talk and then kind of a (hand motion). What was that signal I guess to your sidelines?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah. It’s an inside thing that I say a lot. I tell the guys a lot, ‘talk to me.’ So that’s what it was. I mean, I just love doing that, and that’s why Bradley (Chubb) said that. A lot of the guys say that, and so it was just funny that we could do it like that.

Q. What does it mean?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: It could mean a lot of things, really. It really could. When Bradley Chubb got his strip sack, he came to the sideline, I looked at him and went like that, and he heard it and was like, ‘talk to me.’ (laughter) It could mean a lot of things. I couldn’t give a definition, but our definition right now means a lot of things.

Q. How did you feel the protection did in front of you today?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: The protection did really well. I would say on Monday with the things that had happened with guys going down and then others having to step up, it was a good rep for me throughout the entirety of the season. Things like that hadn’t happened and we needed just a little bit more time so as we went through our practice this week we knew what we were up with and really it’s just that. It’s trusting the guy next to you. It’s trusting that, hey, one guy might have lost on this play, but don’t think that they’re going to lose on the next time we call that play. Just trust that they’ll make that block, and that’s really the mentality that – not just me that I came in with but that everybody came in with.

Q. You were in this room six days ago and you said you wouldn’t let what happened kind of sink the season, that this was a different Dolphins team. How did that process start over the course of the week? Did it start in the locker room? Did it start Monday or Tuesday? When did that process start saying, hey, we’re going to get back up and still make something…?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, I think that process started today. I say that because throughout the week, no one changed what they did within their normal routines. No one did more than what they’d normally do. Everyone knew that what we had put out Monday night was embarrassing, and it felt weird as we came into the building. One thing we wanted to do was not feel that feeling again, so in a way guys were happy that it was a short week, that we got to play again, and sort of exorcise a lot of the things that we didn’t do right and take the right step forward in winning – really winning the way we did today.

Q. There’s the idea out there that obviously everyone understands No. 10 is having an arguably MVP season. Does it bother you a little bit that there’s kind of a narrative out there that this team will go as far as Tyreek takes them? Today you didn’t have him and you went out there and you performed against a – notwithstanding their 5-9 record they have a good defense. You went up against a good defense today without No. 10. How important was it to show everybody that we love Tyreek, we understand that, but we can do this without him?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, that’s what everyone is going to say. Everyone is going to have their own deal with how they feel. In my personal opinion, give Tyreek the MVP or give Jaylen Waddle the MVP or give Raheem Mostert the MVP. Give all those guys the MVP. I could care less personally. I feel like everything is made about me, which makes me feel very uncomfortable and makes me feel a little weird about that. But it’s a team sport. Like with ‘10’ (Tyreek Hill) being down – I went out there when ‘10’ was warming up. He was talking to Kyle (Johnston), he was talking to Chris Grier, I went up to him, and I told him, ‘Dude, if you can’t go, we got you, brother. It’s a team sport. It’s going to take all of us.’ And he said, ‘I appreciate it, but don’t count me out yet.’ And he made the decision, and it’s tough because he’s a competitor, and he wants to be out there with the guys. With not having him and to be able to put 30 points and have a shut-out by our defense should tell you a lot about the team, really, the guys on all three aspects and three phases of the game.

Q. RB Raheem Mostert is setting all kinds of team records for touchdowns this year. Can you describe how important he’s been to this offense and what he’s meant to you?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, he’s been very important to this offense. This goes all the way back to last year. And then you listen to his journey, things that he’s had to go through throughout his NFL career, being cut however many times, going through multiple teams, and then being able to have opportunities in San Fran, and really when our head coach gets the job here, this is one of the main guys that he brings in to showcase that hey, I believe in you and whatnot. He’s been a tremendous part of the success that he’s had offensively and the success that we have happens because the guys up front, happens because of the guys outside, and those guys are doing really well at executing, and it’s really fun seeing those guys have fun and see their success.

Q. Speaking of Raheem, with his 20 touchdowns, what’s it feel like for you to hand it off to him in the red zone? How confident are you that he’s going to get in there when you hand it off to him?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think it starts with our play caller. It starts with our head coach. That should tell you how much trust he has to be able to call three runs in a row down there and that should tell you basically enough that the trust that our head coach has, the trust that I have with the play call to just leave it on and call it, and the trust that our guys have up front that he’s going to do what he needs to do. It’s good.

Q. Head Coach Mike McDaniel decided to go for it on a fourth-and-5, and you completed a pass over the middle to WR Jaylen Waddle. Can you talk about the decision and the play?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, the decision on that was Coach McDaniel’s call. I think he had a threshold of how far we were in order for him to — wanted us to go for it. I guess it was maybe right there at the 5, while it was 4th and 5. Really we called that play, and it was just tailored for me to read it out, and Jaylen (Waddle)  made a phenomenal play on that.

Q. Were you setting up the long pass to WR Jaylen Waddle with short passes coming out early in the game?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: No. I would say with Mike (McDaniel), he was just trying to get a feel off of how the defense wanted to play with ‘10’ (Tyreek Hill) being out, if they were going to pressure more, if they weren’t, what the back end was going to look like. I think in that regard, he was just trying to get the ball out as quickly as possible because it also does help our guys up front. It throws off the timing of the d-linemen with where the spot is for the quarterback. I think that that was something that Mike had done really well in the game plan for today.

Q. After taking on the Jets last month, what did you take away the most from their defense, maybe specifically their secondary, that you took to your advantage today against them?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, take what they give me. That’s really what I came out with. Can’t turn the ball over, although we almost had one. But yeah, I would say can’t turn the ball over against a team like that, and I think we did really well with that today.

Q. With the ups and downs of this season, how ready do you think you are for this final stretch knowing what’s ahead of you starting this week in Dallas?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, I couldn’t tell you like how ready we are for anything. I can tell you that right now we’re going to enjoy this win. We’re going to get ready for Dallas. That’s all we’re worried about. We’re not worried about anything else.

Q. Keeping the main thing the main thing as far as 10 wins at this point in the season, the experience of last year when it’s December to now getting those wins and taking the loss last week, just staying on track, can you touch on as far as how impactful that loss last week can help prepare you for the rest of the season going into January?

TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think something like that that happened on Monday could have went both ways. It could have went really good for us, could have been something really good or could have been something really bad. We could have felt sorry for ourselves, we could have felt bad that we lost, and we could have come out here and possibly done the same thing. But I think the mindset that everyone has in the building to just be able to let that go, move on, and realize what we have ahead and the opportunity that we have to do something really, really special this year.

LB Bradley Chubb

Q. How do you think you did today as far as just taking responsibility after last week and just coming to make an impact on today’s game?
BRADLEY CHUBB: I feel like 90 percent of this game – everybody’s athletic, everybody’s talented – d but it’s about the mindset. Of course I wasn’t happy with how I approached last week for sure about the game and all that, but the infamous play, everybody talking about it and I was hard on myself about; it’s just about how you move on from that, how you better yourself from stuff like that, situations like that, and I feel like today we answered the call. Not only me, this whole defense. You can’t pitch a shut-out with just one person. We were able to do with all 11 guys flying around. Some guys stepped up in big key spots that we needed, so just a blessing to see everybody put the work in and for it to come to fruition like it did today.

Q. How much easier said than done is that during the week as you wait for Sunday to get there mentally knowing you want to get that chip off of your shoulder?
BRADLEY CHUBB: Yeah, it’s way easier said than done. It’s one of those things throughout the week you’ve got to constantly remind yourself, stay the course, stay the course, stay the course. You hear all the noise, you hear everything about is this Dolphins team for real, blah, blah, blah and stuff like that and you can’t do anything about it until Sunday, and that’s one of those things you’ve just got to lock in throughout the week, make sure details are on point, make sure all the stuff throughout the week is on point and the game is just the easy part, go out there and just do what you’ve been doing for four or five days throughout the week, and we were able to do that today.

Q. Did you try to turn that play from the other night into a motivational thing for you? Did it spur you a little bit?
BRADLEY CHUBB: Yeah, in a way, but I wasn’t strictly thinking about that. I was thinking more of the defensive aspect of how we were on the field last and didn’t get the job done. My main thing is just trying to better this defense in whatever way I can. Yes, sacks and stuff help, but if it’s me just taking on a double team so somebody else can come free, I’m not thinking about ‘oh, I got to make up for that play.’ I just want to do my job to the best of my ability, and I feel like I was able to do that today.

Q. Shutouts are rare; what does zero points for the opponent mean to you?
BRADLEY CHUBB: It means a lot as a defense. It means 11 guys were flying around, playing together, playing with one another, and like I said; you see all the work from throughout the week just come to life. Today was the easy part, so to say. We sweated it on Thursday, full day of meetings, full day of just kind of getting back into the flow of things and then you get one day to go out there and run around. It’s a mental game, like I said, and we were able to win the mental battle.

Q. Have you exorcised, in Mike McDaniel’s words, those pressure demons because you were hard on yourself when you came here last season and how this season started?
BRADLEY CHUBB: No, for sure. Mike (McDaniel) has been pivotal to see how I see things. He just overall just keeps the big picture alive for me. It’s so easy to, ‘oh man, I’m not doing this, I’m not earning this,’ whatever the case may be, but at the end of the day, like I said, if me taking a double team or me winning up high and ‘Gink’ (Andrew Van Ginkel) comes under – it’s so messed up you don’t see big picture when you’re so caught up in yourself, and this week my main thing was whatever I could do to help this team. Yes, the accolades and all that stuff, I want that, but at the end of the day you don’t get that unless your team wins. That’s been my mindset throughout this week and going to continue to carry that over.

Q. You had three sacks. Do you get hot as a pass rusher? Does the first sack help lead to the second?
BRADLEY CHUBB: For sure. I feel like just the flow of the game, once you kind of get that first half, you’re like, I got the first hit out of the way. Then you get the sack, and it’s like I got that out of the way. It was early in the game; let me see if I can get another one. Just kind of competition with yourself at that point. When you’ve got guys flying around, 10 other guys flying around like they do, it just kind of makes my job easy at the end of the day. It was dope, man. Give God all the glory for that performance, because like I said, the mental aspect, you can get hard on yourself, but once you turn to Him, it’s all good. Just got to keep going.

Q. I think the status was 22 pressures on 43 drop-backs. When you hear 22 pressures, what do you think?
BRADLEY CHUBB: It means we’ve got some big dogs up front, and those big dogs got to eat, and we’re going to continue to starve ourselves throughout the week so on Sundays we come hungry.

Q. When Jets QB Zach Wilson came out for the Jets and Trevor Siemian came in, did the defensive game plan change at all?
BRADLEY CHUBB: It was more of the same. It was more of the same for sure. Nothing really changed. Zach is a lot more mobile – and like ‘14’ (Trevor Siemian) – but Zach is a lot more mobile with his feet, can make you miss, extend the play like that. I would say the rush lanes changed probably, but the game plan itself didn’t.

Q. Obviously every season has its own journey, but 10-4 going into these last three games, where is this team at right now?
BRADLEY CHUBB: The team is right where we need to be, mentally, physically. We’ve got guys that are stepping up in big ways. We’ve got guys that been doing this for a long time and going to continue to do the things that they do and what made them so great. This team is right where we need to be, we’ve just got to stick together, understand that yes, we beat the Jets today, but that’s not the end of our season. We’re going to keep fighting, keep working, and next time we’re going to come out ready to play.

WR Jaylen Waddle

QB Tua Tagovailoa said this week that if WR Tyreek Hill wasn’t able to play that you would have to step up. How do you feel you did in that regard?

 When a guy like Tyreek’s out, it’s not just one person that has to step up. It’s the whole team, the whole unit when you have a caliber guy like Tyreek Hill, a Hall of Fame guy like ‘Cheetah,’ that’s missing. I think collectively we did a good job. It’s good. That’s a good defense, a great team, a great organization that we competed against today.

What’s it like to come up with a big plays on third down and long?

Yeah, we keep the chains moving. Having big plays on third down is something we harp on throughout the week, and we know if we’re good on third down that that’s often good for our chances of getting in the end zone.

Nice bounce back from last week, 30-0 today. Nice bounce back from the game last week.

Yeah, like I said last week, we got a good group of guys and leadership, and they really came together this week and played a good game.

T Terron Armstead

Speaking of the game, shutout – feelings, thoughts?

Defense was incredible. A lot of pressure, getting to the quarterback,  disruptive on the back end as well. Great job stopping the run. Not letting Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook get going early – two incredible backs. That’s dangerous, you know what I mean? So they were incredible.”

You’ve been a part of some winning teams. What’s special about being in it this late this season?

Yeah, it’s tough when you’re not, you know. When you’re looking at trips and Airbnbs in December, it’s dark. It’s cloudy days in the facility. There’s not a lot of optimism going on, so when you get into a winning situation, we know how hard it is to be in these type of situations. So many things can change and alter your season. From an injury to a loss here and there, you know what I mean? So when you got a chance, you want to take advantage of it, capitalize. It’s only one winner at the end of the day so you want to give yourself an opportunity to be that.”

What did you tell OL Liam Eichenberg this week, just made an unbelievable effort for him to get out there?

We needed him, we needed him. He’s a warrior. He’s worked like none other. He’s put his best foot forward every day and all you’ve seen is his progression. He’ll continue to ascend as a player and as a professional. His future his bright and he’s stepping up like none other.”

RB Raheem Mostert – 20 touchdowns now – do you hit him up for some gifts? What do you do with that? It’s an honor. It’s an honor, man. It’s a pleasure to block for him. We enjoy it. He makes our jobs easy. He’s in the history book. This game has been around for a long time, so you something like that, it’s amazing so just want him and his family to enjoy it, his last name to enjoy it. They’re in the history books. That’s incredible.

DT Zach Sieler

On some of those, I didn’t know who got there first, man.

It was a great game up front. All of the guys, (Bradley) Chubb obviously had an amazing game. Christian (Wilkins), ‘Gink’ (Andrew Van Ginkel), Raekwon (Davis), even (Dashawn) Hand, guys were getting in there and just making plays. It was a group effort with the calling from (Defensive Coordinator Vic) Fangio down and then with us just taking the opportunities that we had.

How big was this coming off of what happened last week?

To us, it means everything to be able to show out what we can do – all three phases coming together playing great defense, great offense and great special teams. I think we need to play this every single week – all three phases need to show up.

CB Jalen Ramsey said he’s kind of bored on his side over there because you guys are getting to the quarterback.

(laughter) It’s actually both of us. It’s them covering and us getting to the quarterback – rush and coverage go together. We say that every week, and we were able to do that today, which is incredible.

(What was LB Bradley Chubb like in the huddle?

(laughter) (Bradley) Chubb is hilarious. I love Chubb. We always talk and joke around in the huddle. He’s got the perfect mindset all game, and he was blessed with a very good game today. I was telling somebody else, he’s due for that any week. The way he practices every day, what he does every day, it was just awesome to be able to see him go and reap those rewards today.

RB Raheem Mostert

Q. How does it feel to break a franchise record for touchdowns in a season?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: It feels amazing. It’s something that I didn’t necessarily think I would ever do, especially with a guy like Ricky Williams and the rushing touchdowns. I thought the world of him, because me being from Florida, you watch certain players, and he was definitely a player that caught my eye at an early age. To be able to break his record and then Mark Clayton’s record, as well, it speaks a lot, especially with this team. But I kind of feel bad, too, because I had like 14 rushes for like however many yards that kind of made me feel like I was doing a terrible job, and I wasn’t running the ball good enough. Yeah, there’s a lot of highs and lows right now for me, but I’m definitely happy.

Q. What mindset does it take to be an effective red zone running back?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: You get downhill. That’s the best I can explain. When you get the ball, don’t leave any yards out there, and you’ve just got to find little creases and try your best to hit it.

Q. The fact that you were able to do this with your entire offensive line hurt, what does that say about the guys that were in there?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: Kudos to those guys. They got into the game plan, and they understood their assignments. We’re going to watch film and see what truly happened, of course, but all in all, those guys are doing their jobs and making sure that we get in the box.

Q. Basically you doubled some of your career totals for touchdowns, total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns. How is this happening? What’s coming together for you so well this year?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: I mean, it’s a collective group, especially with the offensive line and ‘Mikey’ (Mike McDaniel) calling the plays and getting guys in position to win. Not only myself but with ‘Reek’ (Tyreek Hill), with (Jaylen) Waddle, with ‘Ced’ (Cedrick Wilson Jr.), with De’Von (Achane), a lot of different guys on offense that are making this thing go and I’m just a key aspect in that, as well.

Q. How much does it mean to you given – I know you can cite all the teams that have cut you and the long road to get here, and coming with Head Coach Mike McDaniel, how much does that all mean to you knowing it’s come together?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: I mean, it means a lot. Early on in my career I didn’t have the best situations, but I made the most out of my opportunities. When I landed a spot out in San Fran the year before Mike (McDaniel) and them came, I just tried to make the most out of those opportunities, and then it just led on to even more opportunities. I look back at my journey, and I’m truly blessed and thankful that I went through those growing pains as I would call it, and I just try to learn each and every day as a player and as an individual so that way I can go out here and help this team achieve the ultimate goal, which is to play in February and play in Vegas and try to win that thing.

Q. One of those teams that cut you was the Miami Dolphins. Could you ever imagine in that moment that one day you would have this record?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: No, if you would have asked me when I was my younger self, I would have told you that you’re totally – you’re right. Like that’s probably not what I thought I would do. I was just trying to be – I was a young grasshopper just trying to learn and trying to figure out how I can achieve the ultimate goal of being a player. Miami was one of those teams that I had on my list, but all is forgiven. That’s all I can say. All is forgiven, and no hard feelings. It was a different time then, and I grew up from that moment and so did the organization apparently.

Q. As good as WR Tyreek Hill is, what does it say about all the other offensive players that y’all were able to put up 30 points with him unavailable?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: Yeah, Tyreek, it sucks that we didn’t have him today because he’s a hell of a player, definitely a gold jacket guy, and I say that with full conviction. But when it comes to this offense, you just see the guys that step up, the guys that need to step up. Enough doesn’t get talked about, is what Waddle has done today. I know he’s been battling personally for himself because he feels like he’s not bringing enough to the table, and as you would expect, but for him to come out today with Tyreek out and handle business, I think he had, what, seven for like 143 or something like that and a touchdown, so that tells you the type of characters we have in this offense and on this team truthfully because the defensive side of the ball, they also stepped up. It’s hard to shut out a team, especially a divisional opponent like the Jets and we swept them this year. It just shows you the type of characters that we have in this locker room.

Q. Every game that you lose, you look for the bounce-back. Did this week feel different given what happened on Monday night, and how were you able to mentally get through that hurdle?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: Yeah, I said it earlier in an interview right before the game. You have to have that 24-hour, 48-hour rule where you just flush the game out, and we of course had a quick turnaround. So we were able to do that. It’s tough when we lose that type of game in that fashion, but it’s on to the next. That’s all we can focus on and that’s all we can do. If you let a game linger on too long, that’s when your season is on the fringe, now we’re not going to be in a position that we’re supposed to be in. We’ve just got to keep it going, keep doing everything that we’re possibly doing, and keep believing in ourselves.

Q. In situations like that when you have a disappointing game as a team, the following week is it better to maintain routine and keep doing what you guys have been doing throughout the season, or is it better to maybe change little things, say we’ve got to meet longer, we have to work through…?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: No, you shouldn’t change your routine. I’m a big believer in routines, so I think with a loss like that last week against the Titans and it being a short week, of course we had some things change, but the routine still stays the same for us. Our mentalities just stay the same. We’re trying to get to a special place, and we’re trying to hold it down for this organization. Like I said, it was tough, but you’ve got to adjust. You’ve got to move past that.

Q. Some Fantasy Football players reached out to me on social media and wanted me to say thank you.

RAHEEM MOSTERT: Yeah, I know that Jake Bailey is going to be super happy. I helped him out with his fantasy. Each week this guy comes up to me, and he’s just like, ‘hey, I got you lined up today so you’d better not disappoint me,’ so I’m like, ‘I’ve got you, bro, don’t worry about it.’ I know the game plan and hopefully it helps you, but last week he was like, hey, I’ve got a bye week thanks to you. I’m like, that’s what I’m talking about. We’re in this together, brother. (laughter)But yeah, it was fun. It’s all love.

Q. And with the other punters –

RAHEEM MOSTERT: Truthfully, I don’t know. I’ve got to ask him about that because I’m curious who else he’s in the fantasy league with. Maybe I can chirp in those guys’ ears and tell them, hey, look, Jake has me, I’m going to make sure I cover them points.

Q. Did you always know you had this season in you?

RAHEEM MOSTERT: I mean, as a player, I feel like I’ve got more than just this season. Me personally, I’m always trying to chase a gold jacket. That’s always been my MO. I truly believe that I’m on the path. I know it doesn’t seem like that, but me personally, I’ve just got to continue to step up to the occasion and do what I have to do as a player and as an individual because my goals are set. My standard is high for myself, and if I don’t – like I said, I’m pissed off today about this run. I’m sorry, but it kind of got to – yeah, I’ve got the record and everything, both records, but I felt like I didn’t help my team enough in the run game, and that’s something that I’ve got to truly live with now. It’s just a standard that I’ve set for myself, and I’m just trying to climb that ladder.

S Brandon Joes

On Friday, you were talking about just how happy you were to be back on the field. What’s the feeling when you catch the ball and you know you’re doing something for your teammates, you’re doing something for your team?

It was an awesome feeling. Like I told you last time, just the opportunity that I’m getting just to be out on the field and help out any way that I can. As soon as the ball hit my hands, I just tried to make something work. I shouldn’t have went across court, because I was super tired. I don’t know what I was thinking, I should’ve just went straight. I don’t know, everything kind of slowed down so I was like, ‘Ah, let’s go all the way down to the field to this side,’ and I ran right to the sideline, so it worked out.

What was the preparation like going into this week? Obviously, three out of four starting defensive backs out. Still pitched a shutout, the first since 2020, that’s got to feel pretty good missing some pieces as well?

Yeah, obviously it was a short week. We played them like three weeks ago, so it all kind of worked itself out. I think we knew guys were going to be down, and we knew we had to step up. As long as we were playing fast, we were communicating and we were doing our job, I think everything else kind of took care of itself. We have a lot of guys that are skilled and can do a lot of good things, so from that aspect there wasn’t a lot of drop off. We had people flying around, people out there taking command. A lot of them played a great game as well, so it was just really good to see.”

The Jets didn’t get many opportunities to get down into the red zone or even close to it, but when that second interception happened, they were starting to creep towards that. Did it mean something special to you guys that that interception helped keep the shutout going?

Yeah, I was getting tired as hell, too, I’m not going to lie to you. Actually, I feel kind of bad, because I should have let Eli (Apple) get it. I see Eli just sitting there and I was like, ‘Ah, should I do it? I got to do it, I got to do it.’ So I ended up getting it, but it was a great way to end the game and keep that score at zero.

For you to have a game like this after everything you’ve gone through with injuries, how important was this for you?

It means a lot. It still kind of hasn’t hit me yet, I’m just trying to take it all in. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, for me. It hasn’t been super ideal with what I’ve necessarily wanted, but the big thing is I’ve learned is to be super grateful and appreciate everything, especially coming off of my injury. Any opportunity is an opportunity, that’s how I look at it. So getting this opportunity to play, not knowing what’s going to happen the rest of the season, I’m just glad I was able to make the most of my opportunity.”