IND Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Frank Reich
“Round three in the books. Good win. I really felt like the team came out and kept the pressure on for four quarters and all three phases. Obviously, there’s a lot to clean up. We can still get a lot better, and we should. We should learn from this, but defensively, it was quite an effort. It was quite an effort. It was a unique game to get the pick-six. Offense, we really didn’t even get on the field until the end of the first quarter so just a unique game in that regard. But defense coming up big and scoring 16 points, back-to-back safeties in two games. That’s quite an accomplishment. Guys just making plays all over the field. Great individual play but what we’re more interested in is great team play. Defense played great, special teams really excelled, made big plays. Field position was good for us the whole game. We took advantage of those opportunities – when we had a chance to get the pooch kick from the 50 (yard line). That was perfect execution, and then offensively we were just very efficient today, very efficient. We’re good in the red zone. We made plays where we needed to make plays and so did a good job there. Kevin Bowen, I kept thinking the whole game about three-and-outs. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I think we made it through without one.”
When you’re defense plays like it has the last couple games, does it impact the way you approach things offensively? Does it impact the way you call games?
“Absolutely. There was maybe one fourth-down in there that I might have gone for in a different game, in a different situation. A couple decisions along the way in that game were made specifically because of how good the defense was playing.”
With Marvell Tell III opting out and Rock Ya-Sin with his stomach illness, how important has it been just to have Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie play the way they have the last two weeks?
“Here, two vets come in and just played big time. Xavier (Rhodes) with the two picks. Obviously, the pick-six to start the game out was huge and then making a play in the endzone. They had a chance to maybe get a little something going. They really had put together two decent drives, I believe, and he comes up with that big play. Then T.J. (Carrie), same thing. T.J. since he’s been here, he’s been the ultimate pro. He’s a winning player and gives us great versatility and great plays. Hats off to both those guys.”
You have a quarterback who has an efficient game like that, even if it’s not necessarily gaudy numbers, what sort of evaluation do you have of a game like this?
“Philip (Rivers) played unreal football today. I really think he’s played good football for three games beside one or two mistakes. But today he was near flawless today. We will see the film, but just so accurate with the football, so many good decisions. The knack to make big plays, be able to hang in the pocket and make the play to Mo (Alie-Cox) – they are bringing pressure, and he just hangs in there to the very last second. I didn’t know if he was going to get it off. I saw the guy was coming free and he just hangs just long enough to get it off to Mo. He’s playing extremely good football. Here’s what’s great, Philip – even though he has great stats, he’s not a stat guy. We’re at a stage where we have a good football team and we’re not worried about stats. If he can just – we play efficient like that on offense – and it bothers me to look at third down, whatever, we were three-for-ten. That bothers me, but if we keep playing like that, we’ll win a lot of games.”
How did you decide on the face shield and how many different things did you go through before you decided on the shield?
“A lot. I joked about how many masks I’ve tried. That shield, I actually got from a fan who sent it and vented it – fog-free shield. I wish I knew the guy’s name; I’d give him a little love on air but – he sent it to me a couple weeks ago, and we just kept it there. I just kept it there and then I said, ‘Alright, I’m going to try it this week.’ The reason was, I want to obey the rules and I don’t want that to be an issue and sometimes when I was wearing this thing, it was just falling down a little bit and I didn’t want that to be a factor. So, stayed with the face shield. It’s actually easier to breath, it’s actually easier to breath. I think we’ll stay with the face shield for right now.”
Can your defense keep this up the rest of the season? Why or why not?
“I think we have an excellent defense. I’ve felt this way from the start. In training camp, they looked good. But listen, this is the NFL, every week there are good teams we’re playing, and we’re playing good teams. All that matters is we score one more point than the other team. I’d like them to keep this up. Obviously, the standards are high, and the expectations are high. But it’s play good football, play winning football whatever that takes, whatever it takes to win the game, that’s what we’re focused on.”
You have been on staff with Philip Rivers for 95 of his 400 touchdown passes. He joined some elite company today in that category along with 60,000 passing yards. Can you elaborate on what Philip Rivers has been able to do with his career when you’re in the same category with Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre?
“We thought this from the start, in the offseason when Chris (Ballard) and I were talking about brining Philip (Rivers) here – the opportunity to bring him here. It was a very unique situation. We talked through that and having been with the guy, I know the kind of player this guy is. I know the kind of teammate he is, I know the kind of leader he is. He’s an elite quarterback. He is so accurate, he’s so smart and he’s so tough. He just has a knack for making plays. I’m not surprised, he’s obviously made a lot of coaches look good with the way he plays, and I’m sure glad it worked out that he’s a Colt. I’m just excited about how he’s leading our offense and helping to lead our team.”
Didn’t seem like any injuries, I’m sure that’s a positive coming out of what was a pretty dominate performance?
“It was real positive. Very thankful for that. We’ll see how things crop up tomorrow morning. I’m sure there’s a few bumps and bruises but nothing major to report.”
I wanted to ask about Trey Burton, if you expected him back after three weeks on IR (injured reserve)?
“We’re hopeful. He’s made some good progress. We need to – made some good steps last week. We’re not all the way back but made some good steps. We’re hopeful and we’ll see how things go this week, see how he responds. I know he’s been working out over the weekend and getting treatment over the weekend, getting ready to go. We’ll evaluate him and hopefully get him back in the fold. Trey (Burton) is a big-time player and a big-time play maker. We sure could use it.”
TE Mo Alie-Cox
What does it mean to you to be in the history books for catching Philip River’s 400th career touchdown?
“Shoot. It means a lot. I had no clue it was even a milestone until I just heard you guys in the background talking about it. It feels great.”
It seemed like you had so much room to run on that 45-yard reception. You were almost looking for someone to hit. What is the approach there when you break wide open like that?
“Oh man. I have never been in the open field like that at any point in my career. I was like kind of lost. At first when I caught it, I was expecting a hit, but the hit never came, and I was just running and running, and it finally came. I was just happy to go out there and make a play.”
About the same play, did anyone give you a hard time about it?
“Oh yeah I got a hard time from everybody. Except Jack (Doyle).”
What is the plan for next time?
“Next time, I’m just going to run. Not even look for it and just run.”
Jonathan Taylor talked about the importance of converting those “gotta get it” type of short yardage situations. How important is it in an offense to convert with touchdowns and continue to grind on the ground and to be able to put the game away?
“It’s very important. We work on it a lot throughout the week and Coach (Frank) Reich makes it a big point of emphasis in our game plan, so when we get those opportunities, we just try to convert every single one of them and if we don’t get it, we typically might go for it on fourth down if we are in scoring position. We just have to convert on every chance we get.”
CB T.J. Carrie
Could you just walk us through the pick-six. If I’m not mistaken, it is your first as a pro. How did it play out and what does it mean to score and put points on the board?
“Man get in that endzone baby. That’s what I’m talking about. It was good man. It was a dialed-up play by Coach Flus (Matt Eberflus). A play that we kind of worked on all through camp that really came to life. Definitely a disguise play that we felt like would give the quarterback a different pose and pre-snap read. Forced the pressure. The defensive line came in and did their job and forced him (Sam Darnold) to make an unadvised decision. The great ones always told me, ‘Catch the ones that come to you, and you’ll lead the league,’ so after that it was just my job to catch it and return it. We have worked on interception drills a lot. Our goal is in that 40 (yard) range so definitely guys coming back and getting blocks is all part of that whole situation.”
When was your last pick-six?
“College. Senior year. Actually, had two pick-sixes in my last game of my senior year. That was it. This one in the NFL is definitely different. It feels special. Definitely a celebration for me and the family.”
You spent a lot of time in the slot in camp. How hard was it to adjust to having to playing outside after Rock Ya-Sin went down last week?
“I think the versatility is something that I pride myself on. Throughout my career I’ve been doing a lot but definitely more reps within the slot. So, during this offseason it was really a craft of mine to work on and enhance because I felt like throughout my career I’ve had my opportunities to play out there but I didn’t feel as comfortable. This offseason was really big for me to work on the outside and it’s been paying off. It has really been paying off in the sense of the coaches always putting us in the best position technique wise. They have given us all the tools to go out there and be successful, and so it’s been awesome for me to be able to go out there and have a lot of success.”
CB Xavier Rhodes
It looked like both interceptions were in different coverages. Did I get that right? Can you explain both of them?
“No, it was about the same.”
What did the pick-six to start a game mean to you?
“They helped us out a lot as a team, as a unit – being able to have a pick-six, put points on the board on the defensive side of things, helping our offense out. Also the second pick is stopping them from scoring and putting points on the board. So both were major, both we’re big to help the team.”
What did you see on that second interception?
“I just followed the quarterback’s eyes and I saw him looking at the seven route and he threw it and I just fell right into it.”
For the most part the defense has looked completely different in Weeks 2 and 3 than they did in Week 1. How did you guys change that, what did you guys do different and what led to sort of the transformation?
“Just looking at our mistakes – the mistakes we made each and every game we play no matter if we win or lose. There’s always mistakes out there being made so we just go each and every week correcting mistakes we made previously and we’re going to do the same this week and looking forward to playing Chicago.”
QB Philip Rivers
You hit a couple milestones today, and Frank Reich was just talking about how you’ve gotten there but not necessarily being obsessed with numbers. Can you kind of put that into perspective? It just kind of happened, right? It wasn’t something that you chased or anything like that, and what does it mean?
“Yeah, and not to try to make it go back to high school, but growing up the son of a coach and coming up in the game, it’s always been about winning and always about the team and it still is and always has been. I mean there was a time in Athens, Alabama you know we threw it seven times in a playoff game where you could’ve thrown it a bunch when college coaches were there and it ended up we didn’t throw the ball. ‘Dad, let’s keep running it, they can’ stop it.’ It’s always been about the team winning, it’s still the same way and I think it’s just really – the milestones are meaningful. I could sit here and tell you they don’t matter and I don’t care about them, but they are meaningful. I’ve dreamed of playing quarterback in this league since I was a little kid and some of those guys are far, far away on that list in both yardage and touchdowns. But some of those guys are guys I grew up loving. I was fans of, posters on the wall, some of them I have been able to compete against. It certainly is special. I think it’s more than anything a longevity kind of deal and being consistent, for the most part, over long periods of time. Certainly thankful. There’s always been a guy on the receiving end of all of those passes and there’s always been five guys or more with backs and tight ends blocking like crazy until I need to throw them. All of the guys have been a part of those, and I know those other quarterbacks who have thrown for a bunch of yards and touchdowns would say the same. They’re a part of them too. They certainly take pride in some of those as well because it’s a team effort every last one of them.”
At what point will you actually embrace joining the same category as Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino and that group of quarterbacks?
“I’m sure my dad and I will talk about it tonight, my wife and I will talk about it, you know I’ve already gotten a bunch of text messages. I think it’s okay when you’re not consumed with it or caught up in it to allow yourself to go, ‘Man, gosh.’ Really it’s just overwhelming thankfulness. What really it’s done for me in this short little time is you start thinking about all the guys. Again, I mentioned thinking off all those guys, you caught them, you think about the first one you threw, you think about so many. Shoot, this is individually on the screen it’s all about the team, but certainly I’m thankful and would be lying to you to say I didn’t care.”
It seemed to be such a strange game. You didn’t get on the field until five minutes to go in the first quarter. Do you get antsy and then the defense scores? When they score like that, does it change your approach at all?
“No, not that early. Shoot, we were spotted seven (points), they gave us seven. So great play by Xav (Xavier Rhodes) on that one. So no, but yes, you get antsy to get out there, but I don’t think it changes your approach and we put together a good drive there to start the game. For the most part throughout the game we were consistent. Certainly some third downs we needed to convert there and finish some of those drives. We punted it well. Gosh, we kept pinning them down in there. When we punted it again the defense scored three times – the other interception by T.J. (Carrie) and the big safety-sack by JHou (Justin Houston). It was a heck of a day. After the penalty you know we go pooch punt and pin them inside the 10 (yard line). All three phases really leaned on one another throughout the whole game.”
Did you grab the ball from Mo Alie-Cox for the 400th touchdown pass? Are you going to keep that somewhere?
“Yeah, that’s one of the few I can really remember if any. I saw one of our guys got it and I just asked them, ‘Hey, did you get that one?’ Yeah, I think that’s one to keep.”
As you start hitting all of these benchmarks in this game, how much fun were you having on top of it when the defense outscores your opponent for you and you just got to go out there and tack on some points and have some fun tonight?
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun, a lot of fun. I was aware of the milestones, but I didn’t come into the game thinking about that. You feel like if you are healthy enough, those things will kind of come as the season goes. It was about trying to win our second in a row, be 1-0 this week. I know those are boring answers to you guys, but it’s what we believe in the locker room. The walk-through last night, we had a lot of juice and a lot of energy, as Darius (Leonard) brings that up to you guys with juice, and he has bunch of it and a lot of guys do. I felt that last night in the walk-through that we were eager to hit the field this week and get that second in a row. It was a fun day, started off with a big pick-six and then we kind of kept the pressure on throughout and did what we needed to do. Like we said last week, there are still some things to clean up, some third downs, some other things we can clean up. By no means do we relax. We go to Chicago next week, in Chicago and they came off a big come from behind win in Atlanta, so we got to go find a way to be 1-0 next week.”
On Jonathon Taylor’s touchdown run I know on the box score it’s only a one-yard run, but for his ability to make a defender miss in such tight quarters, what does that say about him and again to convert with touchdowns and those kind of short-yardage situations, how good is that?
“Yeah, no it’s huge, it’s just huge for the team in general. You know he’s got a knack for obviously and he’s strong so it’s going to be tough any one-on-one. He very seldom if ever falls backwards, you know he’s going to be falling forward, so I think you obviously have enough experience with Frank (Reich) as far as being aggressive on fourth down and those situations. The third down call was kind of a run-pass option, so knowing that I was comfortable checking to the run of the third down knowing we could go for it on fourth (down). It was good for him to get it. That was a huge drive to finish. I felt like that was really what tipped the whole deal as far as kind of finishing the game. Obviously, we finished it in other ways from that point, but I thought that was big offensively that we finished that drive in the endzone.”
RB Jonathan Taylor
Philip Rivers said that your touchdown really helped put the game away. How important is it to convert on those short yardage situations and just how were you able to make that defender miss, the safety came down and you put a move in tight quarters, how were you able to get in the end zone?
“Yeah and really, you know, how you mentioned those short-yardage situations, whether we’re on the goal line or whether we’re midfield, those got-to-have-it situations – we always talk about in the running back room, you have to — you just have to find a way and that’s one of the biggest things. Luckily, they always say, ‘You can handle one man,’ and that’s just the biggest thing, so if you see that man crashing down hard, you know, coming down at an angle, and you’re able to kind of slip back on that soft shoulder, I mean, that’s something you have to do. But those short-yardage situations, you just have to find a way.”
You made it a point last week, you kept that first football, the touchdown, do you keep this one? Are you a collector or not or only the ones that are really special?
“So, I just found out recently that you can keep any ball that you want. I didn’t know that. I’m thinking you are going to keep the first game ball, maybe your first multi-touchdown game, so I just found out from the running back group that you can keep every single football. I’m definitely going to have to ask the equipment managers if they still remember, which one was the touchdown ball.”
Philip Rivers threw his 400th career touchdown today. As someone who just literally got to the NFL, can you even begin to put that into perspective?
“It’s kind of just crazy to think about it because, like a future Hall of Fame quarterback, you know, is — it’s rare to come around, so to be able to have Philip Rivers be my quarterback, it’s something that’s truly special. Throughout this whole process of just entering the league during this pandemic, I have a story to tell, but I’m just even more thankful to have another story to tell, like, ‘Hey, I played with Hall of Famer Philip Rivers. I mean, that was my quarterback my first year in the league,’ so it’s definitely pretty special and he deserves it. He put in the work over multiple years and he definitely deserves