SMITH: “I don’t know what word I’d put on it. It’s over. I know that, it’s pretty final. That’s the way the playoffs go. All of a sudden, 2013 is done. Basically, wipe the slate clean and you’re basically looking forward.”
Q: Talk about this team, your teammates, the way the team battled all year?
SMITH: “I think you have to be in this game, in this league, if you’re going to be good. There are so many games that come down to one possession to end a game and you’ve got to have mentally-tough guys that can battle and we have that here and I think we proved that, over the course of the season. So, credit to the guys in this locker room, guys buying into what we’re doing here and how we do things.”
Q: Is it easier said than done to take a step back and put this out of your mind, before you look at all that was accomplished this year and how you can move forward from it?
SMITH: “You know, I certainly think you use this as drive. I think it’s good to be playing in these types of games. I think these types of games are contagious. You go back to playing in just regular season games, you want that itch, you have that urge to try to get to these types of games, these playoff games – the stage, the feeling is just so much different. With that, I think you use it. Certainly, I think the foundation has been laid for us as a team, the way we do things. It was our first year together for all of this. I certainly think that foundation has been laid for next year.”
Q: Can you compare anything in your career to last night?
SMITH: “No, they’re all so different. And like I said, those opportunities, you don’t know when they’ll come, how often they’re going to be there and when you’re next one’s going to be. Certainly last night hurt. To be up like we were, you know, feeling very good about things and to have it end up the way it did, (it's) certainly a tough pill to swallow, but, any loss would be. If it happened every other way imaginable, a loss is a loss. They all hurt.”
Q: Coach Reid said this team was a good team, not a great team. You’ve been on a team that’s gone to a Super Bowl. How far away from being great is this team?
SMITH: “I certainly think we have the pieces here, no doubt in my mind that we have what it takes. I think the guys will tell you, even last night, more so than ever, we feel like that we’re capable of not only just getting to the playoffs, but going deep into them and making runs. We have that kind of talent here, we have the group together to do that. It’s certainly easy to talk about though. Like I said, you’ve got to be able to go out and do it. You’ve got to be playing your best football, this time of year.”
Q: No quarterback has ever had four touchdowns and no interceptions in a playoff loss. Can you talk about your performance yesterday?
SMITH: “You know, it doesn’t really matter. In the end, especially as quarterbacks, it comes down to winning and losing, especially when you get into the postseason. You’ve just got to find a way to win. For us on offense, we had a chance there at the end of the game and we didn’t get it done. So, I certainly think that’s what we’re looking at.”
Q: Did you sense that the team relaxed a little bit when you were up 38-10?
SMITH: “No, I didn’t. I didn’t sense that all.”
Q: During the year, there have been games where leads were lost. Some guys were saying the team had to get better at finishing, going for the jugular, is that something that this team can take from this year and focus on, going into next year?
SMITH: “I don’t know about any of that. You’re playing football, you’re trying to win. Certainly when you have a lead, you don’t ever want to relax, especially in the NFL. I don’t think we did that, but for whatever reason, we didn’t come out on top. I just think learning to win any type of game, whether you’re up or down, finding a way to win games is important. And, I think it’s kind of a learned habit; you get momentum, you get confidence that with the game on the line, whether you’re up or you’re coming back, that when we’re in those situations, you have confidence that you’re going to come out on top. We did that at times this year, certainly enough to build on.”
Q: Did you sense this team getting complacent at 9-0?
SMITH: “No, no not at all. I never felt like that. If anything, I felt we were confident and should have been. And, (we) lost some tough games.”
Q: Have you gone back and watched the 4th-and-11 play to Bowe?
SMITH: “I haven’t. No.”
Q: Coach Reid said multiple times, that play was just four inches from changing the game. Is that one play that’s going to stick with you? How tough is that play?
SMITH: “They’re all tough. Certainly that one, but you can point out for me a handful of plays that yeah, you do this differently, you do that different (and) it would’ve changed the game, and that’s the way it is. You never know which play can be the difference; that’s why you’re doing everything possible each and every play to do it right, to make the play, because you don’t know which one is going to be the difference maker. There were several of those last night, certainly.”
Q: How many times have you thought about the fact that you scored 44 points without
SMITH: “Yeah, he’s been so healthy all year; we haven’t had to do that the entire season, which is really a credit to him. It’s tough on the opening series to lose him, but like I said, I thought guys didn’t miss a beat. He’s had so much production for us and is one of the best players in the NFL. He’s tough to replace, but I thought guys didn’t blink. I think our guys stepped up (and) believed in one another. I think we had some success, certainly there in the first half. (In the) Second half, I thought we moved the ball well, but didn’t get the touchdowns though.”
Q: When he went down, how much pressure did you feel to carry the team?
SMITH: “You just don’t have time to think of any of that in a game. For me, you’re playing football. The play comes in (and) I’m trying to execute a play. I’m not sitting there thinking about Jamaal (being) out.”
Q: Do you feel more pressure though?
SMITH: “No. No, to answer your question. You just don’t have time to; you’re just playing football.”