Defensively, stopping the run was one of our keys coming into this game and we did not do a good job stopping the run. They were able to spread us out a bit and crease us down the middle; there were just too many big runs, double digit runs, that will get you in real trouble. That being said, in the pass game, the defense was unbelievable. The back-end guys were off the charts.
Offensively, I thought we did a lot of good things. We protected the football in the passing game on a pretty difficult day. We turned the ball over once on a fumble, which we cannot do, and what really kind of kept this close was our offense’s inability to stop hurting ourselves with penalties at the wrong times, in the red area. We had a touchdown come off the board, which would have been a real big score for us, and another penalty inside the five-yard line. Those are the kind of things good teams don’t do. But we ran the heck out of the ball; the backs fought it out and did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage for the most part and we made enough plays to win.
Special teams: I thought the guys did a terrific job. [Denver is] a dangerous return team and I thought we did a good job of covering. Our kickers, we asked them to step up today because we needed them. The guys, both Dustin and Ryan did a great job.
On the congratulatory hug with Coach McDaniels following the game, in contrast to the no-handshake following the game in Denver: “That whole situation…I appreciate everyone liking to talk about it, but it’s just such a big win for our team. The Kansas City Chiefs, who a lot of people had written off at the start of the year, we’ve been through some hard times but we have a group of fighters in there that have come together and are becoming a tight-knit team. When you have a team like that you can do some special things. That’s what it’s really about, that’s what I prefer to keep it about, with all due respect because this was a big win, a division win at home.”
On the two opposite fourth-down decisions in the first half: “The first time through, that’s that tricky area of the field. We weren’t in four-down mode. I didn’t want to be reactionary about what we were doing and field position was critical with the way our defense was doing a good job. Dustin did a very good job of keeping field position in check there. But, like I said, the in-to-the-wind field goal was too long for the conditions. We just wanted to keep field position where it was and not give them a chance to get out of the hole. We weren’t in four-down mode. The other one is when we were in four-down mode; we were in it even before we crossed the 50 in that series, that’s why you saw a lot of runs. When we’re in that mode, we’re trying to get in a mindset. We just can’t take a sack there. The thinking is, if you don’t get it there, they’re on the one-yard line and have to go 99 yards. That’s something we just have to do a better job of coaching up. Players were kind of in the mindset that it was fourth down and we have to make a play, but we also have to understand situational football - part of that scenario is that we want to force them to have to go 99 yards. The good thing about us is we have a lot of areas we can improve and get better and that’s a good thing.”
On the play of CB Brandon Carr: “I think Brandon Carr falls into that group of second, third and fourth-year guys that are developing and that’s the name of the game. This is a guy that comes to work every day and he epitomizes the same guy every day. You can count on him; he’s like clockwork, he’ll be there at the same time, in the same spot. There’s not a lot of variance and that’s a good sign. He’s hungry to continue to get better and I think you’re just seeing him start to make progress. That’s a really good thing for us because as we get healthier back there and Brandon Carr continues to get better then all of a sudden we have a chance to really be good. You can see him getting better and better every day in practice, gaining confidence, making big hits, knocking the ball out; he had his hands on the ball a couple of times. I would have loved if he had come up with it but he still made some really nice plays.”
On Richardson’s reaction to some taunting from the Broncos while on the field: “I’m excited to see guys care that passionately. This is an emotional game. These guys are going out there and leaving it out there. They are laying it on the line. I want these guys to be passionate and care and then it’s our job to make sure we’re able to re-group and maintain our composure. There were a lot of things going on in that game that were frustrating to a lot of people.”
Do you think that the mistakes made today were more about thinking ahead? “This was our best week of practice. We were focused. We were focused more in pregame, which is what we’ve been doing a lot better job of, not falling into distractions. We won the game so the guys were focused and I can pretty confidently say that there weren’t too many people, if any, that were even thinking about anything other than trying to take care of business today. Our goal was to try to get to three (wins) and we didn’t start this quarter very well.”
Were you shocked that the Broncos punted on their last complete offensive drive of the game? “I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other. We were paying very close attention to make sure we were set for whatever they chose to do there.”
On coaching your quarterbacks in situations with just a few minutes or seconds left on the clock: “Depending upon the situation we have a bunch of different scenarios that we practice. Before the clock hits 5 minutes, out of bounds and those things don’t matter, but you can still milk the clock. We definitely went into a milk mode there to shorten the game as best we could and we have rules for when we break the huddle and when the ball’s being snapped. There’s an aggressive milk and a more relaxed milk. Sometimes that can get you too because you’re worried a little too much about that. I thought we did a really good job of managing the overall operation, the two-minute made me very happy, being able to get the three points back. It was a well-executed drive and clock to get the field goal. We were almost in a mayday situation, that’s why you saw the field goal team start to run because we had alerted them that if we tackled short we’d be kicking in a mayday situation. Those are all things that we work hard on and we got a chance to execute a bunch of different situations today and there’s some that we need to be better on.”