TD: Well, this is obviously a disappointing way for us to end our season. We came up here with very high expectations and just ran into a better team today. They outplayed us and, you know, they have beaten us four times in a row now, all kind of different games. But it is one thing about them, they find a way to win. I thought they were a little more physical than we were today, especially in the second half. You know, we are sitting there 6-3, and they did a couple of long drives to really put the game away. Third down, they did a better job than we did, converted some third downs, kept some drives going. And you just have to give them a lot of credit. They played well. You know, they were missing some guys, but it didn't seem to matter to them.
Q: Is the weather a factor?
TD: No, it really wasn't. It wasn't bad down there. The field was in pretty good shape. You know, we just got outplayed today.
Q: Tony, it appeared you guys weren't quite as aggressive on offense. Was that what they were doing, was that the plan?
TD: No. We tried to get some things going. We didn't get our running game going as well as we would have liked. We just didn't convert our third downs. We didn't have the play as much as we would liked; and then in the second half they had those really two long drives that really used up most of the time. We had a couple third down situations and we couldn't do it.
Q: Tony, they just seemed to be able to make teams look bad. Is that just disrupting the timing?
TD: They are a good team. Obviously, they have won everything but two games in the last couple of years and they play well and they are physical, they are tough, they are smart and, you know, they play well. And today, I thought they outplayed us as much as any of the other games since I have been here.
Q: Tony, can you talk a little bit about Dillon and Seymour as a factor in this game?
TD: He made some good runs and was bouncing off people and slashing. And he has obviously helped them, he and Kevin Faulk both. You know, that is where they hurt us. They didn't hurt us so much in the passing game other than a couple of critical third down throws. But he ran well and he has given them an added dimension for sure.
Q: Tony, do you need a different type of team, in some ways, to take that next step?
TD: I don't think so. I think we just have to get to the point where in certain situations we play a little sharper. And today, you know, as I said, they outplayed us. But I don't think we need to over analyze it and say, 'Oh, we've got to do this, and tear the team down and restructure it this way.' You know, I think we can win with the guys we have and we just have to play better in the crucial situations.
Q: How tough of a loss is this for you and the rest of the guys, knowing how high the expectations were for this year?
TD: Well, they are all tough whenever you lose the last game. We are no different than the other probably 11 teams that are going to lose in the playoffs. You actually want to go one step farther than you go and you want to keep winning and you want to play well in four games to go win it. We played well last week. We got outplayed this week. But yes, they are all disappointing. I wouldn't say this is any more or less disappointing than last year.
Q: How much of this rests on Peyton's shoulders?
TD: I don't think, you know, we can look at it that way and say, 'Oh, Peyton has got to do this and do that.' I mean we will look at the tape and we will see a lot of ways that we have to play better. And I know that is what is going to be said and written. But you know, you win as a team and that is the only way you can beat these guys, with a total team effort, and we came up a little short today.
Q: Coach, you mentioned that they were more physical. Is that the reason why they were able to execute as well as they did, because they were more physical, more aggressive?
TD: I just thought that we had some chances in the second half, especially on defense where we've got to make some tackles, we have got to get [Corey] Dillon down, and we weren't able to do that. We let them control a lot of the clock. And it really was pretty simple football. It wasn't a lot of -- you know, the first half was four and five wide receiver sets and moving people around. But the second half was just too tight end running games that got them going and we didn't handle.
Q: What is your explanation on the direct snap to Edgerrin [James]?
TD: You know, I pride myself in knowing the rules. That's a rule that I didn't know, that the quarterback, what they say is once you go into the center, if you move away from the center you have to be set for a second. I guess, a fairly obscure rule, but it is in there somewhere, I guess.
Q: Tony, there has been so much talk about their secondary defense. Do you wish maybe you had gone over the secondary a little more?
TD: Well, we tried to go after them. It's not like we said, 'Oh, okay, we are not going to try to go get them.' They did a good job and outplayed us with the guys that played.
Q: Turnovers again, Tony
TD: It generally is important. We had some chances to get some defensively. We had our hands on some balls and couldn't get them. There were some penalties that were not very good penalties to take at that time. And we let them convert a lot of third downs to keep drives going. They had those two long drives and that was really the difference in the game.
Q: What was the thinking of the two tight end sets, especially at the start of the second half?
TD: Well, we wanted to see if we could get our running game going and then try to keep them in three, four and spread them out a little bit. And we had it. We just didn't convert our third downs really as well as they did. We got in some third and fours, third and fives we couldn't pick up; and on their two drives they picked them up.
Q: Was it a let down to have to settle for the field goal right at the end of the first half?
TD: Yes. We would have liked to have gotten a touchdown there. We felt good coming into the locker room. We were down 6-3. We moved the ball pretty well the last two times we had it and it was going to be a matter of us stopping them a couple times and trying to get the lead. And we felt that we could do that in the second half. We stopped them once, I believe. We came out and moved it and made a couple first downs, and then we punted it, backed up, and they got the long drive. And that was the tough point in the game.
Q: What did they do that kept you from getting deep a lot? I don't remember you getting a long pass.
TD: Yes, yes. We really didn't get a deep ball today. It was something that we were looking for, but it just didn't materialize.
Q: Was [Ryan] Diem the only injury of note, Tony?
TD: The only one that I know of. Everybody else was able to come back in.
Q: Can you expound on that, why do you think it didn't happen (the long pass)?
TD: You know, I'm not sure. We tried to get them deep. They played some zone coverages. They blitzed us a little bit and played man to man, but we just weren't able to get them today.
Q: Tony, when you pinned them back at the 13 in the third quarter, is that the time where you were counting on --
TD: Yes. Your defense has to make a stop there, get the ball about around mid-field. We had a chance. I think we had a third and nine. They threw the ball to [Kevin] Faulk and made a first down. They get another first down we give them on the penalty to Nick Harper, and then we had, you know, we just had some third downs that we didn't stop. And that was the big thing. But yes, you are counting on your defense there.
Q: The Harper penalty, it looked like it wasn't catchable.
TD: Oh, it certainly wasn't catchable, but it was a penalty.
Q: Coach, how frustrating was it to watch those three long drives, knowing how important ball possession obviously was?
TD: It was difficult. And the fact that we had some chances to get them stopped and they were able to just run the ball, you know, a team runs for 200 yards on you, which they were over 200 today, you are going to have a tough time winning.
Q: Is there anything you can change? You play with a very light front seven.
TD: I don't think it was that. I think we have got to tackle well. We got a little frustrated, guys trying to spin and help out in other places and get out of their gaps. You know, it is just a matter of playing discipline and attacking and not missing those tackles. Now, obviously, they have got a couple of good backs that break tackles. That is what they do. And you know, I think Dillon had a big effect today.
Q: Were you guys starting to gamble a little bit?
TD: A little bit. You get, you know, you start to just try to do a little bit too much and, you know, we had, as I say, we had some opportunities. We did put them in some third and longs and couldn't come up with the one play to change the momentum.
Q: Coach, you mentioned not over analyzing because of this. Does that mean you think the team just kind of needs some tweaking and not –
TD: Well, you always are going to look at your weaknesses and try to get those improved. But I think people can read a little too much into, Well, we've got to do this. And we can't just set our sights on New England. We can't say, 'Oh, we have got to do this to beat these guys.' You still have to win your division. You have to put yourself in position and play good consistent football. We are starting to do that; and if we get better, hopefully, we will get in this situation again. We will have a chance to play them next year and see if we can beat them.
Q: Tony, do you ever feel that people are going to start to put more and more pressure on Peyton and his career kind of tracking Marino's?
TD: Well, you know, being an historian, I can remember some other guys that, you know, it was said. Steve Young was in our building the other day and the same thing was said about him for a long while, and now he is going to go in the Hall of Fame. I can remember when [John] Elway couldn't quite win a Super Bowl and we were all hoping that he won one. Looking back on it now, you know, he had a great career and he didn't win his until way far down the road. So it will -- the pressure will build and people will continue to talk about it, but I think Peyton will handle it well. And the thing we have to do is just continue to try to improve our team and see if we can get that Super Bowl win.