TEXANS HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October, 10, 2021
When you have K Ka'imi Fairbairn trying a 56-yard field goal, what went into that decision?
"No, the decision there was the fact that we felt like he was in his range. He's our kicker. Got the utmost confidence in him. He had a tough day up to that point but had made one. We felt if we made that field goal it's a two-score ball game. That's why I made the decision to kick."
What about the penalty on the final Patriots scoring drive, did you give any thought into declining it?
"We thought about that. We did think about that."
What ultimately went into your decision to do what you did?
"Because of what ended up happening, obviously, they threw the ball. They threw the ball at one time, which actually helped us. And had they ran the ball, there was a possibility that we were going to end up letting him score. We had talked about that."
What went into the punt that went into DB Terrence Brooks' back?
"That was a possibility that if they gave us the right look, when we did what we did there, that if it gave us the right look we were possibly going to fake it. They didn't give us the look. We were going to back out and then just re-punt, and it didn't work out. We ended up having a leakage up the middle and ended up getting a block."
What are your thoughts on QB Davis Mills and his performance?
"Davis (Mills) played well. Played well. The thing Davis did today, Davis protected the football. He was very good in the pocket. He ran our offense very well. He knew going into the game that the most important thing for him to do was to be able to protect the football, and he did that today."
Any concern for usage of timeouts?
"We thought about that, and again, we felt that depending on what they were going to do -- we felt they were going to try to get a first down there, try to score and whatnot. But we had a little time. We felt like that. They threw the ball, had an incomplete pass. Obviously, that actually helped us. Again, as I said earlier, we thought about letting them score. But at that point when they did an incomplete pass, we knew. We almost tried to let them score one time and there was a penalty."
What changed from the offensive side that led to not being able to move the ball?
"Penalties. Penalties again. The same thing, penalties."
Is there a feeling that maybe you guys wasted a really good bounce back game for QB Davis Mills given how well he played today?
"No waste at all. We lost the game. We lost the game. He played well enough for us to win the game. They kicked a field goal to win it. We missed two extra points. We missed a field goal."
What did you think about DL Maliek Collins' penalty on that last drive?
"Well, we can't have that. And I think it was one of those things where it was one of those penalties that it could have went where we didn't make the call. But he ended up making the call. And I think he made the call because Maliek was going down on the guy's knees, the reason why the call got called. It wasn't a roughing from a standpoint of him roughing him."
You don't think it was from DL Maliek Collins hitting the quarterback on the chin?
"He told us, once he went down on his knees after the play, he was down on his knees because it was called late. It wasn't called right away."
When you look at the big picture of that second half collapse, what went wrong?
"I don't think it was a collapse. We had penalties. Again, offensively, that kept us from being able to keep the ball moving along. We were doing that well. We were running the ball okay. Obviously, when we get in those situations where we go first and long, it puts us behind the chains and that's not how we're going to play."
How disappointed are you that you started out so well and weren't able to hold on?_ *_"They made the plays and we didn't in the end."
What went into the decision to deactivate DL Charles Omenihu?
"We felt some other guys needed a chance, they hadn't played. Jordan Jenkins hadn't played this year, had been inactive for the most part. We felt he had a good week of practice. We wanted to give him an opportunity."
How is OL Laremy Tunsil?
"Laremy (Tunsil) has a thumb injury. We don't know how bad it is. We'll know more tomorrow. The thing about his thumb is we'll get an MRI, X-ray on it to see about it. But it was so bad, basically during the offense he really couldn't punch. We used him a little bit on the field goal and extra point team because all he had to do was just sit there and spread his hands out and not punch."
What did you think about DL Jonathan Greenard and the performance he's had the last few weeks?
"He's playing very well. He's come back, he's given us a little boost there. He was doing that before. He's one of those guys that he plays that way, he practices that way. He actually gave us a big boost in the defensive line because of the way he's playing."
What about WR Chris Moore?
"Chris (Moore) is ready to play. He had opportunities, took advantage. I wish he had made that play in the back of the end zone. If he made that play, that's probably seven points for us. He did well. First time he's been active from a standpoint of playing for us on offense. He did a nice job of coming in there."
It seemed like you all were coming out of some unpredictable packages you've normally run in the first half. What went into opening the offense in certain situations?
"Not knowing exactly how they were going to play us. We had seen in some ball games where certain people had done some things on them when they played a certain way. We had some plays for them that did that. The flea flicker (and) some things we had going there. Some of the screens, quick screens, we had. They were playing the scheme that we thought they were going to end up playing for those plays to work. We called them and they worked, and Timmy (Tim Kelly) did a nice job of taking advantage of that."
Why did you feel you had to be so aggressive on fourth downs in the first half?
"Offense was playing well, playing consistent. We didn't have those penalties. We were actually above the chains on everything. I felt comfortable with that. Actually, they did a nice job doing that."
Why do you think you all commit so many penalties?
"It's a fundamental thing. Fundamentals. Usually when you go back, watch the video and you see why did a guy hold, or why did a guy jump offsides, it's usually a focus thing or something we didn't do fundamentally. We worked on that this week, and we're going to continue to work on that. Basically, individuals that do those things have got to quit doing those things."
What can you all do to stop giving up those big plays on defense?
"We need to be at the right place at the right time. Sometimes those things happen, just like we get big plays. We get the big plays simply because our guys did a nice job. They did a nice job a couple times attacking the coverage. When you're in certain coverages, you're playing certain defenses, got a certain call, it's a tough deal. We had a few of those."
Will you consider changing kickers after this game?
"I haven't even thought about that."
Were you disappointed you weren't able to stop the run more with the opposing team having four offensive linemen out?
"Well, whoever is out there, we just play the game as if those same guys are out there. It really didn't matter to us who it was. We played the game as if it was the starters out there. It really didn't matter. I thought our guys did a good job of doing what they did. They did a good enough job for us to win the game."
On the penalty, were you going to allow them to score so you could run more plays?
"We had one timeout left and we had the two-minute. We wanted to see how they were going to play it. Once they started, they ended up throwing a pass which actually helped us because we had talked about allowing them to go ahead and score, where we'd have time to have a touchdown to be able to have a chance to win or to tie the game."
Were you trying to let them score on the play there was a penalty on?
"No, we were not."
QUARTERBACK DAVIS MILLS
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October, 10, 2021
How do you feel about the way the team played today?
"I felt the team as a whole, we played really well today. Couple of plays here and there that we'd like back. But I thought overall it was a big improvement from last week."
What about in terms of your performance?
"I thought I played well, but I mean, I had a couple of plays I could have managed the protection a little better at the end when I took a sack when we really needed to put a drive together. Still room for improvement."
How disappointing is it that you weren't able to finish the game off?
"Obviously, it's tough. You don't want to lose football games ever. So, I mean it's a harsh feeling, but I think the guys rallied together. We felt how we wanted to a lot during that game, and we can learn from that and find ways to win in the coming weeks."
You were catching defense off guard a lot, what happened in the second half?
"It was just the flow of the game. I thought we had plays we could make out there. Obviously made some big time plays in the first half. And I think we might have left a little on the plate in the second half. But overall, we were close."
Was your confidence growing in the first half as you were starting to make more plays?
"I wouldn't say it was going up. I think I had a steady level of confidence throughout the game. I think the guys around me were making plays and it felt good going out there scoring touchdowns."
Talk about WR Chris Moore and what he did today.
"He played phenomenal. Obviously stepped up. Had that huge catch in the first half. I think like 67-yard touchdown. That was a big play. Kind of got the momentum rolling and made some other big-time catches and blocks throughout the game."
You seemed more comfortable. What conversations did you have with Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly this week?
"I think kind of just falling back on our rules and the system. I'm just going out there and trying to do my job and facilitate the ball to the players around me and let them make plays."
What did you think of the decision to go for it on fourth down a few times in the first half?
"Yeah, I thought we had a good kind of third-and-short and fourth-and-short game plan. We converted on those. Those were big plays to keep drives alive."
Did you think you guys were going to go for it when you tried for the 56-yarder?
"I was just waiting for the call in my helmet. We had a field goal opportunity and unfortunately, we didn't make it. But we still had full faith in Ka'imi (Fairbairn); he's going to make those the rest of the year. We have full trust in that."
How were you able to bounce back so efficiently after last week?
"Like I said before, going out there, trying not to do too much. I thought we played well as a team. Still had a couple mistakes, some stuff we want back, but overall, I thought we played pretty well as a team."
Even though you weren't able to come up with a win, will a game like this help moving forward?
"I think so, I think just kind of going out there and feeling the feeling of making plays and being right there close to winning games at the end. I think there's really a feeling of just learning how to win games and finish. And I think we're close. But just didn't do enough today."
You had a lot of downfield options today. How much did you see the offense open up now that in certain spots you had a chance to do that?
"I don't know if it opened up any more than previous weeks. I thought we had a good game plan going in. They kind of put people on islands out there playing a lot of man-to-man coverage. We were able to take advantage of that."
How much of not forcing throws like how you did in the last game, a couple of picks you threw, forced balls you didn't do that today, how much did that help in terms of keeping your confidence and not turning the ball over?
"The big thing is last week I did force a couple of throws and it didn't end up in a good result. Big thing is just learning from mistakes and not making the same mistake twice. I felt like protecting the football was my biggest role, biggest job. I thought we did pretty well with that today."
With so many injuries at wide receiver, how do you feel WR Chris Moore played today?
"It was awesome. I felt like right when his number was called to go out there and play, he was ready for it. He's been right there during every week of practice, filling in when he needs to. He really stepped into the role. Made some plays today."
What defensive looks did they throw at you in the second half that you didn't see in the first?
"I mean, nothing crazy. I think they were just mixing up the front. Making sure we were communicating well with myself and Justin Britt to be on the same page and get the Mike points out. But I don't think there was anything really different from the first half."
DL JONATHAN GREENARD
The way the momentum swung in the second half. What do you think was happening there?
"I think we all did enough on the team to put ourselves in good situations, but we've got to finish. Y'all seen the score, y'all saw what it was. No excuses, we've just got to finish."
How disappointing is it to get that close and knowing you should have won?
"Nobody likes that losing stuff. We should have had it. Not much more we can do, we just gotta keep playing."
How do you absorb this one?
"Just got to take it on the chin and keep going. We can't sit here and cry about it. We just gotta keep going, we're grown men. Nobody likes losing, but at the end of the day it's part of the game, so we're just going to keep working. I know myself, I know the offense as well, the whole team we know our mindset. We've got conference play next week with Indy. It's a must win situation. This is when the real stuff is really starting out so can't take no more of these losses like this."
Did y'all try and take advantage of the fact that they had four backup offensive lineman in?
"They're on the O-line so we can't really take them as a backup. That's one thing about the league, it's not college. In college you've got a backup guy in fresh out of high school, but these guys are practicing with guys from all around the league. To say they were supposed to play bad with four down lineman, they executed plays, had a plan for them and it worked obviously."
How defeating was that roughing the passer penalty?
"We know what happened. I personally don't think it was (a penalty), but at the end of the day it's not my decision. We just got to play cleaner ball. Maliek (Collins) played hard and that's one of the things that comes with it. It sucks, but at the end of the day we just gotta keep going."
On the final drive, was the communication clear about what they (coaches) wanted the defense to do – let them score or not?
"It's whatever they want to do. I was on the sideline, so that's something for the guys that were in there."
RB DAVID JOHNSON
What are your thoughts on what happened as far as the second half?
"I don't know. Just couldn't get anything going in the second half. A lot of, like you said, momentum, confidence in the first half. And the second half just didn't go our way."
How are you absorbing this loss right now?
"We let one slide, man. We let one get away from us. Definitely had the win. Didn't do enough at the end. Everyone fought. Everyone competed. We battled the whole way throughout the whole game and we ended up losing."
Do you feel like QB Davis Mills took a step forward today with his performance?
"Yeah, Davis (Mills) did great, making the right Mike call. Changing the play if needed. He did a good job."
What was slowing you down offensively in the second half?
"I don't know. We'll have to watch film and have to go from there."
How did you feel you were in the role you played today?
"It felt great. I got a little momentum going for myself. I was trying to do everything right to help Davis (Mills) out, being open, doing everything. I let one go. Wasn't fast enough to get that deep ball. But it felt good having those receptions, doing everything I could. Really just to help the offense. That's always what it's about for me is just trying to do everything I can to help out the offense."
You guys were mixing things up in the first half. A lot of unpredictability. How would you describe how things were working offensively?
"That's what it was. They couldn't get a bead on what we were doing. They couldn't figure out if we were doing so much, like you said, coming out of the backfield doing different things, routes. And then just changing up the formation. So I think that's what was good for us in the first half, they couldn't really get a good sense of what we were doing."
Will this one hurt a little bit more because you were so close to winning?
"Yes, this one hurts a lot more. We did so well in the first half. And then the second half, you could just feel the momentum swinging closer to their side. And man this one hurts a lot, especially with everything with the Patriots and the organization. Their legacy that they have. It definitely does hurt."
What's the mood around the sideline? You mentioned you felt the momentum slipping in the second half. What's the mood on the sideline when that happens?
"Momentum was slipping, but we still felt like we could win the game. We were up most of the game. We still had a chance, I felt like we always had a chance to come out and win and our defense was doing a hell of a job getting turnovers, doing everything they can to keep us on the field. I mean, we had the ball, the time of possession was more on our side. And when the clock strikes zero, we were losing."
You guys are now on a four game losing streak. Where do you guys go from here?
"The biggest thing is we stay together. Everyone outside of our organization is going to try to point fingers and blame. I think our biggest thing as players and coaches, me, myself is just staying together, continuing to watch film. See what we did. See what I did wrong. Correct all my mistakes, try to figure out a way to get the win."
On those fourth down conversions, one after another, did you start feeling the momentum in that? How did you feel in those decisions?
"Most definitely. That's a huge thing. When you get a fourth and you get a first down from it, you're gonna get a huge momentum boost especially as an offense, to keep us on the field. And that's what we want to do, especially me being a running back, being a receiving back, I always want to be on the field as much as possible. When we get those fourth down conversions, I think it gives (Coach) Culley a sense of confidence to keep us out there on other fourth downs as well."
You were up there a long time before for the 56-yard field goal attempt. Did you feel like you were going at that point?
"I wouldn't have minded to go for it or do what we can as an offense to try to, like I said, get our momentum to stay on our side, convert the fourth down or obviously help out the team as a whole."
One thing Head Coach David Culley said was penalties was a big problem for you guys in the second half. What can you all do about that offensively?
"It's all technique. Especially offense. Mostly it's technique. You're out-leveraged and you stepped the wrong way on blocking or for me doing the wrong route, and Davis (Mills), didn't get open for him so he's having to pat the ball a little bit longer. Really just watch film and try to figure out how to correct it."
WR CHRIS MOORE
At what point did you know you were being elevated?
"Some time throughout the week I figured I might have my opportunity. You never know for sure because the roster is always fluctuating, but I just stayed ready whenever they called my name, I was ready to play."
What was the role they had for you this week?
"What I was supposed to go out there and do. Whenever they had me at receiver to make the plays that were called to me and a big special teams role because I've always been a special teams guy. Always knew that was going to be a role."
Was this the best game of your career?
"Definitely. As a receiver, for sure this definitely was."
How do you account for that, what were you able to do and what do you feel about working with QB Davis Mills?
"Just won my matchups. TK (Tim Kelly) called some great plays that gave me opportunity to make some great plays. I'm mad I left some stuff on the field. I wish I could have done more but Davis Mills, you keep seeing him get better. I was just excited to get out there and make some plays for him."
How conflicting is it to have the best game of your career with a loss like that?
"It sucks. On one note you are happy for yourself, but this is a team game so all them stats, all that stuff doesn't really matter because we still took the L."
What happened on the play in the back of the end zone?
"That was just me. I think I had too much speed and momentum, I just dropped the play. That's the play I wish I got back that I left on the field. That one hurts me."
Through the week how much time did you get to work with QB Davis Mills?
"I got to do a little bit more stuff this week because we thought we might be a little short. Luckily this week I was able to get some one-on-ones with him. You do as much as you can, but I study, I know everything I'm supposed to do. It doesn't matter what position they throw me at, I'm just prepared for my opportunity."
Do you feel like you can build on this loss?
"Definitely. I mean we had that game we just shot ourselves in the foot too many times that second half. We just have to continue to fight, continue to just finish games and I think this is definitely something we can build on for sure."
DB JUSTIN REID
How frustrating is this loss?
"This one hurt a lot. The game was right there. We had control of the game and we let it slip through our fingertips. Couple unfortunate plays, couple plays that they made, and credit to them to go and close the game out. Just wish we could have some of them back. You always do whenever games end the way they do like that."
To you, what was the turning point?
"After we capitalized on the flea flicker, I felt like after that on both sides of the ball, we just didn't make the plays we were making the first three quarters in the game. For us to go forward and be the team that we want to be, we've got to start capitalizing in the fourth quarter, and start playing our best ball in the fourth quarter in order to finish opponents off, and not let events like today happen."
What was the communication to the defense on the final drive by New England?
"We had some communication, considered letting them score on purpose. We were out of timeouts, trying to preserve some time on the clock. It makes sense. At least give our offense an opportunity to go out on the field and tie the game up and send it into overtime. When it came time for the snap, the message was we're just going to play the style of defense to stop them from scoring, and try to make a play on the ball instead, trying to rip it out some way or another. They ended up, credit to them, closing the game out and getting a field goal."
That was before and after that penalty, that was the communication for you guys?
"When the penalty happened, that's actually when we switched back and we said we were going to play style defense instead."
What do you think happened on the penalty against DL Maliek Collins?
"It's just unfortunate. Maliek (Collins) has made so many plays for us, just being the aggressive guy that he is. It's just unfortunate that that play happened, but those plays do happen sometimes. Those are the things that we've got to work on and clean up, as I mentioned, just being able to close out the fourth quarter. But he's a smart guy and he's going to get it right. He took responsibility for it, and looking forward, I know he's going to make the right decisions going forward."
How do you think the secondary is performing?
"Making plays on the ball. Terrance Mitchell, that punch he had on the goal line was a phenomenal play. That's just incredible. Lonnie Johnson (Jr.) getting a pick. I unfortunately stole a second pick away from him. I had no idea he was there. I was going for the ball myself. But the defense has been flying around and have been making plays on the ball. If we got every turnover and fumble, it's no doubt in my mind we'd be leading the league in turnovers. We just got to continue to do that and at the end of the game, we can't let offenses bleed us down in the run."
After letting this one get away, how do you move on and where do you go from here?
"Kind of the same as last week. Despite the loss, guys really responded. I felt like we played much better football all around, but there's still some mistakes and things we can clean up on the film. Guys took the message last week and really ran with it, and we had a great week of practice. That's just going to have to be the same messages now. We have so many veterans on the team that that's a benefit for us, in that guys have been on both sides of these situations and have the maturity to take it in stride, and just put our best foot forward going into next week."
How do y'all hold each other accountable for penalties without finger pointing?
"Yeah, there's no finger pointing. We're all grown men here, we know what happened in the game. He knows what happened with the penalty. It's just playing football. He's going to make ten plays before he makes a flag like that. It's just what happened on this one series, but we're going to have to clean it up."
Can you talk about what made the difference in the fourth quarter?
"Just got to be more stout, as far as the run game. I think the beginning of this season, we've been real excellent in the first two quarters. Third quarter, fourth quarter, it's started to falter a little bit. I thought through the third quarter we did a great job, and through the fourth quarter we just needed to stop the bleeding on the run. Just give our offense another opportunity to get the ball back and make something happen."
They had four backup offensive linemen. Are you surprised y'all weren't able to stop the run?
"They're professionals, they get paychecks, too. They started making some plays on us with the play actions, really opened up the run a little bit more and tried to back us off. But they have great coaching over there, too. They had a lot of concept plays that allowed their offense to play the scheme more than just let it be a one-on-one game, where they might have been at a disadvantage."
Where do you guys go from here now that you're on a four game losing streak?
"Just focus on the next game. I mean, that's really the only thing we can do. We can't sulk about what happened, what happened in the past. We can't change the past. The only thing we can change is how we prepare for the future. We're going to have a positive attitude about it. We're going to lean on our veteran leadership to hold ourselves accountable and make sure that we're ready to play. We have a divisional opponent coming up, and as crazy as this four game losing streak is, we still got a shot at the conference, as far as our division. That's all we can do."
What do you think about QB Mac Jones?
"Talented kid, talented kid. He's in his rookie season. He's going to learn and continue to get better. We tried to take advantage of him being a rookie, just not having the experience, showed him some different looks, trying to steal some balls away from him. Could've had three. But as he keeps getting older and gets more experience, he's going to be a great quarterback. I think the Patriots did a great job picking him, and they're going to develop him. He's going to be a great quarterback for them for years to come.
How do you manage the game sliding in another direction?
"It just happens slowly. It was like a missed tackle here, a missed play here, a missed opportunity there. We've just got to have those. This is the National Football League and games are won and lost by inches, as we just displayed in the fourth quarter. Simply, we've got to just make those plays."
When you go back and look at the film, how will you all be able to correct those big plays you've given up?
"They capitalized on some of the play actions, and we also capitalized, or almost did, on trapping him into throwing the seam, making it seem like it's available when it's not. It's a little bit of a chess match back-and-forth between that, making them feel like it's open when it's not. But also, making sure we're covering our dots and we cover our backs, and when we get the play actions, make sure we're getting the drops and the safeties are also there to make those plays."