TEXANS HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 1, 2019
How proud are you of your players and your staff to win that game and to win that game the way that you won it?
“Yeah, I think it was a good win. I think guys worked hard this week. I think it hasn't always been perfect this year, but they've come in to work every week in this room, they've focused. We've had decent practices. I thought that's what happened this week. We practiced hard this week. They put a lot out there. They put preparation in. It paid off for them. I think it was a good team win and it keeps us in the hunt.”
QB Deshaun Watson since high school has played so well under the lights, in the NFL. Tonight gets the Patriots...
“Yeah, he did. He's a great player. He does, you’re right. He's come up big in important games throughout his life: high school, Clemson, Houston. He's a great guy to coach. He's got great poise. A couple tough plays out there tonight, got hit on a blitz a couple times. We kind of fixed it. We were able to make some plays. He kept us in it. That's what his personality does. He's resilient, he's tough. He plays the next play, which is really good.”
Did you get a sense that your defense was close to getting something going the past couple weeks with the pass-rush? OLB Jacob Martin gets it going. He’s been close the last couple of weeks, but he got home a couple times. Talk about the pass-rush.
“These guys work hard. Jacob (Martin), Whitney (Mercilus), Barkevious (Mingo) was out there tonight. Obviously D.J. Reader. Brandon Dunn. People don't talk about Brandon Dunn a lot. He's just a grinder, plays really tough football. Linebackers have played well all year long, ‘B Mack’ (Benardrick McKinney) and (Zach) Cunningham. We have a good front, decent depth there. Those guys played hard tonight. Wasn't always pretty. They gave up some plays here and there. They played hard, they played the next play, which is what we need to keep doing.”
When it comes to your free agent pickups, what impressed you about what they've been able to accomplish and do for your team?
“Those guys came in and they've really fit our culture really well. They study hard. They prepare. They understand their roles. I believe that they enjoy being a part of the team. They contribute in a lot of different ways. I think all three of those guys have brought a good work ethic and they're good teammates.”
Talk about QB Deshaun Watson to RB Duke Johnson to WR DeAndre Hopkins back to Watson.
“I think they drew it up in the dirt over the bye week. They brought it in, had it on a piece of notebook paper. Handed it to me. We've been working on that for a while. It was all about the timing, where we could get the ball so we could run a play like that. The timing was right. We got the ball down there on the six-yard line. That's where we wanted to do it. They executed it pretty well. Wasn't the exact look we thought we were going to get and they made it work.”
Can you talk about the offense, going up against the Patriots defense, being so tough?
“It's a great defense. They're a great defense. I think they made some plays on us. They tested us with their blitzes, tested us in the run game. It was hard to run the ball tonight. We've got to fix some things. I thought our guys hung in there and played. They kept playing. They knew if they just kept playing and didn't turn the ball over, we would be in the game, we'd have a chance. I thought they carried out that part of the game plan very well.”
The leaders on your team, how did you see them keep this team moving forward, knowing what was at stake after the Ravens game?
“I think it says a lot about the team when we came back from Baltimore, quick turnaround with a Thursday night game against the Colts, a very good Colts team, we’re able to win that. Had a little bit of a mini bye. Now we're able to come out here and fortunately come out on top of the Patriots. I think our team is resilient. I think they do understand that it's 8-4, it's not 12-4. It's 8-4. It gives us a chance to play, to continue to play meaningful games. Denver won today. This league is tough. It's one play at a time, one meeting at a time, one walk-through at a time. These guys understand that and I think they'll come in here with the right attitude this week.”
Touchdown turned over, you go back to the deep ball. Was that a play call, something QB Deshaun Watson saw? In the play he points WR Kenny Stills towards the corner of the end zone. Is that something they adjusted during the play?
“When you play the Patriots, really it's hard to know exactly what you're going to get in certain situations. You have to give the quarterback kind of a little bit of playbook, so he can go out there and try to execute. Then you try to rep it during the week. This is what we believe it's going to be. But if it's this, you can go to this. That's kind of what happened. Those guys worked hard on a lot of things this week. They were able to execute that play. It was a really good play.”
On the touchdown, how much time are you actually able to spend on that type of a play? How tough is it to execute in a game?
“Yeah, it's hard, because you're never going to be able to simulate the speed with which you see it out here. You have to rep it time and time again. In a lot of ways, that's what football is all about. You play for three hours, but you rep for thousands of hours. It's not like any other sport. You play once a week. You practice a lot more than you play. That's where you take the time to rep as many things as you can. I think our guys are getting better at that. They're practicing better, they’re understanding they've got to execute in practice in order for it to show up on the game field.”
Certainly everybody knows there's no way you're going to keep QB Tom Brady down for a full game. How did your defense do what it did for three and a half quarters?
“We have to finish better offensively and defensively, because it's never over with him. That was obvious there at the end. Guy is a champion. He's a great player, great guy. You just have to keep coming. You have to keep playing. You have to play the next play. You can't get down about one play, got to play the next play. I think our guys really tried to do that.”
How crucial was the interception at the beginning of the game for your defense?
“It was important where it came in the game. It was really a good example of complementary football, because we were able to turn that into a touchdown. If we kicked a field goal there, not sure we would have felt good. The ball was on the seven-yard line, got a penalty, unsportsmanlike, back to the 20. Were able to execute and get the ball in the end zone. He did a great job. Turning that into a touchdown was important.”
QUARTERBACK DESHAUN WATSON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 1, 2019
What does this mean to you and this team and coaching staff?
“Honestly everyone’s big. Of course, against a team like the Patriots who has been doing it for so long and know the talent and the things they've been doing for this season, it was big for us. It builds our confidence. It builds the momentum for us to continue to try to push on. It just shows us and shows the world that we can play with anybody on any given day if we come out and play. For us, we got to continue to keep rolling, continue to find ways to get better, correct the mistakes, keep pushing forward.”
Can you take us through the trick play? Have you ever caught a touchdown pass in your career?
“I have, yeah. That's probably my fifth or sixth touchdown pass. If you want to count them. It was a play we've been working on for four weeks. Right when we got inside the five, I kind of knew the whole play call that was going to be called. That was the play called. Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) was excited. I was excited. He did a good job of really selling the guys that come up, and then giving me a good pitch enough where I can catch it and dive in. Give all the credit to Hop and the pass. It was good.”
Are you glad it was ruled a pass as opposed to a run in?
“I wanted a run in, but they said it switched.”
“I don’t know. But then again, I was thinking about it. Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) finally got a passing touchdown in his stat for that one. He’s 1-1 for passing touchdown. Kind of good for both our stats, so I’m good with it. Role reversal is good.”
What went into your decision to give the game ball to Bill O’Brien?
“It was big for both of us. We work together all the time. We had two tries since I've been here where we came up short. Just being the quarterback of the team, it really came from everyone, but for me to present that, I bet it mean a lot to him and to us as an organization. It was awesome.”
What did he say to you?
“He was excited. We all kind of jumped around. Probably teared up or cried in the back.”
Can you talk about your performance in primetime games? You have this incredible record of how you've been able to go 6-2 in your primetime starts, and what it was like facing the Patriots' defense tonight.
“Honestly, I just come out and play. I kind of like the night games. More time for preparation and chill with the fam. Relax my mind. For this team, we knew that we had to come out, and we knew that they wanted to stop the run. They're very confident in their secondary. But we're very confident in what we do on offense with our skill guys. For us to go out there and make plays, all the guys make plays to be confident in the route run and know that we're one of the top offenses in the league, it was big for us. We just kind of took it one play at a time, brick by brick. Kept building, and eventually the big plays opened up.”
What has been clicking for you and TE Darren Fells to be successful this year?
“They've been doing a good job, all three, including Jordan Thomas now he's back in the role. Jordan Akins and Fells has been doing a heck of a job of really just being disciplined. Doing what we ask him to do, being real, real sharp and precise in their route runnings. When the opportunity to play comes to them, they make plays. It's been great. We're going to continue to build that as the season continues.”
You said you've been working on that trick play for four weeks. Did you bring it to Bill O’Brien written down on a note card?
“We were watching a game. Actually, I think it was Chicago that did it. Chicago did it. We brought it up. Me and A.J. McCarron were looking at it. We were watching film one day and were like - actually we probably can run that. We threw it out to Tim Kelly, OB (Bill O’Brien) and then Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) saw it, and Hop of course is like, ‘Let's do it! Let’s do it!’. He was excited so we kept working on it, kept working on it. We knew it was the perfect time where once we get inside that five, it's going to come. It was good.”
Where does this win rank for you? With four games left in the season, what does this do to propel you?
“Honestly, for the next four games, continue to build this on momentum. The good things we did in this game against a great defense, a great team can carry on. As far as big wins, honestly, it's pretty big. Really just because it's Brady (Tom Brady). I was 0-2 against Brady. Who knows when he's going to hang it up. That's my role model, a guy that's been doing it forever, over 20 years. I'm only alive for 20 years. It's pretty awesome to finally get one. Just to see the love and respect we have for each other. It was big. It was awesome.”
Did QB Tom Brady say to you after the game?
“Just congratulated me, said keep going, stay healthy. We'll be in touch. We're going to talk this off-season. Definitely a resource that he's going to give an opportunity to check in and learn from him. I'm definitely going to take it.”
Were the touchdown receptions you had in high school or junior high?
“Caught one in middle school, which is junior high. A couple in high school. I think I caught one in college. I can’t remember. Maybe one in college. Now one in the league.”
How do you feel about the roles being reversed? Strange to be on that end?
“No, it's actually pretty cool. I told him I'm an athlete, could play d-end, safety, all that stuff. The more you can do, the longer you play in this league. I can do it all.”
Who did you tell that you're an athlete?
“I tell everybody. The whole team, Romeo (Romeo Crennel), Tim Kelly, you guys now. Later in my career I can still move around, put me on defense or something.”
Can you tell us what the play I called? When you are lined up, and if you don't see what you want to see, what are you thinking?
“I can't tell you the play call. I can't tell you the name. That's a fizz right there. You'll tell everybody. It starts with an A . Honestly it wasn't the perfect look. We wanted man coverage where the safety was one backer here. They went kind of like a two-high look. It was funky at first. I wanted to check out of it. But I was like, ‘No, this is a perfect time’. We got it here. If we don't run it now, probably never run it. So I was like forget it. Me and Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) will make something work. He pulled up. The safety, the corner was sitting out there, I think it was J.C Jackson. I saw Hop tuck it, took one step, and I knew he was going to pitch it right out. I just know Hop like the back of my hand. He just threw it up in the air, I got it, scored. It was cool.”
How important was it for this offense and this team to stay aggressive throughout this whole game knowing what the Patriots have done so many times before?
“We knew that they had different schemes and specialty guys they have on the defense where they’ve been doing different looks at the beginning, it wasn't working. The first drive in the third quarter, they wanted a lot of pressure which is blitz zero. That got us. I knew exactly what they were doing. I knew that was their goal, to stop us and slow us down, especially in the passing game. Were trying to get pressure on us especially in the five-man protection. Try to blitz opposite sides at our point because run the same system. They kind of knew that. After that, I just kind of blocked it out, gave me a little time, let Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), Kenny (Stills), Will (Fuller) do what they do best, make plays downfield. They saw it, too. All on the same page, it worked out.”
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS
How did this team stick together after the Ravens game to find a way to beat the Colts, then beat the Patriots on national TV?
“We stuck together, because we know the kind of players we have in this locker room. We know the kind of team we want to be. We know what is still ahead of us. So that's how we stuck together.”
Can you take us through your touchdown pass and rate yourself as a quarterback?
“Yeah, I would give myself a 10, one out of 10, one out of 11, maybe because I took a hit just to get it to him. No, they played it very well. He was patient. I knew I had to kind of tuck the ball, wait for him to commit, to throw it to Deshaun (Watson). I knew once I threw it to him, he was going to be in.”
What are you thinking when that play gets called in the huddle? What did it look like the first time you tried that out in practice?
“In practice, it wasn't a guy flipping me at practice, that's for sure. It was a lot clearer than it was today. But I knew holding onto the ball, getting the guy to commit, it would lead to Deshaun (Watson) being open. I knew all I had to do was give him the ball.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien jokingly said you guys brought it in on a piece of notebook paper after the bye week. You've been working on it for a while. How long had you been saving this play? Was it something you were saving for the Patriots all year long?
“I'm not the head coach, so I can't answer that question, when they wanted to call it. We knew we possibly could get them on that play today. They're a smart team, they were calling the play out, calling me out coming across. They played it patiently. We just made a better play.”
Can you talk about how your offense matched up against what is considered the best defense in the league?
“We knew if we came out and played our game that we could do some things against those guys. They're a great defense. Can't take nothing away from them. When you got a guy like Deshaun (Watson) back there at quarterback that can scramble, still make plays with his arms, it's hard to defend that. Guys made plays today. Kenny (Stills) made a play, tight ends made plays. Duke (Johnson) made plays. We feel we match up against teams man or zone. We just came out and played a great game on offense and defense.”
What does it mean to be able to beat the Patriots on national television like this?
“It was great. It feels great. I haven't beat those guys since I've been here. It’s another football game. Can't look too much into it. Got to turn the page and move on to Denver this coming week. Might have to see those guys again. Who knows. It was great to finally beat those guys in my career.”
If you're playing with QB Deshaun Watson, do things feel like almost anything is possible, whatever the stage or the opponent is, the situation, that he really can make anything happen?
“Yeah, I think he can. I don't think that's a question that I have to answer. I think he proves that himself by what he does on the field. If I got to answer that, then something's wrong with the scouting analysis of watching him play football. But the guy is special.”
Talk about the game your defense played tonight, how they kept putting it to QB Tom Brady.
“The defense, it starts with RAC (Romeo Crennel) out there calling plays, dialing them up. It's a players league. Went out there and made the plays. Pretty sure they wanted some interceptions they dropped. Knowing those guys, they practice for perfection. Had a great week of practice. Of course, we're not practicing against Tom Brady, but those guys are communicating all week, studying a lot of film together. To beat a team like that takes a lot of communication. That's what they did today.”
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
What did you think of Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel’s strategy tonight?
“He gets all the credit in the world. He’s behind the scenes all the time. He doesn’t ask for much pub, but at the end of the day he puts countless hours in. He stays here up here until 10:30-11:00 at times and trying to do everything he can just to get guys in the right position to make plays.”
What are your thoughts on QB Deshaun Watson’s performance tonight?
“Brilliance. The guy goes out there and plays against a team like that, doesn’t make many mistakes, keeps the chains moving and when we need a play he comes up with the play. That’s what you need from your quarterback, a guy that’s going to lead by example at all times.”
What was the mentality of your defense knowing you were going to face maybe the greatest quarterback of all-time?
“Just keep your poise. At the end of the day it’s going to be a long game. They may make a play here or there, but at the end of the day, keep your poise, go on to the next play. I think that’s what we did tonight.”
OLB WHITNEY MERCILUS
What do you guys feel like you have earned at this point? You’re 8-4, it’s December, and you’re playing games that matter with a division title in sight.
“The thing is we just earned the first spot in the division, as far as that goes, but we’ve got a big game coming up, AFC and all of that. We’ve got to win this thing out. We’ve got to turn the page. Celebrate tonight, turn the page and get ready for the next opponent.”
How can you guys build on this win?
“Just keep doing what we’re doing. Just improve a few things. Keep playing the best ball that we can; especially this time around.”
CB BRADLEY ROBY
What is it like to pick off Tom Brady and have this kind of game your first game back from injury?
“It feels so good. I had to get that sack, because they played me on that second pick. This game was special to me, because my grandfather just passed (away). I went to the funeral yesterday, and I promised him, and I promised myself that I would make some plays. He was blind, so he never saw me play. Maybe he could see me now. That’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to honor him. Rest in peace to my granddad.”
When did you feel your grandfather with you the most tonight?
“When I scored. I felt that energy. The whole crowd just went crazy. That’s why I took my helmet off. I just wanted them to feel me, because I felt so good. I felt great.”
How much credibility do you feel like you guys built in beating one of the top teams in the AFC, and really, a legacy franchise in the Patriots?
“I think it was great, because a lot of guys were counting us out. They weren’t giving us a shot and we showed that we can compete with the best of them.”
Do you feel in any kind of way this game was a statement game for you guys as people try to figure out how good this team really is?
“Definitely. We think we can play with the best of them. We had a couple of games earlier in the season that we felt like we should have won, but we didn’t. Now, it’s just about keep stacking the days, taking it play-by-play and just keep playing to our potential.”