Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien and select players comment on their 20-27 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
TEXANS HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
September 9, 2018
Q: Bill, could you talk about your slow start on offense today?
BO: I don't know yet John, I have to go back and, like I always tell you, we got to see what we did. And obviously it wasn't good. But these guys kept fighting and we had a chance there at the end. You know, albeit a small chance, we had a chance. So, we just got to watch the tape and get better.
Q: Talk about when you went for it on fourth and 5. Your thoughts on that?
BO: I guess felt like at that point, you know again, if you kick too many field goals, which we really did. But those fourth downs, were fourth and longer, when we kicked the field goals. There, maybe it was manageable, so we felt like we had a play. Which we did, we just didn't make the play.
Q: What did you think of Deshaun [Watson], as the game went on…
BO: Look, I think he fought, I think he was getting hit, I think it's a game that I think we will have to review and try to get better from. But to be able to review it with you guys here, I wouldn't be able to do that.
Q: What did you think about the run game and if it helped to get the offense into rhythm?
BO: Yeah, I felt like we ran the ball. I think Lamar [Miller] almost ran for 100 yards. We probably rushed for 170 or something, close to that. I felt, you know, we tried to run it early, wasn't as good early, but it got pretty good there in the second half. Just weren't able to finish it.
Q: What do you think about your offensive line having to deal with the fact that Seantrel [Henderson] went out.
BO: Yeah, we just feel like Martinas [Rankin] is very comfortable on the left and so we felt like that was the move going in, if something were to happen like that. It's too bad that that happened, but we felt like that was the best move if something happened to Seantrel.
Q: 1:09 left in the first half, [Rob] Gronkowski made a catch that looked like he didn't. Did you think about calling a timeout?
BO: No. It's not my job to do that. Let me make it clear, that I don't have challenges with two minutes to go. So we are all clear on that.
Q: I mean, could you have taken a time out, hoping he would have [inaudible].
BO: Yeah, great, I guess so John.
Q: Do you think they blew it?
BO: I don't have any idea, John. I will have to watch that on tape. That's not my job to call a time out, to make their job easier. You know, what I am trying to do is make sure we go into halftime with a 14-6 lead. I mean, down 14-6. Say I call a time out there, they rule it a catch, now the Patriots have more time to put a play together. You know, whatever you are going to write, you are going to write. But that's not my job to do that.
Q: The concern with Kevin Johnson's status and his head injuries…
BO: You know, you are always concerned when you have things like that. We followed every protocol in him coming back to us. You know, he was cleared and you know, I feel terrible that it happened today. But you know, you always feel bad. We hold Kevin in high regard and feel bad about it.
Q: Bill, could you go back to the [Rob] Gronkowski catch. Were you disappointed they didn't review that?
BO: I have no idea, Mark. These are all questions that I probably should have said to John in the beginning. These are questions for Al Riveron and the NFL, not for me. They are not questions for me. It's not my job, you know.
Q: Who's the difference in the second half, when y'all started hitting [Tom] Brady, when you didn't get to him in the first [half]?
BO: Yeah, I mean, I don't know John. You know, I think that we hit him in the first half. I don't know how much, but you know, he's a great competitor. You know, he had some great plays in there. But our guys got after him pretty good.
Q: What did you change at halftime that looked like Deshaun [Watson] was getting rid of the ball quicker?
BO: I don't know, I mean, we really didn't change too much. It felt like in the first half, that we were running plays that were there, we just weren't executing. And so, we came out and said, “Hey look, these are the plays,” and they started working a little bit better. We just didn't have enough there at the end.
Q: Bill, it's tough to beat the Patriots, period. Here, period. Then the first offensive play, fumbled.
BO: Yeah, no way to start. You just can't start that way and you just cannot turn it over. We turned it over a couple times, they turned it over too. But they were able to turn our turnovers into touchdowns and, you know, we weren't able to turn their turnovers into touchdowns every time. We did it once, I think. So, it really came down to red area, third down, they were just better than us in the red area on offense than our offense. Better than us on third down.
Q: Brady does get rid of the football quickly, not easy to sack. [JJ] Watt has not had a lot of success getting to [Tom] Brady, for the last, we are talking years now. I think he's had a half a sack. Are they really focusing on JJ specifically?
BO: I don't know, I don't think so. I think he just does a good job of getting rid of the ball, they max protect sometimes, they chip the edge. You know, they do a really good job. He does a great job of understanding who is rushing, and knowing that the ball has to come out. So, you know, I think we hit him today. I think there were just sometimes he was able to make some plays.
Q: Can you talk about [Tyrann] Mathieu's big plays?
BO: Yeah Tyrann, you know look, that's why we brought him here. You know, we think he's an instinctive player from what I can see. Again, I have to watch the tape close to see exactly what was going on, but from what I can see, he played a good solid game.
Q: What are your thoughts on special teams?
BO: I thought the return game was decent, you know. I thought Tyler [Ervin] did some good things, there were some lanes there. We spent a lot of time on that. Looked like Trevor [Daniel] punted decently, for the most part, so I think it was OK. And we will just keep working to get better.
Q: For most of the game, you guys didn't seem to have the tempo you wanted on offense. You tried to go a little no huddle. What was the issue in terms of getting up to the line and getting things going?
BO: No, I mean, we weren't able to make the plays to get us a bunch of first downs where we could get into tempo. You know, I thought the operation before the ball was snapped was pretty good. It was once the snapped, there were too many times where we didn't execute at a high level as we needed to. That's what we need to fix. It wasn't really that we were taking too much time, I think that's the way we wanted to play. And then when we got a first down, we were able to get into tempo, we were able to move the ball. We just didn't have that opportunity enough.
Q: The lack of preseason snaps for the first unit, is that much of an issue? Or the injuries to the receivers?
BO: Yeah, I don't know Jerome. I think, I wouldn't go back and do anything differently in the preseason. I thought we worked hard in training camp and Hop [DeAndre Hopkins] was out there all the time. You know, not having Will Fuller is not great. You know, he was out there a lot during training camp, but wasn't available today. You know, but anyways, that's not an excuse. That's just the way it is, injuries happen in the league. You know, I felt like we had a bunch of preparation for this game.
Q: Did [Seantrel] Henderson break his ankle?
BO: I don't know that yet, Sarah. I know it's a significant injury, but I don't know yet.
QUARTERBACK DESHAUN WATSON
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
September 9, 2018
Q: How did you feel with your first full game and what are some things that went well and some things that didn't go well?
DW: For me, personally, I think it was terrible on my part. So you can just - I just feel like you can put the ‘L' on me because I'll be way better than what I showed today. Just my energy was low and just overthinking the little things. But we just got to capitalize in the red zone, don't turn the ball over and just kind of continue to do what we do. Take it one play at a time, be on the same page and just go from there.
Q: How was painful was that to use the word terrible and put the ‘L' on you?
DW: No, I mean, that's just me. I'm the leader of the team, leader of this offense so as I go, the offense goes. And it was just kind of not enough energy, not enough pace on our part and I just take the blame. I take all the heat for that and just kind of continue to move forward and just get ready for next week, put this behind us and learn from it.
Q: Did you think you got better in the second half?
DW: I mean, we just got our things going. We were doing things in the first half that were there, we just weren't capitalizing and then in the second half, we just capitalized on those opportunities but just not enough.
Q: What happened on the first play with the fumbled hand-off?
DW: Just miscommunication.
Q: On the interception, did you think you had a free play there because they had thrown a flag?
DW: Honestly, I did, but I mean, I tried to take a shot also. I saw the flag but I thought it was on them but you know, they made a good play on it.
Q: To have the first offensive play this season be a fumble, how tough is that to have that happen?
DW: I mean, adversity just hit on the first play and we just had to overcome it. We had the opportunities to do that, we just got to keep pushing forward.
Q: What did Bill [O'Brien] say to the team after the game?
DW: I wasn't - I was in the training room getting an IV for my cramp.
Q: At the end of the game, it looked like you may have hurt your foot or something?
DW: No, it was just a cramp.
Q: Just cramps?
Q: You said there was miscommunication on the fumble. What was the play supposed to be, what were you trying to do?
DW: No, it was just miscommunication between us two.
Q: How do you think the offensive line responded after Seantrel Henderson went down?
DW: The unit did well. The offensive line did well. They did their job. Created holes for Lamar [Miller], [Alfred] Blue and Tyler [Ervin] and they held up for me to get the passes down the field, I just got to capitalize and just get my rhythm back and just continue to go from there. That unit, the offensive line, did a heck of a job and will continue to grow and protect me and open holes up for the running backs and I think they did real good.
Q: Did you sense you guys were close to turning it around there because obviously you made it close late?
DW: I mean, for sure. We always - I mean, the game is never over until it's over so we always have opportunities and we just got to go out there in those situations and just try to put things together. The defense did a heck of a job of keeping us in the game and not letting the offense kind of blow the game away and they gave us opportunities and we just didn't capitalize on all the opportunities, especially in the red zone. We just got to get back to the drawing board and continue to go from there. It's a long year, it's one for us to grow on and continue to push forward.
Q: What do you have to do to capitalize on this?
DW: Just capitalize, really. Just execute.
Q: Obviously you said you felt like you didn't play very well. Were there times throughout the game where you felt like you were going to turn it around and the offense was going to get rolling?
DW: I mean for sure. I wasn't during the game thinking that I was playing terrible. It was just - I feel like after all, if I put the whole game together, I felt like I could have done more and could have capitalized, hit some more receivers and just been on the same page with the offense. But like I said, as I go the offense goes and my energy and my level of play wasn't up to par and we lost by seven.
Q: Where'd you sense most of the pressure from the Patriots pass rush?
DW: Really nowhere, I was just holding the ball too long. So that was on me, not the offensive line. You can't block forever so I have to get the ball out quick and continue to try to get the ball into the skill players' hands and let them make plays.
DEFENSIVE END J.J. WATT
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
September 9, 2018
Q: You started getting to Tom Brady in the second half. Did you feel a noticeable difference coming out of halftime?
JW: Yeah. No, I definitely think, I don't know what the reasoning was but I definitely think I got warmed up and started to feel a little bit more like myself in the second half as opposed to the first.
Q: Talk about the defensive performance overall.
JW: I think we have a lot to improve on. I think there were some good things, I think there were definitely some times where we're proud of our play and then there's some times where I wish we could have some things back. I think the drive at the end of the half was one that we would love to have back.
Q: How do you feel after playing in your first game since your leg injury?
JW: I mean, my body feels good, my body feels fine. I mean, it feels like I played a full football game. Like I said, I think I really started to get lathered up there by the second half and I think that just knocking some of that rust off for a full game and just getting back into a groove and so I'm excited to watch the film, learn from it, grow from it and then go out there next week.
Q: In general, despite what happened during the game, you still had a shot to win late. What do you think about the way it all fleshed out?
JW: I mean, there's no such thing as a moral victory. You don't take anything from it, you going to watch the film, we're going to learn. Obviously that's a very good football team we played and I mean, this league's all about finding a way to win and we just didn't do it at the end of the day. But, it's game one so we're going to go back and watch the film and learn and get ready for game two.
Q: Considering how competitive you are, how frustrating is it to keep coming up here and losing?
JW: Oh, it's obviously very frustrating. Being a competitor, you want to win. You want to compete, you want to win, you want to play your best. I have a lot of respect for those guys in the other locker room and everything that they've accomplished and all that they've done and just obviously would like the outcome to be different.
Q: Is today a good example of why the Texans signed Tyrann Mathieu?
JW: Yeah, he's a great player. We knew we were getting a great player and a guy that can change games and he did a great job today. I mean, obviously with the pick, the fumble recovery. That's another guy that can make game-changing plays and the more we can of that and the more we can all start to do our part in that, the better we're going to be.
Q: Do things feel normal for you out there?
JW: I think in the second half they started to. I think the first half I didn't feel - I don't know what it was. By the time I got to the second half I definitely started to feel a little bit more and more like myself and I just think that's just part of it. I mean obviously having been where I've been the last two years, I think maybe it just took a little bit of time to get back into it but in the second half I definitely started to feel a little bit better.
Q: How reassuring is it to get that feeling back?
JW: It's good. It's good. I want to build off it. I want to grow, I want to start it earlier in the game. I don't want it to start in the second half, I want it to start in the first half. But, you know, it's just fun to be back out there with my boys. You see a guy like D.J. Reader get two sacks, I mean he's a nose guard, I mean, I think that's more sacks than he's had probably his whole college and NFL career combined.
Q: D.J. Reader had three quarterback hits too, what's the difference in him as a pass rusher?
JW: I mean, he's good, he's quick, he's good. I don't know if it's a big difference, I just think he's a good player and sometimes it's just a matter of opportunity. Sometimes it's - I mean they were tossing a lot of chips and double teams out on the edges all day so when you do that, you're obviously going to give somebody else a chance and I think D.J. took advantage of those chances.
Q: Coming into this game, the pass rush was expected to cause problems. Why is this team so tough and why is it so tough to get to Tom Brady?
JW: He gets the ball out of his hands very quickly, they chip, I mean, they use Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] to chip, they use Dwayne [Allen] to chip, they use their backs to chips. You know, they're going to have the guards slide out to help on the edges, they're going to have double teams, they're going to find ways to protect and then you got to find ways to win. It's all part of the game and they do a great job making sure that Tom's good back there and he knows where he's going to be and his depth and all that. They know what they have to go up against and they do a great job of playing against it.
Q: Is it frustrating to you to try to get to Brady?
JW: I mean, it's a challenge. It's always a challenge. When they - if they're going to put multiple guys on you, you have to do what you can and you also have to rely on your other guys like D.J. Reader to get a couple sacks which he did today. But you can't get frustrated because then it's going to affect your game and you can't let it affect your game so you just go out there, you do what you do, and when they do give you a one-on-one, you take advantage of it.
Q: Does it make you feel good to get your first shot on your leg where you got hurt last year?
JW: I took that one a while back. I took that one in training camp at some point. But yeah, it's good to play a full game and to know it lasts, to know it holds up, to know it - I didn't think about it once so that's all you can ask for.
Q: It's got to be nice for you to get a full game in with a player like Tyrann Mathieu.
JW: Yeah, we talked about it a little bit earlier. He's been great. I mean, he has a pick, he has a fumble recovery, he's a play-maker and he makes plays, that's what he does. So we're very glad to have him as part of our team.
Q: All losses have to be frustrating but when you know you have to beat a team like this to get where you want to go, is it particularly irritating that you haven't been able to get that done?
JW: I mean, it's definitely frustrating. It's always frustrating to lose, especially here, especially - you know, you hate to lose. But you also have to remember this is game one and we can't let it put us into some sort of rut that's going to carry over. We have to put it behind us, learn from it and move on and go on and play game two.
Q: How much did it impact the game that after the defense got a stop, the offense gave it right back off that fumble and the Patriots scored?
JW: I mean you have to - you handle the situations that you're given. You control what you can control, you do what you can and you try to handle the situations the best you can. There's - you can look at so many different things throughout the game that affected the outcome of the game and you want to try to point to one thing, you're not going to be able to. Like I said, the drive at the end of the half, as a defense, we'd love to have that one back and maybe a fumble here that goes the other way or maybe half-second, quarter of a second longer he holds the ball or all different things. So you try and nitpick but until we watch the film and truly see what we can improve upon, we won't really know.