HEAD COACH BRANDON STALEY
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 3, 2023.
Q: How challenging were the conditions out there?
BS: December game. Good NFL football game. Good football weather.
Q: What can you say about JK Scott and the game he had today?
BS: Yeah, he's a weapon. He has been for us for two years and a game like that that becomes a defensive field position game, you're going to need your specialist to come alive and Cam [Dicker] was two for two with his kicks, and JK [Scott] has seven punts inside the 20, and we were really able to flip the field and get the momentum. That was the way we were able to gain momentum in the game. He was fantastic.
Q: What does this say about the job Ryan Ficken's done from when he took over to now you have a special teams unit that can go out and win a game for you?
BS: Yeah, Daniel, as you know, from the beginning that's been a huge goal of ours is to improve that unit. When we got here, it was among the worst in the NFL and now we're among the best in the NFL and I think these last two weeks playing against Baltimore and New England, they're two of the top special teams units perennially in the league. So, Ryan [Ficken] and Chris [Gould] have been awesome. And then we've invested a lot in specialists, in our core special teams guys. I think you've seen our young guys that we drafted three years ago, they're all a big part of our core teams and it was big for us today and we needed it, and Deruis [Davis] also gave us a huge lift in the return game, and he's been doing a great job with ball security and flipping the field for us, too.
Q: How valuable is it having a veteran like Josh Harris on a day like today when it's that rainy and windy?
BS: I'm so glad that you mentioned him because on a day like today, you need that leadership. You need that togetherness. You know, on the punt team, when you're out there a lot, hey, this is going to be the unit that can decide the game, and I felt like just that connection that those guys have on that punt team is really strong right now. We're protecting really well, recovering well, we're punting well, and it's definitely a unit that's one of our strengths right now.
Q: Brandon, how badly did you feel like your guys needed this win today?
BS: Whatever that – whatever that level is, probably the highest. Ten out of ten is probably how I would explain it. Had a good week of practice. Knew it was going to be a tough game. That's a good defensive group over there, Bill [Belichick], Steve [Belichick], that group, they do a great job coaching on defense. They've got a lot of good players on defense and they play together well. It was just a tough game. It was a defensive game, and, you know, our guys were able to make one play at the end to seal it and that's what we needed to do on offense. We took care of the ball today. There was no turnovers, there were no sacks, and we made a big play there at the end to finish it for us.
Q: What do the next few hours look like for you heading home and what do you look at? What do you – how do you assess this and obviously feel good and shut out in the NFL and…?
BS: Yeah, I think, Sam, just decompress, and you got to look at the game right away, try to do it right away so that we can get moving, you know, to Denver, but I think from an after action standpoint, our team, I think, played one of its top games as a team on the road. I think we did what we had to do to win today and that was a big goal of ours, you know. There weren't going to be any style points today. I wasn't expecting it to be a high-scoring affair. I think what our guys did is they really locked in and focused on what type of game it was going to be and it took that mindset all the way until the last play for us to be totally focused for an entire game, 60-minute game, and doing what it takes, and I told the team that's what you have to do in the NFL. Sometimes the games are a track meet, 41-38. Sometimes, hey, there's a game like today, six-nothing, you have to do what it takes to win and I thought that was a good step for us.
Q: Did you guys have a feeling that Zappe would be the quarterback? And is preparing for him any different than preparing for Mac Jones?
BS: You know, I don't think you know anything coming out of there, no one really does, but we just knew that Mac [Jones] and Bailey [Zappe] would be similar. I think he moves a little bit better, so we were ready for the movement aspect of him and we were ready for [Malik] Cunningham as well, just if he showed up in the game. So, I thought our defensive coaches did a really good job getting our guys ready to play today.
Q: How'd you feel like the offense played?
BS: Well, I mean, it was tough out there. I don't think – we didn't run the football well at all and in the passing game, you know, far too many drops. You know, I thought that Justin [Herbert] was accurate today. I thought that he played exceptionally well today under the conditions. I thought his decision-making was good. He was strong with the ball, but just far too many drops today, and just not a clean enough game for us. But I think what we can build on are the no sacks and no turnovers and as you know, the previous three games we have lost the turnover margin. Today we won it, and that's a big positive coming in a game that has some elements.
QUARTERBACK JUSTIN HERBERT
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, December 3, 2023.
Q: How tough were the conditions out there today?
JH: Yeah, it was a tough day out there. You know, the rain, we knew coming into the game that we were going to have to deal with it. You know, I thought we did a good job practicing throughout the week getting prepared for it. We talked about it, but ultimately, it's tough out there so we did our best, we battled and I thought the defense played really well today.
Q: No turnovers in the rain. I know that was a point of emphasis. How proud are you of that?
JH: Yeah, ball security's big. That's one of the three things we always talk about is limiting those turnovers, and any time you're able to do that in a weather game like that, you know, I think that was huge for our offense.
Q: You're probably frustrated if you have to punt, right? But when JK Scott's out there, you know, pinning them in the 10, how much confidence does that kind of give the team?
JH: Yeah, we have so much belief in him. You know, he's done such a great job all year, and to have a guy like that, who's able to flip the field, especially in a game that's as tight as this, you know, it's super helpful for a team to be able to pin somebody back like that. He did a great job today.
Q: Justin, how much does this win revitalize the season?
JH: You know what? It's a big one for us, but we have to take it one week at a time and, you know, we have a good opponent coming in to – I think – I believe LA next week, so we got to get ready for them. We'll have a good week of practice, watch the film on this one, and take it week-by-week.
Q: Justin, what was your impression of the Patriots' defense today?
JH: I thought they were really good. They're really well-coached and they're really talented on that side of the ball, and on offense as well. But, no, they fly around, they communicate really well, and, you know, they play passionate, fast defense, so it's always a tough matchup going against then.
Q: Any personal satisfaction for you first time beating the Patriots?
JH: Yeah, we've got a ton of respect for the Patriots. We know how good they are and we know how good they've been over the past few years and several decades as well, so we have a ton of respect for them and for us to be able to get this win and moving forward, it's huge for us.
Q: Sorry if you were already asked this, but the conditions, 40s and rainy, I know growing up in Oregon you're probably used to it but it's been a while. How did you see the conditions affecting you and the guys out there, you know?
JH: Yeah, it's always tough when you're playing in rain like that and as consistent as it was throughout the game, that's the tough part. Growing up in the northwest, it's two quarters, three quarters, it's generally come and go, but this was a steady, you know, downpour so we did our best out there. No turnovers. I think that was big for our offense.
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Keenan Allen, WR
(On what it means to get back on the winning side of things)
"It's huge. It's always great to win a game, no matter the fashion, no matter how it gets done, as long as you get in that column, it always feels great."
(On what it was like playing in the weather)
"I didn't think it was too bad. Obviously the rain, we're not used to that at all, but the weather wasn't bad at all."
(On if there was a feeling of relief ending the three-game losing streak)
"Absolutely. The defense held the rope once again and hats off to those guys. Obviously, the offense, we have to be better. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot – drops, offsides and stuff like that, we just have to be better."
Khalil Mack, OLB
(On the game)
"It was relentless and it was a relentless pursuit. Understanding that they made some plays but ultimately defensively we were able to rally, which we have been working on, along with penalties and all those things, and in between. We are taking it week by week and understanding the challenges and getting ready for the next one as well."
(On having eight sacks in the last five games)
"Man, I have to give all the credit to Coach [Brandon] Staley and Coach Giff [Smith] and totally the guys up front, and [Morgan] Fox, Nick [Williams], Bash [Sebastian Joseph-Day], AJ [Austin Johnson] and then the guys covering in the back end. This team balled and we are playing great team ball right now. We just need to get ready for the next game, the Broncos."
JK Scott, P
(On whether today was the best game of his career)
"Maybe. I don't know. There are some games where you don't punt much and you don't have a big role, but today there was just more punts so you are playing more of a role. I was really happy with how I played. I was just having fun, not worrying about results or performance, but just going out there and having fun."
(On setting franchise record with seven punts inside the 20-yard line)
"I just think that we had a lot of opportunities to do that and we just executed on them. I'm not saying this to be humble or whatever, but I don't try to think about the results or the stats anymore. I used to do that a lot but I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy each opportunity to the best of my ability."
(On how challenging the conditions were to play in)
"They were actually not super challenging at all because of Josh [Harris]. He was on us all week about doing wet ball drills in practice. We were drenching the balls every single day and working that, so we were ready to go. We were prepared on field goal and punt to be able to do that."
(On the punt that was downed at the New England 2-yard line)
"Honestly, I wasn't trying to do that. I was just trying to hit a high ball but it was so windy that the wind kind of pushed it out. It was just a good situation."
Tuli Tuipulotu, OLB
(On the win)
"This a great win, a great team win, and we've got to go on a run now. We've got to use this momentum on to next week."
(On the game)
"I think just how big our defense is and no matter what the circumstance is to just go out there and play the game."
(On the defense)
"You expect your big time players to make big time plays when they need us. Khalil Mack two sacks, Derwin James had that last sack, it's great to know that you have those guys who are built for those moments."
Trey Pipkins III, T
(On the play of the defense and special teams)
"It's incredible, some games are just going to be played like that. Some games are going to be sloppy with sloppy conditions, and a defensive battle. It is awesome to see our defense play like that and our special teams were lights out today. It is awesome to see."
(On the defensive challenge from the Patriots)
"I think it's just that they are a big front, so it's just move them, I mean there isn't going to be a ton of space when they are that big inside. That is the biggest challenge is creating as much space as we could in the run game."
Derwin James Jr., S
(On the game)
"It was a great win and it was a great team win. We just need to go on a run and we need to use this momentum on to next week."
(On the defense playing well)
"I think it's how ready our defense is, and no matter what the circumstances we just go out there and play."
(On the big plays by the defense)
"I mean you expect your big-time players to make big-time plays when you need it. So K-mack [Khalil Mack] had two sacks and DJ [Derwin James] had that last sack and it is great to know you have those kind of guys that who built for those moments."