CHARGERS HEAD COACH ANTHONY LYNN
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 13, 2019
AL: Well, tip my hat off to New England. They played a heck of a football game today. We dug ourselves in a hole in the first half, but the guys came back out in the second half and competed hard. It was a little too late. We didn’t play our best game today, for whatever reason, but like I said, my hat off to New England. They’ve been here before and they showed up today.
Q: What can you take away from this game today, that can help, in terms of next season? What have you learned?
AL: Well, I’ve learned that no one game doesn’t define who we are and our football season, for sure. And those men, they fought hard all year and there were some difficult situations that we fought back and won. And today, we just couldn’t get that done. But like I said, I liked the way they came out and competed in the second half. And you know, I’m not sure if you can take away anything from this one game today. You know, we got our butt’s kicked today. But we can learn a lot from this year and this season from one another. It’s not a comfortable moment for us, for sure, but I think in these times we can learn a lot about ourselves. And we can grow and be a better person, better teammate, better coach.
Q: Sir, you have been in the division several years before you came here. You’ve seen the best of the best of the Patriots. Haven’t seen a lot of it this year, we saw it against the Jets and today offensively, it looked like [Tom] Brady of old. Not that he’s had a great year, but today was like …
AL: I was expecting to see his best today. It’s playoff time. And he’s been here before and he’s one of the best that’s ever been on that football field, so he did a heck of a job of taking advantage of some of the personnel matchups. You know, their running backs, they ran the ball well. They caught the ball well, they extended drives and just little things like that. He’s really good at finding that and weaknesses in the defense. So, we made some adjustments, but it was a little too late. And you know, we went little, like we did last week some, but that running game was just too physical today. You know, we had to get our linebackers in and then sometimes they got us in some matchups in the passing game that we didn’t like. So, they did a heck of a job picking us apart. But we did not play good complementary football. Complementary football is what got us here, in all three phases. Today, we just didn’t play well enough.
Q: Coach, in the first half, your defense was on the field practically the whole game. Time of possession, number of plays, you just couldn’t get a stop defensively…
AL: You know, we couldn’t get a stop defensively and when we got on the field offensively, we got to stay on the field. You know, I think we had 20 plays in the first half and that’s just not enough plays to get into a rhythm. And I thought that hurt us. We couldn’t run the football, we got behind by three scores, kind of took our running game away from us, a little bit. And so, whenever we aren’t balanced on offense, then you know, we tend to struggle to stay on the football field.
Q: How much of it was what they did and how much of it was what you guys did?
AL: You know, I don’t know how much of it was what they did, but I know they did enough. I know that, and they did it early, and they did it fast and often. So we didn’t make good enough adjustments, I guess.
Q: Gus’ [Bradley] defense, you got Jahleel [Addae] on blitzing a lot. Was that something you talked about as the game was going on …
AL: Yes, we did. As the game went on, we did blitz a little bit more. We got DJ [Derwin James] down in the box, we brought him some off the edge, DJ, Desmond [King II], and we mixed it up with him and some linebackers. But we did try to blitz him a little bit more, yes.
Q: What can you say about the running game? Just like you said, you want to create balance, but it seemed like you were never able to get that going …
AL: The running game never existed today. We got in the hole too fast. We got down by three scores pretty quick and it’s kind of hard to stick with it, when you get down that much early.
QUARTERBACK PHILIP RIVERS
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 13, 2019
Q: Can you take us through the first half after the promising first drive?
PR: Yeah, well I’m not going to take you through all of it. It was 35 to 7, I mean, you saw it. We answered right away and like we’ve done all year, we’ve really complemented each other well and if one side needed picking up a little bit, we’ve done that. We did it right away after the first drive, they had it what, seven minutes and then we answered. They scored again and we didn’t answer and they scored again and we didn’t answer and they scored again and we didn’t answer. We needed to and we knew offensively that our defense was going to settle in and they needed us and we didn’t hold up our end offensively. A couple missed third-down conversions, a couple – just lack of execution on our end. Any time you score – we ended up scoring more late, obviously we know how those points work but we were sitting with what, seven, with what was it, three, four minutes left in the – two and half minutes left in the third quarter. That’s not good offense. I know our defensive guys have probably said they’re disappointed in how they played but that was a collective team loss. Just how we’ve won 13 games together, we’ve lost all five together and it was no different today. They were just better than us.
Q: How much of what they were doing reflect that they had that extra week to prepare and zero in on you guys?
PR: They just played better. I don’t know that it had anything to do with the extra week. They played better. I don’t know that they did a ton of stuff defensively that surprised us. That first drive, like I said, we answered and scored. We did some things, it seems like we got to midfield every possession that first half, just about. And then we just stalled, lack of some third down conversions, not as efficient on first and second down. When it comes to an end, we can analyze it all we want. They scored more points than we did and they were the better team today.
Q: You’re generally known as a terrific competitor. Was there ever a point where you felt as if your competitiveness got to a level of frustration?
PR: No, I don’t think so. One thing I know and thankfully I think – it’s a collective effort in this regard is, we’re never going to quit. I don’t care what the score is, we’re going to play until that last second ticks to zero. So I think that was it. Maybe there’s a little more emotion coming out at the end because you just hate that it’s over. It’s hard when it ends. There’s nothing like playoff football because you never take the field expecting it to be the last game unless you’re in the last game and you know it is and that’s the Super Bowl. Maybe there’s a little bit extra that came out at the end. That’s part of it, that’s the way I play my best. In many ways, that wasn’t my best today. Obviously when you don’t score more points than the other team, you’re not. But we’re going to fight until the end and I thought at least we can say we did that. It doesn’t count for much at this point but in the big scheme of things, it counts a heck of a lot.
Q: So it would be unfair to say that you showed a lack of composure out there that may have cost his team?
PR: You can decide whether that’s unfair or not. I know that’s not the case in any – not at all.
Q: It took you so long to get back to this point. There must be a lot of emotions going on right now.
PR: Yeah, it’s tough. I was excited this week, I was excited to come back here. It was an emotional week a little bit just being back here in the postseason after being here 11 years ago almost to the day, a week shy of 11 years. I think like every team, when you go into the game, you expect to win and I certainly thought we were going to have a better outing. But we didn’t. So it is emotional because I think you know how hard it is to get to January the 13th and be in a playoff game. You’re talking an eight, nine month deal and to come up short again is tough. A lot of good this year, I think as the dust settles you can appreciate more of that. But certainly a disappointing finish. You get up and start again.
Q: That last touchdown pass to Antonio Gates might be the last catch he ever makes if he decides to retire. Is there something special about that, something emotional there?
PR: I think it will be if were to be. Pretty cool that if it were to be his last one, that his last catch was a touchdown. You’re talking about a guy that’s caught more than anybody in the history of tight ends and he and I have thrown more in the history of quarterbacks and tight ends. If that were to be the last one, at least – nothing to be excited about right now but if it were to be, you’d look back one day and say it ended just how it started there a long time ago.
Q: You’ve played the Chiefs this season and the Patriots today. How are they similar and how are they different?
PR: Well, they’re both well-coached football teams. I think from a defensive standpoint they both play their scheme and they believe in it. Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of surprises today from that defense. I watched pretty much every game they played this season and they mixed some things and yeah, they had a few wrinkles but they played true to what got them another however many straight division championships they’ve gotten and now their eighth-straight championship game. They didn’t change a whole lot. So I think both teams kind of are going to do what they do. Going against Kansas City’s defense and their scheme for the last seven, eight years, they do what they do. You saw in the first meeting, it was 43 to 40 I guess. So I would expect a lot of points.
Q: Will you watch the game next week?
PR: I’ll watch it. I hope they play for about three days. Really, I hope it lasts three days and they finally just call it a draw.
Q: Where do you usually watch the Super Bowl? At home with your family?
PR: Yeah, at the house.
Q: 9-7 last year, 12-4 this year and you get to where you’re at now. How do you take the next step next year?
PR: Yeah, I think the thing is, I think just guys have to know how tough it is to get to right today. I think it’s easy in the heat of the moment to say, ‘Hey, we’ll be back and we’ll get it done next year.’ That’s a long way from now, to get to right here. Let’s not forget how hard it was to get here and we can appreciate that and then learn from the highs and the lows and the good and the bad of this game so we can fight to find our way back in this game and then how can this game help us. So it’s a long journey, it’s probably hard to sum it up like that. But we definitely improved from last year, you look at 0-4 and then what is that – we’ve won what, 22 of the last however many that is – 22 of the last 27 or something like that. 22 of the last 30 maybe? So we’ve won a lot of football games since that tough start last year. For the most part, the nucleus of this team is going to be here. You regroup and go back at it again.
Q: How important is it to be home for a playoff game instead of having to get on a plane and play an away game?
PR: Yeah, well I think it’s easy in hindsight, right? I mean we won every game we got on a plane this year except for this one. So we’d done a heck of a job on the road. Sometimes you look at what you did and you go, ‘Yeah, let’s just keep them all on the road because we’’ve been good on the road.’ But I think that’s probably just your emotion once you kind of feel like, ‘Oh yeah, let’s just keep riding that out.’ But I think if you really think about it, yeah, you want to be at home. There’s no question, you want to be at home where it’s about 65 degrees and it’s your place, not dealing with the noise and being able to communicate and all those things. Those things could have helped a little bit today too. But they just outplayed us, they just outplayed us. I do want to go back to your question about the composure because there was never a lack of composure, I think sometimes my demonstrative movements may look that way but I was just poised as could be. The whole time.
Q: And I wasn’t trying to be unfair, as we watch the game from the other side, it’s fair to come and ask you.
PR: No question. If you’ve watched me for 210 games, as you’d see for all 210, it’s served me well for the most part.
Q: When you look at Tom Brady and that offense today and how they played against your defense, are you more impressed that he’s doing that at age 41 against your defense?
PR: I don’t know if there’s anything he can do now that makes you have any more respect. For what he’s done over his career, I don’t think that he can throw another pass or do anything that makes you go, ‘Oh man, gosh, he is really good.’ I think he’s up there, if not the all-time great, one of. That argument can go on forever and so I don’t think he can surprise you with anything he does. Was he rolling at the highest level today? I think we all would agree with that.
Q: Can you put your finger on what it was today that contributed to the loss?
PR: They just outplayed us. I think that’s why – there’s so many people that watch and so many people that care because it’s a game and if you could say, ‘Well, they’re going to do the same thing and what are you all going to run?’ Well, okay, we’ll do the percentages and just give it to the team that we think is going to win. I think that’s why you play it out. They just outplayed us. We felt this game was going to be about execution on both sides of the ball and I think collectively, as a team, we got out-executed. When you do that and you’re already going against a heck of an opponent as you always are in the postseason, you usually fall short.
PLAYERS IN THE :LOCKER ROOM
Jahleel Addae, S
(On the Patriots)
“You have got to give credit where credit is due. They came out and executed and we just didn’t today. No excuses. They prepared well, we prepared well. Their best foot forward was better than ours.”
(On the Chargers season)
“Two years ago four wins, last year missing the playoffs by one game now two wins short of the Super Bowl. We are climbing the ladder and that is what we are going to build off of.”
(On the moment of silence)
“We didn’t know it [was coming]. We appreciate the Patriots organization. They’re a first class, stand up organization to do such a thing, they didn’t have to. I know he [Brandon Mebrane] appreciates it and we appreciate it as well.”
Joey Bosa, DE
(On the play of the defense)
“We knew what they were going to do. We knew Tom [Brady] was going to get the ball out quick. We were out of our gaps in the run game. We were a little better in the second half. I am proud of our defense and the way we fought in the second half. No one laid down. It’s a matter of execution. I’m probably not going to go in and watch film tomorrow.”
(On the weather and the coast to coast travel)
“You can say all that but I felt pretty good out there. They got the bye week and we didn’t but that’s not the reason [for the loss]. I think if we executed and played ball like we needed to, I don’t know, we just didn’t execute and that’s it.”
(On Brandon Mebane)
“I gave him a big hug after the game. It was a tough moment. We are dealing with this stuff here which we think is a big deal and he’s dealing with real life problems and real issues. For him to come back and still be a part of this team means so much to all of us and it means a lot to him too.”
Melvin Gordon III, RB
(On the loss)
“It was just overall a bad day. We didn’t make the plays; we didn’t convert on third down. We couldn’t get off the field, couldn’t stay on the field. Playing a hard team, a good team like that it’s going to beat you every time.”
(On the success on the road during the regular season and not getting it done today)
“It’s tough, there was so much work going to this behind the scenes and to be two games away from the big one. It hurts to come up short. These guys have been battling and fighting, scratching and clawing throughout the season. Through injuries or whatever, just to get a taste to feel what it feels like to be a champion.”
(On the Patriots game plan)
“They did a good job of keeping us on the sideline. When it was our turn we just didn’t make enough plays to have that shootout with them. Our defense has been playing phenomenal all year. We got to help each other out, each and every one of us.”
Derwin James, S
(On what gave the defense so many problems)
“It was just them coming out and executing their game plan. I don’t feel like we played our best football as a defense in the first half.”
(On whether travel was a factor)
“No, they just came out and were the better team today. I feel they came out and executed and we didn’t. We played better on defense in the second half, but it was too late. Once [Tom] Brady has a lead on you like that, it’s tough.”
(On whether the Patriots disguised the plays to the running backs)
“Yeah they did. They did a great job of disguising, motioning and making stuff look different than what was on film. Like I said, they did a great job today.”
(On what was different about being able to come back today)
“We were down by 35. Those other games we were down by 14 and 16 points. When you get down by 35, you make it hard on your offense.”
Russell Okung, T
(On the game)
“We told ourselves that in order to win this game you have got to execute and you have got to execute early. We weren’t able to do that and against a really good team like New England when the game gets away from you it is hard to dig yourself out of that hole. Those guys did a really good job against us, they executed way better than we did. We made a lot of mistakes today and you can’t win making that many mistakes.”
Adrian Phillips, S
(On what the Patriots did that caused the Chargers problems)
“They had different formations that they hadn’t shown all year, but that’s what every offense does. You are never going to know every single thing that the offense is trying to do. When they are throwing it to the running back like that, you have to get 11 guys rallying to the ball. They always utilize their backs and they did a good job today. They just executed.”
(On how much the loss hurts)
“I’m hurting. It’s the end of the season. You feel like you have an opportunity to go all the way, but you know that you have to go to Foxborough and beat one of the greatest of all time. He [Tom Brady] showed up to play today and his team showed up to play today. Unfortunately, they made more plays than we did. My hats off to them, their offense executed more than our defense did. They had almost 500 yards of total offense, so that’s on the whole defense. We laid an egg today; we didn’t show up the way we usually do.”
Darius Philon, DL
(On the defense)
“They [the Patriots] just played great ball on their side of the ball and we came out with a loss. They did everything we expected and it was up to us to stop it. From my standpoint, from my play, I didn’t do my job. I put it all on me. I could have done better. I could have done much more to help my team get the W but I feel like I didn’t. I’m proud of all these guys in this room because we hung together.”
(On what they can take away from the game)
“I think it’s just remember this feeling. How it feels to be going home on a five-hour plane ride after a loss knowing you won’t get the opportunity next week.”
Isaac Rochell, DE
(On what happened)
“They played a great game. They played better than us today. It hurts.”
Michael Schofield, G
(On the game)
“Not our best game offensively, defensively, anything. It was a team loss. We have been traveling the whole year and they were just as cold as we were. We just didn’t play well. We had a hell of a year. We did some really good things this year.”
(On the moment of silence)
“That was a really classy move right there. That was really cool. I don’t know if he [Brandon Mebane] knew that was coming, I didn’t know, but that was a real classy move right there.”