HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
(Opening thoughts…) "It's only appropriate to start off with congratulating Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks for a big win. They played a real good game tonight. It's disappointing to be on the other end of it. I thought in the end we weren't good enough in a number of areas.
I think just from watching it, it was obvious to see. We didn't do a good job in the kicking game overall. I thought our return game really struggled. We gave up to many big plays defensively. Offensively, after the first three or four series, we kind of got in a way there where we weren't matching and we weren't capturing the momentum.
In the second half we were able to get things going and yet we came up short. Its disappointing, it starts with us and myself and the rest of the coaches. I thought they had effort but in the end, not enough to win this game. Its disappointing to get in the post-season and finish with a loss to start."
(Were you restricted in the play calls because of injuries to your team…) "Yes but the runners handled it pretty well. It wasn't until the second half that we got hampered with Reggie (Bush) going down and Julius (Jones) going down. It's been one of those seasons where at that position, we had a number of injuries but yet that wasn't the difference today."
(Did the injuries change your game plan…) "No, I think we wanted to have a balance in that regard coming into the game. Early on, I think we had that and even for the most part in the second half. We wanted to have that mix. What became challenging is after Reggie and Julius went down, we put in Heath Evans and we were a little more one-dimensional at that point.
Our goal and objectives were to come in and have that balance but weren't able to get that done."
(Thoughts on Seattle's big passing plays…) "We will have a chance to look at the film. Yeah, they made some big plays and Matt (Hasselback) played very well. They came up with some big plays offensively."
(What do you think turned the game around after you guys were up 17-7…) "I don't know if there is one play, it's a series of plays, when you look at that second quarter. At that time we weren't staying on the field that long offensively and they hit on some big plays against us defensively."
(What was the key for Seattle victory…) "I think they did a good job of blocking up front. I thought they came out pretty aggressively. They targeted some big plays, especially on third down. He's (Hasselback) an experienced player. We felt like all week that we were going to see him. He played extremely well."
(Thoughts on your defense giving up big plays…)"I think that today there are lot of things that were going to look at and feel that we didn't play to our best. Seattle made big plays when they needed to.
In all three phases we struggled. We didn't manage to have any type of return game. I don't know if we had a return that got past the 20 yard line. Offensively, I thought that the time of possession hindered our defense. Early in that second quarter, I felt the momentum begin to shift. I think we didn't do a good enough job offensively. There are a number of things that go into that."
(Was there anything today that you had problem with early in the season, that came up again today…) "I don't know trying to reflect back to the beginning of the season right now is a good idea. I think fresh off our minds right now is that game. There were certainly some momentum swings back and forth. We felt like we had it early and then it shifted back in their (Seattle) favor. We just weren't able to make enough of the plays that we needed to win in the playoffs and beat a team on the road like that.
QB DREW BREES
(On if the game's momentum changed after the Saints led 17-7…) I feel like we got off to a fast start in a big way. That's what we preached, that's what we talked about, especially coming into this environment where you have to try and find a way to take the crowd out of it. This is definitely one of the loudest places in the league. Not just at moments, but consistently, throughout the entire game. Great fans. Obviously that's a big advantage. We score those 17 points, get a big turnover from our defense – unfortunately we gave one back to them at one point. To go in at haltime 24-20, we scored 20 points in the first half. As I look at the entire game and the complexion of it, obviously both offenses were rolling pretty good. Only four punts on each side. We made it inside their red zone seven times. Seven times. We came away with four touchdowns and three field goals. The unfortunate thing for us offensively is that all three times we got stopped were inside the five-yard line. Just imagine if we could have gotten one more touchdown, two more, out of those three stops. Maybe this is a different game, a different outcome. They made a lot of big plays; we just didn't make enough plays when it came down to it.
(On if he can describe his level of disappointment…) It's no fun to lose in the first round, obviously, because we had high aspirations and expectations for this team. As we looked at the playoff picture we just felt like, hey, we're as good as anybody. We've got as good a shot as anybody. How many teams can say they've gone back and repeated Super Bowl championships? Everything that we've been through this year, especially early on when we started 4-3, I think a lot of people wanted to talk Super Bowl hangover, and yet we kept it in tight and stuck together and found a way to come up with some big victories, starting with that Sunday night Pittsburgh game and then rattling off six in a row, then a huge road Monday night victory at Atlanta – the one seed in this conference – in order to give ourselves a playoff berth. It's hard. It's hard to come off a championship season and put together the season we did. But I felt like down the stretch we were playing well, and I liked the experience level that we had, the fact that we had a lot of guys on our team who were part of the championship last year. We knew what it took to prepare for the playoffs. The level of play, how it just rises and we all rise to the occasion. We knew coming in here, a hostile environment, it doesn't matter what happened during the regular season if you're playing a team again. It's just all those challenges. I felt like, as I speak for the offense, today we played well, just not well enough. We made some plays, but we just didn't make enough of them.
(On the impact and reaction to Marshawn Lynch's TD run…) Here's the thing: We scored, and if we get the onside kick then we're sitting there with one time out, ball on our own 40 and a minute and a half, feeling like we've done this before many times. We can go down, score a touchdown and win this game. There was no doubt. You can't have doubt. There's no room for it, especially with the type of guys we have on that field. We're mentally tough. Obviously that was unfortunate. That was a great effort by Marshawn Lynch on that run. For them to take an 11-point lead, we still felt like we had a shot.
(On if he can process his emotions so soon after the season ended…) That's what's so great about the playoffs. It's single elimination. You move on or you go home. Unfortunately for us, this time we're going home. If there's anything we can take away from this it's that it's hard to win in this league. It's hard to win on the road, especially in the playoffs. I feel like we've got a special group of guys, and we'll see how this off-season plays out as we go into next season. But I feel like we have the opportunity, the type of men, to make a run at it here for years to come, hopefully.
*(On constantly starting drives with poor field position…) *Now that you mention it, with the exception of the first kickoff that was kicked out of bounds, I felt that our field position was deep in our own territory a lot. It's loud at that end. We had a few three-and-outs there in the second quarter after the 17 points to start the game. But after that I felt like we had some good drives going. All we needed to do was just kind of get that first down to get in a rhythm and just start pushing the ball down the field.
(On the play of Matt Hasselbeck…) He played great. He played phenomenal. I said we were inside their red zone seven times. They were inside ours three. That means you're coming up with a lot of big plays. Obviously he had two huge pass plays, and then Marshawn Lynch's big run at the end, Matt came up with some big plays, especially early on after the tipped interception. I think he just showed what a veteran quarterback does, and that's come back and throw four touchdowns. He played exceptionally well. I think that's what you expect from a guy like him.
(On if he feels shock his season is over…) Yeah, but you know what I've learned from being in this league? There's times when you lose 13-10 coach is yelling at the defense. Then you lose 41-36 and the coach is yelling at the offense. Each game is so different. You just have to feel the ebb and flow of the game. You just understand for us offensively, yeah, they scored 41 but we had opportunities to score 50. So as I look at us and our production, we could have done better. We could have made some more plays that would have allowed us to get a win. It's not what was happening on the other side of the ball. We had chances to make those plays and we didn't.
(On if it's possible Seattle used its 7-9 record and underdog status as motivation…) Oh, absolutely. They didn't play like a 7-9 team today, or a team that had lost, what, seven of their last 10? I don't even know the stats; I just kind of hear it. They played great. They made a ton of plays. This is a team that plays well at home. They always have, especially in the playoffs. I believe their record is 5-1 in the playoffs. I mean, that's pretty stout. That lets you know how hard it is to come here and get a victory. I think the crowd does a great job. It makes it a very tough home-field advantage for an opposing team.
RB REGGIE BUSH
(On leaving the game in the second half)"I just got hit on my leg and it was kind of near where I fractured it, but it's fine. X-rays came back negative. Same area where I fractured it at the beginning of the season, but it's fine. It just flared up on me a little bit and I couldn't run full speed – I could run, but I couldn't go full speed. So obviously if somebody else can go full speed it's probably better for the job than me going in there at half speed."
(On not being able to get the running game going)"It was tough. I felt like in the first half we had some pretty good runs and we were physical and got some key first downs with the run game and kind of kept the drive going alive. The second half we didn't play so well. We had some mistakes that we made in third-down situations that kind of hurt us that were key I think in the momentum of the game, gave them a lot of momentum. They were able to get some balls over our head on the defensive side of the ball, some big plays for them, and that gave them a lot of momentum, kind of slowed us down a little bit. We fought until the end, which is something I'm proud of, but we dug ourselves too deep of a hole to get back out."
(On ending the season)"It was very disappointing because we felt like we had as good a chance as anybody to go out there and defend our title. We were banged up in some areas throughout the season, but we felt like we overcame a lot of that. Down toward the end, toward the stretch, we just didn't finish strong, and that's one of the things that we kind of pride ourselves in doing. We got to pride ourselves as an organization, as a team, as being able to finish strong, and these last two weeks it wasn't the case."
WR MARQUES COLSTON
(On the Saints offense)"We probably put the ball in the air a little bit more than we would have liked to, but we were able to get back in the game and that's all you can ask for at this point in the season."
(On if there was any sort of over-confidence in facing a 7-9 team)"No, I mean we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into. Just watching on film, they're a totally different team playing here, and it just got the best of us today."
(On giving up the big plays and trying to come back)"There were a lot of instances where we were three-and-out and we had the defenses on the field a little too fast, but it's a tough one to swallow."
FS DARREN SHARPER
(On the loss…)Whenever you play a team in a playoff game anything can happen. They played better than we did. They made more plays than we did today. I think we might have taken it for granted the amount of success they had throwing the ball against us the last time we played them. They came out and I know they were confident they could do that and they did that today.
(On how Seattle scored touchdowns…)The stuff they scored on was stuff we had prepared for. We just messed up some coverages and our eyes were very bad in coverage.
(On how Seattle's receivers got open…)You can put it as blown coverages or you can put it as just not looking at the right things.
(On Seattle's offense…)It's playoffs. Rankings are thrown out of the window. We don't worry too much about where you're ranked, what's the records. Whoever is in the tournament has a chance to win. And you saw that today was a prime example. Everybody is talking about the biggest underdogs and all that. That stuff doesn't win or lose a game. The team that comes out and plays and makes the most plays and doesn't hurt themselves is the team that wins. And that is what Seattle did.
(On the Saints' season ending in first round…)We are not happy about that. […] It's a tough environment to play in and they played better than we did. But I don't want to take anything away from this season. We accomplished a lot but we didn't accomplish our main goal and that was getting back to the Superbowl and have a chance to defend our crown.
(On Matt Hasselbeck…)I mean, Hasselbeck is Hasselbeck. He's a veteran quarterback. You know he is going to come in and he has seen a lot of coverages before. He's going to study what you do on defense. I think overall he just basically threw the ball accurately to when guys were wide open. He played well but on the touchdowns he had guys wide open and just did what most quarterbacks should have the ability to do.
(On Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run…) I don't think that's what we have been in the past. We have shown the ability to tackle better than that, especially in a situation where we are trying to get our offense the football back. That was a beastly run by him. He had a lot more hunger than we did trying to bring him down.
SS ROMAN HARPER
(On Seattle's big plays on offense…)I think two of them were just bad eyes on the read. It just was what it was. […] I'm going to make aggressive mistakes. That's just who I am. I'm not going to apologize for that. It was a great call by them and they made the play.
(On if Seattle caught Harper trying to blitz…)No, I don't think I was trying to blitz. It was just a fake here or blocks out, just a little ghost thing. They got it from probably Baltimore that they got us with earlier in the season. It's a copy-cat league and it worked on us twice.
(On losing in first round of playoffs…)Our main goal was to come back and win another Superbowl. We didn't accomplish that. At the end of the day, that's just disappointing within itself that you set goals up and you prepare and you work hard all offseason and you don't accomplish the goals that you set for yourself.
(On if the big plays were shocking…)Yes, very shocking, especially when you play the way we did, everything we put into it, the things we talked about all week. They didn't do a lot of different things than we were prepared for. At the end of the day, we have got to be able to communicate better, we have got to be able to cover our guys a little bit better and we have got to have better eyes.
(On Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run…)I don't know. I'm just trying to chase the guy and see him break one, two, three, four. It's just a lot of bouncing off. We just didn't get him down. Right there we have got o give ourselves a chance to get our offence back the ball and if we do that we still got a chance in this thing with number nine [Drew Brees]. We just didn't do that. We didn't do the things to win the ballgame today.
CB TRACY PORTER
(On playing without Malcolm Jenkins…)It affected us but still, when you don't have guys executing you're going to lose the game. Malcolm is a huge part of our defense just like the other 10 guys on the field with his playmaking ability. […] We have guys who were expected to step up and we just didn't execute.
(On Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run…)Missed tackles. It's just as simple as that. We had the guy wrapped up. He kept his legs moving, broke tackles and 67 yards later he was in the end zone.
(On how the momentum shifted…)Those guys kept fighting and they were able to capitalize on the things that we did wrong and they had the crowd behind them. It gave them that added advantage and they just did what they had to do to come out with the victory.
CB JABARI GREER
(On Seattle's offense…)They did a good job of executing. They did a good job of making plays. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on some opportunities we had. But they just came out and made plays that they needed to make to win the game.
(On Matt Hasselbeck's play…)He was successful. I think it's a little too early to start gaging the season completely. This stings a lot so we are just going to sit on this for a minute.
(On reaction to loss…)You never want to lose. You never want to lose this early. You never want to lose anytime you are playing ball. We felt like we had the opportunity to go out there and win this game. They came out ready.
(On the touchdown passes…)They made plays. They were able to get open and able to make plays.
(On the Saints' season ending in first round…)It's not fun. It's not fun.
WR LANCE MOORE
(On Saints' approach to the game…)I'm not going to say we came in here overconfident. We knew we had to come in and play a great game against a good team. We played here before and it's a very, very tough place to play. They definitely took advantage of that today.
(On the game being one of biggest upsets in NFL playoff history…)You throw the records out of the window. You can't really dwell on what happened earlier in the season when we played them. They were ready to go today and they definitely out-executed us.
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
(Opening… ) This was a day to remember. The opportunity to play against the world champs like that, it was an extraordinary opportunity for us. Today was just unbelievably energetic, electric day in the stadium; I'm sure around the town, too. Our fans and our players played together today in a way that gave us a chance to beat a championship club. Even though the score wasn't as much where we would like it, it was a great football game, and a game that was highlighted by guys that believed. It was 10-0, and that's a tough crew over there. And it was 17-7. There were so many chances to just say, 'ah ok, not today, we're just lucky to be here,' and all that kind of stuff. For whatever reason, our football team, two weeks ago, has believed that we're going to win a game that we were anticipating, and they believed that we were going to win today. It didn't matter what I said to them, or what was said outside, and all of the story lines, and all that, they just did not buy it. Where that came from? If I knew that, we'd have something special here. It came out of an attitude and it came out of a faith in one another. We put together a great day today. I thought that Matt Hasselbeck was ridiculously good today. I'm so proud of him coming back like that, and playing just incredible football. Throw after throw, so many big throws and big catches and runs, the whole thing. This day was just a marvelous day of football, it just jumped out. The guys protected up front great, we ran the football today, we had balance, we threw for 270-something, we rushed for what, 150 or whatever the heck it was. Fantastic balance, like we liked to see, like we needed in a game like this. I think Marshawn's run reminded me of Steve Young's run against the Vikings years ago. I don't know, maybe I got it a little overrated there, but it was one of the greatest runs I ever saw. At the time when you needed it most, it was just an incredible play. I'm sure that everybody will remember that run forever; for people who were at that game, it was one of those moments. So, we're thrilled about that. On defense, we just didn't want them to beat us up top and score fast, so we rope-a-doped all day long today, and held on to it, and knowing they had a running back situations, we knew they were going to throw the ball a lot, and we just tried to keep it in front of us as much as we could. Drew had a great game, he threw for a ton and all that, but we played good redzone defense, we forced a couple of field goals when we had to, and it made a difference in the football game. We were fortunate that we ran the clock after they didn't get the ball back. A lot of great stuff. It's funny, I'm so calm about this. You'd all think that I'd be all pumped up and jacked up, but there's just a calm about it, I'm just so proud to be part of this thing and see these guys come through like this and we're done; we're talking about next week already. It's very exciting, and we're thrilled about it. We had a couple of injuries. Ben Obomanu dislocated his shoulder; he came back and played. How he did that I have no idea, and he played well when he came back. And then Lofa got hit in the head, and he has a concussion and we'll have to deal with that. But other than that, we made it out ok. So, we'll check on those guys.
(On what he said to Hasselbeck after the interception…) I thought because it's happened before and we've been on the subject of it and the topic, when I got to him on the sidelines, I just said, 'we're down a little bit, and we don't have to do anything special.' And he was like 'I got it, I know. I gotcha.' We've been through it so much. There was so much game left, we wanted to just stay within it and see if we could find a rhythm, which we did. It was a great example for us and illustration of how you do it, and the belief that we could get it done, his own self, without trying too hard. It's really been when he's pressed and pushed to bring the game back outside of the lines. He's just done a marvelous job of staying within himself today and he threw the ball great and he ran the club and did everything we needed to do.
(On the play of the offense…) I just thought that we matched up ok, and we felt very good about the matchups that we were going to face, even though they are so loaded. We just felt like we had a chance, and we did. The fact that we were able to run the ball as well; we've gotten better the last couple of weeks. Maybe it's Tyler coming in, or whatever. I don't know what changed. I know that Russell has played better, I know that. It was really a matchup game, where we thought we were okay, and it turned out alright. I was thinking about shootouts, or that we could do this or that. We were just going to go play football and see what happens.
(On the passing game by the offense…) Our guys had no hesitation that we could pass pro. Matt did it pretty good last time, so we believed in that. It's a different game; you don't know. It's just a combination of things that have come together at a time that this team has fought to believe, and it just didn't matter. We felt we could move it, we felt we could stop them, and if we could keep them from scoring fast we'd have a chance in the game, and that's kind of what happened.
(On Raheem Brock…) I think his experience is really paying off. He's a tremendous high-motor player, and he just keeps bringing great effort, and when you do that good things happen. He's got Clem on the other side so you can't really zero in on one guy. I don't know what his numbers were today, but he plays with such great intensity. He exemplifies the type of effort that we want our guys to play with, and good things happen when you play that hard.
(On getting the ball with 4 minutes left…) The whole game, it just felt like we were going to win it. I know it didn't look like that, but I felt we could make the right choice and the right decision. I messed up the field goal thing because I was so hot about the pass interference no-call, that I missed that up and we had to punt the ball there. The whole game, it was kind of a calm, poised approach by the whole crew. I think that everybody felt good, and that comes from confidence. You may wonder where do we get that confidence after the season we put up, but they're feeling it, and they understand it right now, and they know what it takes to play good football, and it doesn't matter who we're playing right now. It just doesn't, so it's very exciting.
(On having confidence in Marshawn Lynch…) He missed some of the lessons that we hammered at home during camp and all that. He was fighting against the pull of the football, and it really didn't come up today. There was one in front of our bench that he did a nice job of. But, we have great confidence in him. Those are the situations, I understand how it happened, it wasn't like it was something that was going to happen again. I think he learned. What a marvelous day he had, just fighting every inch of the way. He had terrific runs today; he hit the big power play, it was really cool. His finish. Even at the end of the game, we were just running off tackle to use all the time up, and he was making yards there, too. He had to protect the ball there, and he was perfect about doing that as well. He has good command and control with what we're trying to do with the football.
(On his motivation approach this week, did he mention that people said the team didn't belong…) I never mentioned that one time. That just doesn't fit in the way we talk. If we used that kind of a motivational vehicle, then what would we use next week, and what would we use the week after that? Then you're talking about this coach, or this player, or the matchup or the 10 year history. I don't do any of that. It's really important for us to understand that we're the ones we're dealing with. We have to control what we do. It doesn't matter what's going on out there; if anything, I don't want to talk about any of that. I did say to them, that this is going to be the story line. This is what you're going to hear. I saw Drew interviewed today, and he mentioned all of the things about the travel and all that stuff. That was the story line of this game, but our guys, they couldn't even tell you all that stuff. Because, we don't want to use outside things to motivate us. We're motivated to perform really well and playing the way we're capable of playing, and that is a great standard to live by, and it is what allows us to deal with all the stuff going on. We are not going to be intimidated by whomever we play or wherever we go. I promise you we're not, it's not going to happen. These guys understand better than that that that's not the factors. We're not going to be motivated to set some record, or whatever. It's just going to be about this week. It takes a long time to get into their heads and their mentalities so they buy in. It's funny that when we needed it the very most, it seems like we're just as together as we could be. I don't care how it got there, the fact that it's there is cool and we're going to go on and take on the next one and see what happens.
(On the reaction after falling behind 10-0…) We've been preaching all along that it doesn't matter how you start, and everybody wants to start fast and all that, but it doesn't matter how you start. Last week we scored first and the game went on, there was a bunch of plays after that. It did not phase us in the slightest. That's why I went right to Matt to make sure he was clear about it, and he was perfect about it and we just went back to work and there was a lot of game left. You would think that when it was 10-0, and then they came back and made it 17-7, oh shoot, okay, that was a nice start and you got a touchdown but now they're going to go and roll on you, but that's not what anybody was thinking. We're very clear about that, and we stayed very poised and composed about it and just kept playing football.
(On when it was 17-7, and you stopped them 3 and out, did something change on defense…) No, we finally stopped them. We couldn't stop them the first few times they had the football. They are a notorious start-fast team. I did mention that to those guys once, that they are pretty good in starting games, they're pretty famous for. But, we already had that in our mindsets, it was not part of our thinking, and we just kept playing football.
(On the team's attitude…) I think what's clear to me is that we have a bunch of guys that are really together on how we think and how we approach our opportunities, and they realize that it doesn't have anything to do with what's outside. It has to do with what we do. The lessons in the last two weeks are so clear about that. They way we performed last week and the way came back this week, that they're starting to own it, and that's what makes you powerful. I've said to these guys since the first day we ever got here, we want to own the NFC West. Look how powerful it is to be a division champion; you play at home on this day. It gives you that opportunity to capitalize on it. The fact that we're all together on it, has really given us a belief and a confidence that you're all on the outside are surprised out. But, these guys in this locker room, it's all the points that really matter right now.
(On trying to establish a mindset…) It's about how you finish. One of the greatest lessons for us in sports is that it's about how you finish, and ain't about how you start. As you look at our season, we're in the finish, now. This is finish time, and how are we doing. It's coming through. It's coming to life for us. The more that happens good, the more that they feel it, the stronger we get. I don't know where we're playing next, but I can't wait to get there.
(On whether it matters to the team who they play next week…) They don't even know the scenarios, we never even mentioned it. They don't need to know, it doesn't matter. I told them that they have the day off tomorrow, watch TV and we'll see you on Monday, and we'll find out what's up. They'll tell us what's going on.
(On whether it matters to him who they play next…) No, I could care less. I don't even know the scenarios, and I know you think that's crazy, but I don't know what's going on. And, it doesn't matter. I just know that we show up on Monday, and we'll figure out where we're going.
(On the importance of home field advantage, and the talk about changing the playoff seeding…) I can't help you.
QB MATT HASSELBECK
*(Opening…) *That was fun. It didn't start out so good, but we hung together.
*(On his approach…) *The whole season, the whole year really, has been different. It's had a different feel to it this season. Even still, we accomplished our goal this year, which was to win our division. It was a good start, and something that we want to get back to doing, year after year after year, like we had. Still, throughout the tough stuff that we had to go through, the opportunity was there for us to host a home playoff game against a really good team and I think we just all excited about it. I think that our team is starting to come together in some ways that our special. It was a great pre-game in the locker room, stuff like that. And, it was at home.
(On how he feels right now…) It feels great. It feels really, really good. It wasn't just one thing. I felt like everybody did a little something to help us get the win and there was an awesome feeling. Kind of an answered prayer, in a way, we were 10-0 against the world champs, my third pass of the game, I think, was intercepted. It was not exactly how you want to start a game, but that's one of Pete's messages. He has a few that he goes to all the time, and one is that you can't win or lose the game in the first quarter, and you have to win it in the fourth. A lot of the stuff that he's brought up this year has kind of come true.
(On the situation in the fourth quarter…) We know it's Drew Brees, one of the great quarterbacks in our game, and one of the great offenses in our game, and we knew it was going to be tough, and never at any point were we talking about getting conservative on the sideline even though we had a two touchdown lead. We were talking about hey, we just have to keep the pedal down. We sputtered a little bit, but having the run at the end on the second and 10, I think it was, it was huge. It was almost unexpected. But, Marshawn was amazing, and the guys blocking for him did a great job, and he kept it going and it's what we talk about. We talk about running the ball in the fourth quarter when they know you're trying to run it. It was big for us.
(On what that play is designed to do…) If you get 4.1 yards, you're patting yourself on the back. That's just power to the left. 17 power. First time we called it today.
(On what he was doing downfield on that play…) I was looking [to block], but I was just looking.
(On how the season progressed…) It's football, there's ups and downs. You kind of get cold, you get hot. You kind of get in a rhythm, I can't really put my finger on any one thing. You could point to certain things, but somebody's got to get lucky, and we got some breaks today. And, some guys made some plays, and thing swung in our direction after a while. I don't really have a good answer for you.
(On how he feels about the team overall…) I feel good about our season. I've felt good about our season this whole time, even though other people don't, and they want to say what they want to say. But for us to handle the adversity, and all the change and all the things that we had to go through, the injuries, and still come out on top of our division; I think was a tremendous job by our coaching staff, a tremendous job by our players, holding it together, and just finding a way. We were not a good football team the last two years; we didn't win many games and we didn't have the ingredients, we didn't have the recipe, we didn't have the camaraderie, the feeling like a team, the unity, that kind of thing. It was a lot of hard work to get that feeling back and to do it through all of the change. I'm proud of the season that we've had. I'm really proud. I know that the guys in the locker room, they should be proud too.
(On getting prepared this week…) I guess there's a chance, if it didn't go well. But, our doctors, they did a great job, and this is the third time that we've done that, so it's getting to be routine, unfortunately. They aspirated it, I don't know medical terms, but they took a bunch of fluid out.
(On whether he thought about that this might be his last game…) As a football player, you never know when you're last play is going to be. You really don't. There are guys that are on this team, that they played their last play at some point this season. And, whether it's Ben Hamilton or Chester Pitts or Max Unger, or all these guys we went into training camp with. It's just one random play, there's nothing special about the play, it's just a random play, it's the last play of their season. And, it's tough, and that's just football. I know you're talking about my contract being up this year, and all that, but it's football. I'm sort of just trained, it's sort of my mentality, you never know. You just never know. I don't think it's been a huge deal.
(On how he felt when he walked off the field today…) It was awesome, seeing my kids out there. I was doing an interview, and I saw my son Henry getting carried out by one of our guys. It was just really cool. I remember as a kid always wanting to go down on the field with my dad, and I don't know if I ever did. I don't know if it was a Parcells rule, that you weren't allowed to, or what, so it was just really cool. I know it's special to them, it's special to me. The atmosphere was just awesome.
(On the satisfaction of the win today…) My mindset was that we just beat the world champs. I've got so much respect for their coaches, their players, Drew Brees. Those guys are awesome. We just beat the world champs, and that's a great feeling. And we worked hard to do it. It wasn't like it kind of happened. We worked hard this week, and we prepared and we believed, and we laid it on the line, and it was an emotional game. I'm emotionally drained right now, I'm physically drained right now. It was just satisfying.
(On whether he felt like he was in a zone today…) I think we got on a roll there, we got a rhythm going, with pass protection, and I was using my cadence pretty good, and quick counts, and sort of quick counts, normal count, hard count, double count. Using those things in our tool box. We had a rhythm going, we had them on their toes just a little bit. You try to recreate that when you go back out on every series, but sometimes you get lucky; you have a run to the right that looks into the left, or they have the exact matchup that you're looking for. But, yes, there were stretches in that game where we connected. This year, we took some shots on Third and 1 and Fourth and 1, those kind of things, and talk about how that's something that we're comfortable with, we like doing it, and it hadn't really showed up. It showed up a little bit today, so that was good, too.
(On the touchdown to Mike Williams…) On that one I believe I was trying to go to Justin Forsett, and it might have been Darren Sharper, I'm not sure, but he's a smart player and they sort of, not that they doubled Justin, but the two guys converged on Justin, and I don't know that we've hit Mike on that play, but he was there, it was an opportunity, and I gave it a lot of air and let him run under it, and he did a nice job.
(On getting John Carlson involved in big plays…) When you are playing a really good team, you have to come up with some ways to sort of trick them a little bit. And we came up with some of those things. They're a very aggressive defense, they take educated guesses, both in off coverage and in short-yardage situations and in run situations, they get real physical. We just sort of felt like there were opportunities to get the tight end, sell run, and come out of it. That stuff only works if the run game's going though, and the run game was going for us, and that was a huge reason for the success on those plays.
(On Mike Williams…) Every job is available. No matter who you are, Mike Williams came in here at some point in the offseason, and he was just a guy. The coach said, I don't care who you are, or where you're drafted, what you've done, whatever, you have a chance to be on this team and contribute. Now, he's a staple. He might be the best player on our offense. He's going to be here a while. It's a guy taking advantage of an opportunity, a coach says I'm giving you an opportunity, then actually does it. I think it's been a good thing to see. Some guys have really stepped up.
(On Brandon Stokley…) I don't even know what week of the season he got here. He got here on like a Wednesday, didn't practice that day, practiced some on Thursday, caught 6 passes that game, probably led the team in catches that week. He's a great player. He's a great player, we just have to keep him healthy and he's meant a lot to the younger receivers. I know he's helped me quite a bit. So, it's been great having him, also. We have a great group of guys, so I appreciate that also.
(On the difference today when they fell behind by 10 points…) I give Pete a lot of credit, I give our team a lot of credit. We were down 10-0 to the world champs, and my third pass was intercepted and you could easily tank it right there. The crowd could have easily tanked it on me, too. But, Pete came up to me and he said, 'hey, listen, there's nothing you could have done about that first one,' and they were about to score, I think, 'and even if they score here, there's nothing you can do about that.' He basically just showed some confidence, I think. And, I appreciated that, it allowed me to really focus in on what we needed to do, and then what I knew we needed to do, we needed to get a score, so the game could still be balanced.
(On whether the team has bought in to Pete Carroll…) I know guys have bought in, because if you didn't buy in, you're gone. So, I know guys have bought in. I think what makes it easier to buy in is that it's legit. It's not just some rah-rah thing. The way he explains stuff, it seems to happen quite a bit. He told us a Bud Grant story last night about the Vikings and the 49ers, and whatever year, and our game was just like that today. '84 I think, '85 maybe. He's been really great, and he's steering the ship in rough waters, so to speak, at times this year. But, he's been very consistent, and as a player when your coach is real consistent and steady, it makes your job a lot easier.
(On the Bud Grant story…) He'll (Coach Carroll) have to tell you.
RB MARSHAWN LYNCH
*(On how the team is feeling and about his 67-yard TD run) *"It's something to (build) off going into next week. I feel it was a pretty good feeling for us all. The offensive line did a great job of getting me to the secondary and I think instincts just took over from there."
*(On more than five guys having a chance to bring him down on that touchdown run) *"Is that right? I was just pretty much determined, man – determined."
*(On the Seahawks needing to have that run right then in the fourth quarter as the Saints offense was chipping away and coming back) *"Well, I think that we did a pretty good job of just popping three, four (yards) here, eight, nine there. I just think it was overdue for one of the running backs to have a long one and it just so happened that my number had gotten called and it was fun."
*(On if that was the biggest run of Lynch's career, based on timing and significance) *"Oh yeah, most definitely. Most definitely."
*(On beating the defending Super Bowl champions in his first playoff game) *"We got to get preparing to come back next week."
*(On everybody doubting the Seahawks going into the game) *"That's alright. That's alright. The only thing that matters is what we believe in our group. Within us, we believed that we could do it and we did it."
*(On Matt Hasselbeck) *"It was great to have him back out there running the offense, doing what he's doing. It was great to watch, it was great to watch."
WR BRANDON STOKLEY
*(On having some big catches and a touchdown today) *"I take pride in still getting open and like I said, it's not just me out there. Matt (Hasselbeck) made some great throws and the line did a great job blocking."
*(On having already played whoever the Seahawks next opponent is and how that helps) *"It helps a little bit but none of that matters. We played the Saints earlier in the year and it didn't matter. This is a whole new ballgame in the playoffs. Whatever happened five, six weeks ago, it doesn't matter. Throw it out the window. It's a new ballgame in the playoffs. Everybody has the same records now and you win, you go on, you lose, you go home."
*(On how good Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard TD run was) *"Best I've ever seen, especially when we needed it. It was second and nine and we needed a couple first downs there to run the clock out and he just ran through the whole team. It was unbelievable. I was watching. I was hoping he'd just break through that first line and get the first down and he just kept going. And that's kind of what he's brought – he's brought that mentality all year to us. One guy can't bring that man down."
*(On the Saints chipping away, coming back and not giving up) *"Well, they're the defending champions. You expect nothing less from them. They're a great team, they're well-coached and we knew we had to finish it off right there with some points, a couple first downs and that's what we were able to do."
TE JOHN CARLSON
*(On getting a couple touchdown catches) *"(The) coaches came up with a nice game plan – had a couple trick plays, play action passes, and they worked just like they were drawn up."
*(On if this victory makes all the work and effort in throughout the season and the offseason worth it) *"I think we have to be careful to be satisfied. We're not done yet. We're really happy with the win, we're excited to be playing another week and again, it's a one-game season at this point and if we win we get to go on again. So we're going to enjoy it tonight, rest up tomorrow and then get refocused for next week."
*(On Matt Hasselbeck) *"Matt's always focused, he's always very well prepared, but this week he had a little extra edge to him. In practice he was whipping people into shape, making sure we were on point. He came out and made plays. He made great throws and led us to victory."
WR MIKE WILLIAMS
(On the win)"It was a great win for us. We were locked in all week. I think the players have been saying that we felt real good about this game, mainly from a game plan standpoint, and we went out there and got it done."
(On why they were able to generate so many big plays on offense)"You know, just goes back to the film. Coach (Jeremy) Bates and (wide receiver coach) Kippy (Brown) and (quarterbacks coach) Fisch put together a great game plan. I think guys that are around the facility and interview the players, you can feel the confidence in the game plan. One thing about them (the New Orleans Saints) is they make you beat them. They play their system – they blitz, they play their scheme, they make their you beat them. Either you make your plays, or you don't, and we were fortunate to make our plays."
(On what statement Matt Hasselbeck made today)"Matt is just a warrior, man. He's had a bad little stretch a little way through the year with interceptions and everything, and everyone jumped on him. But in our locker room, and especially in our wideout group, we trusted him and we knew he'd get it done. We're just so happy for him to bounce back on a huge day, with a great quarterback on the other team. And for him to come out and play well and lead us to a victory just sets (the tone the rest of the way)."
(On the mindset coach Carroll tried to establish going in to today)"He's trying to simulate the environment, a championship environment, a championship game. He's been trying to do that all year. We've answered the call at times and sometimes we've let it get away from us. Last week (against St. Louis) was just a practice for us, last week we came in here in front of our fans, we understood the level we had to play at, and we came out here and executed and I'm sure he's happy that his preaching paid off today."
C CHRIS SPENCER
(On Marshawn Lynch's run)"Well, that's what you do as a group – you keep pounding, you keep pounding. The coaches always talk about it when you get in the fourth quarter, everything's going to pop. We're running the ball and all the sudden you hit it with power, and now we're out the gate, and Marshawn did a heck of a job. I was just running, I come off and I hit the safety and I felt Marshawn come off me and he was running down field. I see linemen down field, I see receivers down field, and Marshawn's stiff-arming people, and I was just like, 'Oh, man, just go! Just go!'
S LAWYER MILLOY
*(On the atmosphere in the Qwest Field) *"I do know that the atmosphere (and the fans) – they're called upon and it's deafening. It was loud today. It was fun. It was just that energy that when the world champion answered the bell – when they get up 10-nothing or they're coming back and we know they're going to have that champion heart to come back – our fans are right there to give us that extra boost. There's no place like it."
*(On if the Seahawks are one of those teams that are rounding the corner and coming on strong right at the right time) *"What do you think? That's why you play the game. At some point, hopefully it's later than earlier, your team just kind of gets it and I think that's what we've done over the last couple weeks. It's been fun and we got so many new guys, it's such a young team, that I think starting with last week, being in that situation – really a do-or-die playoff atmosphere – it made us more ready for this week. I told you last week, anybody who won that game last week was going to be better during the playoffs. Now we carried that into a good week of practice. Everybody was focused. When the world champions were up on us 10-nothing, we didn't blink. That's the mental part that we were struggling to find all year. I think we're starting to figure that out."
*(On what he says to Matt Hasselbeck after his up and down year) *"Welcome back. Welcome back. He knew that the way we got into the playoffs kind of without him – on the sideline or whatever – he had to come in and do his part. All week, you saw how focused he was. He wanted to get on this ship with us and he's definitely our leader. I'm happy for him."
DE CHRIS CLEMONS
*(On the importance of holding the Saints to a field goal on one of their drives) *"I mean it was just stopping them, period. They're a very good offense. They've got so many different formations that they run. It was about matchups – getting the best matchups on the field and being able to match up with them and being able to stop them."
*(On what the keys were to stopping the Saints in the red zone) *"The thing was just rush and coverage. We were able to get some pressure on Drew (Brees) and the guys on the back end held up, limiting them to catching the ball for short yardage and allowing us to have some yardage on third down to be able to work with."
*(On the Seahawks not caring what everybody else thinks and still having things to prove to themselves because of things seeming to fall apart at the end of the season) *"It's not about that. When we got in, people said we didn't belong here. They were like, 'How could a 7-9 team go to the playoffs?' It really doesn't matter how you get in the playoffs. It matters what you do once you get into the playoffs. We just had our first glimpse of what we are able to be as far as going into each and every week."
LB DAVID HAWTHORNE
*(On what the team did to regroup and come back from being down 10-0 at the beginning of the game) *"It wasn't nothing major. We just went back to the game plan and came out and tried to execute better. We didn't scrap the playbook or nothing like that, we just homed down, people focused up and realized that this game could be ours if we just do the fundamentals and get back to the basics and I think we did a good job of that."
*(On what the last two weeks have been like) *"The last couple weeks for us have been playoffs. It's been win-or-go-home. We're in a we're-all-we-got kind of mode because I'm pretty sure everyone was listening to the media and they didn't believe we had a chance out here. All week, they tell us we don't got a chance but we see the work we put into this and we know how much goes into it. This is just a blessing that it all paid off for us."
*(On Marshawn Lynch's run) *"He's a clown so I knew he was going to style a little bit. I'm happy for him. He wants the ball and when you do stuff like that, you get it."
*(On what that meant to the defense on the sideline) *"It meant a lot, just to see him going, see the offense rolling and just knowing that we want the same thing. We feed off of them like they feed off us sometimes, and we feed off special teams. When they're rolling, we all feel that. And we go out there and we can't let each other down and I think we got that kind of feeling from him."
DB MARCUS TRUFANT
*(On the Seahawks taking on the underdog role) *"The underdog role, I think we cherished it and kind of took it to heart. Nobody gave us a chance and we just kind of shrugged our shoulder. We knew we were going to come out and play our ball, stay within ourselves and just see what happens."
*(On taking the Saints offense out of their game during the second and third quarters) *"You got to show the Saints look after look. You got to show them a whole bunch of different looks because they're going to come out and they're going to put up points. They're a great offense. They've got a great quarterback, they've got great receivers, they've got great running backs so they're going to get their points and they're going to get their yards, you just got to try to limit the big play."
*(On head coach Pete Carroll instilling confidence in the team) *"Pete's just a great all-around coach, all-around guy. He makes sure that you're mentally into the game and he's just an all-around great teacher."
*(On Carroll's message before the game) *"Try not to make this game too big. It's still football. Everybody go out and play ball and we'll be alright."
DE RAHEEM BROCK
*(On beating the Saints, the team who beat him in the Super Bowl last year when he was with the Colts) *"It feels good to get them back and hit (Drew) Brees a couple times. It's a great feeling to take those guys out of the playoffs."
*(On what the plan is for the Seahawks moving forward) *"Next game, one game at a time. I'm going to go home and relax and get ready for next week."
*(On the Seahawks believing in themselves regardless of how many outsiders believe in them) *"We don't really worry about what other people say. We believe in each other and we just want to go out there and play like we know we can play. If we keep winning games, we'll get more believers. It's really up to us."
*(On having unlimited possibilities from here on out) *"Exactly. We're going to go out there and keep playing our game, trying to make plays and get those wins."
CB KELLY JENNINGS
*(On having one more game) *"The playoffs are a whole new season so we went out and showed today. In our minds, like we said in our locker room, we believe and we know that we can get it done so next week, we're going to go out and give the same (effort)."
*(On enjoying the win for a night before getting back to work to prepare for next week) *"Definitely, and then you got to let it go and look forward to next week."