HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
(Opening…) This was an interesting finish to this game. We're really proud to get the win and be coming back home next week, that's a tremendous accomplishment, and we're thrilled about that. We know we just played a fine football team and players and coaches and all that. We have great respect for that team and to get this win at this time is huge. I thought we had a lot of cool things happen in this game and I like that we took care of the football on a day like this, throughout, and we ran the football like we wanted to, and Marshawn had a big game for us and the defense just wouldn't let them have anything. We gave up a couple plays on their scoring drive that were really nice plays by them, nice throws and catches. That's Drew Brees, and he's going to do some of that. We just kind of held on to where we were bleeding the clock. I think it was a very, very good day on defense, although I'm really disappointed in the way we tackled today. I'm anxious to see the film; it seemed that both sides didn't tackle very well when it was wet and sloppy out there in the first half. We'll find out, I don't know. It just didn't feel like it was normal. As we look at it, we're thrilled to be going on, with areas to get better and things we can continue to improve, and we'll continue to work at it in that manner. Other than that, congratulations to the 12's, awesome that they did a great job again today, and we'll come on back for another one here next week.
(On the 24 yard reception down the sideline by Baldwin…) We were trying to make a first down. We were still in a mode where we thought we needed to make first downs, and so I was encouraging Bevell to be aggressive with his call. We got something that we do a lot. We got a great look and it was an incredibly perfect throw, and a great job of making the catch. It's a catch that Doug has made all year. He's made those big catches on the sidelines, and it couldn't have been more clutch, and it was awesome to see him come through, both those guys.
(On the impact of the wind on the passing game… ) Obviously it was. It was a deterrent from throwing the football. You noticed in the third quarter, as strong as it was, we ran the ball quite a bit there. We didn't want to make crucial mistakes when we backed up. So, we just played good grind-it-out football, and kicked the ball and rely on the defense and all of that, and it worked out. But, it was definitely a factor, you could see the balls that Drew threw as well, they were taking off and it was hard to catch, and it was hard to handle the football at times. That's just part of playing this late in the year.
(On whether that's an illustration of why Seattle chooses their style of football…) I hope you can tell, this is that time. This is exactly why you make a commitment to be a balanced offense and a balanced football team, so that when you have these kinds of opportunities and situations that you can play D, you can stick with your kicking game and come through and you can run the football. I think it was really a great look. For us, in particular, to not turn it over and get one in a crucial situation. I think that's exactly the way we would like to draw them up.
(On what happened to Percy Harvin…) The poor kid. He finally gets to play, and he banged his head against the turf really hard. He was OK the first time, but the second one really rocked him. They're treating him for the concussion thing, so, unfortunately he was just sick about the thought that he couldn't go back out. He was battling, did a good job, and gave us a little spark. I think he had 3 catches and a run which were nice plays for him in his first outing, and hopefully he'll be able to make it back for next week.
*(On where this ranks among Marshawn Lynch's games… ) * I think it is pretty much the same as always. He battles every week and when you give him chances, he makes plays. He's had such a consistent run for us for 3 years now. I saw a stat the other day that it was three-straight, 1000-yard years and 10-plus touchdowns. He just continues to crank it out for us. You have to love his last touchdown run, though, that was maybe Beast Mode II, I don't know, but it was a cool way to end that game and give us the chance and the score we needed to put it away.
(On the play of the defense…) Our guys are tough to go against. That's a tough group. Danny (Quinn) has us really fundamentally sound, we just don't break. We force you to keep working at it and working at it, and you noticed how they moved the ball at times and we would come up and get our stops. We played very well on third down today, and had a couple really crucial fourth down stops as well. They were aggressive and going for it and our guys were able to make the plays, but there's really no weakness in this defense at this time. We didn't play the run as well as we have been, and it's because we didn't tackle as well, we missed a couple opportunities, and it was killing us in the first half to have to see that and watch that, because we had really come a long ways with the run defense. Maybe we'll get back on track better, maybe we need to do live tackling; I don't know. We'll figure that out as we look at the film. I just think it's a tough group in all areas. You've got playmakers at almost every turn. That's what we're relying on.
(On Michael Bennett…) Mike's been a great addition. Shoot, he's made plays all year. We move him around and do all kinds of things with him. To force the fumble and recover it and be part of another sack, too. Just the way he plays is so fitting for us. He has a great style to him, an unusual player that he has kind of a variety of things that he does well. Hopefully, we're doing him right by moving him around and taking advantage of that.
(On the decision to start Michael Bowie…) This was a classic competitive opportunity. We've been looking at our guys and how they've been playing, and he's been playing. He played really well. I think he has 9 starts under his belt before today. We just thought with the two weeks, if we gave him a shot, he might be ahead at the job at this time. So, after two weeks of looking at him, we said, 'let's go for it', and so he did a nice job today, I would think. I really don't know that until I see the film.
(On whether the offense changed when Harvin left the game…) I think the game was a little bit different. We played a little more conservatively when we were backed up in the first part of the third quarter, really through most of the third quarter. We were trying to make sure that we were really sound and solid, and if we had to kick the ball, we kicked the ball. That changed just a little bit. It certainly seemed like he had a contribution that was obvious. He almost popped that run when we had him going on the edge, and we had that big third down play. Just unfortunately, he got smacked a couple of times, and he couldn't stay out there.
(On defending their screen passes…) They might have thrown six or seven of them. It's been a big part of their game. Our guys did a great job. Unfortunately, we had that big penalty called. We saw it so well that we got a holding penalty on it. We had a lot of respect for their screen approach; multiple ways, all different kind of actions and things. I thought that was a big positive for us; on a day when it's hard to throw it, that's what they were going to, and we were able to really knock those down. I think they had very little production out of the screen game, and so it was a good part of the defense's work.
(On the advantage of having the wind at your back…) The kicking was really the part of it. We were worried about the kicks and stuff. I think that Hauschka did a great job kicking field goals. You how hard it was for their guy, so it was a factor. It was enough of a factor, that we respected it today, and played to it.
(On the long completion to Meachem…) That was too bad. We can't play a ball better; we have two guys going up for the interception. In football, you don't call a guy off like you do in baseball. The center fielder is in charge of that. You really don't do that, guys go for the ball. Look at last week, we had three guys going for it. We'll hawk the football pretty good, and unfortunately, it was a 52 yard play out of that thing, it was just unfortunate. I think we held up there, they missed a field goal. But, still, that was a big field changer and pretty discouraging at the time.
(On other injuries…) I didn't get any other ones at this time.
*(On defending Jimmy Graham…) * We hopefully demonstrated a lot of respect for him. We think he's a great player and he's a huge target for them, almost 150 targets coming in. We wanted to make sure that we had guys in his area. We played a lot of zone. In our man to man stuff, different guys covered him. All of that was just to give them a variety of stuff. Remember last time, K.J. (Wright) did such a good job on him, we thought we needed to adapt a little bit, without his work out there. He didn't seem like he had a big game today. I don't even know his numbers, I don't know what he did.
QB RUSSELL WILSON
(On how the Saints defense was different from the previous game… ) That was a big game for us, and how we showed up and made plays when we needed to. Marshawn Lynch had a tremendous game rushing the football. Their defense made some plays. Coming south, coming this direction toward our locker room, it was tough throwing the ball, so we knew we had to run the football and make some plays in that way. Marshawn Lynch did a great job all day, the offensive line did a tremendous job. Tight ends and receivers blocking for them. That third down conversion, going toward the Hawks Nest to Doug Baldwin was unbelievable. They brought Cover-Zero, we knew that they'd bring Cover-Zero in a big situation, probably. We got max protected, checked to it, and Doug Baldwin had an unbelievable route and made a great catch on the sideline.
(On whether it was a similar play adjustment to the previous Saints game…) Somewhat similar. Different route, but same check, and we got max protected. We planned for that just in case, got to it. Told Marshawn to make sure he had his route, and then the receivers did a tremendous job of getting open and made a big-time play, man. That third down was huge for us, and then Marshawn Lynch runs the ball in on that last run. He scampers out to the left side and gets into the end zone.
(On their comfort with that particular route to Baldwin…) We run multiple different routes in terms of that situation. But, that was something that we had planned would be tough for them to defend, especially in that coverage, and Doug Baldwin did a tremendous job of getting outside release and making a big-time catch down the sideline
(On how the victory felt…) It was a huge win for us. We knew that was going to be a tough battle. We knew that with the circumstances with the rain, how it was coming down, and the wind, more importantly, really, we knew that it was going to be a physical game. We knew that it was going to be a battle to the very, very end. We also knew they had a great coaching staff and a great quarterback in Drew Brees. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. The fashion that we won was pretty spectacular, and the fans were awesome once again. The fact that we came down to the very, very end of the game is always exciting for us. We look forward to the next opportunity. It's still a 1 and 0 mentality; we're right there, right at the edge. I think that to fine tune everything is the most important thing. I thought we did a tremendous job today with the circumstances, but to fine tune how we can get better and how we capitalize that much more, whether we play the 49ers or the Panthers, we're excited about that opportunity.
(On the adjustments New Orleans made when Percy Harvin was on the field…) When Percy Harvin was out on the field he was electric. He made some awesome plays today. His speed is unbelievable, you notice that. They were trying to find ways to stop him, they were struggling with that. He got knocked out (of the game), or whatever, on that last play. Hopefully he'll be all right, I'm sure he will. In the second half, it was just one of those things. In the third quarter, we were going against the win. So, it was kind of tough, so we kind of played it conservative, kind of played it smart. We had the lead, we wanted to make sure that we got to the fourth quarter without taking any huge risk. In the fourth quarter, we knew that we would have to make a play and Doug Baldwin made that play for us.
(On the influence of the wind on the passing game…) Wind is probably the worst factor you can have in terms of the throwing game. You can probably see that with their game, too, until the fourth quarter. Near the end of the game, the winds kind of started dying down a little bit. But, we can't make that an excuse. It's one of those things that you look forward to it, and we know that we have to adjust to the situation that you have at hand. That's what great football teams do. We were able to run the ball effectively, make big time plays through the running game. Then, when we really needed a big pass, we made it, and we completed it, and we got the conversion.
*(On whether this game showed the effectiveness of Seattle's running game…) * You want to have a physical running game, you want to have a physical attack. It all starts with the offensive line first of all. They did a tremendous job of fitting up on their blocks, and Marshawn Lynch, just finding his holes and Robert Turbin had a great day today, too. That one big run he had, if it didn't get called back, that would have been huge for us. You think about all of the things that we're able to do. I knew that this type of situation, this type of weather, it was going to be one of those days where I might have to run the ball a couple of times too, as well, and take advantage of that opportunity too.
(On what it's like to have 2:40 left and the Saints get two offensive series…) You know that you have a Hall of Fame quarterback on the other side and with 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it's going to be tough sledding, and so the game's never over. It's one of those things that the defense kept doing a great job of stopping and stopping. Then, it was fourth down and five or whatever it was, and they make a big throw and make a big-time catch and they kick the onside kick, and they're still down 8 points. It's one of those things that you hope it all works out and you trust what your defense has done all year and all game and they did a tremendous job of shutting it down.
(On the 24 yard reception to Baldwin, do you have the choice of making the check…) That's when you have the choice to make the check, and make sure that we get protected first. We know it's going to be one on one, and somebody has to make a play. That third down situation, it was one of those things that I knew how the game was going that it was going to come down to that. I knew it was going to come down to a big-time throw. It was one of those things; I wasn't my best all day. I knew it was probably going to be that circumstances throughout the day. I knew that I was going to have to make a big time throw and somebody was going to have to make a great catch, and Doug Baldwin was that guy making that great catch today.
(On how he throws the ball in the wind…) Going that direction, we had the wind behind us, and I didn't want to throw it too far or too hard, because I knew the wind was going to take the ball. I just wanted to give him a chance to make the catch. It ended up being right in the right spot, he made a great catch getting his knee down and getting a huge first down for us.
(On the troubles completing the slant passes…) Just on me. That's something I can fix. I'm not worried about it. I'm looking forward to it next week.
(On Marshawn Lynch's 31 yard touchdown run at the end…) His vision, his footwork, his patience right there, that's what you have to have, especially on that particular play. To get the first down and then accelerate to the end zone. That's what makes him one of the best, if not the best, running back in the National Football League.
(On whether the Saints blitzed less often than the previous game…) They didn't do it as much this game. The last game they brought tons of Cover-Zero and tons of blitzes. This game, they knew, with the wind, they wanted to play it smart and conservative too, and just be smart with their defense, which I thought was a good decision. I knew at the end of the game, that they were going to bring everybody. It was one of those things, it's just that's the right call. If I was a defensive coordinator, I'd make that call, too. It put pressure on their defense, and they have to make a play. Sure enough, we got protected. We did everything we could to make sure that we snapped the ball on time and give the ball to Doug Baldwin and like I keep saying, he made a great catch.
(On whether the Saints' Cover-Zeros were to stop the run…) That last call, on their part, Cover-Zero, it's one of those things where it's to stop the run, but it's also to put pressure on the quarterback and the receivers to make a play. It's going to be one on one. With the circumstances, especially with the weather and all that, it's going to be tough sledding. Sure enough, we were able to complete it. We had worked on that all week. Coach Bevell and I had talked about it all week and all game, and it was like, hey, if we get a chance, let's try to get to this. We kept communicating. That's the biggest thing, the relationship that Coach Bevell and I have together, it's something that we've really grown in that fashion. Sure enough, that opportunity came up, and we capitalized on it.
(On whether the conditions prevented you from taking certain chances…) There's definitely certain circumstances where I have to be conservative throwing the football and making sure that I'm not taking any shots down the field, because it's tough to throw it when the wind's blowing that bad. I'm never really worried about the rain, or anything like that, but when the wind is that severe, you have to be smart. I thought we did a good job of being conservative in that fashion, but when we needed one and we had the wind to our backs, that really helped us, and we got a huge conversion.
(On the leaping catch for a first down by Percy Harvin…) That was a big time catch. Just giving him a shot, he beat his guy, he got over the top of his guy. He just went up and attacked the football. That's the thing that he does, he's been showing it all week; he's been showing, when he's been able to practice, all year, the things that he can do. He's so explosive. It's hard to keep up with a guy who can run that fast and is that quick and has that much ability. You think about Percy Harvin, he was arguably an MVP candidate, if not the best player in the National Football League at one point. We're just trying to get him back. He's doing a great job. He's done a tremendous job in the locker room, he's done a tremendous job in the locker room, everybody loves him. We love what he's all about, that hard work and everything. Then, still spreading the ball out to everyone else. Hopefully, we get him back next week. We look forward to that if that's the case. He's done a tremendous job, he did a great job in that first half for us.
(On playing in the NFC Championship game next week…) To be in the NFC Championship game, it means a lot. Obviously, it's a testament of our hard work, the preparation as a whole. With our defense, with our offense, with our special teams, with the coaching staff and the players. All the things that we've done to prepare in the right way and the right fashion. I think the thing for us is that we haven't done anything yet. That's our goal, we have 60 minutes of football left. I was talking to some of the guys in the locker room, I was talking to Coach Carroll, I was just kind of sitting there. You have 60 minutes left of football, 60 minutes of your life, the best 60 minutes that you can possibly play, and then you play in the Super Bowl. That's pretty awesome to think about. You have 120 until you win the whole thing. I think for us, we have to stay focused on that 60 minutes, and what we can do to get that opportunity and to play the best football that we can possibly play, come the NFC Championship game, whoever we play.
(On the sequence where the Seahawks were unable to score a touchdown from inside the 10 yard line…) Down there tight, they made a couple of nice plays, made a couple nice tackles. We weren't able to get the ball in. We almost had one on a scramble play, that would have been pretty sweet if we had caught that. It's just one of those things. They made some great calls, and they made some good plays in terms of the run game. We weren't able to get it in there, but we were able to kick the field goal and make sure that we got those points.
Thank you guys. Go Hawks.