Opening Statement:

Obviously it was an outstanding game, a lot of things happened during the course of it. What I talked to the team about was, a great effort defensively on the short fields holding them to three. You guys that have been here in the past, we haven’t really done a good job of that in the past. For them to stand up like that, that’s very difficult to do in this league against a team that has quite a bit of weapons out there. Holding them to that, I thought offensively we moved the ball at times. I thought there were some critical (mistakes.) Again a penalty came up that really hurt us. I thought we had a couple of tough reads where I don’t think we made the best decisions. I thought that C.J. (Spiller) came back and ran the ball well, had some big runs in it. I think that’s going to continue to help us. We didn’t do some smart things out there, with a couple of the situations and we’ll address that. I’m proud of this team for believing in one another; I think that’s important. I don’t think we ever lost faith when the defense held up like that to be able to come back and score. They’re a good bunch of guys, we’ve got to continue to work to get better and continue to improve because if you make mistakes, you miss a field goal, you turn the ball over, you get penalties in crucial situations, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to win in this league because it’s so close. I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of the coaches for hanging in there. We’re going to look at the film and get back to work knowing that we have to correct a lot of things. 

On the passing of Onondaga Community College Athletic Director Rob Edson:

I talked to Scott (Berchtold) and I’m having a difficult time, it’s a personal situation. Syracuse University and Central New York lost a dear friend. Rob Edson who I worked with for quite a long time. He became the athletic director of Onondaga Community College. It’s difficult for me because Rob, when I was at Syracuse, he’d always come in after the games and kind of cheer me up and pick me up and keep things in perspective. I think about his wife, Sue Edson who works in the same role as Scott and worked with me everyday to see the person you guys have in front of you now and to get better with the media and how to handle the media. They have two beautiful children and it hurts. I know that Rob was watching and I can’t stop thinking about that. When that game was coming down to the end, my prayers just go out for him and his family. I apologize, but I think the real story is with those players in that locker room and the faith that we have to get better.

Q: It’s your first win and EJ Manuel’s first win. What was the mood like in there?

A: I think they were happy. I told the players we prepare and we go out on the field expecting to win and I think that obviously they’re very happy. It’s good to get the first one, but I think one of the main things is when you talk about winning and you talk about changing the culture, you talk during the week about what you have to do and what you have expect to win. I think that’s one of the more important things, rather than being there and going, ‘Oh gosh, can you believe we won?’ We had a good week of practice; we have to continue to get better at some things. That’s what the motto of the team is.

Q: Can you talk about the last drive?

A: It was tough. The deal was they ran the ball a little bit better at the end. Give them credit they were trying to run it out. Thinking about when to take the timeouts and we took the timeouts consecutively after the two-minute warning. EJ didn’t come off a great drive before, so obviously from that standpoint you get a little bit concerned. There’s a sequence of what we wanted to do that we were preparing obviously after that drive when we knew we were going to get the ball back with how our defense has been playing. I think we made some nice, some good decision on that drive. Getting the ball out, getting the ball out of bounds. Fred (Jackson) made a play down the middle. Stevie (Johnson) makes a great play. They get a penalty and we get the ball down, which is a good call. Then he scrambled gets to the one and gets out of bounds. I mean you’re holding on by then, and give credit to the line. It’s at that point in the game where if it’s a sack, probably game over from a time standpoint. They worked well, they operated well and at the end they were in man and coming after us and we got Stevie in the back of the end zone and he made a play.

Q: Can you remember a time in your life when you emotions were at such a high and a low at the same time?

A: I guess because of my faith and what I believe in, I think after the game was over, that’s when the emotion took over. I think we all know we have a job to do and a responsibility. I know that sounds cold in a sense, but it’s more important for me to be there for the team and do that, and then now afterwards my thoughts went to Rob (Edson) and his family. That’s what’s tough. I think we’re all humans. My emotions are no different than anyone else’s in this room if that happened. It’s a tragedy, it really is.

Q: All summer long we’ve seen EJ where he might have a bad stretch and then all of the sudden he picks it up. Did you say something to him before the final drive?

A: Yeah he keeps telling me, and it gets me upset, he keeps telling me ‘I’m alright’. He’s asking me, like he’s turning around on me that I’m not alright. I’m alright, I’ve got the control, I’m making sure he’s alright. If he’s alright, then why is he making these decisions? But that’s the type of kid he is. He’s very relaxed, so I’m like ‘What did you see? Why’d you do that? That’s not the read.’ That’s the type of way I go about it. I don’t go out there screaming at them, ‘You should know better, this and that.’ Those are the mistakes, as I said early on that we’ll see. That happens. The turnovers are the one thing that we don’t accept and he understands that. He’s in a good place mentally knowing that he has a long way to go. I wouldn’t say he had stretches of it, you know what I mean? When you look at the game, it’s not really stretches of poor decisions. It is back-to-back poor decisions on the second one where he intercepted it and that really hasn’t happened before. Then he comes in and he’ll get on a roll or a rhythm and make good decisions. I would say that the poor decisions are kind of here and here, but they’re not long stretches. I think that’s a quality that he has, that he’s able to get right back on track.

Q: Can you talk about Mario Williams’ performance?

A: I saw power today in rushing that passer. He was around. I told him afterwards, ‘Hey don’t dance with this guy early let’s go and close the distance, make a move and go.’ I thought he did a very good job of that. I think that when you get people behind in the sticks, that’s where the pass rushing ability really takes a level up. Where they’re not worried about run or pass and if you can get them in a situation, I think then those elite pass rushers really rise to the top.

Q: Was there anything he did that surprised you?

A: No. My expectations and I’ve said this before, I have very high expectations for all of our players. It’s kind of tough to get a ‘whoa’ moment out of me.

Q: Can you talk about what your thought process was between driving down six or if it had been down three?

A: I can’t really answer for them. I really can’t say what their thought process was. I can tell you what our thought process was after that, whether it was six or would have been three. If it was three, we’re going to score the touchdown and win the game. Then at some point, during that we’re going to make the call, kick the field goal to win. Does that make sense from the strategy standpoint? Then obviously we had no choice with six, we had to go for the touchdown. I don’t think it changes what we’re trying to do because our goal is to win the game. It comes to a point where if it’s third and 15 or you get behind in the chains and it’s third and really long and you say, ‘Hey listen. Let’s check this thing down, maybe we can run for the first down, but if not let’s take the field goal and go to overtime.’ I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I would have thought in the situation if we couldn’t score the touchdown.

Q: For EJ to get one under his belt like that, that’s got to help his confidence right?

A: I think that’s a good question for him. Obviously I’m sitting here and I hope he says yes, but I have an expectation for him to have that. When we hand someone the ball, we expect them top be able to do things like that, I know it doesn’t happen that way all the time. Our expectation is for us, he’s our quarterback, we expect him to lead us down the field, score and win. I think that if I lowered those expectations then we probably wouldn’t be siting here right now happy.

Q: How much does it help with a young team going in to a work week with something like this as opposed to a loss?

A: It’s the age old saying. You can coach them a little bit tougher, coach them a little bit harder, get the things corrected that you need to do. I think it’s a long season; you need to keep things in perspective. I think it helps from a standpoint that the one thing I would say, just like I told the team, what I get excited about is when you have a bunch of men that believe in each other. When we took that ball over there, and I tell you what, the defense for them to stand up the way they did is outstanding. They were able to hold them to six and then we were able to go out there and do it. I think it’s more from that end, seeing the team coming together and believing in themselves. Like I said before in an interview during training camp, the human spirit you don’t want to mess with that. It’s pretty strong.

Q: They brought a blitz at EJ on that final play. How happy are you with how he handled the pressure?
A: We figured, not to say that we knew exactly what they were going to do, but I think in those situations a lot they do come after you and you have to make a play. That’s what happened and we were able to make the play.

Q: You mentioned you want the guys to believe in each other. How much does them watching EJ do that help in that extent?

A: I think that’s a good question for them. I really can’t answer it for them.


On overcoming the two turnovers he had earlier in the game to lead the game winning drive:

The good thing about Coach Hackett is he doesn’t get flustered as a coach so when you go back and communicate with him on the headset, he’s not yelling and freaking out about the situation even though it’s a bad play. You just want to move on to the next drive. Just move forward from it. So he helped me out a lot.

On what stood out to him on the last drive:

We knew the situation. I didn’t feel nervous or anything like that. We practiced it time and time again. I’ve been in too many situations before, not just in the NFL or in practice but also in college. We won games like that before. You’ve just got to go out there and operate the offense. If you can’t get anything deep, which they took away, check it down and you’ll get yardage that way so the guys can get out of bounds.

On one of the last plays where he almost got sacked but dumped the ball off to CJ Spiller:

Honestly it was all happening fast and blurred. I could tell you probably tomorrow or the next day whenever I talk again. I think the biggest thing was just making a play. You have to keep the play alive. You don’t want to take a sack obviously in that situation, you have no timeouts. The biggest thing was to be elusive and get the ball down field.

On the pass interference call against Stevie Johnson and if he was his first read:

He was my first read. It was huge for us. Really I threw that ball because I had a feeling he might try to hold the guy on his inside cut and luckily we got the call for it and we were able to move down the field.

On the scramble run he made on the last drive:

I was thinking touchdown was in my mind, it was definitely in my head but I knew be smart, get out of bounds, obviously if I could’ve run the guy over get in the end zone but I didn’t, still gave him a good punch with my shoulder and got out of bounds. Kind of killed two birds with one stone.

On the game ball he was holding in the press conference:

This is the game ball right here. It’s going to my Dad right here. It’s his birthday and he flew up for the game so it’s a present for him.

On what he and his Dad said to each other after the game when they saw each other:

I think we were both crying and just elated about the situation, being that it’s the first win and like I said, it’s his birthday. My dad has been to all my games since I was six years old so nothing’s changed. To see his face up in there before the game is awesome. Like I said, to have him in this opportunity and this situation is great.

On if he was in disbelief to see Stevie wide open on the game wining touchdown:

Not really. I wouldn’t say disbelief but it think the biggest thing is like Coach Hackett always preaches, stick to your read. He was open. He ran a great route. The o-line did a great job picking up the blitz. It was an all out blitz so I knew I had to do something to get the ball off. Defense, they played lights out. To get those two last drives, get us the ball back and still have the opportunity to score a touchdown and win the game was huge.

On what was going through his mind when he saw Stevie cradle the ball for the winning touchdown:

I can’t even tell you how I felt. Honestly I just don’t know, I started crying there. I’m not usually an emotional guy. I want to enjoy those types of things because that’s what you’re (here for), I’m going to be able to tell my grand kids about that 20 to 30 years from now. It’s definitely a momentous part of my young career but moving forward I’m glad we got the win and we have to get ready for New York (Jets) now.

On Stevie’s slant route for a big gain in the third quarter and if he saw anything different from the first half:

Like I said, Coach Hackett made a great call. Stevie was my first read in that situation and he ran a great route. Got the corner off his feet just a little bit and he was able to make a huge play.

On what it was like in the locker room after the game:

I don’t think we would’ve cried if we just won by 14 but I think the fashion in the way that we won, no timeouts, I mean that’s how you draw it up when you’re outside playing with your buddies. You say ‘three seconds left’ and you want to have the game winning catch with a throw or whatever. To have it happen in the NFL, it doesn’t get any better than that.

On the play call for Stevie’s game winning touchdown catch:

Like I said, we practiced it before, not necessarily in that situation with two seconds left or six seconds left on the clock but we practiced that play many times in practice and it was the same as that way.

On the two point conversion to Robert Woods:

I thought Woody was going to make a great play and that’s what he did. That ball has to be thrown low and away from the defender so he got off the ball great and got inside and made a great catch.

On saying that he’s not used to losing earlier this week and if the loss last week was lingering in his head:

It wasn’t lingering in my head. I think we all processed the loss and moved on. I definitely felt like the whole team knew we could’ve won that game. We don’t want to be a shoulda-woulda-coulda type team. We don’t want this game to be as close as it was but we won the game and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

On if he feels like a different quarterback after the game than he was before this game:

I wouldn’t say different quarterback just a different young man. Having facing that adversity, and I’m not going to put it all on me. Like I said, everybody did their job. It was a team effort. The defense gave us an opportunity to win the game. If they have scored a touchdown we might’ve been out of it. They played lights out like I said. Just a great win.

On speaking with Jim Kelly in the tunnel after the game:

It was awesome. Like I said, that’s momentous to even get encouragement from somebody like Jim. To get texts from him during the week just asking how I’m doing, not necessarily about football but just seeing how I’m doing mentally, how I’m handling everything week in and week out. So that’s huge. To see him after the game, give him a big hug, he was very proud of me.

On if Coach Hackett made any adjustments during the second half, specifically with C.J. Spiller?

I wouldn’t say we made any adjustments, we just stuck to what we had practiced in the game plan and those things just started opening up and we were able to hit some big runs.

On if it’s his father’s birthday today.

Yup, September 15th.  This football right here (is his gift). I didn’t have a gift. My dad’s not big on gifts anyways. I know he’ll definitely want to take this home. Even if I didn’t want to give it to him, he’d be taking it home anyways.


On the final play, winning touchdown pass from EJ (Manuel):

There were options for myself and Chris Hogan. Hogan came in and it was pretty much a two man route depending on what the defense does. And then EJ (Manuel) pulls the trigger on whichever one he chooses.

On if he was surprised that two guys covered Chris Hogan and left him wide open:

7-11 (Chris Hogan). His presence was felt. When the play was called the guy was calling the corner. He was telling the guy to go to corner but there was miscommunication by them and EJ took advantage of it and we ended up scoring and winning.

On if he would’ve had a chance the catch the ball on the pass interference play:

Yeah, definitely. I feel like I had the catch and EJ put it there. Fortunately, but unfortunately I guess for my stats, but they had him calling the right call and we made plays after that so that was huge.

On not winning a lot of close games in recent seasons and what this type of win will do for this team:

I feel like it can’t be negative at all especially after a win. But then a win like that, new staff, it’s their first win. We invest so much into this game as far as being on the sideline, talking, communicating with each other coming from last week and how things went. I think we grew up in a week. I’m proud of this team.

On if EJ was encouraged to lean on the veterans during the final drive:

No, he was focused. He was locked in. He wasn’t saying I need you or I need you. He was in there like the number one quarterback that he was and he drove us down there. I don’t want to take a ton of attention off of the offense but a lot of credit goes to the defense for stopping the Carolina Panthers. They had two possessions where they could’ve easily scored. They were in the red zone and we stopped them and held them to a field goal.

On who he was hugging in the stands after the touchdown:

The Mrs., Britney. I was hugging my wife and then my son was out there. That’s just a credit to the fans. They were behind us, talking to us the entire time, just riding with us. We appreciate that for real.

On being upset after the play where he was open in the back of the end zone then talking with Fred Jackson on the sideline and how long it took him to get over that play:As soon as we got back out there I was over it. I’m impatient. On Sunday’s I’m ready to get back out there when we make a mistake. The guys rallied around me and let me know that we still have action in winning this game. Freddy’s (Jackson) been doing that with me since I’ve been here. I’m just proud of this team. We fought back and we won.

On not talking to EJ after the play and staying away from him on the sideline:

I didn’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on him, you know? That’s the last thing I wanted to do to EJ. I felt like he could control this team being a rookie so I didn’t want to do anything extra. It’s harder than it looks to build chemistry. We’re working on it each day. Every Sunday we’ve got to come out and perform.

On if he was surprised at EJ coming back after giving up two turnovers like he did:

No, I’m not surprised because he doesn’t seem like a rookie. Those plays happen, turnovers. The Panthers are out there fighting also. I think we just showed that we have what it took to win this Sunday because the Panthers came out, we got a turnover on them and usually the opposing team wins the game when the Panthers turned the ball over. They came back and fought hard and we fought harder.

On if he thought there were some extra things he could take advantage of with so many injuries to the Panthers secondary:

No, not at all. Whether they were injured or not I felt like, I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way, I felt like our receivers or our offense can take advantage of any defense. No disrespect to them but when they did start falling down, corners, I felt like we had to take advantage of them.

On what this type of win does to help the culture of this team:

I can’t say this was the Super Bowl. The feeling was great. I can’t lie, the feeling was great. It was ecstatic in there but it’s Week Two, it’s Week Two. We’ve got to shake it off and bounce back and get ready for the Jets.

On being young on offense and defense and seeing what the team did at the end of the game:

We believe in each other. We believe in each other 100-percent from the special teams, to the defense, to the offense. The defense showed up. This is the second week in a row where they’ve showed up. We’ve still got to catch up to them. That’s our challenge as an offense. The special teams, they’re solid but the offense we could still be on another level. We’ve got to play catch up with our defense so we can be a balanced team.

On being a part of watching EJ bring the team back like he did:

Just tracking back to his college days, he’s won games like that. He’s been in big situations. For him to get that or to control, for him to win the game like that being on the 20-yard line and working the entire field like that with no timeouts, that was big for him. I think he earned a lot of respect, if he didn’t have respect for him in the beginning we’re trippin’ but I think he earned a lot of guys respect on this team.

On catching the winning touchdown and what was going through his head:

It was a play we ran earlier and we missed on it. I pretty much got a corner route on that play and like I said, the defender was yelling “check the corner, check the corner”, to the outside guy but with Chris Hogan in there you’ve got to respect him. When he come underneath you better jump on “7-11” and they just left me wide open. It was just a play where we took advantage of their miscommunication.

On if anything was going through his mind while the ball is in the air:

I was surprised I was that wide open because listening to the defense and I thought the guy was going to jump out late or something but he didn’t so we made the play and won.

On the idea of still having to make the catch while being wide open:

I’ve been chasing that since Pittsburgh. I’ve been chasing that play since Pittsburgh. I’m happy that it happened. But at the end of the day it’s still Week Two and we’ve got to get back to work.

On if his hands, wrists are ok:

Yeah. It’ll be cool. It’ll be alight. I’ll be alright.


Filed under: Buffalo Bills

Tagged with: , ,

Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.