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Transcript - Postgame vs. Houston Texans



Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 | ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park | Carson, Calif.


Opening statement:

"Well, we keep putting ourselves in a position to win these football games and we're not finishing. We've got a lot of football left, a lot of character in that locker room. I have no doubt those young men and the coaching staff are going to turn this thing around, but we have to find a way to finish football games. We are getting ourselves, like I said, into a great position, but we came out in the second half and I think they scored 20 points in the damn third quarter. We just can't have it. We had another touchdown called back on offense for holding, so we are shooting ourselves in the foot and as coaching staff, we've got to get that right. We plan on getting it fixed. It was a tough loss today to a good football team. I think that team is going to win a lot of games, but we just didn't play good enough to beat that team. That quarterback played better than our whole defense. He was a challenge all day.

On the second half:

"We've got to figure out a way to finish. Hell, when we were up by 10, I'm most nervous. When we're down, I'm okay because I know what these men are going to do but when we're up, we've got to figure out a way to finish and that could be play calling and that could be the mindset of our players."

On sideline communication:

"I called the time out on the fourth down because that's a 'gotta to have it.' That's a critical play. We need some time to think about that call. I called a time out there."

On the inability to bring Texans QB Deshaun Watson down:

"We just never got to him. When we got to him, he escaped and so it just wasn't good enough."

On S Roderic Teamer:

"I don't know yet. I'll have to watch the tape to see how Teamer played today. I know he was out of position on the touchdown, but other than that play, I'm not sure.

On the pass rush:

"It's just finishing the play. I don't think our guys were out of their rush lanes. I think this guy [Texans QB Deshaun Watson], he made some moves, he escaped, he broke some tackles. We just have to finish the play."

On the offensive line:

"What was it? Two or three sacks today? Five? Well, some of that we have to watch the tape and see if it's the offensive line. You just don't know until you watch the tape because it could be routes down the field, it could be the quarterback holding onto the ball, I can't put that on the offensive line just yet, but they've been protecting. The line that we have, it's been protecting well. I thought they did a good job last week. We've made some plays down the field, we gave him time to throw it down the field so we will look at the sacks and we'll see if we make those corrections."

On the pass interference challenge:

"Well, we thought he had [WR] Keenan [Allen] by the arm, we thought he had him locked by the arm. They threw the flag on the field and so I tried to convince them to put it back on the field. It just wasn't enough evidence, I guess."

On WR Keenan Allen:

"Keenan Allen is a big part of our offense. We knew we could attack that secondary with Keenan and [WR] Travis [Benjamin] on [Texans CB Johnathan] Joseph on the other side. That was a big part of the game plan.

"We'll have to watch the tape and see. Obviously, he made some catches today and ran out the catch well, but overall, I need to watch the game."

On the fourth quarter interception changing momentum:

"I don't think it changed momentum. It was just another missed opportunity. We get an interception and we had offsetting penalties because they called a facemask on us. If it was a facemask, I don't know but that's what they called."

On last year results vs. this year:

"That means absolutely nothing to this team right here. That was a year ago. This is 2019 Chargers and I have no idea right now. Well, let me correct myself, I do have an idea of how I think this team is going to respond and I want it to, but right now, I can't say we are going to do what we did last year. That's a different team."

On what running backs get the ball at what time:

"No, we have concepts where we have pass calls that we make kill to a run play, run plays called we may turn into a pass play that just depends on what the defense gives us, but it depends on the rotation, which back is in the game. There are certain situations that we want to put [RB Justin] JJ [Jackson] in, certain situations we want to put [RB] Austin [Ekeler] in. I think [Running Backs] Coach [Alfredo] Roberts has done an outstanding job of getting those guys in the game."

On TE Virgil Green updates:

"Not yet. I have no idea. I was just told that he was [available] in emergency only if we needed him."

On Teamer's play:

"I don't know if Teamer struggled. He gave up a touchdown for sure, but I'm not going to say that was an all-day struggle because of that one play."


On pressure felt today:

"I thought we handled it pretty well. We just have to clean up some things. "That's two in a row now. We've kind of, not kind of, we've scored three points, I think, in the last two second halves. Last week in the second half we didn't score and this week we got a field goal, so we've got to do a better job in the second half. We've gotten off to decent starts, we've just got to do a better job in the second half. We've had three touchdowns called back and we've turned the ball over in the red zone. I've turned it over down there once a game and we've had a couple of others. Right now, we haven't been able to overcome those so it's kept us just a hair short here these last two weeks."

On the Texans:

"We've just got to do a better job in the second half. That's two weeks now that we didn't really score any points for two second halves in a row. They mix it up. That's a good defense. Good players and good coaches so they mixed it up certainly and we countered and we moved the ball. We just, again, we've got to find a way. The aim of the game is scoring, and we just haven't done that well enough."

On players finding space:

"Shoot, it's all of our guys. Getting them the ball in space, they all do a nice job. We've just got to keep at it. It's a long year. There's no fun in losing, but we just have to keep going. We're doing enough good things to where we can turn this thing around. It's still early, but certainly disappointing at this point."

On practice to improve the second half performance:

"I don't know that you can do a drill or anything like that. I think, again, it's being aware of it and it's finding a way just to execute better. I think some of that is being aware of it and then it's another thing to go do it. I mean, there's an opponent over there, too. It's not just something we can have a better approach and it will happen. There's somebody over there trying to stop us in the second half and right now the other team's doing a better job than we are in the second half and doing that."

On the difference between last week's second half:

"I don't know. From a points standpoint, there is. We've scored three points in four quarters looking at the second half. I don't know, but we moved the ball a heck of a lot better in the Detroit second half. We didn't punt but yeah, definitely some similarities because of the lack of points on the board."

On WR Keenan Allen being Rivers' main target:

"There are a lot of other guys getting targets too. If you're one of the best receivers in the NFL, you better get the most targets. If you're getting 10 targets and seven targets and that, that's pretty good."

On RB Austin Ekeler:

"Well, I think, again, that goes back to the other guys that are getting targets too. You see big [WR] Mike [Williams] getting opportunities, [WR] Travis [Benjamin] having some opportunities, the running backs are involved. [RB] Dontrelle [Inman] had a big 25-yard catch and I know that he didn't have many other opportunities other than that. Some of that is snap count-wise, but I think it's because the ball will gets spread around, but It's also a credit to him. I don't know that he can be covered by himself. I mean, really and I don't say that arrogantly. I think you would say that about a handful of guys in this league and he's one of them."

On the team's penalties and turnovers:

"Plenty of penalties, plenty of turnovers and again I know those are all 'what ifs,' but the team's that turn it over and have penalties, are the team's that lose. Those are teams that you look at out there and go, 'Why aren't they very good?' Well, they turn the ball over and have a bunch of penalties but when you are moving the football and you are making plays down the field and you are driving it and doing some good things, you can say, 'Well, if we can clean this up, we're going to be pretty darn good,' rather than, 'I don't know if we can get a first down no matter what we do,' so I thought we were right down in there inside the 10 with Mike's [Williams] big one and then we had another penalty. So, inopportune times, we've not been able to overcome."

On being optimistic due to starting 1-2 last year:

"This team hasn't. This team right here has never been 1-2. Last year's team was, but it's a new year and because we did it last year, because we overcame a 4-8 one year, because we were 13-3 all those things are out the window to me. Can individually and collectively can you draw from some of those experiences? You can, but that doesn't mean it will happen."


On having a career-high 183 receiving yards:

"And a loss. I think that pretty much sums it up. The loss pretty much sums it up."

On what went wrong with the running game:

"I felt like we had a pretty good running game in the first half. I don't know what happened in the second half. It felt like we weren't even on the field really until the last drive. We just couldn't get over the hump."

On putting up points in the second half:

"Find a way to execute. Obviously, we're coming out sluggish, tired, whatever it is. We've just got to find a way to get over that hump, go execute and win the game."

On close games:

"I do think games are playing out differently. Last year I don't think we were having the lead the whole game and then losing the lead coming down to the end of the fourth quarter. It's hard to win like that, when you're having the lead, having a chance to go up throughout the whole game and you never move from that point. Once the end of the game comes and they get another chance, eventually they're going to make a play."

On having a career game in a loss:

"It's tough. In games like this, you go play like this and lose, it probably gets overlooked. It's not as meaningful, obviously, with the loss. I try to be as consistent as I can be, be as available as I can be for the whole season."

On what separates this season from his past campaigns:

"I don't know. I look at the last two years in a row [went to the Pro Bowl] and I think I got off to slow starts both times. You know, what can I do if I get off to a fast start?"


On the game:

"We've just got to do a better job of executing down the stretch. You know, we talked a lot about this being a four-quarter game. They made more plays in the end than we did. As a defense, as a football team, we've just got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. That's what it boils down to. We're still a good football team. We're much better than our record indicates. But at the end of the day, you are what your record says you are. So, we've got to go back out, we've got to come in tomorrow, we've got to watch the film and we've got to correct these mistakes. We can't allow it to keep happening."

On where making those corrections starts:

"It starts in the classroom and we've got to take what we've learned in the classroom onto the field. That's what it boils down to. We just can't allow certain things to keep happening. But we have a great coaching staff. They're going to do a great job of making sure that we understand that. We've just got to keep moving forward. We've just got to keep going."

On the team's third-down defense:

"We've just got to be better. We've just got to execute better. That's what it boils down to. We've got to win on third down. If you allow teams to come out and be successful and have balance, in particular with some of the things they were able to do outside of the pocket. On the back end, we've got to be more disciplined in connecting to receivers knowing that this quarterback has the ability to scramble and get out of the pocket. Up front, when we get our hands on them, we've just got to get them down. Defensively, that works hand in hand on the back end and the front."

On sharing the league-lead in tackles heading into the game after so many seasons:

"You just go out and compete with your teammates. You just try to have fun doing it. That's what I'm doing, trying to make as many plays as I can within the scheme. Let the chips fall where they may."

On how he's feeling physically:

"I'm fine. Mentally is where I'm hurting at right now. You know, we've just got to do a better job of executing and winning football games."

On defending Deshaun Watson:

"It presents huge challenges and we knew that coming into the game. We knew he was an elusive guy. He can get out of the pocket. He does both. You know he doesn't just get out of the pocket and just look to run. He keeps his eyes downfield and he's pretty accurate out of the pocket in getting it to his guys. He has a ton of receivers that he can get the ball to. We've just got to understand on the back end that there's a chance that he can get out of the pocket and we've just got to stay connected to receivers."


On not being able to get offense going in second half:

"You have to play four quarters in this league. You have to finish the game. We came out and we had a lead. I wouldn't say we relaxed or anything but we definitely were hurting ourselves with penalties and dropped balls and just plays that we should be making. That's what it comes down to in this league, who makes the least amount of mistakes and who can make more plays, and today they made more plays and less mistakes than we did."

On making mistakes at critical times:

"There's no telling why. I didn't know that this is a new team compared to last year so we have to come together as we did last year. It's not the same team but we can still build off of what we did and see because we've done it before and now we got to do it again."

On if he would have liked to have more carries:

"I'm not calling the plays, so I can't say that. The only thing I'll say is that whatever was called, we have to make sure we execute, whether it's run or pass. I don't have a preference. I'll block. I'll pass. It doesn't matter to me. I'll go run down on special teams. It doesn't matter to me as long as I'm playing."

On what needs to be done to score in the second half:

"Shoot, you tell me [laughs]. I feel like even our first game we came out and we weren't moving the ball as well as we were in the first half when we were playing the Colts. I don't know what it was coming out in the second half either. Whatever it is, we have to get it figured out and get back to work and get that fixed because you don't win games if you only play for two quarters."

On losing close games this year compared to winning them last year:

"We only played three games so far, so it's still early. It's still early for me to say, 'oh this is what's really happening.' Honestly, today we just made more mistakes. That's what the game comes down to and today we were just on the short end of the stick. We just have to play sound football. They were a good team [and] we were a good team. It was a battle all the way to the end and on games like that, that catch, that drop, this player here, missed tackles, those all really matter."


On the final drive:

"[Chargers QB] Philip Rivers is a great player. They have a lot of great players on that team and they fought. We played 60 minutes. We talked about that all week, that we want to play 60 minutes. That's what we try to do."

On the defensive efforts on the final drive:

"They made some good plays there. Created a holding call there, that was important. Got some pass rush going. I thought guys played hard today."

On the offense:

"We struggled. We still could clean things up. We didn't run the ball very well. [QB] Deshaun [Watson] played a great game. Receivers and tight ends played really well, and I thought the offensive line protected really well. We still got a way to go, though. There's a lot of room for improvement and we have to get back to work tomorrow. We have to start to work to improve."

On the offensive line:

"I think it was decent. Again, I think when pressure comes, it's usually on blitzes. We did a better job against the blitz, but still could improve on that area. I think when the offensive line was in charge of blocking who they were supposed to block, they did a good job, if that makes sense. I thought Deshaun [Watson] had a lot of time most of the day. That's a pretty good front with [Chargers DE Joey] Bosa and [Chargers DE Melvin] Ingram [III]. Our guys improved this week and did some decent things."

On G/T Tytus Howard and G/T Max Scharping playing in different positions now than during preseason:

"Max played all five positions during preseason. He played center, both guards and both tackles. Tytus played left guard, right guard, left tackle, right tackle. That's kind of what we do. We move guys around and we try to get them learning at every position. This week we went with that lineup, we felt like that was a good lineup and those guys earned the right to play. That's what we do."

On and DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus:

"Those guys are really great players. They've been doing it for a long time. Whitney is having a really good year and J.J. is a hall of fame player. Those guys mean a lot to our defense, to our team, and every time they're out there — the big key is health. I think as long as they stay healthy, they give offenses problems."

On Mercilus:

"He plays very hard. They all do. They play really hard. They run the ball. We gave up some yards, but that's a great quarterback. [Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken] Whiz [Whisenhunt] does a good job calling plays and they have really good players. [Chargers WR Keenan] Allen, [Chargers WR] Mike Williams, [Chargers WR] Travis Benjamin and tight ends. It was a big challenge for us, and I thought our guys did a good job of playing 60 minutes."

On TE Jordan Akins:

"He did a good job. He's been improving every week. I think that's the key for our team, just to keep improving. I think if we can win and if we can improve — you know, we've had three really close games. First game came down to the last 40 seconds of the game, the next game came down to a two-point play, this game came down to the final drive. This is really what the NFL is. It's really not the 40-0 games. The NFL is a league of parity. I think if we can keep improving and play 60 minutes, we'll be in every game."

On having every game so far come down to the end:

"We practice it. We work it all the time, we talk about it, we work situations all the time. Our guys are really tuned in. I thought our poise was really good. Our poise has been good all year. Our poise on the sideline has been really good, our players have been poised. I think that's because of all the work the players put into practice for these situations. So far, it's led to 2-1 and hopefully we can keep getting better."

On beating the Chargers on the road:

"I think you have to be able to play on the road. Playing on the road in the NFL is very difficult. It's a different type of stadium, a different type of crowd. A crowd that's not rooting for you, obviously. All you have is you. All you have are those 46 guys, the coaching staff and the training staff and the strength staff — that's it. I think if you can have that mentality that you're going out to play 60 minutes, then you'll be in every game."

On coming back from a 10-point deficit at halftime:

"I think we came in at halftime and we said we gave them a touchdown. We got to do a better job at that play, the design of the play probably wasn't really good. We have to go back to the drawing board on that play, but we gave them seven points on a short field. You can't give [Chargers QB] Philip Rivers a short field. If we didn't do that again, if we didn't turn the ball over, we knew that our defense was going to make plays. We knew that we could score. I felt like once we got going on offense — which wasn't the whole second half, but we obviously played better on the second half — we would have a chance to win."

On QB Deshaun Watson:

"He does a lot of things really well. One of the things he does really well is when he can stand in there and see the coverage, know what the matchups are and deliver the ball to the open guy. He does a great job at that. He's a very bright guy and he works hard to improve. That's who he is. Quite obviously, he makes a lot of great plays that really aren't drawn that way on the chalkboard. He did a really good job today."

On if some of the plays weren't by design:

"Some of the plays are designed, but not all of those. You'll probably figure out the ones that weren't designed."

On Watson spreading the ball around:

"We have a lot of good players on offense. We have guys that work hard. We have [TE Darren] Fells and [TE Jordan] Akins, they played well today. They can do things with the ball in their hands. Then obviously [WR DeAndre] Hop [Hopkins], Hop showed what he can do. [WR] Will Fuller [V] and [WR] Kenny Stills got in there, and [WR] Keke [Coutee]. I think there's a lot of guys in there and there's a chemistry developing there. Deshaun feels confident in all those guys."

On the health of the team:

"I think that's the key. I think healthy for any team in the league is health. I think depth helps, we have some depth there, but I think staying healthy will be a big key for any team."


On today's comeback win:

"It was great. It was a great team win. We made adjustments at halftime, and that's the beauty about this team. We fight 60 minutes. We learned from what we did Week 1 against the Saints. We played 59 minutes and some change. After that, last week, we played 60 minutes. This week we played 60 minutes, and that's the beauty of it. That's the NFL. Every game is going to be tight. Every game is going to be close. This is a good conference win against a great team on the road, so [we] can definitely build on this."

On the Chargers' defensive performance:

"They're very disciplined. They know exactly what they wanted to do. They did some good games, and they try to get to the ball as much as they can and try to affect the pressure and timing with myself and the receivers down field. Those are two great players that have played a long time and probably Hall of Famers, so it was good to try to control them as much as we can and try to run the ball."

On how comfortable he felt in the pocket:

"The offensive line has been great. They've been working their tails off each and every day. Blocking out all the noise and, continually grinding and continuing to have their confidence. That's what I love about those guys. I'd do anything for those guys, that's why I play my heart out and I continue to help those guys whenever I do get pressured, get out of those situations and try to do things that's making them comfortable. I can see all the work and hard work throughout the week and in the meeting rooms and on the practice field, so I love every single one of those guys and we're going to continue to grow together and make something happen."

On his second touchdown pass to TE Jordan Akins:

"I just kind of stepped up, got out of a little pressure, and I saw [Jordan] Akins go right when I was going left. No one was over there, so I just kind of flipped him the ball and he made the play after that. That was pretty much it on that."

On how he makes it sound easier than it looked:

"I was just out there playing ball. Having fun trying to make something happen. Like I said, I was going left and I had just seen him in my peripheral going right, and I just kind of flipped it to him. He caught it, and the rest was all him. That's what he does when he gets the ball in his hands."

On what the conversation was coming out of the half:

"We just basically said the first half is over. I, on that first drop, spared them seven points throwing the ball backwards. It was a screen. Dude got hit on the pressure and he actually was supposed to be in the front. He was behind me, I was about to throw it, and it was just all in a speed of motion. [Joey] Bosa was in front of me, hit my arm and it went backwards. We spared them seven, but outside of that we just had to find our grove after that and just continue to push forward. We came out of the second half, and that's what we did."

On competing against Philip Rivers:

"He's a veteran guy that's played 17 years and won a lot of football games, played a lot of playoff games. To come in his house and compete with him is special. I actually saw him before I was walking in and he came – actually I think he came looking for me – and called my name and said great job, continue to grow and I have a bright future and I'll see you in January, so looking forward to that."


On coming back from a 10-point deficit in the second half:

"That's a very difficult win on the road against a very good opponent. Those guys are good. [Chargers QB] Philip [Rivers] is one of the smartest quarterbacks I've ever played against. The guy is brilliant. He knows his stuff. He's a tough competitor and makes some incredible throws. It's a very good football team and it's tough to go on the road and win like that. I thought our guys did a great job showing some resiliency. We made some great halftime adjustments and came out in the second half and played some great football."

On QB Deshaun Watson:

"He's an unbelievable player, and you're never out of the game. It's always a lot of fun to sit on the bench and watch him play because you never know what you're going to see."

On playing against his brother, Chargers FB Derek Watt:

"Once the game gets going, there were a couple times I thought about it. One time when he chipped me right in the ribs, which really wasn't that cool [laughing]. Other than that, all of the sudden you just snap into football mode. You don't even realize it or it matters, then after the game. But once I sit on the plane and I actually think about it, that's a moment that I'll never forget. We've literally dreamt about that growing up, and we just did it. There's nothing else like that. A win, loss, anything – that's a memory we'll have for the rest of our lives."

On the effort it takes to get to Chargers QB Philip Rivers:

"Everybody else was a little more worried about it than I was. The outside world seems to make a big deal out of things, which I understand. That's what you do. But I knew it was just a matter of time. They come in bunches when they come. Today was a good day. We had guys all over, making unbelievable plays. [Houston DE] D.J. [Reader] is one of the most underrated players in the league, in my opinion. He made some great plays. We had guys flying all over the place. I was fortunate enough to get there. He [Chargers QB Rivers] gets the ball out so fast too, he's great. I can't say enough about his game. He gets the ball out so quick, then that last sack at the end. I was coming in for the ball and I was going to strip it, and he literally held the ball over his head so I couldn't strip it. I've never seen a quarterback hold it over there head because he knew I was going to strip it. I give the guy a ton of credit. Playing against him today, I have so much respect for his game."

On what made the difference in the second half:

"We kind of settled in. Up front, we kind of fell into a pass rushing pattern that we were comfortable with. We have four guys up front rushing, we were comfortable and knew what each other were going to do and could communicate with each other. I think when you let those four guys go eat, that's when you see the results. We can set up some plans, set up some things we can work on. You can get into a rhythm that way. I think we got into a really nice rhythm in the second half."

On watching the final touchdown from the sidelines:

"It was awesome. You can't see a ton from the sidelines, so I was looking up to the scoreboard. I was kind of looking to the field, and he escaped out of there, which he does all the time, which is crazy. He threw it to him, and I looked up to the scoreboard to see where it was going to, and there wasn't a single other person up there on the screen. Then he just kept going and scored. We were all ecstatic because as a defense, we know if we go out there and get a stop, it's over. Now it took us a little longer than we wanted to, to get that stop, but we got it. That's something that we didn't do necessarily in the last two weeks. So that's a sign of good progress for us and we want to continue doing that, moving forward."

On the Texans fans making a presence on the road:

"I think there's been one other time maybe where I was on the road and raising arms to get the crowd excited – for an away game. Today our fans were unbelievable. We were treating third downs like we were in NRG [Stadium] and we were getting the crowd hyped and they were making them [Chargers offense] have a tough time making checks and a tough time making calls. I can't thank our traveling fans enough. They did a great job today and they had a big impact on that last drive. They were incredible – thank you to those guys."


On his first time playing against his former team:

"It [this game] was everything. I have much love for these guys. Much love for this organization from top to bottom. Just getting a win back home where I played six years. It felt really good.

On the gesture toward their sidelines:

"I don't remember that."

On the last few games coming down to the final drive:

"That's what we practice for. We practice having the toughest defense. Coach always has us playing sixty minutes. The first game we played fifty-nine [minutes] and last game we played sixty [minutes]. If that's what it's going to take. We like that pressure on ourselves."

On QB Philip Rivers:

"He is a hall of fame quarterback. He's going to get his team to the best look. He is going to do what he can to get them in the best position. The calls in the second half and getting a different look from the skies. Coach had me hold on the ball a little longer on that rush to get home."

On RB Austin Ekeler:

"Ekeler is a boss. He can do it all. Coming into the game, that is one guy we talked about stopping and trying to limit his touches. I knew that they were going to get the balls in his had as much as they could. We just had to make plays on him."

On short passes from QB Philip Rivers:

"No, Philip Rivers covers well. He will take what you give him. In a zone he will drop in deep and check it down the line."


On facing CB Casey Hayward Jr. all game:

"We knew we could get away with some things, and Casey is a smart corner. Sometimes it's like a chess match out there. As the game went [on], I knew I could get him on some things and the coaches called the right plays."

On stagnant offense against Chargers defense in the first half:

"It was a 'bend but don't break' first half, you know? They're a great defense and they gave up some big plays, but we couldn't get into the end zone. In the second half, we knew we had to make some plays. With [QB] Deshaun [Watson] on the speed scrambling, with [WR] Kenny [Stills] going down field. So, we knew in the second half we had to make some big plays and that's what we did."

On QB Deshaun Watson throwing his 51st career touchdown pass:

"The sky is the limit for that guy. 51 touchdowns so far in his career doesn't surprise me at all. I'm like a big brother to him. I feel like him and I both still got room for improvement."

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