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Bengals at Broncos Postgame Quotes


Opening statement

"Well obviously it was disappointing to lose the football game like that in overtime. It was a hard fought football game; we got off to a good start. We didn't capitalize on much in the third quarter offensively, and we let the Broncos back into the football game. We have to find a way to get a stop at the end of the game there. They drive down, miss the field goal, and then obviously the drive in overtime; we have to find a way to get stops. It was disappointing. We have a chance there on offense, and we don't take care of it in the end."

On offensive struggles in the second half

"They (Broncos) adjusted, and we adjusted. We had some good runs there in the third quarter and the start of the fourth quarter, but not enough when we needed it."

On personal foul late in the game by LB Vontaze Burfict

"I don't know. It was on the far side and on the sideline. He's trying to tackle a guy and they are struggling; a lot of those things don't get called and they let it go. Both sides are pushing. I don't think he does anything besides push the guy as he goes out of bounds; it happens all of the time. We'll see what happened on the tape."

On if the defense was tired at the end of the game

"No, I don't think we were gassed. We just have to find a way to win those third downs. They had some critical third downs that they were able to make there in the fourth quarter and in the overtime. They get the catch underneath, they get the catch on the sideline, so a couple of plays where they converted. In the first half we were getting off the field in those third downs."


* *

On the fumbled snap in overtime

"It was my fault. I told the team and the offensive guys that. I told Russ [C Russell Bodine] that I looked up to see the coverage and the snap caught me by surprise. I take the blame it was my fault."

* *

On the wrap on his left wrist

"I have a wrap on my wrist right now and we will check it out in the morning."

On coming out hot on the first two drives

"We felt like we could do that the whole time. We know that they are the number one defensive in all the categories. They are a heck of a defensive for sure. We felt like if we executed and played the way we are supposed to play, that we would put ourselves in a good situation. The big thing for us was coming out and starting fast and moving the ball and we did that."

On Broncos defensive adjustments after half

"A little. They came up with some different blitzes and tried to disguise different coverages. They weren't playing the exact same in the first half. They were playing a lot more man and we were capitalizing on it"

On if they changed coverages on WR A.J. Green

"No. Like I said, they played a normal zone. They didn't do anything special or spectacular, we just need to execute better and make more plays"

* *

On WR A.J. Green saying the Broncos defensive heated it up more

"Yeah they started bringing some blitzes, but we hit them on a couple that they brought. We had a big third down conversion to Mo [WR Mohamed Sanu] on the out route. They brought pressure and tried to hit [WR] A.J. [Green] on a post with pressure. They played well in the second half and made more plays than we did."

On when the wrist injury occurred

"On the last play. I was diving for the football and it just happened."

On if the injury is bad

"I don't know. I'll get it checked out tomorrow and see from there."

* *

On what happened on the last play

"My fault. Like I said I told the guys that. The snap caught me by surprise. I was looking to see how they were adjusting to [WR] A.J. [Green] coming in motion and it slip through my hands and hit my rib protector and bounced off. It's my fault, simple as that."

On his receivers making big catches

"I've said this the whole time they make my job easy. I just try to put it in their area and let them go up and make plays. It's an unbelievable group that I have the opportunity to play with. A great organization and I really love being a part of this team and wish we could have pulled this one out tonight. It just sucks to lose a game like that when you have fought so hard and came back, battle backed, had a lead, lost it, battled back and gave your chance to win the ball game. I take the blame."

On deep ball to WR A.J. Green

"I think when he was getting pushed down by the cornerback, he thought the safety was going to take him and the safety shut his feet down. I just tried to put it out there and let him go get it. I throw that 100 times out of 100 times and he goes and makes that play. We just didn't make enough plays in the end. That was one heck of a football game I thought and it was fun to be a part of. Like I said it sucks to come out on the losing end, but it was a good hard fought game. "

On how bad the team wanted the bye week in the playoffs

"I mean we all wanted it, but that was not in our thought process going into this. It was a big enough challenge to come here and play a good Denver team. As an offense, with them being ranked number one, in every category in defense, that was in our thought process. We wanted to go out and win a game just like we always do. It would have been nice. We still have an opportunity. You never know what happens next week as long as we take care of business. That's all we can do right now.

On how much of not scoring a touchdown in the second half was Denver, himself and the game of football

"I think it was a mixture of all three. Football is not going to be perfect. The game itself, they did some really good things. Like I said, they are the number one ranked defense in all categories. They are going to make plays. They have guys that are Pro Bowlers and they get paid, too. We just didn't make enough plays when it counted. We put ourselves in a position to win the ballgame and I failed the team. That is what it comes down to; you aren't always going to score touchdowns. We tried our best, we really did. Guys were working and we were in the game all night. It was a fun game, fun offense to be a part of.

On the frustration of the losing on a bad snap

"We did a great job of taking care of the football. Like I said, it sucks. I feel like I let the team down. We had a situation to win the ball game. The defense did a great job. It's just one of those plays. I wish that I could have it back, but that's football. We have to move on to next week now and get ready to play."

On the effect of losing H-back Ryan Hewitt

"I don't know. Hewitt is a big part of our offense, but I thought that [TE] C.J. [Uzomah] did an unbelievable job of stepping in. Kind of what Coach Lewis says and preaches all of the time is, 'Next man up.' I felt like he did a great job of stepping up and especially not getting many reps, if any, at that position. He did an excellent job and really made some good plays during the game for us. I was proud of him."

On if wrist injury will keep him out

"I hope not. Going to wait until tomorrow, but hopefully not."

On if he has any encouraging words for Broncos QB Peyton Manning

"Peyton is an unbelievable professional. He's a good friend. I know his family. Peyton didn't need any words of advice coming from me. He's been in the league long enough, I think 18 years or however long he's been in. He knows how to handle his situation. He'll be fine."


* *

On if it will stick with them that they let the Broncos go down and score at will

"No, they made their adjustments. We were there and there were a lot of tight throws and it just happened to go their way. They made the plays and you can't take that from them; they made some really good football plays when it counted the most."

On if it makes this Sunday more important

"Every Sunday is important. Obviously, we knew what we had in front of us, the opportunity to get the bye so it is what it is now, so what we're going to do now is move on and make our next move our best move."

On the overtime third downs the Broncos were able to convert

"That's critical. Anytime they're able to extend their drive like that, like they did, guys get winded. That's what they like to do here in the Mile High, they like to take advantage when you're on the edge and get those long drives, and we gave them one down the stretch. It is what it is now, we can't do anything about not but learn from it and make sure we don't make these mistakes when it counts."

* *

On if the Broncos changed anything in the second half

"They made full adjustments. As you saw, they came out after halftime and did what they had to do to get points on the board. They came out with a better game plan; the initial one didn't work for them and it was working for us and they made their adjustments and made some football plays when it counted."

On the Broncos running game in the first half

"They did, though. They made their big run and we missed a tackle in the backfield. They made more football plays down the stretch, that's what was the difference in the football game."


* *

On if it's disappointing to not get a win and lock up a bye

"I'm not going to say disappointing, because at the end of the day we put ourselves in a pretty good situation. It's sad because we kind of threw away opportunity but at the end of the day we're in the playoffs, we got another game coming up Sunday so we're going to focus on that and finish strong at home and whatever happens, happens."

On if it's disappointing to lose on a fluky play like they did in overtime

"It is what it is. We left plays out there and it shouldn't have come down to that but it did and they scored enough points to win the game. So we just have to go back, watch the film, make the corrections and put it into action. We still have a lot of football ahead of us and we have a good team, good locker room and guys overcome well. It's just one of those things you're going to have to overcome and keep pushing."


* *

On what adjustments the Broncos made in the second half

"Uh, I don't know. They tried to heat us up and they blitzed a lot."

On his touchdown catch

"I knew where I was, and I knew I just had to catch the ball first and throw my body down. AJ (McCarron) gave me a great ball; just had to go make a play on it."

On AJ McCarron's performance

"He played great. He did everything right, we just didn't come out with the win."

On how badly they wanted the bye

"It's tough. We have a lot of guys banged up, so we could have really used that bye. All we have to do is go out there and take care of next weekend, and hope for the best. We still have a lot more football to play."


* *

On his performance

"I think our offensive line did a great job today, especially to start the game. They gave me some holes out there. It's just up to me to keep hitting them. I let them down today again, didn't get the big run we needed. But [I've] just got to keep working and keep grinding it out, and it will come."

On closing out games

"I think everyone put in their two cents this week. I think everyone has been vocal, especially at halftime. We're very confident. This one definitely hurts when you feel like you got a lot of momentum and some good things out there and you kind of spit out the bit in the second half. That's a lot of things we wish we could have had back, but we'll leave that out there on the field. We've just got to fix it and get ready for next week."

On whether this was a game that got away

"They're a great defense. You never think that, it's a home football game, teams make adjustments, so you know you've got to go into that. It's a big game with a lot of stuff on the line, but at the end of the day, we've got to execute better. We've got to do better things out there. There was a lot of stuff that was left out there. The three-and-outs killed our defense. We had our defense out there the whole second half. So, we've just got to get better."

On Broncos' second half adjustments

"They got a little bit closer to the line of scrimmage to kind of get sturdier in the run game. But they ran their stuff. They didn't go out and do anything crazy."


* *

On how much the loss stings

"It is what it is. We lost that one today. We played pretty good though. I know I had a couple plays where I could've played a whole lot better. As far as a team, I think we stuck in there, hung in there, just didn't get the W today."

* *

On game atmosphere similar to what the Bengals see in the playoffs

"Oh yeah, the atmosphere was definitely an up-tempo atmosphere. … If you take away just one or two plays it's a totally different ballgame. We've got to go back and look at it, take this one on the chin and we'll see how it goes."

On the Broncos' opening drive of the second half

"We knew they were going to come out trying to get momentum. I think they did good that first drive, but after that I think we played pretty good. We're going to have runs. They're a … good team. It isn't like they're a slouch. Each team is going to have runs. We had runs in the first half, they came back in the second half and had a little better run than us. But at the end of the day, we we're still in a good position to win the game."

On the team's attitude heading into Week 17

"We lost a game by three in overtime today, which if you go back and look at the game, a couple plays, the whole game could've been different. Take this one on the shoulder, suck it up, make sure the guys are still good in here and we'll be all right."

* *


* *

On what adjustments they made

"They just started sagging off on us and they probably stopped playing man, that's pretty much it. They won, it was good on their part."

On the personal foul penalty in overtime

"I don't know what to say about that, it just stings period that we lost because we were doing so good and we believed that we were going to go and win the game. Like I said, we were driving the ball at will for the most part, in the second half we kind of stalled out a little bit. There were some opportunities but it happens, it's the NFL."


* *

On the forced fumble by Broncos RB C.J. Anderson late in the fourth quarter

"It was just a nice hit by Michael Johnson. It just says a lot about our football team. Not giving up when they were on the 20 or whatever, 15-yard line. We kept playing."

On how hard the loss hits in the playoff picture

"It just leaves all the 'what ifs' out there. I mean, back to square one. We've just got to continue to play hard and play our football, and just keep on that straight line."

On Broncos' second-half adjustments

"They pretty much didn't do too much different in the second half. We've just got to continue to play our football. We just never settled down to be honest with you. We got away from our football and they made plays and we made plays."

On the Bengals' outset after in light of a tough loss

"We've got to come out and play football, regardless of who it is in front of us. We've still got to come out and play. Right now, we're going to focus on the Ravens and after we watch this film [then] put it behind us."


* *

Opening Statement

"Our only injury is [ILB] Brandon Marshall. He's got an ankle, so I think that's where we're at leaving the game."

* *

On the halftime adjustments that were made

"You know what, the first half, defensively, we really struggled. [Cincinnati] played lights out. It was a little bit like the Pittsburgh game we were in last week, [but] the shoe on the other foot. I think the drive right before the half was positive for us, but we talked at halftime. 'Hey, we've had some struggles in the second half. It's time to play the best second half we've played all year,' and we did that tonight. So very proud of our guys, how we battled. We've really found some explosion as a football team at times here in the last couple weeks, and we'll stay positive and see if we can find it for four quarters. But very proud of our team."

On increasing the tempo to open the second half

"Well, we had no possessions in the first half, you know?  So we have to do something, so let's just go to two minute, [QB] Brock [Osweiler] will handle the team, let [TE Owen Daniels] O.D. and [TE] Virgil [Green] play because [TE] Vernon [Davis] hasn't been with us as much doing that type of stuff. I felt they played really well. And then once we got into it, let's stay with it, even though we got the lead. So just impressed with how Brock handled the group and. You're right, [RB] C.J. [Anderson] played big. I know he's got the one play he'd love to have back, but he played really big throughout the course of the night."

On Osweiler ignoring distractions

"I've said all along that it's part of growing up. If you're going to be a good player in this league, you have to block out noise. That's just part of it. He's done a great job of that. I think the team has done a great job of that and rallied behind him. So he just continues, to me, to get better. He's a good decision maker right now, protected the ball really well tonight against a really good pass rush, kept us on schedule—probably no bigger play than the third-and-10 in overtime that he makes; it was one hell of a play that he makes off schedule. Very proud of him, but his teammates have really helped him out and done a good job."

On Osweiler's poise in the fourth quarter and overtime

"That's extremely impressive, but it's also extremely impressive in the first half to not have the football at all and keep your poise. You know, a lot of guys get frustrated and do something wrong. He just hung in there, he makes a big play to [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] right before the half, goes down and gets us some points. I think that composure is really about really the course of the game. In the National Football League, there's a lot of one-score, close football games, and he just hung in there until we got ourselves back in that position and played extremely well at that time.

On if C.J. Anderson's touchdown run was the same play that beat New England

"I don't think so. I think it was a tight zone, and C.J. wound the ball back. Emmanuel did a great job blocking the corner. It wasn't a crack toss type play. It was more of a zone type play. Even though we went to our hurry up, we didn't run away from the run game. I thought [Offensive Coordinator] Rick [Dennison] did a great job tonight handling that, keeping us patient and making sure that we continue to stay with what we do."

On if halftime was emotional

"No, actually if anything it was just the opposite. I told them I believed in them and I told them we're fixing to go play a great second half and I had confidence in them. We hadn't done a lot right up to that point, but we're fixing to go do a lot of things right. That was my message after the game. It was one hell of a second half of football."

On the importance of winning the final regular season game to clinch the division

"Yeah, it would be very big for our football [team]. First off, getting into the playoffs in the National Football League is a hell of an accomplishment. It's hard to do. Once you get there, it's about how you play, not really where you play, but you're right. I mean we've got a great opportunity this weekend. It's going to be a very quick turnaround after a five-quarter football game. It's going to be very tough on us physically. I've got to get them ready to go, but they understand that. They didn't want a lot of atta-boy's tonight. They're ready to go to work next week. I could feel that already."

* *

On if he has ever been around a team that can change so dramatically in one half

"I guess that could bother some people, but I've been doing this long enough. To me, it actually excites me to watch what took place in the first half last week and what took place in the second half this week because that's what this league is about at the end—finding it all. They know. They know what they're capable of. We do have to go find the consistency, but we have shown some flashes of being able to do that. As I said all last week talking to you guys, we're going to hang on to the positives. We're going to keep working on the negatives that aren't happening, but we're going to stay positive and battle. We feel very confident in the direction that we're headed."

On if Osweiler is the starting quarterback moving forward

"Yeah, I mean I've said that. Nothing has changed with Brock. If something would change, the players would know first and you all would know second. I told you guys that this week, but our football team is moving forward. Our mindset right now goes to San Diego and we've got to get ourselves good and freshened up, ready to play."

On why G Max Garcia played ahead of G Evan Mathis

"I think Max has been playing well and he deserved the opportunity to start. Really we're watching his growth as a player. When he's playing well and doing things well, he's going to continue to play. It's nothing Evan has done wrong. He's been nicked up. He played on one foot for us for about a month, and we're going to need them all before it's said and done. That's where we're at."

On if Osweiler hurt his non-throwing elbow in the game

"Yes, it was his elbow, not his shoulder. But he is fine. He is okay."

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*                                                                                                                                                                                     *

On how he has handled the outside distractions

"I don't hear it. I don't read the newspaper. I don't turn on ESPN. I don't turn on NFL Network. A coach once told me—no offense to anybody—close your ears to all of that and focus on your job. I'm very appreciative of that advice that I received because I think this game, when you focus on your job, when you focus on the task at hand and when you focus on what's really relevant for that situation and for that day, it keeps you focused. That's how I've been handling that. Most of all, this isn't about Peyton. This isn't about myself. Tonight is about this football team. What this football team went out there and did tonight is truly special. We had our backs against the wall coming off of two losses. We're back at home in front of the best fans in world on prime time Monday night and we knew we had to get a win. We went out there as a team, our defense played lights out in the second half, the offense got things going and special teams came up when we needed them. It's a huge team win and that's what the story truly is."

* *

On what was said at halftime and the strategy to start the second half

"Whenever offensively you're not moving the ball and you're not generating points, you want to try something different, and why not? Our conversation at halftime was to try to pick up the tempo a little bit, show them a look that we have not shown on tape and then. At the same time, [Head] Coach [Gary Kubiak] really preached us all week long, 'Focus for 60 minutes. One play at a time. Whether that play is good, bad or ugly, move on to the next play and keep your focus there.' That's truly what this football team did tonight. It was a huge team win and it means a lot to this football team."

* *

On the mentality after the missed kick heading into overtime

"That's football. In football, you don't have time to blink. You don't have time to think about the previous play. In a given football game, there are going to be good plays, there are going to be bad plays. There are going to be touchdowns. Hopefully there's not too many turnovers, but that's football. When something like that happens, we come together as an offense and we stay positive, which I think is extremely important. We just focus on the next play and we talk about how we're going to execute the next time that we're out on the field."

* *

On if he thinks he is the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season

"I'm not focused on that. Like I've said, I'm very excited about this win that we just got tonight. I'm going to celebrate with my family and with my teammates, but the focus moving forward will be San Diego and very quick. We're coming onto a short week. We know that San Diego is going to give us their best shot. They have a lot of talented players. I'm not concerned with the quarterback situation. I'm going to show up whether I'm the starter or whether I'm the backup. I'm going to prepare the same exact way. I'm going to be the same exact guy in that building regardless of the situation. The focus needs to be on San Diego."

* *

On how he thinks he has played as the starter

"I'm not going to grade that right now. I don't think now is the time or place. We still have a lot of goals ahead of us that we're looking to accomplish. Just getting to the playoffs is one huge, huge goal of this football team, but we also have bigger aspirations. That's where the focus is right now. I'm not worried about a personal grade. All that I care about is getting team wins."

* *

On what the win says about the Denver Broncos

"It says a lot about our team. We're able to win football games in many different ways. Tonight, obviously the first half didn't go the way that we wanted it to, but that's football. Sometimes you're going to have tough first halves. I think what it shows is that this team didn't blink. We didn't flinch. We re-grouped at halftime, we came together as a team and we got the job done in the second half."

* *

On the frustration of having the ball so little in the first half

"It's frustrating, but that's part of the game. Sometimes the other team is going to possess the ball for a while. They're going to run the football and they're going to eat up some clock. I think when things like that occur you need to maximize the possessions that you do get. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that early in this football game, but I think there's an old saying, 'It's not how you start, it's how you finish.' This football team finished great tonight."

On his connection with TE Owen Daniels in the last several drives

"Owen is an incredible player. It seems like any time I throw the football to Owen, he is making a play and he's catching that ball. When the game is on the line, you want to look for your guys that you know are going to make plays. Fortunately for this team, there is a lot of guys in that locker room. Not to single anybody out, but yes, Owen stepped up. He played a huge game. He made some really big catches, but you know, he's done that all year. [WR] Demaryius [Thomas] has done that. [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] has done that. [WR] Bennie [Fowler] had a big catch down the stretch. This truly was a team win, and it was a huge win for this football team."

On if the offense continued to communicate at halftime

"Absolutely. There were a lot of conversations going on at halftime—talking to the running backs, talking to the offensive line, talking to the coaches, talking to the receivers—and just trying to make adjustments. Obviously the first half didn't go the way that we wanted it to, and we knew that we had to play better. Nobody was looking in the rearview mirror thinking about that first half. It was all about how we can be better in the second half. There was great communication at halftime. Our coaches made great adjustments, and the players executed it."

On where he thinks he is now compared to where he was in his first start

"Well, I've learned in lot. In fact, I was just talking to some of the guys in the locker room about some of those things that I've learned along the way. Anytime you can get a win the way that you do tonight, and a couple of those other wins—the way that we beat New England, going on the road in Chicago and San Diego and getting those wins, going to Pittsburgh and obviously it didn't come out the way that we wanted it to—but all of this has been a learning experience. At the same time, through the learning experiences I've been trying to eliminate mistakes. I don't want the same mistake to happen twice. I think I've grown through this process, but once again, I don't want to make this about me. Tonight was a huge team win. It's very special to this team."

* *

On one specific thing he has learned

"One specific thing that I've learned? Obviously protecting the football. When you protect the football and you have the defense that plays the way that our defense plays, you're going to give your team a chance to win the game. I think ball security, regardless of the opponent, is a huge priority every single week."

On if he knew Thomas was playing hurt through pain

"I knew Demaryius was hurt. I didn't know how bad. You can kind of see a little bit, but D.T. is a warrior and D.T. played his butt off tonight. He came up big for this football team when he needed to. I think that just says everything about him as a person and as a player. D.T. is going to fight for his teammates. D.T. will make big plays when the ball comes his way, and he's a big-time player. I'm very glad that he's on our side." 

On the status of his injured left shoulder and left elbow

"Coming into the game, I was a little bit banged up. Coming out of the game, I'm a little bit banged up, but that's football. Everybody in that locker room, Week 16, is banged up. I'm no special case. Everybody has got their bumps and bruises, and I'll be good to go come next week."

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* *

On how it feels to get this win

"It felt good. At one point, I was like, 'C.J. you might have lost it.' I have to protect the ball. .That's something I have to do better and I'll work on that. It just feels good to get a big win and put ourselves in the playoffs."

On if he got the 'wind knocked out of him' when he fumbled

"No, I just got hit in a spot. I'm not going to tell you where, but I got hit in a spot where it hurt and I let the ball go, but I shouldn't have done that."

On adjustments made in the second half by the offense

"I don't think it was really adjustments. I mean we made some, but it was more about getting the ball in the second half. I think we had the ball for six minutes in the first half. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities in the first half with those six minutes, but the Bengals were on the field a lot in the first half. We came and just said, 'If we can get a drive together and make it 14-10, we'll be good.'"

On what this win does for the team's morale

"It's big. We wanted to put ourselves in the playoffs and we still control the things we want to control moving on to San Diego, moving on to the future and how we want to be seeded within these playoffs."

On the team making sure not to let its' guard down

"Don't let it down at all. Just come out, play hard and take care of business; we'll let the rest take care of itself."

On overcoming a 14-point deficit and what it says about this team

"We've just learned a lot throughout the whole season. I've said it before, but it takes four quarters to beat us and we learned last week it takes four quarters to beat another team. It just takes four quarters. We have to focus for all 60 minutes and all three phases of the game."

* *


* *

On the win

"I think we did a great job running the ball in the fourth quarter. Great mixture of stuff we were doing offensively play-calling wise. It seemed like everyone was contributing in the fourth quarter and overtime. It was great to see that, and a great job all around."

On the feeling in the locker room at halftime

"I think we felt we had a little bit of momentum. We put a good drive together at the end of the half and we knew we were getting the ball to start the second half. We knew we had to put some drives together and get some points. The whole second half BS that has been going on, we just kind of cleared that out of our minds this week. It was great to see a lot of guys contribute."

On the faster pace in the second half

"We felt like we got some stuff going at the end of the half doing that up-tempo stuff. It looked like they were getting a little tired and they weren't moving quite as fast when we were doing it. We stuck to it and got some good things out of it. It was a nice change up. We didn't plan on doing that but it's good to know that we can adjust."

On recharging after the missed field goal at the end of regulation

"I won't lie to you, it was tough to see that, but we knew we were going to overtime and still had a chance there. We just had to regroup real quick and we did it. Today, when things were going wrong and going against us, we found a way to stay focused and stick to it. It definitely paid off for us."


* *

On halftime adjustments

"Really, [Defensive Coordinator] Coach Wade [Phillips] leaned on me and [CB Aqib Talib] again. That's what we do. We play man-to-man. We bring the heat and that's what we kept doing. We just kind of stuck to what we did, and we just made enough plays today."

On keys to keeping emotions high throughout the game

"We loaded everybody in the box, challenged them to throw the ball and that's how we were able to shut down the run. That's what we do. No. 1, load the box, and we knew we had to shut down the run."

On what a win like this does to team psyche

"We just find a way to win. We just needed to find a way win, regardless of how ugly it is. We just knew that every playoff game is going to be like that. That was a playoff game today. In the playoffs, you've just got to figure out the way to win."

On the Bengals offense slowing after the game's first two drives

"We just had to load the box and just say, 'Hey, we're going to dare you to throw the ball. We're going to load the box and we've got to stop the run.' That's how we ended up shutting it down."

On running zone coverage in the second half

"We sprinkled a little but in, but we don't play too much zone. We don't have zone in our system. We stay man [coverage]."

On Bengals QB A.J. McCarron

"He played a great game. He has a bright future in the NFL. He showed a lot of confidence, a lot of poise. Some of those balls, I swear, I was right there. Any other quarterback, I feel like they throw it lower and I can break it up. But he kept throwing the balls high and away, and you've got to attribute that to him on those great balls he was throwing."

On defending Bengals WR A.J. Green

"You've just got to be confident. I knew last week I had a bad game, and I just wanted to come back, bounce back [against] another Pro Bowl receiver and make plays on him. He's a very good receiver—one of the best around the league. People underestimate his speed. For a guy that tall, he has great speed, great hands and it's a tough battle. I'm glad we don't have to see him again, unless we've got to see him in the playoffs."

* *


* *

On the second half struggles the past few weeks

"It was something we have to work on. You can't be a one-half team or you get beat in this league. We know what we want to do. We know it is getting late in the season and we want to go to the playoffs, get that first-round bye and to do that we have to win these two games. We have to keep working on putting a whole game together. [Head Coach Gary] Kubiak is preaching that and we're going to get that right."

On feeling when OLB DeMarcus Ware recovered game-winning fumble

"It is nice when you can win like that. It is one of those things that we just go out there and try to win, doesn't matter how you do it. It could be ugly, it could be pretty, but as long as you get that W at the end of the day. We are all happy we got that 'W,' but definitely some things we have to work on and get better."

On whether there was any halftime adjustments defensively

"No. Just do what you have to do. Coach came in here and said 'play football.' We just played football. No scheme changes, just play football."


* *

On his missed field goal at the end of regulation

"That would have sealed the game, but any time you miss a kick like that, you want a chance to redeem yourself."

* *

On hitting the eventual game winner after missing in the fourth quarter

"Obviously I'm new to this league, but in my 24 years on this earth, I don't think I've ever kicked a ball like that in my life. I really didn't understand why it happened. I didn't lock my ankle, really, and just kind of hit the side panel of the ball. That's why it hooked so far left like that."

* *

On his mindset in overtime

"Obviously if you score a touchdown, it's an automatic win there. Field goal wise at least gives them a chance to get the ball back, but I wanted a chance to redeem myself, obviously. I wasn't nervous out there for the second one. I was just mad at myself for such a poor kick on the one before that."

* *


* *

On how it feels to clinch a spot in the playoffs

"It feels good. We had a long, hard season, but we still have a tough San Diego team coming in. They aren't just going to lay down and let us win. They're going to try and spoil it for us, so we have to be prepared for that. Tonight, it was a great team win. Everybody had a little trouble at the beginning but we worked it out and it was a great win. I'm happy for my guys."

On what was said at halftime

"We knew that we hadn't even started yet, so we knew the second half was going to be our half. We didn't have a lot of corrections when we came in at halftime. We just talked about some of the stuff they were doing."

On the defensive performance

"We had great defense today. [OLB] Shaq [Barrett], [OLB] Lerentee [McCray)], all these guys played well. [OLB] Shane [Ray] came in and did a great job. [OLB] DeMarcus [Ware] is doing great. We have outstanding corners, they held A.J. Green to whatever it was (5 receptions for 57 yards). I'm proud of my guys. Great day."

On how big Monday's victory was

"Every win is big. We just needed this emotionally, we've been through tough times this year and we just needed it emotionally. I knew last night that everybody was comfortable and everybody was relaxed. We came into the game a little too relaxed but we kicked it up and got the (win)."

On the atmosphere at Sports Authority Field at Mile High

"It felt like a playoff game. Every time I play I try and bring playoff Von to the mixture, but it was great. The fans are great. The energy was magical. There was real Mile High magic tonight. We played a great defensive, a great offensive game and deserved to come out with the win."

* *


* *

On his big catch in the first half

"Obviously, the whole game they were reading the quarterback and on that one play he actually read my route. I just threw my hand up and kept running. It felt good to go out and make a play. On that play, I went over 1,000 yards [on the season], and I was able to spark the crowd and spark the team."

On how big Monday's victory was

"It was big. Obviously, we know that right now we control our own destiny in terms of getting a first-round bye, if we go out and beat San Diego. We are going to be watching New England close and see what they do. It is a big-time win, and we know we are in the playoffs at least."

On that conversation that the game was a battle of backup quarterbacks

"No, [QB] Brock [Osweiler] is not a backup quarterback. This whole quarterback controversy—I try to keep my hands out of it, keep my mouth out of it. My job is to show up and just catch touchdowns and make plays."

On what changed in the second half

"The first half wasn't good. It is crazy because the past couple games, the first half was good and the second half we weren't. Obviously, it flipped on us. We went up-tempo and started running the football. We knew we needed to make plays. Sometimes when your back is against the wall you start swinging, and that is what we did."

* *


* *

On his emotions after the win

"It feels good to be going to the playoffs and know that we're in there. We need to take care of business next week and get us in a better situation."

On the determination the team showed in order to get this win

"We needed it. We started slow. We've been starting fast, finishing slow. We started slow, finished fast this time. It's a 'W' and we'll take it."

On what gave the team a boost at halftime

"We didn't need too much of a boost. We knew we had 30 minutes and we had to do something, so everybody make sure they did something."

On the biggest adjustment the defense made at halftime

"None. Play ball, play fast and play it harder. We didn't make too many adjustments on defense. I can't speak for the offense."

On what he likes about the team's mindset at this point of the season

"We're in a good mindset right now. We're good. We're just going to play football. Once you get in that tournament, the best man wins on Sunday's. We just have to prepare, keep the same routines and play hard, play fast. The best team will win."

On if the team has to be careful about letting up next week against San Diego

"We have a lot to play for. We have guys that are still hurt, still banged up, so a bye-week would be a lot better situation for us. That's what we're playing for next week."

On if this win helps with the team's confidence

"We don't need help with our confidence, we're good. We're the Broncos and we're good. That's all that matters. We don't need help with our confidence."

* *


* *

On the victory

"It was great. As a team and as an offense we needed to play better in the second half because we didn't play too well in the first half, but we came out with the win and actually put up points in the second half."

On overcoming the slow start

"I can say that their offense did a great job of keeping us off the field. We had three possessions and scored three points on one, but when we got an opportunity in the second half, we took advantage of it."

On locking up a playoff spot

"It was big. We needed it. It is awesome to be in the playoffs. To see where we are at as a team and see how well we can play with a lot of people hurt with a lot of people stepping up. It was good to get this win."

On his one-handed catch in the fourth quarter

"It was third down and we needed it. It was kind of in field goal but not field goal range and I just had to do whatever I had to do to make plays."

On what is at stake next week vs. San Diego

"We are going to treat it like we did this week. It is basically win or go home. We have a chance to have a bye and our guys are going to come out ready to play."


* *

On staying focused heading into overtime

"There's always more work to be done. Our defense is always ready to go. Our offense went out and did our thing, had one little error, but our defense is built to make up for that. We like pressure. We enjoy that. We rise to the occasion. I think our defense is one of the best defenses to create turnovers and make plays when needed."

* *

On the magnitude of this win

"It's big for us, especially moving forward trying to get to where we want to go. This game was much needed. We need these last two. We got this one. Now we're going to focus on the next one next week, but we came out here and played our game. Like I said, it was kind of flat at the beginning, but our defense and the way our team is set up, we like to work our tail off. We enjoy guys trying to come after us. Anybody who's ready, come on."

* *

On the play of the Broncos linebackers

"We've got the best linebackers in the league—outside, inside, best D-line, best defense. A lot of people overlook that, but it's our job to come out here Sunday and perform, every Sunday or Monday. It's a good thing when our defense is seen on a platform like this—No. 1 defense, guys flying around having fun and getting back to that killer instinct out here on defense."


* *

On what changed at halftime

"It was just attitude."

On if his injury is reoccurring

"No, it might be a minor setback but nothing major."

On what a win like tonight does for the psyche of the team

"It just lets you know the things we can do. We can come out firing early, and then come out and finish it firing late. We've won in a lot of ways this year—overtime, game-winning field goals, blocked field goals, strips, fumble recoveries—we've won in a lot of ways. I think when you get down to the playoffs, you're going to need all those types of wins."

On what the locker room was like at halftime

"It was calm. It was really calm in here at halftime. We don't need to do all that yelling. We know what we have to do. We've been doing it, so let's go do it."

On still having a lot to play for in the regular season

"There's definitely a lot to play for. It's a divisional game, divisional rivalry. Our dukes are up. We're ready to fight."


*                                                                                                                                                                                     *

On the win

"It feels really good. Especially from the last three games, we've played really well in the first half and then didn't come out and finish in the second half. Now it was flipped a little bit. We didn't play well in the first half. We came out and really wanted the second half and were able to finish the game."

* *

On the gravity of the win

"It's a big win for us, but you only have 24 hours to think about it because it's a short week and we're playing on Sunday. We'll just celebrate these 24 hours and get ready for next week"

* *

On what was different coming out of halftime

"I think the changes that we made at halftime [were different] and then the heart of the guys. The guys really wanted to get out there and win. This was a big game for us. You can see how they really came out, played and made some big plays. It just felt great."

* *

On if he could feel the momentum shift

"The momentum did because I think the offense came out and I think they scored on the first drive. They gave us a lot of momentum to go out there and say, 'You know, we need to get some stops.' That's what we did."

* *

On what was said at halftime

"You know, it was a lot of [bleeps]. The thing is that we just went over some of the things that they were doing and how to change. That's what this game was about and we were able to change it and be effective."

* *

On the defense getting its swagger back

"Yeah, and the momentum. At the beginning of the game, they had the momentum. It sort of shifted that second half when we were able to propel ourselves and play a better game in the second half."

* *

On if he knew he had the fumble right away

"Oh yeah, I knew that I had the ball. When I saw that on the ground, I was so close to it and I was like, 'There is no way that somebody is going to take this ball from me. It felt good to finish the game that way. We thought that we were going to finish it with that field goal."

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