How are you feeling?
"I feel good. Good to get the first one."
Walk us through what led to you ending up playing tonight ...
"I went through a workout this morning and felt good enough to play. I felt good out there."
What exactly did you want to feel in your pregame workout so you'd have confidence to perform the way you wanted to?
"Don't have any setbacks. That was basically the criteria for me."
Did at least doing something at practice on Friday and Saturday, even in a limited situation — did that help?
"Yes, it did. It did. I think it really just gave the decision makers confidence that I was going to be able to go out and do what I needed to."
When we last talked to you, it felt like you know that this could be a week-to-week thing? Were you mentally preparing to have to deal with this? Was that the case, and how hard was it to get ready mentally for tonight?
"Yes, it still is. It still is. We feel good. We didn't have any setbacks today, but it's still day-to-day. I've learned through this process that it can happen at any time. So, it was good to get through this one, and that means we'll be stronger for this week. So, hopefully I can have a full week of practice to prepare for next week."
How do you have to play differently with this injury?
"I was pretty cautious with extending plays. I was quick to throw the ball away, but we were able to get the job done."
It looked like you held on to the ball a little bit longer in the second half. Did you start to get more comfortable?
"Just the flow of the game. I still threw a couple [passes] away, (and) I was able to slightly extend a couple [plays]. I think, on offense, we played OK. We still have to be better in a lot of areas. I have to be better, and we have to be better as an offense. We have to not have as many pre-snap penalties. So, there's a lot — a lot — to improve on."
One of the game's biggest offensive plays was you being mobile on a naked bootleg and getting it downfield to Ja'Marr Chase. How did you know you would be comfortable to make that play?
"I didn't, but I felt good, and it was a good play for us. It was our most explosive play of the game. Ja'Marr had a great game. He showed why he's one of the best."
On the third-and-10 where you threw a back shoulder pass to Ja'Marr Chase, was that an example of maybe things are getting better?
"Yes — like I said — there were bright spots. Obviously, we got the win. We played well enough to win, but there's still so much room to improve — a lot of things left out on the field."
Were you trying to hit Ja'Marr Chase on the back shoulder because the safety was there?
"Yes, correct. Correct."
On your golf cart ride with Mike Brown, what did he have to say to you?
"I'll keep that between us."
Did you feel like there was all sorts of tension — long-term, 0-3, short-term, your future. How were you balancing it all in your head?
"It was all stuff that you weigh when you're making that decision. There is the risk to go out there and potentially re-injure it, but there's also the risk to not go out there and be 0-3. So, I wanted to be out there for my guys, and I was confident that I would be able to do what I needed to to get the win."
How much lobbying did you do to the decision makers throughout the course of the week, given the confidence you had that you could play?
"Once Friday/Saturday hit, I was pretty confident that I'd be able to do it. So, I voiced that."
On the third-and-10 throw to Ja'Marr Chase, did your headset go out? Were you having trouble hearing?
"... There were a couple of times throughout the game that there were some headset issues, but I don't think that was one of them."
How challenging has it been trying to get explosive plays downfield? You guys haven't hit it much, and it's been such a big part of your offense in recent years. Has that been a source of frustration for you right now?
"Yes, those obviously make it a lot easier, but we've played three really good defenses that know that know that that's what we're good at and are good at taking that away. Then when you're able to extend plays, those kinds of explosive plays are created in that way. So, I think going forward — the healthier I get — the more we'll be able to do that."
How much did the defense's performance help you so that the game didn't turn into a crazy shootout, and you could manage the game somewhat?
"Yes, that was critical, that was critical. Once we got that lead in the second half, the defense started to really tee off. As a quarterback, that kind of changes your mindset of the game. You don't have to take as many chances; you're not going to try to fit as many into tight windows. When you have a defense like that, they take care of the rest."
For you personally, was there anything about being able to play in a game like this, finish a game like this, be able to go against Aaron Donald, who had a pretty decent game. Is there anything that this could do for you mentally in being able to move forward?
"Yes, it's going to be better this week than it was last week. That just comes with time and rest. We have a short week, so it's going to be a challenge, but I'm confident that we'll be able to put in the work to be ready for Sunday."
How did knowing that you'd have to play on a short week going into Tennessee factor into your decision to play tonight?
"That was not a factor. Obviously, when you play a Monday night game, it's going to be a short week, but I guess I didn't even think about it until right now."
How do you feel now compared to what you did after Baltimore?
"It's way better now ... way better now. There were no setbacks today. I feel good. So, throughout this whole week, it will just continue to get better."
Ja'Marr Chase said after the game that, 'All I can do is make Joe look good.' What does it mean to you to have a guy like Ja'Marr who is willing to say that maybe you should sit out until you're healthy, but then once you're on the field, is fully committed to doing whatever it takes to get open?
"Coming into this game, I was going to feed my guy. He was due for one. I knew he was going to have a big game. Just the way he was talking all week, he was excited to play this one. He showed up big for us. He showed why he's one of the best."
It sounds like throughout the whole process, Zac Taylor and everyone put a lot of stock into what you had to say, and they took everything you said at face value. What is it like to have that kind of relationship with them?
"That's really why we've been so good. The coaching staff has a great relationship with everybody in the locker room, and that trust has been built. Not just me, but everyone in that locker room feels comfortable going up and talking to Zac and all the coaches and being honest and open. I think that's going to continue to be a big reason why we win."
From a satisfaction or pride standpoint, where does this game compare — with the injury, coming from behind — with a 400-yard, four TDs kind of game?
"I'd always rather throw for 400. I pride myself on my availability, and so I was happy to be available for my guys tonight. Obviously, a lot of room to improve, but I was happy — happy to be out there."
When did you decide in your head that you would be able to play?
"Probably yesterday. Yesterday."
Did you tell Ja'Marr Chase on the bench pregame that you were going to play?
"Yes, I think it was sometime around then. I told him he was going to get a lot of opportunities today."
What was Ja'Marr Chase's reaction to the news that you were playing?
"He was excited. He was excited."
You're typically known as a guy that keeps his composure. Was there any level of frustration that started to come in during the first half, or were you able to manage it and stay level-headed?
"Well, there was some frustration with the pre-snap penalties. We have to be better in that area. I thought we controlled the ball really well. ... We had a lot of time of possession, and that was able to keep our defense on the sideline and let them rest. That was big. I think that was a big reason why they ended up playing so well. We only had one touchdown, but we controlled the clock. We need to be better when we cross that 50(-yard line). We were across the 50 quite a bit and weren't able to put a lot of points on the board. So, we have to be better in that way, but we did control the clock, and I think we were pretty good on third down."
Logan Wilson said that the way this team operates is that when one side of the ball goes down, the other side picks it up. Is that how this team functions?
"Yes. That's how it has to be if you want to be a great team. Not every Sunday everybody's going to show up and play. The defense is going to have a bad game, offense is going to have a bad game (or) special teams is going to have a bad game. It's what the other two units do when that happens."
It's a hard road in the NFL to go 0-3 and get to the playoffs. Big-picture wise, how important was this win for you?
"Yes, it was very, very important. It was part of the reason I wanted to play, I think. You go 0-3 — obviously, a lot of football left to be played — but 0-3 sounds a lot worse than 1-2. Morale is probably a lot lower when you're 0-3, so it's a big win for us. It was good to get on the board. I think we'll be able to put something together now."
How do you build upon this now? Other than your physical recovery, where are you looking to improve upon this win?
"We'll continue to have great practices. We have to be better in the passing game, better in the run game. We have to be better in all facets of the offense. We can't have that many pre-snap penalties. So, communication this week will be key, especially going on the road. So, we have to have a great week of practice all around."