WR Brice Butler makes a touchdown catch in the 2nd quarter. Photo by Allan Yuan
INTERIM HEAD COACH TONY SPARANO
On the game: "Obviously, tale of two different halves for us, which we're not really or haven't become used to here in the last several weeks. We started the game pretty well, forced a couple turnovers. DJ [Hayden] made a big play there early in the game; it's what we wanted to do, get a little bit of pressure, move Peyton [Manning]. We thought we might have had a chance at a few balls that way. Got our hands on a couple balls, didn't turn that over into touchdowns, scored a field goal an then turned another one over on Justin's [Tuck] into a touchdown. Gave one up just before the end of the half there on a play that should have been a 5-yard gain and kid made a great play and it's 20-10 at the half. Came in here at the halftime and felt like we were still in a good spot. We had the ball coming out and we needed to do something with the football there and we just couldn't get anything going there to keep our guys off the field. Didn't do a good enough job on third down offensively and then he went down the field a bunch in the second half of the football game. Not one of our better moments clearly in the second half of the football game there."
Q: Do you think Derek [Carr] lost some of his composure in the second half?
Coach Sparano: "I wouldn't say he lost some of his composure. They did a good job. They were rushing the passer. There are some things there though that I felt like at times, maybe from just looking at it, and again I'd have to watch the film at times, locations, things like that, but I don't think he lost his composure. We kept him in the football game there because I felt it was important that the young quarterback finishes the game and finishes a game preferably in a positive situation. It's something that he does well, moving the ball down the field in those situations and he was able to do that. That's why we did that."
Q: What happened with the run game today?
Coach Sparano: "We ran the ball 13 times. Started the game out pretty well I think. Had a couple good runs, 5-yard runs, 6-yard run, that type of stuff. They're the best rushing defense in the league. It's no excuse, but we'll have to go back to the tape and watch it again. I don't think it was a scenario where there was a lot of people in our backfield or any of those type of things. It was really never a great flow within the ball game. Offensively, I didn't just feel that, short of the turnover drive that we scored on. One of those was a reverse there and DeMarcus [Ware] made a good play on it. A couple of those runs were not conventional runs, they were meant to get the ball on the perimeter a little bit and that didn't work out really great."
Q: What changed for pass defense after the first quarter and a half?
Coach Sparano: "I wouldn't say much changed. We had – it's not an excuse – but we had some different people in and out of the game, some injuries at different parts of the game during the course of this thing so we had some moving parts. Obviously, TJ [Carrie] did not play today, so that caused a little domino effect. At one point, I think we had Brandian [Ross] and DJ out of the game for a short spurt. And then we got them back in the ball game but I don't think anything changed. We played against a heck of a football player over there and he did a good job of figuring it out. We have to do a better job."
Q: Can you address the progress of your rookie quarterback?
Coach Sparano: "I think you have to throw it out a little bit, but I think there's some learning here. When I say, 'throw it out,' I don't mean that there's not anything you can learn from this. And I said this to the team prior to the game is that, we put ourselves kind of in a heavyweight fight last week and two weeks in a row here where you're going against outstanding teams. We put ourselves in a heavyweight fight last week and we fought hard towards the end of the game to give ourselves a chance to win that game. You come up short there, no consolation, and then you're right back in it again here and we started the game kind of the way we wanted to start it on the defensive side of the football. But we just didn't get in a good enough groove during the course of this thing. I'm sure Derek's going to come in and he'll watch the tape and he'll get a chance to evaluate it and see where we are from there. It certainly doesn't hurt his progress. He ends the game in a positive way, but it's another loss in a game where, quite honestly, we didn't play well in the second half of the football game."
Q: What did they do to take away the passes down the field?
Coach Sparano: "Listen, we tried to throw some shots down the field, you guys were there, and we took a couple chances there and there wasn't a whole lot of separation. They did a good job of covering it. Some of those situations, there was one or two that we felt like we had a chance to make, but the pocket broke down on occasion there and I think he got hit one time right up the middle on a ball he threw deep. They were moving him around pretty good, and when I say moving him around, kind of getting him off his spot, not different than what we were doing to Peyton in the first half of the football game. I think when you can affect the passer like that in some situations, that becomes an advantage for them. I don't think they were doing anything a whole lot different. They played a lot of man, a lot of two-man, out there today. It's something obviously we have to do a better job at executing."
Q: You ran the ball 13 times this week and 15 times last week. And on third down today, even when it's short, you passed almost exclusively. What's the thinking?
Coach Sparano: "We've tried the other thing. We've tried it a couple times. We've run the ball in several situations on 3rd-and-1 and have come up short. We took the chance and threw the ball. I don't know if we had a real 3rd-and-1 today, I'm' not positive in that situation…a true 3rd-and-1 that was out there today, but I know we threw one time, which I believe was naked and I believe he completed it to [Mychal] Rivera."
Q: Last three games were all tightly contested. You hadn't had one of these. How do you think they'll respond from this?
Coach Sparano: "Listen, I hope they respond well. I'm not sure how they'll respond to it. It's one of those deals where, again, as I said before, they're looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow and it hasn't been there. We have to stay the course and we have to believe in the things that we're doing and we have to believe we're getting better as a football team. I know this is not an indicator of that, I get it, but in the first half of the football game, we gave ourselves a chance in the first half of the game. We need to come out and play a better second half. I'm giving them tomorrow off. We have two games in 10 days, so I want them to get away from this a little bit and clear their heads, come on in here on Wednesday and get ready to go to head down to San Diego and win a football game. That's our focus right now. When they walk out of this locker room that's what I told them, 'just get ready to go here for Wednesday. Come on here with a clear head. Take care of your bodies and get ready to go.' I think we've got good professionals in there and enough good young players in there that'll be excited to play in this ballgame here and we'll go out and try to win our first game."
Q: The screen pass that gave them the lead, could you sense that things sort of sagged after that?
Coach Sparano: "Again, it goes back to…you can pick series out of a ballgame sometimes, but I think that was off of the interception. There was an interception there and then a screen pass where by every right we have the player tackled three times and he gets out of there and we had been tackling pretty well in the first half of the game I thought and he got out of there and got across the field. I could sense a little bit there just kind of that we gave one up. But I knew we had the ball coming out in the second half and I felt like if we could do something with the football coming out in the second half that we'd have a little shot of adrenaline there to give ourselves going again. But we couldn't do that. We left our defense out on the field too long today and then defensively, towards the end of the game, guy made some great plays and we have to contest the ball better than that."
QB DEREK CARR
Q: On the Denver Broncos…
Carr:"You've got to hand it to them. They rushed really well, they defended the run really well, they covered really well. We knew going into it that they're a talented team and we got outplayed today."
Q: Has this season been a crash course in learning for you?
Carr:"Yeah. Again, I think the man across the way, he's one of the best to ever do it. He said it best, experience is the best. If I didn't play today, I would never gain that experience of the coverages I saw, the different looks that I saw, without obviously going into every play, but just the different looks, the way people disguise coverages. Maybe in certain situations, a guy undercuts a route, like the interception T.J. [Ward] made. The guy made a good play, he undercut the route, and I'm learning these things on the fly. It sucks that it has to be at our expense, but I'm learning and I'm just going to continue to grow."
Q: Were you hit on the arm on one of the interceptions thrown?
Carr:"I was. I know I felt the guy, so I was trying to get away from him to buy enough time. The guy that was guarding 'Mike' [Mychal Rivera] wasn't looking, so I was trying to just put it right past his ear to give 'Mike' a ball, so I went to go throw it and I remember I had to adjust, I don't remember the timing of it. I did get hit on the arm, but I just don't remember when, but yeah."
Q: What happened on the pass to Khalif Barnes?
Carr:"On that play, that's right where 'D-Mac' [Darren McFadden]'s check-down should be, so if you see my eyes are looking to the left and obviously I'm not looking at the rush, so I go to throw it, it wasn't there. So, I felt obviously the pressure coming, tucked the ball to protect it and then all of a sudden I just saw out of the corner of my eye, this guy standing by himself, facing me, and so I obviously assumed in my head that it was 'D-Mac', so I turned to go throw it and in my head as soon as I threw it, I was like, 'Please knock it down.' That's just one of those things. It's happened to me in high school, it's happened in college. It's just one of those thing, you know where your guy's at, you react. Everything is happening so fast. It's just one of those things. Obviously, where we're at right now, it just looks ugly, but it's just one of those things that happens."
Q: Did you talk afterwards and did he explain what was going through his head when he caught the ball?
Carr:"No, I don't know. I think it's anybody's reaction, if the ball is coming at you, you're going to catch it. That's what I'm teaching my son right now, how to catch a ball. So, it's just reaction. When something happens that quick, it just happens, just like the way I explained it. I didn't talk to him about it, we all just kind of, it's just one of those things that happened and we moved on, so I didn't bring it up with him."
Q: Do you ever worry that things are going in reverse for you?
Carr:"No, not at all, because I'm continuing to go out there and read defenses, trying to complete as many passes as I can. Again, like I said, as a rookie nine games into it, I'm learning. I'm learning. It doesn't matter what happens, whether I go out and I throw four touchdowns or I throw two picks, whatever, I'm learning and I'm growing. Like I said before, if I didn't have the foundation that I have and the person that I am, then I could see why it would affect me, but it doesn't affect me because I'm taking it all in and everything that I see and everything that I do, I'm learning. Just like the last week protection call that we made with Richard Sherman's pick. This week, we saw the look, made the correct call this time. So, I'm moving in the right direction, but obviously it's not where I want to be as we all know that. I'm not where I want to be yet, but 'Flip' [quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo] and 'Olie' [Greg Olson] they do a great job with me and I'm going to continue to learn as much as I can and continue to grow so we can win some games."
Q: How much more difficult does it make it for you with the passing game to be one-dimensional with not running the ball well?
Carr:"Not just talking about us in general, it's hard. When you have a running game, obviously it opens up play-action type things, the bootleg type things. When sometimes teams maybe don't think you'll run it and you do certain things, it's hard. But, we just go to work. I have all the belief in those guys that it's going to get right. It's not right now, but I have all the belief that they're going to get it right and they're going to work on it, just like I'm going to go to work and work on my mistakes. I'm going to go out there and just, all I'm trying to do is get better. I'm learning, just like I said, we all are together."
Q: You started off well, did you feel the tide turning at the end of the first half?
Carr:"I mean, I've got to be honest, I'm not big into that, so I don't know if I felt anything turn. I just knew, I always think situation. So, obviously, the situation changed. Instead of being up four, and we knew field goals against this team, we've got to score touchdowns. In my head I knew that we needed to score some touchdowns and that's kind of where my mind was, that's kind of where my mindset was. I don't know if I felt something different energy-wise, but situationally, absolutely."
Q: What didn't go right today? Was it collective?
Carr:"It's always collectively. It's always collectively, it's never just one person. This game is never like that, I can promise you that. It's always collectively and like I said before, they rushed good, they defended the run good and they covered really well."
Q: Would you say that the offense wasn't in sync from the start?
Carr:"We were because we were actually in the red zone in the first half and we got a touchdown, so we were in the first half. We always, like I said, it's never an in sync thing, it's okay we didn't get the third down that time, we've got to go back out there and get it this time. It's hard right now. It's hard because we're in a bad place, but all I know to do is just keep my head down and work."
Q: Do you ever look at your own stats?
Carr:"I've got to be honest, I don't know the last time I did look at my own stats, good or bad. I guess in middle school I used to count my basketball points, but in football, it's the ultimate team game. I promise when I tell you this, all I care about is winning. So, I don't care about however many touchdowns, however many whatever, I don't even look."
Q: James Jones had eight catches for 20 yards. What does that stat say to you?
Carr:"It's tough. Again, I can't remember all the catches off the top of my head. One was a bubble, which was a tough deal. I'm trying to think. Again, I can't think of just his catches alone, but it's just one of those things that it doesn't look pretty and it's something that we'll address."
Q: When wins and losses are your chief measure, how difficult has it been to not have that win?
Carr:"Good things come to those who wait. I'm waiting patiently and I'm continuing to work. It hurts when we don't win. It hurts really bad, because all the time and effort I spend away from my family, all the time and effort my teammates spend away from their families. Getting up at 4:30 is not something that you want to do every day as a human, but you do it because you want to be successful. Staying after, staying late, those are things that we continue to do as a group, that it's really hard when you get to the game and it doesn't work out. But, I know that good times are coming and I'm not going to change who I am for anything. So, I know, I've worked hard my whole life and that's gotten me to where I'm at and so I'm just going to continue to work hard and be the best leader that I can be with my actions."
T/G KHALIF BARNES
Q: Have you ever played tight end before?
Barnes: "Yeah, for here I did a few times. Obviously, I'm not an eligible lineman. I was just blocking my guy, switching off. I switched my guy off and really I didn't have any thought, and I tried to help out with the backside and then all of a sudden, I'm making a move. I don't know. Things happen so fast in the game, I can't really get a good look until I come back in on Monday and get a clear picture of what's going on. So that's really when I'll have the best answers for everything."
Q: Do you worry your rookie quarterback is getting discouraged or beaten down by this stuff?
Barnes:"No, that kid is a little beyond his years – mature level. He very rarely – I haven't seen him get rattled, doesn't get frustrated, takes good command of the huddle. [He's] the youngest one in the huddle, he still demands respect from the huddle, from me, Donald Penn – guys that have played a little longer than him. He's going to have a great career. He's going to be good and this is just a learning curve for him. But he doesn't get discouraged and as much as things like this happen, he just comes back. He'll be at work tomorrow and he'll be looking at film, getting better; so will I. It's our job to protect him and bring him along and make sure that he has a good place to grow in this thing."
Q: It has to be frustrating that the offense wasn't able to move like you guys wanted to as the game went on.
Barnes:"Once again, man, I give Denver all the credit. They're a good team. They played well today. But also, when I go back and break out the film and I get to see exactly what happened – I don't like to go on he-said/she-said type things. I like to see it for myself, see what we did and the areas that we need to address."
Q: The ball you hauled in, just instinctive?
Barnes:"Yeah, just instinctive I think. I wasn't going to bat it down or anything. I know I'm ineligible, but I just grabbed the ball and tried to take off and then I got smacked in the back by somebody. I thought the ball didn't come out until it hit the ground, maybe it did. It came out? (reporters confirm). All right. There you go, I got smacked."
T DONALD PENN
Q: What was the turning point of the game?
Penn:"I don't know exactly when, but in the second half we had a chance to come out and change the game and we didn't and we need to do a better job of that. We need to find a way to put a whole game together. And start putting halves together, because that's not good enough and that's why we're 0-9 right now. We need just find a way to come out and play a full four quarters on both sides of the ball. I thought the defense played great early and played great throughout the game, but we put them in bad positions with three and outs and we just got to find a way to go back to work and it sucks right now and I'm down but on Wednesday I'll be back up. It's tough. 0-9 is tough."
Q: Was Derek Carr just trying to do too much?
Penn:"I don't know, I'll have to watch film first. Derek Carr is a great quarterback. I wouldn't call it doing too much, I would call it trying to make plays to help our team out and that's what quarterbacks do. He's learning, but the bad thing is he's got to learn the hard way. He's a great guy and a great quarterback, he's getting better and better every week, but everyone around here has to help him and we didn't do a good job of that today."
Q: Now that it's sure you'll finish with a losing record, do you guys just go forward and play with pride?
Penn:"Well I pay every game with pride that's how I've played my whole career since I was young and playing pickup games, so I always play with pride and if guy's don't want to I'm going to make sure that they do that, because that's the only way I know how to play this game, and play any game. You've got to play with pride. That's how I play. I go out there and try to do my best every game, no matter what the record is. It is what it is. I've been through this before. I'm going to play with pride and make sure these other guys do too."
WR BRICE BUTLER
Q: What happened on your touchdown?
Butler:"I don't know what happened with Derek [Carr], but it seemed like the ball, he threw it really early, so I guess he didn't have time, I don't really know if he thought I was going to be there, he just threw it. It was actually perfect for me because I came out of the break and I saw it so I just went."
Q: What happened to change the game?
Butler:"I don't know, a couple turnovers cost us and you just can't give Peyton [Manning] the ball and in the third they just capitalized on that. I think all of our turnovers were almost in the red zone, and they kind of flattened us out a little bit."
CB DJ HAYDEN
Q: What happened on your interception and was it nice to start with a takeaway?
Hayden: "I was on [Emmanuel] Sanders and I tipped it and caught it. It was a good little momentum booster for us and it gave our team some energy, but we've still got to keep that energy throughout the game and we couldn't do that."* *
Q: What was the change in the momentum and was it the CJ Anderson touchdown?
Hayden:"Who knows? It could be any play. We've just got to go out there and play better fundamentally sound football."* * Q: What was done to confuse Peyton Manning early in the game?
Hayden:"In the beginning we were just out there having fun and playing football. We've just got to keep it up through the whole game."
Q: Was there any discouragement for the defense with the offense's many turnovers
Hayden:"Not really. Stuff happens. We've just got to go out there and when they mess up we've got to pick them up and when we mess up they pick us up."
DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: Did the CJ Anderson TD take the wind out of the sails for the team?
Tuck:"Unfortunately yes. We've got to be a team that can take the shots like that one and bounce back from that. But I thought we started fast and then after that play, I don't know what it was, it kind of, to use your analogy, took the wind out of our sails and we weren't able to get it back. But that's no excuse. We've got to figure out ways to keep our composure and keep doing what we're doing and figure out a way to play four quarters. Last week it was the opposite. We came out flat and we were able to finish the game on a high and this week it was the other way around, so we've got to figure out ways on how to start and finish games."
Q: Did you think you were going to get the interception once you batted it into the air?
Tuck:"Yeah. I came to the sideline and told everybody that if I had two good legs I would've scored that, but it was an opportunity to make a play and I was able to make a play to help our team out."
Q: On batting balls and limiting the Manning and the Broncos early
Tuck:"I thought we played together in that first half. The first 25 minutes of the first half. We kept them off rhythm. JT was doing a great job of mixing up things and we were doing a great job of disguising things and going off of things we'd seen from [Manning] as far as how he was checking plays at the line and we were able to use that to our advantage. Obviously he adjusted, and that's why he's, if not the best quarterback to ever play this game definitely one of the best, so he adjusted and we weren't able to adjust well enough to keep up."
S CHARLES WOODSON
Q: You guys played extremely well the first 27 minutes of the ballgame. When did the momentum really shift in the Broncos' favor?
Woodson:"It was a play where the running back broke a couple of tackles down that sideline and ended up scoring. I believe at that point, we were up 10-6 and it was crazy, because I blinked and looked back up at the scoreboard and all of a sudden it was 20-10. So there seems to be a play every game that happens to us, and then everything kind of snowballs from there. I know there were a couple of missed tackles, mine included, which I feel like, 'Man, I'm part of the play that really turned that game around.' So that's one I'll be thinking about all night."
Q: Peyton Manning was getting pressured early on, and then 35 unanswered points after that. What was the difference there?
Woodson:"Momentum's crazy in this game. Once a team gets it, it's kind of hard to get it back. They got it going into half, and then they came out the second half and they still were effective, and we were never able to swing it back our way and the game ended the way it did."
Q: Do you feel like that was just Peyton being Peyton, or did you guys let them off the hook?
Woodson:"We let them off the hook on a couple of the cases. Like I said, we're up 10-6 and that was a third-down situation where we could get the guy down – either get him down or try to get him out of bounds. Then all of a sudden, they're leading and then they get the ball back. There's another touchdown and then it's 20-10 and it's like, 'How the hell did that happen?' Those are on us; that was our fault. They got a good team, one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, but those two plays – I look at those two pays and I know as a team we'll look at those two plays before half and say, 'Wow, how did that happen?'"
Q: A really rough outing for Derek Carr today. Watching from the sideline, was he just trying to do too much, or what was it – rookie mistakes?
Woodson:"I don't know. I'm really not sure what he's seeing out there and why he threw some of the balls that he threw up, or whatever. I'm sure there's a combination of both of those things – a young guy, or maybe they threw him some different looks maybe that he hadn't seen. I'm not sure, but these are things he's going to have to go through. Every young quarterback in the league that comes in and starts their first season goes through these types of things. He can only grow from it and we're expecting him to."
S BRANDIAN ROSS
Q: Do you feel like the offense's inability to sustain drives wore you guys down? They had so many opportunities…
Ross:"That has nothing to do with us, personally. If [they] just give us a blade of grass, we have to stop them and we didn't do it. Early on, two field goals and they got back down there and [we] just didn't stop them."
Q: It seemed like you had them figured out early on. You seemed pretty disruptive.
Ross:"It was all execution. We just executed our game plan and early on, he was frustrated and we were working hard at keeping him that way. After a while, even when he started figuring us out, he still didn't know. But they were executing and we weren't."