CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Opening Statement:"As far as the injuries go, Charcandrick West is being evaluated for a concussion and then (Tyreek) Hill is being evaluated for the same thing. It doesn't look quite like what West was right now. So we'll know more as we go. Tough hard fought game. We started a little too slow and we can't do that. That's my responsibility to make sure we come out as a football team and play better than that in the first half. The one thing that we saw was the grit of this team. That will carry us through the rest of the season. We finished the second half better, but again we can do better. All phases can do better, coaches included, head coach included."
How much did the slow offensive start have to do with the Steelers having a beat on those specific plays or just execution wasn't there?"Some of the things it was execution. Again, I can do better on giving the guys an opportunity to make plays. We've all got a little piece of this and have to take responsibility for that."
On the fourth down play, did you think that Demetrius (Harris) did catch it and can you go into the thought process on the play call?"There was a little over 12 minutes, almost 13 minutes left to go and we hadn't been down and hadn't done much throughout the afternoon. We had an opportunity to get down there and potentially score and we felt like we had a couple plays that we felt real good about and we called on them and that didn't work out. So hindsight ends up being that you wish you would've kicked it, but at the time I felt pretty strong that we would complete it."
Were you going four down sequence the whole way?"Yeah I was the whole way."
On the fourth down play it looked almost like Demetrius had possession of it, have you seen a replay?"I did. I didn't think he had it. He didn't have complete control of it."
The play where (Phillip) Gaines was in perfect position and the ball kind of bounced off of him, what did you think at that point about how the day was going to go?"That was late in the game. I thought he had a chance to make the catch, I think we all saw that. He'll make most of those, it didn't happen this time. Those things happen, the guys battle through it and that's what I'm most proud of. That's what will carry us down through the rest of the season. It seems a little bleak right at this minute, but that's not how I feel going forward. We have a good football team. We have to rebound. We have a short turn around and have to play a good Raiders team. We'll get that done."
Did you feel like you were beyond a performance like this, at least in the first three quarters offensively?"I don't think you ever expect to have that, but things happen in this league and that's why teams don't go undefeated very often. You don't want it to happen. The guys don't want it to happen. The coaches don't want it to happen. It did. You've seen the parity in this league these things happen. Teams bounce back. We can go there. They were getting beat by the Jags and they bounced back, so you do the same thing. That's this league. It can sway either way and you have to ready to go every week."
What's the tangible effect of the number of offensive injuries you've had to deal with the last few weeks?"There have been a few, but the next guys step up and they do a good job. We had some guys come in and do okay. That's what we expect and then those guys when they get healthy they'll be back and we'll roll with them. The guys that are in we expect them to play and to play well and win the game."
What was your message going on a short week?"It's a short turn around. Right back on it tomorrow, so you have to heal up fast and use all of the technology that we have, take care of yourselves, rest and get ready for Monday and Tuesday and you're flying on Wednesday. That's part of the game you're dealt with and they're doing the same thing without the flying.
What was going wrong defensively with Le'Veon Bell the first half?"We obviously didn't get him on the ground. He was carrying the ball and we didn't tackle him. He did a nice job, he's a patient runner found holes."
Did you guys try a lot of different things to corral the run game?"We straightened a few things out the second half. That's how we got back in the game. The guys kept pushing. It was positive energy, the guys weren't hanging their heads and kept battling. Like I said, that's what will carry this team to a championship, that grit that they have."
What's been your experience with this group of guys bouncing back from something like this on a short week?"I have full confidence in them. It's a great locker room."
How would you describe your level of concern about the run defense?"We tightened it down a little bit in the second half, got better. Played better gap control. Against a back like this you can't get yourself out of gaps and everybody's got to fit. We weren't doing a good enough job with that."
Can you talk about how important some of the behind the scenes guys are on a short week?"Rick (Burkholder) our trainer, he's busy right now talking to the guys and making sure the guys that are banged up a little bit get themselves right. Barry (Rubin) will do the same thing tomorrow. Barry's our strength coach."
How do you balance that line between aggressiveness and practicality?"I don't worry about the questions that I'm going to be asked afterwards, I do what my gut tells me to do. I thought that was the right thing to do. Again, we hadn't been down there a lot. We weren't really moving the ball too well. If nothing else it backs them up and gives us an opportunity to come back and win the game. Which we did, we had an opportunity to win the game. Those are the things I'm thinking about. I'm preaching to the team to stay aggressive without being stupid. Staying aggressive with it. We had a good play in our pocket that we felt very good about and it didn't work out. But nobody hung their head, nobody questioned anything, they just went about their business. We put ourselves in a position to win the game."
QB ALEX SMITH
How frustrating was the first half?"Pretty brutal, tough to put into words. But at that point pretty much just shutout, didn't have anything that was positive at all. Couldn't get in any rhythm. We knew the only positive coming out of halftime was we were going to get the ball back. A chance to right the ship, we were only down nine. As bad as it felt it was still a game. A little of it was trying to snap out of it, a bunch of self-inflicted stuff. Didn't execute at all at the fundamental level, all across the board."
Can you start with the safety, what happened on that play? "It's part of the deal being in the gun, certainly you're back there and you try to – a little bit you have to have short-stop mentality and they're not always going to be perfect. Just try to snag it. Have to look at it, would be hard for me to say right now."
Were you surprised at all to go for it on the fourth down in the fourth quarter? "I think guys were ready for it, that was the first positive drive and we get down there in the red zone and it was a big opportunity if you can convert there. Guys were ready for it, certainly it stings when you don't get it because it's all for nothing."
Anything how this game played out that reminded you of the loss back in January? "No I mean the score is similar but no, different. Very different teams. That game we marched down on the opening drive and scored a touchdown. Certainly did not feel like this early, we really couldn't get anything going there today early. Then just too little too late there at the end, trying to go and finally getting into some kind of a rhythm. Different I guess to answer your question, it didn't necessarily feel like last year to me."
Did they have a beat on your early stuff? "I don't know, we'll have to look. It's hard to say right now but certainly they defended us well. So they had something. Certainly I think when something like this happens it's a mix of both, they played really good defense and a lot of things that we did were uncharacteristic as well."
You get the ball back with two minutes to go – that's a great opportunity: "Had a great opportunity. We do a lot of situational two-minute stuff and you would take that situation every day of the week with that much time, a timeout with that field position. To go down and to get a score is definitely doable and we just couldn't get it done for whatever reason."
How much did you miss (Tyreek) Hill when he went out with the concussion protocol? "For sure that hurts. You follow it up with losing Chris (Conley) last week and Albert (Wilson) not being dressed you're down to some young guys out there in a big situation that don't have a lot of reps in that. It adds to it as well, but no one really cares, you got to go."
What were you feeling on that fourth down? "I was anticipating it, I didn't know. I didn't know if it would depend on what we got on the third down. We still could have got the first right there, it wasn't necessarily a score. Was waiting to see based on that third down what we were going to go with."
A lot of activity tonight, a lot of passion from you – what was going on with that? "In the same conference we play a lot of games against each other. These guys have gotten the last three now. They've all been hard fought, they've all been physical. Anytime I feel like we play each other they're physical games. Intense. I don't think anybody, I think it's just guys playing hard. Certainly when I got fired up I thought (the hit) was pretty late, I mean when you get hit in the back of your knee like that I didn't understand how that happened. Certainly guys falling, rushing the quarterback I get it when it's happening from the front and guys trying hard. That one to me just seemed so weird to get hit that low coming from behind."
Did you think it was on purpose? "No I mean I have no idea I haven't seen the play so I couldn't tell you but just fired up at the time."
How much of a challenge is it to come off a physical game for a short week? "That's part of it, a short week. Coming off a physical game, you know you're going to have another big divisional game and travel. You got all those built in excuses there to lean on. So I think the positive is we get a short week to bounce back, get this taste out of our mouth. There is a positive from it."
RB KAREEM HUNT
What prevented you guys from getting into a rhythm until late in the game?"Honestly, we were just hurting ourselves and we have to keep on going."
What do you think led to the self-inflicted issues there?"Honestly, we just have to come out and play fast and play harder."
How do you bounce back after the rush game was held in check?"We just have to go back and learn from our mistakes and just be ready to come back out. We have a target on our back, everybody is going to give us their best shot and we just need to keep it going."
DE CHRIS JONES
What was Le'Veon Bell doing to penetrate your defense today?"Just running the ball. We didn't play up to our standards. We need to come back and reevaluate and be ready for Thursday."
You were running a lot of two-down linemen and four backs, was there a reasoning behind that?"No matter the play call, we have to execute the play and make the stop."
After your first loss, does this motivate you or change the attitude in the locker room?"It should. It should motivate us."
Is it still hard to prepare for Le'Veon Bell?"Bob (Sutton) gave us the play call, we just have to execute the defense."
CB MARCUS PETERS
Seemed like you had some bad bounces, did it feel that way?"The last play, the last little touchdown or whatever, it should have been an interception. But it comes with the game of football. We can't do (anything) about it. We know we could've stopped the run and got off the field early on third downs in the first half. Can't do anything about it now. We took the L. Go back to the drawing board, get ready for Thursday."
Is it tough to see Le'Veon Bell do the same thing he did in the playoffs last year?"No. Y'all keep worrying about last year. We were just worried about stopping him today. The past doesn't matter anymore. It is a new day. We came out here and just didn't get it done."
What led to his success again?"He ran the ball well. That's why they need to pay him."
Derrick Johnson said he felt like they were tougher in how they ran the ball today?"For sure. There isn't anyone tougher than us, but we could have made some more plays to execute stopping the run. It wasn't anyone being tougher than us. Nobody is coming in here and bullying us. We started slow and they started fast. It is part of football. We came out in the second half and got our flow back going. Nobody is being tougher than us. We are going to fight, we aren't punks, you feel me?"
Does the short week hurt or help?"It is Thursday night football. Whenever we get to play football, we will be ready to go for sure."
What did you see on the interception?"I just made the play."
LB DEE FORD
How did it feel to be back out there?"Beyond the sack, it was just good to be out on the field. Just being out with the guys. I don't like missing games. That was an unfortunate situation but I am just glad to be back."
What did you see from Le'Veon Bell?"He makes great cuts. He is a great back. We just weren't gap sound at the end of the day. And you can't not be gap sound against a great running back like that."
How frustrating was it to have them on third down and the play not get intercepted and go their way?"It happened to us against Philly. We just respond, but sometimes the game still doesn't work out in your favor. But you just keep chopping wood. We are just going to carry this over. We can no longer think about this game. We have a quick turnaround in Oakland."
LB FRANK ZOMBO
*What can you take away from this game? *"The energy in the locker room after a loss, is not the same energy. It is almost like we need it a little bit to get a spark. I don't think anyone here is panicking or anything like that. I think, if anything, we are more motivated to keep this thing going."
*Comments on changing up the defense: *"When you are down in the game, they are going to go into their four-minute offense. They are going to run the ball a lot more with more power type of runs. We loaded the box up with more people, with bigger people so we can get the ball back with more time on the clock."
*What was Coach Andy Reid's message to the team after the game? *"There is one team in in the history of the NFL to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. It is very hard to do. Our goal is still there. This is not the playoffs and we still have a lot ahead of us."
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
*Comments on the Chiefs defensive performance: *"They say to not take anything personal but when they run the ball like they did on us, you have to. Does this count for more than one loss? No, not at all. Should it light another fire? It will and we will respond the right way. Time will tell."
*How was Pittsburgh successful running the ball? *"They were the tougher team today. We knew the mindset before the game. We knew it. They were not afraid of us. They beat us twice last year. Regardless of what happened with them and the Jags, hat off to them. They were a tough team today and it will light a fire under our whole team going forward. This is one loss. We don't want to make it bigger than it is. At the end of the day, I am in the middle of that defense so I'm just a part of it like everyone else."
*Was there a point in the game where you had to bring an extra defender to the box? *"You know what, they didn't do anything we didn't practice. They just stayed with it. They stayed with it. At the end of the day. It wasn't gaping holes. It was getting off of a block too late on this, not getting to the right gap on this, not getting over quick enough, and not recognizing what they were going to do. Their game plan was very simple, go punch the Chiefs in the mouth and see what they can do. We didn't respond well enough early. It got better during the game in key moments but it's not good enough."
*Comments on Pittsburgh's second touchdown: *"We were in good position. This is football so things happen and you say you wished he (Phillip Gaines) had caught it. That's football man. That happens. There have been a few times this year other people have dropped picks on us or they dropped the ball when they were supposed to catch it. The thing is to play good enough where those things don't hurt you and we didn't play good enough today. We needed every single thing to go our way at the end. It doesn't go like that and that's why we lost."
TE DEMETRIUS HARRIS
*On the failed fourth down conversion in the red zone, did you think you had a touchdown catch? *"I feel like I had the ball long enough, for two seconds, to call it a touchdown but he made a great play on the ball because his hand was stuck between the ball and my hand. He made a good play at the end."
*Were you the primary target on that play? *"With our offense, everyone has to stay alive so it was just trying to get into the endzone with anybody. I found a void and he threw a good ball and I had a chance to go get it."
*How excited were you to go for it on fourth down? *"It's fourth down, you got to get it. I didn't come up with it. I just need to make sure next time I get in that situation, I execute that play. It's fourth down, it's all or nothing. We treat it like it's our last play, like we treat every play. We failed on that one. We need to make sure we don't do it again."