CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Opening Statement:"As far as the injuries go (Travis) Kelce had the concussion and then Chris Jones hurt his knee. With that the tough part about this obviously is that it's final and the season ends up being over, you're never the same team. That's just how this thing works, but the guys coming back we'll make sure we feel this and then change it. But we have to wait awhile to do that. That's the problem with games like this. I appreciate the fans and the great support that they gave us all year. Particularly tonight they were unbelievable and deserve more than what we gave them. That's my responsibility as the head coach of the football team. We have to do a better job."
Is there any reason with an 18 point and then 11 point lead you stopped giving Kareem Hunt the ball, he only had 11 touches for 42 yards?"We can go back and I'm sure there are a lot of things that we could've done better, but we'll look at all that now."
What short of explanation did you get about the forward progress calls?"I don't really have anything good to say there so I'm just going to kind of stay away from any comments on those guys. I don't want to get fined or whatever. It's not worth it."
Can you explain your decision to go for it on fourth down?"I thought we were close in that field goal area. They had been moving the ball pretty good so I wanted to make sure that we put points on the board, give it our best shot. Didn't work out. I thought it was the right thing to do at that time."
I know you don't want to speak about the forward progress, but have you seen that before in a game where it's called that way?"I can't go there. Everything I say, those guys are protected. You can go talk to them. Question them."
What kind of impact did losing Travis in the second quarter have?"We've had guys step up and do good. We have a player down and I just expect the next guy to step up and go. That's how we've done it here and we've been successful with it. It didn't work out in our favor tonight, but there's a million things. We'll go back and there's a million things we can go back through and go over. Yeah it should've never happened the way it did. We were up and had the lead and you have to learn how to win games like that, put your foot down."
What's the biggest piece to fix this offseason to keep your fans and players from having this feeling again?"We'll go back and we'll look at all that. You have to step back and let your emotions get out of it and look at it. That's what Brett Veach does and he'll take a peak and see what we need to do to get better. I know looking in the mirror I have to make sure I do a better job. I would expect everybody in that locker room to do the same that's coming back, coaches and players."
Do you get back to work on Monday with this or do you give yourself a little bit more time?"I get back on Sunday. We have a meeting tomorrow. I'll watch the tape. I've got a long day tomorrow."
What were your thoughts on Alex Smith's performance tonight?"He did some good things. He really put together a nice year, but he's feeling as empty as we all are. These guys are hurting. Nobody knows better than the players and feels worse than those guys. They put in so much time and effort into this thing. But he had a good year this year."
You did such a nice job in the first half defensively and you did lose Chris, how much of a factor was that or did they make some adjustments at halftime?"Their third downs were better. They converted on third downs, whether he was running the ball or throwing it. He got 82 (Delanie Walker) involved in the game, which he wasn't involved in the first half. The third downs ended up being the problem there."
What was your angle when you saw Marcus Mariota throw the touchdown pass to himself?"I was looking right at it. Things happen. The ball bounced right for him."
Have you given yourself a second to think about the guys who may not be coming back next season like Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali?"I can't get into all that now. I don't know. We've got to go back and go through all of that. It's a long process and surely after that game isn't where you go with that. I know those guys are all hurting. All those decisions are way down the line."
The play calling was very aggressive in the first half and not so much in the second half. Did you take over play calling or did Matt Nagy call the entire game and why the difference in aggressiveness in the first half over the second half?"He called the good ones and I called the bad ones. We'll keep it at that."
What was your message to the team?"Just what I said here. The sick part about this is that it's final, but the guys that are coming back you have to feel this. Coaches and players, we have to change it around. It's not good enough and that's the bottom line."
With the team's recent struggles in the playoffs was there any moment that kind of crept into your minds during the second half?"No. Nothing like that crept into my mind at all. So many positive things have happened throughout the time here and so many things that hadn't happened before had been positive. So I just expect things like that to take place. I expect to win the game. I never thought anything different even down the stretch."
Should fans expect more from this team and the organization?"The players expect to win the championship and the coaches expect to do the same thing. I'm on board. Everybody, let's go."
QB ALEX SMITH
What changed in the second half?"A few things. Obviously, (Travis) Kelce, that hurts, a player of his caliber. Not having him out there. Limited possessions in the second half, I think we only had four. The first two, you can't move the chains and you get into a short-yard situation and you can't move the chains. Hurt. Obviously the last two there, needing to make some plays. Felt like we started to get going then the same thing, couldn't overcome it."
Is this one of the toughest playoff losses?"Yeah. I mean, I felt like the opportunity we had in front of us, the talent we had, the group. When we play the way we're capable of playing I knew, yeah the sky is the limit. Obviously tonight was a good example of that. Not consistent enough. Didn't come out in the second half and then didn't make the plays we needed to."
Do you feel like this group underachieved? "I mean at the point every team's good. These are all going to be hard fought games that are going to come down to the tiny little things, there were a lot of them out there and they add up. For sure, missed opportunity."
Were you shocked by the lack of aggressiveness in the play calling and Kareem Hunt only got 11 touches? "Certainly he's a guy we want to get the ball to, he's a playmaker for us. Has been all year. There's a lot of ways to do that. I think a lot of times, the way the defense was playing, sometimes they dictate that. But certainly I feel like we're all kicking ourselves in the second half, we'd all love a do-over. But that's just not reality."
You may not get another chance here – does that add to this feeling? "I mean the game just ended. I'll get into all that here in the next couple of weeks."
When you see things happen in the game like the (Marcus) Mariota play with the deflection, do you see those like the fans see it like 'here we go again'? "No. I mean it's a freak play. Fluke play almost. Those happen though, its football, its sports. That's why we watch, that's why we play. So not so much that. Certainly some missed opportunities there on all sides of the ball. Self-inflicted things. I think, we couldn't overcome it there in the second half."
Did you see any of the forward progress calls? "I mean my view is the sideline, so not great. Listen it's not, those guys are kind of untouchable, it's hard to critique them. Especially here. But I thought he was in the pocket. I don't know how you blow a whistle on that Derrick Johnson one, I mean he came in about as fast as you can come and then hits him, and before he goes to the ground the whistle blows? I mean I don't know. That's the reason why we have replay, and some of these things built in for protection, but it's the way it is. It doesn't change, me standing up here talking about it is not going to change it."
At the end of the first half, it looked like Demarcus Robinson made a poor play by not going out of bounds and then to not call a timeout? "Obviously could have cost ourselves some shots at the end zone for sure by not getting out. Luckily, we made up for it with the next play and he made a heck of play. But certainly, that could have gone the other way. Really could have cost ourselves some shots at touchdowns and maybe would have had to settle for a field goal."
Were you guys thinking about spiking it? "Yeah that's kind of the name of the game there, do you spike or kind of try not let them huddle and take a shot at the end zone."
On the different looks the defense gave you? "Yeah I mean you just don't know. They make you prepare for a lot and they do a lot of different stuff on the defensive side. Once again, sometimes they dictate where the ball needs to go. I think (Travis) Kelce and Albert (Wilson) are very conscious of Tyreek (Hill) and helping with him, so we need to make a play."
Do you want to be back here next year? "Yeah, I mean are you kidding? I signed a contract, I'm under contract for another year. So like I said, I'm not thinking about anything else. Right now obviously disappointed. Like I said, I felt like we had a good chance, and it's gone. It's over."
Can you describe your emotions right now? "Yeah, a little bit you're in shock. It just happened so fast, especially when you get the swing from halftime to the final whistle. Definitely a shock. Didn't feel like we played up the way we're capable of playing and that's what's disappointing. Nothing against the Titans, they played great. They made the plays there to win the game. Certainly felt like we could have done better."
LB FRANK ZOMBO
What was the difference between the two halves?"We had momentum in the first half and obviously didn't have it in the second half. We couldn't get off the field on third down in the second half. It was an obvious tale of two halves."
How tough is this loss for you?"We had a lot of hope coming into the playoffs of going extremely far. So it was definitely a shot. We thought we had a lot of football left to play, so it hurts."
Does it remind you of any past playoff games?"They all kind of end the same way. They end abrupt and you don't expect to be heading home tomorrow. It is kind of depressing, you put a lot of work into it. All the OTAs and training camp and the season with 16 games, to have it end like this, it just hurts."
Are there any positives you can take away from this? "We have a lot of young guys who played extremely well for us this year. The future is bright for the Kansas City Chiefs, I will say that."
WR ALBERT WILSON
A tale of two halves, what happened from your perspective?"Offensive kind of didn't produce in the second half. We put up 21 points in the first half and none in the second. We have to do better to help our defense."
How much did the injuries to Chris Jones and Travis Kelce effect the team?"We play next-man-up football as it is. We have been preparing for it all year. We just have to do better."
How tough is this loss for you personally?"It is a tough one. We had all the things going into this game and we fell short."
What are some of the positives you can take away from this?"I just have to get better and do more. I have to be available more when he needs me and I have to catch the ball when he throws it to me."
RB KAREEM HUNT
What is the level of shock after the halftime lead?"Honestly, I feel like we didn't come out and play ready in the second half."
Would you agree that the offense took their foot off the pedal?"Yup."
What do you think contributes to something like that happening?"You get too comfortable, I guess."
What is the feeling after losing the lead?"Nobody likes losing. And this one is for real, we are going home."
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
How much does this loss hurt? "Whenever you lose, it always hurts regardless if it's one point or 20 points. To go down like this, it hurts. I've been playing this game a long time. 21-3 at halftime, you win."
*Did you hear a whistle on either of the two fumbles they didn't call? *"Yeah, I don't know how you can call a guy down or blow the whistle when he didn't hit the ground yet, especially on a sack. You can see on the last fumble that it was probably the right call. That was a bad call but 21-3 at halftime. If you are good enough, you come out with that win."
*What were the contributing factors to this loss? *"You have to play situational football. It's always situations during the game: key third downs and key stops. Even at the end we had a chance to win the game or get the offense back on the field. Defensively, we could not do it. I'm a part of that. Everybody on the defense is a part of that and it sucks. I've been through some tough ones but this is one of the tougher ones."
*Did old losses similar to this creep into your head when this game started to get close? *"No, we had plenty of confidence in our players and our coaches. At the end of the day you can call out certain coaches but I'm a player. We are on the field; we make plays. We have opportunities where we can help the team win and we didn't take advantage of certain opportunities."
What was the biggest difference from the first half to the second half? "We didn't finish the second half. We came in 21-3. That's all we were talking about, finishing. Don't get complacent. We've got bigger goals other than this game. Tennessee was the tougher team today and that sucks saying that."
*Does the result of this game have an impact on what decision you might make, career wise? *"No, I'll go back to Texas and be with my kids and chill out a little bit. I'm definitely playing ball again. That's not a question. But it's not the time to talk about where I am going to be playing. I'm a Chief. I've been in this league 13 years. Opportunities like this don't come around a lot."
*Is this worse than the last loss to the Colts in the playoffs? *"Similar but it's still a loss. All losses suck. When you are up, you are supposed to stomp them out. We let them get up off the ground and they knocked us out."
S DANIEL SORENSEN
*Do you know where the game got away from you? *"That's where you got to go back and look at the details. Those details will emerge and you will get a good picture. Right now I could not give you an accurate answer."
*This team had high hopes for the postseason. How hard is this loss? *"We had high hopes and we are going home, unfortunately. We are crushed, yeah."
*Is there a feeling of disbelief? *"The way the game played out, I think we expected it to turn out different, even from the first half to the second half?"
*What did you see on the Mariota touchdown pass to himself? *"I saw him scramble out and went to go up and pressure him. I saw him get rid of the ball, turned my head and did not see it rebound. I lost it. I didn't get a chance to see it. There is nothing you can do about it. Just take it for what it was."
What are the things that you are already second guessing? "That is something I will do when I go back and watch the tape. In every game there will be a handful of plays that will determine the outcome. That will be one of them."
K HARRISON BUTKER
*Can you explain what happened on the missed field goal? *"I'll have to watch it on film. I would have loved to make it but it will be motivation for the offseason. I'll get a lot better. It hit the goal post and didn't go in. Obviously that's not the result I wanted. I'll watch it on film and it will be motivation all offseason."
*How does this loss feel right now? *"It doesn't feel good. You play football to win the Super Bowl, at least in the NFL. You never want to lose, especially for a team that has the skill sets that we do. Losing in the AFC Wildcard game wasn't on the agenda. It happened so we are moving on to next season."
How do you get over this one? "We'll see. It was my first playoff loss, first season in the NFL. I'm going to be working really hard this offseason. I'll come back better next season."
Did you think this game was going to come down to you getting an opportunity at the end? "I did. I was preparing for it. I thought I was ready for it. It's unfortunate that we couldn't win the game. That falls on me making the field goal. I'll improve and get ready for next season."
*When you saw the ball off of your foot did you think it was going to be good or it was going to be a tight one? *"I knew it was going to be tight. I thought it was going to go in but it didn't so go onto the next one. I was preparing and ready for the field goal at the end of the game. I've got to do my job and make the kick."
T MITCHELL SCHWARTZ
*What changes for the offense when Kelce leaves the field? *"Scheme-wise, I don't have that answer. Execution-wise we didn't execute because he wasn't out there. We need to block better; we need to do other things better. From an offensive line perspective we need to let everything develop. We had a lack of execution there in the second half. Obviously, you'd love to have Travis out there but I'm not going to say that's the reason because he doesn't affect the way I block or the way the offensive line blocks."
*What was the difference between the first and second halves? *"Just not executing. It's cliché but obviously they played better than we did in the second half. We didn't score at all. It's similar to the middle of the season where we weren't able to put things together. There were negative plays. We had some stuff on the offensive line, either penalties or negative runs where it's hard to be first and 20, second and 12 in this league and with how good their defense is. There is no tomorrow to figure out how to execute better. I think it comes down to us needing to play better. It was the same players versus the same players in the second half. It comes down to us doing our jobs."
What do you do about processing this loss? "You just do it. I don't know. The tendency is to look back and say, "What happened?" I don't think that is the way to go about it. There are so many things that happen in a game. Games are so complex. You want to make sure you did everything preparation wise you needed to do to get prepared. I think we did. I don't think it's a preparation issue. We just have to figure out how to play better. It's not like the players changed or the calls changed. We just didn't execute in the second half. You have to give credit to their defense they played a great half."