CHIEFS HEAD COACH ANDY REID
Opening Statement:"Merry Christmas everybody. Congratulations to the Hunt Family for the first time in the history of the organization having back-to-back AFC West Championships. With that, I don't have a lot to report as far as injuries. Akeem Hunt has a shoulder sprain. Other than that it was a great game by everybody."
Tackling wasn't the greatest in the first half. In the second half they didn't score any points, did they do a better job in the second half?"Yeah. I thought all around the second half was better than the first."
Do you have a sense of what you're going to do next week as far as guys playing?"I don't. We'll get through Christmas and then we'll get on with that."
When did it come to you to wear this (the Santa suit) and have you done this before?"One of Santa's helpers helped me with this. With the suggestion."
Is this win one of Santa's gifts?"Well, all of the gifts he's given us in the city of Kansas City, yes I'd say so."
The benefits of giving guys off next week are obvious, are there any drawbacks?"I'll go through all that as we go here. I haven't made any commitments either way."
Just general thoughts about sitting guys?"It gives us flexibility, yes. It gives us flexibility there."
How do you separate the six out of the seven games and what you've done in the last three?"I'm proud of the guys. I'm proud of the coaches. I thought the game plans were awesome. My hat goes off to Matt Nagy doing a great job calling the offensive plays and setting up the game plan. Brad Childress works in there too. Then defensively Bob Sutton, for a team like that, not to convert on third down that's something special. Then Dave Toub continues to be the best in the business at what he does."
What does it say about Alex's (Smith) season as it hit the 4,000-yard mark?"4,000 yards for Alex, 1,000 a couple different places, it's phenomenal. What a great year offensively. We're not done yet though. We're not going to sit on this. We're going to move on. We're going to enjoy the holiday and then we'll get right back at it."
Have you in some ways seen his game go into a different dimension this season?"You guys know I'm his biggest fan. I love the way he goes about his business."
The review where Tyreek Hill caught the ball, what happened there?"They said their 44 (Stephone Anthony) was in the way and they didn't have a clear view of the feet and the official on the other side called that he was on the line."
Walk us through what the thought process was on the 4th and 1."It was actually less than one. I thought we could get it. We had a call in our pocket that I thought we could knock it out, but it didn't work. Hindsight we probably should have kicked it, but that's hindsight."
What does it mean to you guys that you got the Division title and get to play that playoff game home at Arrowhead?"Our fans were unbelievable today. They've been unbelievable every week here. To welcome in a team, whoever that might be, to play here I think is something special and well deserved for our fans."
QB ALEX SMITH
What do you think it says to be able to come back these last three games and get the playoff berth?"I mean, I think everybody wants to be tough and you want to be a tough team mentally. You strive to do that. You just don't know when the season starts what's going to get thrown at you. What you're going to have to overcome, what type of adversity it's going to be. To have the two swings like we did, to start off as hot as we did and then to have so many tough losses after that and everybody kind of having a hand in it yeah, tough. I think definitely guys questioning themselves, searching as a team. I think to stick together and have that resiliency as a group, the entire building to, I think it says a lot about the character that we have. Guys sticking in and staying together."
Clark Hunt said that he thinks you're playing better now than you were at the beginning of the season as a team: "Yeah, I don't necessarily disagree with that at all. Tough games, must win games, I feel like we stepped up in all three phases. Been playing pretty good football. Playing together. I think it has been different than the beginning of the year when it was, we were all over."
You ready for a week off? "We'll see. I'm pumped about the back-to-back thing right now and obviously clinching. We'll see. We'll see about what coach does with the time and all of that."
Are there any drawbacks about any of the key guys getting a week off? "I mean I think there's advantages and disadvantages that you can make arguments for. It just depends. I think you can make that argument, but if something were to happen, the risk factor sometimes you just don't know. This is a physical game and you don't know what can happen. We'll figure it out when coach tells us what the deal is."
Momentum – is that something that could be at risk if you sat out next weekend? "Not necessarily, no. I don't think that necessarily outweighs the other things. But again I don't get to make these decisions. We'll wait and see."
If Patrick (Mahomes) has to play next week – any way to gauge what type of progress he's made?"Yes and no. I think on the mental side he's obviously watching and mentally observing and mental reps and things like that. But throughout the week, limited reps. He's running the look team and obviously then trying to prepare as much as he can to try to get ready. So he hasn't been in live bullets since camp I mean those practices aren't like that. So in that sense it's been a while. But, I've said this all along, he's a pretty natural player. If he has to he'll bounce back quick."
What does the 4,000 yard mark mean to you? "I think the thing I'm more pumped about is the whole offense all together. To have a 1,000 yard rusher, two 1,000 yard receivers then to hit 4,000 yards passing as a quarterback – to have all that going on at once I think is the most special part of everybody involved. I think taking pride in that as an offensive unit, that we got a 'can't stop us all' mentality."
How do you apply that the post-season is the true measure to what you guys have achieved?"The end goal for everybody is to win a championship. The first step is to punch your ticket to the playoffs and doing that today and we'll get a home game and find out who we play here as the next two weeks go on. That's the first step. You can't get to the end goal unless you accomplish the first step. Then you move onto the next one now and we've got to win the first one. I don't think you get ahead of yourself. You just have to live like that. No question right. I think this game, ultimately is what you're graded on."
This is going to be the type of weather you could have when you host a playoff game – does that help you at all? "I definitely think it can. It just depends on the team that's coming in and the matchup. I always think that's hard to predict with the weather. Definitely can. We've had a lot of experience playing in cold weather, practicing in cold weather over the years. I do think it can be an advantage. All the ball handling, all the little things, snaps, they're that much harder and all the reps I do think all add up and help having practiced in that kind of weather."
You had a nice offensive day, how close were you down there on some of those? "A bunch, really close on a bunch. But that's the name of the game in the red zone. Margin of error is really, really small. Really hurt ourselves with that one penalty. Anytime you get a penalty in the red zone you really back yourself up and it's tough to overcome. The other ones I thought we had chances, we'll look at it and keep trying to improve."
How important has the offensive line play been up front? "I think it all starts with them, run and pass. Protection, blocking. I think there's definitely then not a want to, not even a physicality thing, I think just an attention to detail. All those guys really turning it up a bit and finding their focus and communicating really well these last few weeks. Dialed in on the game plan on all of our adjustments that we might get coming up to the line. Being able to block all the different fronts, there's so much that goes into the run game. I think the attention to detail just been turned up that much showed."
Were you interested in seeing that matchup play out especially between Ndamukong Suh and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif? "Every week, especially the last three, we've played really good defensive fronts. They don't get much better than that the last three weeks as far as disruptive, playing run and pass. I thought these guys every week have handled it. Just kind of gone about their business. And yeah that defensive front is as disruptive as it gets."
What impact do you think Darrelle Revis has had? "It's hard. I think the nice thing is he's come in and worked. I think he's settled in nice. It's hard to come into that situation with that amount of time off to a group that you aren't really in on. I think he did a nice job just coming in, working. Just showing through his practice how it's playing, what he's all about. I think guys have appreciated that a lot."
What does it mean to have the first playoff game come to Arrowhead? "I think Arrowhead and Chiefs Kingdom is as special as it gets. We're going to need them. These games are huge and to be able to have a home game, bring it back here and to have the crowd behind us is huge. Hard to put in words."
DL CHRIS JONES
What is the feeling getting back-to-back AFC West titles?"It is remarkable. Coach Reid came here and changed the whole organization. This is the first time back-to-back. Alex Smith, the leaders on this team shaped and formed this team to what it is today. Starting with the leader, Eric Berry, who went down beginning of the year. We had guys surround him and make sure he was comfortable and we just picked it up from there. It has been a remarkable season for us because we started off 5-0, went through the drought and we picked it back up. We were fortunate enough to finish with the AFC West."
You were running through the hallways saying 'Baby we're in!':"We focused on one thing at the beginning of the season and that is winning the AFC West. After the AFC West, you made the playoffs. Now the playoffs we have to worry about, but let's finish the season first. Let's get to the playoffs, baby."
WR ALBERT WILSON
With Alex Smith throwing for 4,000 yards, does that say something about this season?"Definitely. He has been doing great for us since I've been here. Coach Reid is just doing a great job of getting pieces around him to make him even better. Each year we get a great piece and we keep adding and the offense keeps expanding."
What does it mean to you to have back-to-back division wins?"It is definitely a blessing. Just thankful to God for getting this chance. For this organization, for Mr. Hunt, it is a great thing to get that for him."
Does this remind you of the way you started the year?"Definitely. Attitude, energy, that is our team. We have our energy back."
We have been seeing a lot more out of the vertical passing game:"That is our game. We stretch from sideline to sideline and endzone to endzone every play. The defense has to guard the whole field, that is what Coach Reid is good at. Alex does a great job of spreading the ball around and it is our job to make plays."
WR TYREEK HILL
What does it say about the offense to have so many guys put up these huge numbers?"It just means anybody is capable. Whether it is Kareem, Kelce, myself, Albert, (Demarcus Robinson), all of us are capable. Alex has been trusting us a lot down the field and that gives us confidence as receivers. Make the play for him. Just have to keep at it."
What does it mean to have a home playoff game?"It means a lot. Arrowhead fans are great, the Kingdom is nice. Just to have them on our backs, screaming, whether it is defense on the field, it is amazing."
How much fun was making the 12 days of Christmas and having this whole weekend come together?"It was definitely fun. You see me on there swaggin', having a good time. It was a good time just to show our families and just show Chiefs Kingdom our everyday lives, so it was fun for us to do."
LB REGGIE RAGLAND
First time winning the division for you, what is the feeling like?"It feels good. Still work to be done, though. I am never satisfied until we get that ring. That is my focus now. Trying to get that ring."
What is the key to getting so many turnovers?"Coach has been harping on it. The streak we had, we didn't have many turnovers so Coach has been harping on it so everybody has been stripping at the ball in practice and it translates to the game so we are doing a good job of that."
Is this what you thought it would be like when you moved to this organization?
"It is a class A organization. The players love to play football and everybody loves everybody inside the organization. It is what you do."
You have it clinched now, so what is the approach next week?"Still come in and work hard. The season isn't over with and when Coach comes in, he is going to set the tone and he will let us know what we need to do."
TE TRAVIS KELCE
Talk about this team and the season it has been:"Definitely some adversity throughout the season. It is cool to see us battle through that and get to where we are right now, but all that means absolutely nothing if we don't turn it on here in the playoffs. And I think that is the momentum and the mindset that we have as a team."
Will you consider this season a success if you don't go further in the playoffs?"No, it's not."
Can you talk about how Alex's game has gone to another level and the impact it has on you guys?"We are just playing confident football. Confident that guys are going to make plays when the ball is in the air, that Alex is going to put that thing right on the money where it needs to be and that the guys up front are going to give him time. That is just the offensive side of the ball. In terms of teams, we are definitely playing off of each other at another level that we have in the bad stretch of the season."
The whole Christmas for Kansas City and this gift that you have given them, what does it mean for this organization?"We love the Kingdom. Everybody that was out there today, I think it was 20 degrees, it was freezing out there. But for everybody to come out on a holiday weekend like that and show their support and get all fired up, that just shows the type of city we have and all the support we have behind us."
RB KAREEM HUNT
How does it feel to get the win today?"It's a great feeling but my biggest thing is winning. We got a win today and we are the AFC West Champions. Now we have our chance to get in the playoffs and we just have to keep it rolling."
Did you expect to have this kind of success in your rookie year?"I always believe in myself. I always think that I am going to make something happen. When (Spencer) Ware went down, I had the opportunity to step in and fill the role. I never want a teammate to get hurt or anything. He is a great player, he has been helping me out and coaching me up through some things."
Are you looking forward to a week off next week against Denver?"I'm looking forward to getting it rolling and getting back out there as soon as possible. I love playing football and that's what I like to do in my spare time. Now, I am trying to make this Super Bowl run."
What does downfield passing do for your run game?"Honestly, if you have to watch out for the deep ball then you have to put people back there. You can't just crowd the box up. If you don't do that we are going to beat you deep. It's nice having Tyreek (Hill), (Travis) Kelce, 12-gage and all those guys be able to make plays."
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
How does it feel to win back-to back division titles?"That's a big deal. We talked about it all week. This is a pretty special moment. I've been here for 13 years. To go back-to-back is pretty cool. Before the season, you want to win the AFC West, that's what you want to do. You want to take control of the division and today we sealed the deal."
What does it mean to be in the playoffs?"It's huge. Everybody doesn't get a chance to get a seat at the table. We get a chance to sit down and break bread with everybody and hopefully we can be greedy."
Comments on his forced fumble:"It was a great play by them. I had number three (receiver from the sideline). They did a knife play where he was going to the sideline. They blocked up everybody else, one and two on the outside, and I had to chase him down. I tried to separate him from the ball. Being a linebacker hitting a receiver, that's what you try to do and that's what happened."
Did you see Marcus Peters recover the fumble?"My head was down and I went in there and speared at the ball. The ball came out. I saw the replay and that's how MP is. He's always by the ball."