What We Learned From Sunday's Media Availability

Head Coach Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith spoke with the media on Sunday

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HEAD COACH ANDY REID**

OPENING STATEMENT:"Alright, as far as the injuries go, really, [Sam] Barrington is the only one. He strained his hamstring, and we'll have to see how he does. Jeremy [Maclin] had to go through the protocol – was okay and came back. I thought just a great job in the second half. First half, I thought all phases were basically brutal; we weren't very good. Second half, we settled down, and we played like we normally play. So, a lot of good things happened that second half. With that, time's yours."

What was the message at halftime?"Yeah, so you're going to have games like this that you have to rely on your character, your grit and all those things. You're going to have those throughout the season. You have to bank on those things that you've built there in your training camp, OTAs and all that hard work. The guys did that. I'm proud of the way that they handled it. No one hung their head.  They had confidence in each other, and I think it showed."

What do you think turned the switch on in the second half?"Well, listen, when I said in the first half, I didn't think offensively playing well, way too many mistakes. I thought defensively, we weren't playing very well – too many mistakes. I thought our kick game was just average. Our field position game just wasn't working, and then, I think everybody just had a piece of pie – myself included. So, we were all part of that. Then, I felt like everyone said, 'Enough is enough, and let's go.' I'm not sure it was one thing. I just think everybody put their foot down and said, 'Let's go. We need to start playing.' That's what I was hearing.'

Jeremy Maclin pass his test?"Yeah, he came back. Right, he was able to come back in the game after the thing."

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is okay?"Yeah, I think so. I have to see. We went to talk to him after the game, and he gave Rick [Burkholder] a head-butt. So I don't know, I figure he's okay."

Is Spencer Ware a better receiver than he was last year?"Well, both [Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware] of those guys can catch the ball – Knile [Davis] is good at it and 25 [Jamaal Charles] is good at it. They're all good. I thought Spencer Ware had a pretty good game – running and catching. He's a good football player."

Do you give Spencer Ware or Alex Smith the game ball?"I haven't even gotten to the game balls yet. I'll do it later. Maybe they'll both get game balls – who knows."

How did Spencer give the offense a spark?"He [Spencer Ware] brings a lot of energy, and he's an emotional player. He has a knack for making plays when you need them. He did that today." Can you talk about how Alex Smith was able to run the offense in the third quarter?"So, you're down by a couple scores there, and you have to get in a – not a two minute – but in a hurry there – a hurry up look. So, we did that, and I thought he did well. He's got a lot of confidence in it and a lot of confidence in his guys. Guys made plays around him, so good all the way around." 

On Smith getting more say in offense nearing end of the game?"Well, he has final say on everything out there. He's got the ball in his hand, but we're calling it – I'm calling it from the sideline. Then, if he needs to get out of something. That last play was him. That last play, we had a play call, he went to a check, which is what you saw there – running the football."

That was you giving him responsibility?"That was him – give him credit. There's probably not really a play that he can't get out of. Unless just one of those secure, double-tight, goal line run type of things, then, that's different." Does a win this early propel the team or does it go away quickly?"Well, it's one of 16. So, it's that first one. I always tell you, I'm telling you that now, that first game can be overrated a little bit. There's a lot of hype that goes into the first game of the season and there is 15 of them left, but I will tell you that it doesn't hurt you, for sure, it's a good thing." 

Next time you are in a situation till the end like this game, will it be easier?"Yeah, well the guys spend so much time on this in OTAs and camp. It takes a lot of effort by all those guys to pull it off and so, yeah, it does. It gives you confidence. You're never out of the game, and I think that's a positive. You guys have reminded me of that often – that we've never come back, so that's a good thing."

Did you recognize what the problem was offensively early on?"Yeah, we were sloppy, and listen, I'll take the blame for that. I've got to have those guys ready to go, and you talk about different things and you just have to find what's going. We kind of found it there." Did you ever as an Eagle come back like this?"Yeah, I did, but this one is sweet. You come back in the National Football League from a couple, three scores down, it's pretty sweet – pretty nice." 

Is that a development for Alex Smith to throw it up in the air and trust in his receivers, especially Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce?"Yeah, well he has the ultimate trust in that group. [Chris] Conley had a couple nice ones, so he has a lot of trust in them – yes – I'll leave it at that."

Were you told before the game that Marcus Peters was going to raise his fist and what are your thoughts on that?"Listen, I'm going to tell you we're in America. This kid comes from Oakland and does a phenomenal job in the community and Oakland. There's no question that he's all in. There's no question he respects whatever law enforcement, military, you don't ever question that with this guy. He just wants what is right, like we all do. I think that's the important thing. What the players are doing right now is important. Let's just all get along and that would be a beautiful thing." What were those discussions like that you had with your players?"I think league wide, you're seeing certain things – we talked. You don't want to do anything to pull away from the game here, but at the same time it's an opportunity for the guys to voice an opinion, which we are lucky to be able to do in this country. As long as it's doing good for people, then, I'm all in. This is a people thing – am I right? So, where do you go from here? Our guys love getting out in the community. They're going to continue to do that. Clark [Hunt] and the Hunt family support us, support the guys – the players. That's the important thing that we get out of this – all the good that the NFL can do – and that's really what these guys want. They're not looking for a negative; they're looking for a positive here. If we can just look at it that way, I think you can handle it a little bit better." 

How does a game like this shape the team?"Listen, I think you're saying this win and the way we kind of went about it, I think it's character. We have enough guys that are part of last year's team that understand that nothing's impossible, I guess. So, then you have an influx of these new players, so they've got to learn, and it took a good half to figure it out. They'll know now – right? They didn't experience last year, so they'll understand it now. You got a full team that has that feeling."

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QB ALEX SMITH**

Well Alex, you had them all the way huh?"Yeah, I wish."

Was there a point during the comeback where you said, 'Hey we are going to win this game"?"Yeah, probably two times. Not that we're going to win but I knew that we had a shot twice.  We cut it to 14 with a decent amount of time left and I knew it was possible there, I knew we were going to get a couple possessions and have a chance. Then they kicked a field goal and we scored a touchdown and cut it to 10 and there was still a decent amount of time left. I knew we had a shot at that point. Defense did a great job getting us the ball back and we were able to make it happen."

Describe the touchdown: "It was a look they had been playing all day. They'd had success with it, a lot of success, they'd run it on a bunch of third downs. I just got a good look down there on third and two and I was able to take advantage and convert.  The o-line did a great job of giving me a hole."

What allowed you guys to get in a better rhythm passing the ball?"I think when you're not getting first downs, you get to second down, then end up in a bunch of third and longs it's hard to get into a rhythm at all. We really didn't have any besides the first possession. Then I think, sometimes when you're going no huddle, going up tempo, you take a little thinking out of it and we're able to move a couple chains and get in a flow and get going and get those guys back on their heels and finally found some rhythm."

They had a lot of personnel changes, what was so different about how they approached you this year from last year? "It's always different, you never know how they treat two tight end packages, three tight end packages, how they treat all that stuff, regular, different defensive personnel, they were mixing it up all day. That's kind of what they've done in the past, you've got to be ready for a lot and they make you prepare for a lot. They're a heck of a team, did really good on defense, they came out in that first half and took it to us."

You haven't won a game like that since you've been here, is this team better equipped to have that kind of comeback? "I mean yes, to have that kind of ability, it was a heck of a win.  There's a lot of emotion there at the end of the game to comeback the way we did. With that, I think every guy in there knows how bad we played, how poorly we played in the first half and you're not going to get away with it all the time. Certainly some things in the second half went our way, we were able to get out of here with a 'W' but as great as it is to win, there's going to be a lot to learn from, a lot to improve on. You can't start out that bad, you can't play that bad in the first half all the way around, every single phase."

I know you take nothing for granted, but did you think you were beyond the way you played in the first half?"Yeah, I think, everybody on offense I think has a good feel for what we're capable of when we're playing well. I think everybody has a great understanding of what it looks like for us when we're playing well. I think certainly we knew we weren't doing it and we weren't playing the way that we're capable of for whatever reason.  Luckily, we found it there in the second half in overtime."

What was the difference with protection in the second half?"I think it was just the o-line doing a heck of a job.  Especially because that's a tough situation, obviously it's pass happy just being down that much and those guy stepping up, giving me time just battling. These are long games, they're not won or lost early. You've got to keep making adjustments and keep battling. So many games come down to the fourth quarter like that, overtime today.  I think those guys were able to improve as the game went on and really make gains there down the stretch."

Can you take us through that whole last play? "Yeah, just got a look. Like I said, they had been playing that defense all day, a lot. Got a look down there, third and two, and was able to take advantage of it. I was expecting to pitch the ball, but the d-end widened, and luckily got in. Like I said, the right side there did a nice job kind of sealing it."

Can you talk about how Spencer Ware did today? "Oh, man. The guy is such a spark for us. Just even through his play. The energy that he brings to his play – the way he runs – the guy does it all, even on the sidelines as well, incredibly positive, always going, and wanting to be involved and seeing what he can do. I think certainly today, he lit a fire under us – got us going."

What were your thoughts of Jeremy Maclin coming out of the game and then seeing him come back into the game?"You know, it was just a strong catch in there, at the time there, it was such a huge play in the game. You know, to take us down there to tie the game up, but I was just hoping for the best. I know he took a shot. They showed the replay, and I knew he took a good one. Just a gutsy, gutsy play by him – you know you're going to get drilled and it was one of the big difference plays in the game."

It's no surprise when Spencer Ware comes in and makes those kind of plays? "No, I don't think anyone is surprised at all – no. I think the guy [Spencer Ware] is an extremely talented player. I think he's confident in his ability, you saw it today, especially in the pass game. He really got us going in the pass game. They were focusing a lot of attention on different guys, and he was able to continually win – one-on-one."

What are your thoughts on what Marcus Peters did and what your specific goals are as a team? "Listen, I think we were unified that we were going to be linked up together. That was important for us to be together – that we were a team and that we're going to do this together. I know Marcus [Peters] was linked up down there. We all walk in different shoes. Marcus is from the east Bay. Who am I to say? My experiences are different from his and different from every other guy on the team. So, raising a fist, you know, fine. We were together out there and linked up. You know, it's a special day in history, for this country – 9/11. I think it's a day to be thankful for your freedoms, for the people that've provided them – that have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. That's that freedom. It's a great country."

Can you walk us through those last few moments after the final play? "Yeah, I heard it, and immediately, they went to review. You have no idea. Sometimes when there are bang, bang, bang plays on the goal line – like when a knee hits a fraction earlier or where's the ball? I know I had the ball in my right hand – where's the ball? Everybody was kind of going nuts, and I was just literally like, 'I know they're reviewing it,' and I didn't want to start celebrating. Then, they come out and get it taken back. Then, when he finally said, 'Touchdown,' after he reviewed it, yeah, I definitely lost it. For one, crazy comeback, a lot of emotions, and then, a play like that on third down, it was fun to be a part of."

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