TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on explaining what happened in today’s game)
I don’t think there is any way to explain it, other than the fact we did our best to give that game away in the first quarter. I think that is pretty much what we did, by the basically mostly self-inflicted. You know, we didn’t get to the fact that they are a good football team. We just did that on our own with the fumble and mistakes. We are not going to beat anyone if we play that way. We put ourselves in a huge hole which obviously we couldn’t get out of.
(on the Bears not doing anything that surprising today)
I think it all started with the fact that we turned the ball over, we fumbled the first play. We get a 20-yard completion, we fumble it. There was no shock that they have gotten a lot of turnovers, that’s how they won football games. We knew all that. We carried the ball carelessly and gave the ball up. We made it easy for them, gave them short fields. We put them (defense) in bad field positions. The game gets out of hand. You get out of your game plan; you know when it’s 28-2 in the first quarter because of a blocked punt and two turnovers. It’s hard to recover from that even though for a little while in the third quarter I thought we were going to get something going, you know they answered back pretty much and you know we didn’t.
(on if he thought the team had a lack of focus)
I don’t know if you can call out guys, we didn’t make plays. We fumbled the ball, I don’t know if that (means) you’re not ready to play. Kenny (Britt) made a good run, had a good ball, fumbles. So I don’t know…you can’t do it. (Jared) Cook fumbles at the end. C.J. (
(on if he thought the players quit today)
No. C.J. had an 80-yard run at the end. I don’t think you can say he quit. I think it is hard because of the score, for some reason that is where people want to go right away. No, I wouldn’t say we quit. I just don’t think we played very well.
(on if today’s game ranks as the low point in his early head coaching career)
Well, I’m not saying we are ranking anything right now. It’s a loss, like last week was a loss. This week is a loss. I know you start evaluating how the losses go and all that stuff down the road. But, the bottom line is I thought we would play much better, we didn’t. When you turn the ball over right out of the gate the way we did, we made it very hard to play well and I thought we had a good plan, but we never got to it because of the turnovers. Then we throw a pick six, a blocked punt, I mean it is very depressing. Obviously, I didn’t have them ready to play. It starts with me. I thought we had a good week. I thought these guys were focused. They knew exactly what this team does going in. We were obviously sloppy with the ball and it cost us the game.
(on whether today’s performance could cost a player or an assistant coach a job)
I think that’s decided at the end of the year. If a team underperforms, I’m the first guy you should look at for that, not anybody else, not assistant coaches, it starts with me. If we don’t finish this season the way it should, then what needs to happen will happen. Sure, it starts with me, I’m the head coach. Again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, we’ve got seven games to play. If we win all seven, all of sudden this would be kind of a wasted argument. I think those are the decisions that are made when the season is over, as far as what this means to anybody. We don’t play well it’s obviously depressing right now, it’s disappointing when you don’t play to the level you feel you are capable of against a good football team, you make their day easy. And again, you give the other team credit, they forced the turnovers, but obviously, we’re going to lean on the fact that we’re sloppy ball handling by us, but however it shakes out, it’ll be several weeks. We’ve got seven games to play, so we’ll worry about what it all means when we see how we finish up.
(on the Bears’ defense)
It was no shocker. It wasn’t like we didn’t know, like I said, the guys in there, it wasn’t like…CJ (Chris Johnson) carried the ball numerous times, he’s not known to be a fumbler and he fumbles twice. Were they better at popping it out than other teams? I would think they were but obviously they’d find a way to get it done so that’s a credit to them, they’re the team that’s 7-1 now. That’s winning games by exactly how they did today, by creating turnovers on defense, controlling the game and the offense doing exactly what they do. They take advantage of the short field, take advantage of the situation and make plays there. I thought our defense at first was playing well. They got a safety, they were getting off the field and then because of the turnovers, we put them in a bad spot most of the first half. So we lose as a team, we didn’t play well today, we made it easy on the Bears to beat us, but they took advantage of all of the opportunities we gave them.
(on whether considered taking QB
Not really. I think we needed to have some success in that game, no matter when it was, third quarter, fourth quarter…so, no I don’t think he’d want to come out. I think, you know what, you start the game, you finish the game.
(on post-game speech to the team)
That’s between us, me and the team.
(on how to keep the team believing)
I think they’re professional players. They understand that, you know what, we were at two spectrums, last week we lost a game in overtime that we thought we should’ve won. This week we lost a game. They’re both only one loss. Unfortunately, it’s disappointing. We wanted to win this football game. The bottom line is we didn’t win it. Now we’ll go back Monday and figure that out. We want to play much better than we did, and they know there’s another game coming up next Sunday. So we have to come back, watch this tape and have a great week. I thought we worked hard last week so we’ll have to see how it works out but I’m not concerned for those things. I’m not concerned for guys quitting on us or taking some negative outs, I think we have a good group of guys that way. It means a lot to them so I’m not concerned for those things at all.
(on hangover coming into this game after last week)
No, I don’t think so. We don’t fumble the ball because of a hangover, I think we just fumble the ball because they hit us and the ball came out, I don’t know. I don’t think there’s any way to determine…you watch and look and see what happened, but no. I thought the plays were there to be made, like I said, the first play on the fumble there’s a 20-yard gain. Like I said, I thought our Thursday of practice was as good as we’ve had, so that’s why it’s hard to judge if you’re ready. I felt they were, they understood this football team and they just came out…like I said, when you self-destruct like we did in the first quarter, it’s hard to overcome that.
(on mood on the sidelines after continuous mistakes)
Believe me, you don’t do these things on purpose.
(on the Bears fans)
I think the Bears have great fans, they follow them, just like we played Pittsburgh, there’s a lot of Pittsburgh fans in here that Thursday night game. We expect that they travel well with their team. That’s great for them if they have that tradition that their fans want to follow them, not just in Nashville, but everywhere they play. They’ve got a strong following. We need to play better, that’s all we’re concerned about in that game. That part, we really didn’t pay attention to.
(on holding QB
(inaudible) The dialogue for us does not change. Like I said from the beginning if Jake’s ready to play, no matter what was happening like we said, if we’re winning or losing, my feeling was that Jake was going to come back and play. So if we feel Jake’s healthy and the doctor feels he’s ready to play, then he’ll play. No matter what has been going on. This game is not going to change our decision on if he’s healthy or not healthy or the game last week or whatever, that wasn’t going to change our decision. It comes down to his condition first, so we’ll see.
(on disappointing loss)
Again I’m not going to blame it on one phase, I thought the defense didn’t get involved for awhile, they gave up some big runs there and a pass at the end when the game was three scores. We’re all going to play better but the thing fell apart early in the first quarter with the turnovers, so yeah, it’s disappointing. We’re disappointed in all three phases. All three phases did not play well in this game today, we’re not going to judge who was worse than the next group but we didn’t play well and that’s the bottom line. We didn’t coach well, we didn’t play well and obviously we got beat by a very good football game today.
TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(on the amount of turnovers)
The coaches tipped us good on how well they force turnovers. I think they are close to setting a record for turnovers and touchdowns on defense. It is just a situation where they made some good plays; they are very good at what they do about getting the ball out. They just made a lot of good plays.
(on what Charles Tillman did to force fumbles)
He just finds a way of getting his hands on the ball and knocking the ball out and always being around the ball. I guess you can say he hustles a lot but he does a good job of finding the ball.
(on the 80-yard touchdown run and what it means after fumbling twice)
The run means less, but it’s still a situation where you thank the offensive linemen and full back for making the block and helping me get there. At the end of the day it didn’t help us win the game but I still have to tip my hat to those guys.
(on how the game got away so quickly)
The game got away real quick. As you can see we received the ball, and on the first play we had a pass play and fumble on the first play of the game. When you look up, the score was 21-0. That is a situation where they are a real good defense and real good team and we helped them out a lot today.
(on what caused the fumbles)
On the first play, it was a pass I caught and it was bang-bang situation. I really didn’t have time to tuck the ball and he made a nice hit on me. On the second one, I have to cover the ball up better. Knowing we are down a lot of points and me being the type of player I am, I was trying to make something happen and hopefully provide a spark for the team. Coming back through the middle of the field with a lot of defenders around me, I have to take care of the ball.
(on back- to- back formation penalties)
We just have to pay attention more and know the right things to do, know where to line up at. These coaches all week gave us the right formula and we had a good week of practice. It makes it even worst when you have a good week of practice and they do everything right during the week, get to the game and mess it up.
(on injuries to the offensive line)
I think the replacements stepped in and did a good job of keeping them off (Matt) Hasselbeck. It is just a situation where you really can’t tell with all the turnovers we had.
(on the noise from Chicago fans)
Anytime you have four to five turnovers and a team goes up like that, the noise is going to be intense.
TITANS QB MATT HASSELBECK
(on how the turnovers plagued the team)
I will start with my turnover because that’s the one I am responsible for. I threw it right to (Brian) Urlacher. He was the free play. Our receiver had an option route, inside or outside. He broke inside. I thought I could get it there. It was horrible. Bad tackle. Other than that, I guess I could to speak to the fact what our coaches talked about all week was that these guys were number one in the league in taking the ball away. They’ve got 16 turnovers. They’ve got six touchdowns. This is what they do. In particular, the coaches talked about Charles Tillman on how he does a great job of getting the ball out. We talked about it. Every time I’ve played the Bears, we talk about it. They are very good at it. I don’t think I ever seen them do such an amazing job of getting the ball out. Partly credit them. Right now for us, we are blaming ourselves. We are not able to beat anybody turning the ball over that many times.
(on if the awareness of Chicago’s turnover margin didn’t sink in during the team’s preparation)
It’s like telling someone not to leave a putt short on the green. You don’t want to do it. You’re not trying to do it. All you can do is practice a certain way. Call it out. There are things you can do. There are things people do. We know we have to do it. It’s why you play. It started from the first play of the game. We had a play we felt good about. We ran that same exact play to start the second half. It was a 20-yard gain, and we fumbled the ball. It wasn’t just that one. There were many others. You can’t beat anyone, never mind the Chicago Bears.
(on having two consecutive illegal formation penalties)
It’s also embarrassing. We had those plays in our hands days ago and had a meeting about it last night and had a meeting about it this morning. I don’t know what to say. That’s not good.
(on if Sunday’s loss is more difficult to get over than a typical loss)
It still counts as one loss. I’ll be honest that loss last week was hard to get over. I have been apart a bunch of them. That one was a hard one to get over. You’ve got to move on. You’ve got to move past it. Sometimes I’ve been on teams that are really good teams and you play a stinker. You come out and you do that. You lay an egg and you’re horrible all day pretty much. Sometimes what is said that wasn’t us and we’ll just sweep it under the rug and get back to being us. But those are good teams that built a cushion for themselves that are upfront in their division and playoffs are probably on the way anyway. Our situation is that we gave some opportunities away, so we need to capitalize on all the opportunities we have. Coming into today we had eight games to go. We can’t have a stinker. We can’t just lay an egg like that. So that’s what is disappointing. It’s hard to just say that wasn’t us. Instead, we have to come back on Monday and get critiqued and fix the things that need to be fixed. That’s what we’ve got to do.
(on falling behind early and being taken out of the game plan)
The turnovers. That’s what happened to us today. It seems like they are built to play with the lead. We’re built to play with the lead in a sense also. Our game plan was for a game that was a tight game. When you are down by that much, I thought the coaches did a good job of trying to go no huddle and two minute. There was enough time in the game to push the tempo and go fast with our game plan that we spent seven days working on. We did have some success, even at halftime. We came out and the defense had a three-and-out and we had the touchdown. We felt good about it. What we were talking about at halftime was let’s do something special. No one thinks we’re going to win this game. Nobody. Either believe, or don’t come outside and stay in the locker room. Don’t surrender. Just go for it. That’s what we were talking about, believing, thinking. Once again the turnovers were happening. It was just hard to win.
TITANS WR NATE WASHINGTON
(on the overall feeling after this loss)
We just played bad today. That’s what makes it hard to stomach. I don’t know what it was. I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t know. I’m just ready to go back to practice when I’m done thinking about this. I do want to say I apologize to the fans as a team, especially to those who stayed there until the clock hit zeroes. We really appreciate you guys and we’ve just got to do better. We just have to look at film and see what’s going on. We knew what they were going to do (defensively), so we just have to take better care of the ball.
(where do Titans go after this loss)
We have to go up. That’s the only choice we have.
TITANS DE KAMERION WIMBLEY
(on the Titans’ loss)
It was tough to go out there and see what happened today. We need to play a lot better. That’s obvious. We had a lot of turnovers. You can’t win in the NFL with that many turnovers. Their defense created more (turnovers) than our defense. And that’s pretty much how the whole story went today. They were just able to get their offense in good field position. They were able to convert offensively and defensively. They did a better job on special teams. They just played overall better than we did today. This is on all of us. I think the coaches prepared us well, throughout the week, but I mean you can’t overcome the turnovers. I just feel guys went out, and for whatever reason we were just flat. We weren’t able to get it going on offense. We did get some turnovers on defense, but not enough. We needed more to put our offense in a position to score points. We didn’t get that done today.
(on whether the loss last week to the Colts had any effect on today’s loss)
I don’t think so. I think the guys put in good work throughout the week. I think we came into this game prepared. We felt good about it. But for whatever reason, we just couldn’t hold onto the ball. They were able to convert on those turnovers and they were able to get the win. I don’t really even see us coming out and creating half of those (offensive) turnovers in a game on the way that we play regularly. So once we get that taken care of, we’ll give ourselves a better chance to be in the game. We have to keep improving. We can’t afford to lose any more games. Right now is a critical time for us. We’re going into the bye week and we need to get a win when we go to Miami. There is no other option.
TITANS TE JARED COOK
(on Titans’ turnovers contributing to the loss)
They (coaches) were preaching all week about turnovers. One guy (Bears CB Charles Tillman) caused four, for six total. You can’t win against a good team like that turning the ball over that many times. It’s tough. I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘bullet point,’ but we’ve kind of put ourselves in bad situations all year. Right now, it’s just you’ve just got to overcome another one. It was very frustrating.
(on who should take responsibility for the loss today)
It was everybody. We’re a team and we have to take this as a team. You have to take everything on the chin, as a team. It’s not one person’s fault. Everybody had a part in what happened today, and what’s happened this year. You can’t blame one person.
(on the Titans’ loss)
The experience was like ‘what are we doing?’ I felt like we were in a dream, kind of like ‘this can’t be happening’ type deal. Gave up 28 points in the first half. We should have been ready to play, but obviously, we weren’t today. It was obvious. We didn’t come prepared to play, we didn’t bring our A-game, and we’ve got to do better. We go on to Miami, forget this one tomorrow and move on to the next one.
TITANS CB JASON McCOURTY
(on the team’s performance)
It’s a bad loss. A loss is a loss, but when you go out, as embarrassing as this was, it sucks to be a part of. It doesn’t matter what has gone wrong. It is a matter of us continuing to work. We can’t change our record right now, and we can’t change the outcome of that game so to continue to dwell on it or continue to talk about it is pointless. We’ve got to watch the film, figure out what the heck we did wrong today and fix it.
BEARS HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
Great job by our team, you can start with that. We can talk about a lot of things, and I know Charles Tillman was in here earlier. For a coach to be able to watch a special trait that he has, a special ability to knock the ball out is hard. It kind of sets the tone for our football team right away. We knew it would be tough down here but it is always easier when you have that many fans that come out and support you. It seems like each home game we get more and more. This was another time where we had Soldier Field South down here.
Starting off with Charles (Tillman), Brian Urlacher, we have been waiting for Brian to really step up like that. Outstanding job by him, touchdown, caused fumble, recovered fumble. The defense was a frenzy out there, really taking the ball away. That’s what we are, that’s what the guys believe they can do every play. That’s the mindset. Offensively, Jay Cutler, you want to come like that and have that type of game. Of course you want to be able to throw to a receiver like Brandon Marshall. I think he had three touchdowns. Matt Forte had over 100 yards. There were a lot of good things we did today. That’s what we have been waiting on our football team to do.
Injury wise, Henry Melton hurt his back a little bit but he was able to finish the game and Israel Idonije hurt his knee but he was able to also. One more, hopefully a week or a day we are closer to getting Alshon Jeffery back.
(on The Titans running an option route that caused the interception by Brian Urlacher)
You will have to talk to them. I don’t know. I know Brian (Urlacher) was in great position for it. Zone coverage for us. When you are giving pressure, the quarterback is getting rid of the ball and that’s your mindset. Those things happen.
(on the importance of getting off to a fast start this week)
Very important. We have been, of course, talking about that quite a bit. Even again last week, when you are on the road you want to get off to a quick start like that. We need to see that, that’s what we are capable of doing. About the halfway point in the season there shouldn’t be lags in your performance. You should have that tight throughout.
(on a difference in Jay Cutler on his return to Nashville)
No. You don’t have to really look real close. You know it is special for guys when they get a chance to come back home where they played their college ball and your second home is here and all of that. We knew that it was important and a big game for him and he played that way.
(on the punt block and how big of a play it was)
Just tone setter, you know. Two Northwestern guys. I think Sherrick McManis blocked it. Corey Wootton, I mean, I don’t think Corey scored a lot of touchdowns but it normally takes all three phases. We got some good plays out of our special teams today. Not only on the punt block, but Devin Hester. I mean that return, we’ve been waiting for that. Hopefully we can keep building off of it.
(on if it could be disorienting to an opponent to lose the ball so early in a game)
It has to be upsetting, yes, when you know our reputation coming in. It’s not like it’s the first one we’ve done. Every team we play against, it’s a part of their mindset. Their game plan is, ‘hey, this team will strip the ball so protect it.’ But I think it’s still hard, I mean, to have three pressure points or whatever you want to say, on the ball at all times. That’s who we are.
(on if this is the best defense he has ever coached)
It’s a little early for that. We like where we are right now. I know this defense is doing some things that no other defense has done that I’ve been a part of. You know, scoring touchdowns, the amount of takeaways we’ve been able to get. That is special what we have going at the half way point.
BEARS QB JAY CUTLER
Yeah, the first quarter — I haven’t seen that very often defensively and special teams. We got off to a little bit of a slow start, had some trouble in the red zone that we have to improve on and made some plays, we had some opportunities, so stuff to build on offensively.
(on why they were able to be successful throwing the ball today)
The defense sets us up. Whenever we get up 21-2, or whatever it was, we’re going to start to see some single high because they have to get the ball back. When we see the single high we’re going to try and go to work with Brandon Marshall.
(on if it was an emphasis to get off to a fast start today after last week’s performance)
Yeah, offensively we didn’t. We stumbled a little bit offensively. In the red zone, we stumbled a little bit down there, the turnover was my fault — I was trying to do too much. Definitely some things to work on offensively, we’re headed in the right direction. We just have to put together a four quarter game at some point.
(on their ability to run the football today)
We ran it well. The offensive line did another good job creating run gaps and pass protecting. We’re getting better and better and better, we’re just not where we need to be.
(on if he went to Vanderbilt or saw any old friends while he was back)
I didn’t — I went up to my house, saw some family, but it’s still a business trip.
(on if there was any emotions being back in Nashville)
Yeah, it was fun. Just to be back in Nashville, I love this city; it’s always felt like home even during my freshman year. To come back and just being able to see people at the stadium that I remember seeing around Vandy, it’s nice and to get a win like this in this state makes it even better.
(on if he’s happy he doesn’t have to play against the Chicago defense)
Yeah, the way that they’re stripping the ball, creating turnovers—picks, fumbles and it starts with the front four. Pepp (Julius Peppers) and those guys force so much pressure. As a quarterback you have an internal clock and the thing goes haywire whenever you’re getting pressured and when the pocket collapses. The guys have been in the system for a long time and they’re playing it to perfection, it’s really a thing of beauty.
(on how he was able to get into a rhythm in today’s game)
It took a little bit of time. I think we shortened up some of our routes, just tried to get the ball out quicker, get it in the receivers hands and get some rhythm that way. Then when they came up we hit that bomb with B (Brandon Marshall), so it came throughout the game.
(on hitting Brandon Marshall for some big plays)
It was just one-on-one because they were loading the box, and our philosophy is if we get Brandon Marshall one-on-one we’re going to go at him until they stop it.
(on his three touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall)
The first one, it wasn’t designed that way. Brandon made a great adjustment at the top of the route, he was supposed to break in and he kind of floated out, and then I put it up high. I didn’t know if I was going to overshoot him or not, but he jumped up and made a great catch. The second one was a straight go. It was press-man and it’s hard to go against a guy that size when he can get the back-shoulder balls and he has the ability to out run you too. The third one was a crossing pattern and he found a great zone, sat down right there, so he’s hard to cover.
(on his conversation with quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates after his fumble)
It was a good exchange. You know, I just tried to do too much and I think he was just trying to emphasize that point — to play within the play, trying to get B (Brandon Marshall) the ball. We had single coverage with him, but timing wise that play didn’t allow for the time I needed. We just have to play within the play, and we just have to limit that stuff, especially down in the red zone.
(on the amount of Bears fans and support on the road this year)
They’ve travelled well. Hats off to our fans, it’s been a fun year — Dallas, Jacksonville, here it’s been crazy to watch the Bears fans take over. You know you have a ton of fans when you’re in an away stadium in the red zone and I’m trying to get the crowd to hush up and they’re responding. They got quiet in a hurry, so it makes it fun.
(on RB Matt Forte showing he can be an every-down back)
Yeah, I mean they stopped him at the three-or four-yard line and he pushed his way in there. He’s a versatile guy, caught a screen and went 50-60 with it, off tackle he’s breaking them. The guy can do anything, I am glad he’s on our team.
BEARS LB LANCE BRIGGS
(on what the defense can improve upon after a strong performance like today)
100-yard rusher—we gave up 100 yards on one play, so that’s not good. We gave up seven points at the end there, we gave up a couple touchdowns during the game that we can improve on. There were some drives where they extended it all the way through, they had one—you know I’m not sure how long it was, but it was a pretty long drive and they scored on it, so there is always room to improve. A lot of things to be happy about, 33 (Bears CB Charles Tillman) right now I can tell you he is the Defensive Player of the Year. I think hands down right now there is no one playing better than him.
(on the MVP of the defense)
You know the answer to that question, Peanut (Charles Tillman), Peanut all day. I think we are all seeing history being made. I’ve never seen anybody who’s been able to do the things he’s able to do, and to do it so consistently.
(on LB Brian Urlacher’s interception return for a touchdown)
Tell you right now, it’s contagious. Guys see other guys get in the end zone, and they want to get in there too. You see (Brian) Urlacher get in there and you see Kelvin Hayden almost getting in there, and it’s fun. Football is a lot of fun for us right now.
BEARS CB CHARLES TILLMAN
(on the difficulty of forcing fumbles during the course of a game)
I don’t think it is difficult. It is always on my mind. I am very conscious of it. I speak it; I believe it; I practice it; it happens.
(on the reason why he has been so successful forcing fumbles recently)
I don’t know. I really couldn’t tell you why all of a sudden I am getting more out. I really couldn’t tell you.
(on avoiding missing a tackle while going in with the mindset to force the fumble)
I guess I have gotten good over the years at punching, and if I don’t get the punch or the forced fumble, the majority of the time I get the tackle. It can misfire at times, but I would probably say 90, 95 percent of the time if I miss, or I don’t get the forced fumble, I am pretty confident that I can get the tackle.
(on scoring 28 points in the first quarter)
Last week we came out pretty slow. Coach [Lovie] Smith was very adamant about us going out there and having a fast start. We didn’t want to have a repeat of what happened last week when we played Carolina. This week our whole motto was ‘Hey, let’s start fast. Defense, let’s force a turnover the first play of the game.’ That was just the mindset coming into the game.
(on if he expects turnovers to continue to come at the rate they currently are for the defense)
If we continue to practice hard, yeah, why not? The sky is the limit. I think each week we do want to get better. Our goal isn’t to peak right at week eight. We want to keep peaking each week. We don’t want to level off. I think once we start to level off we will lower our standards. We don’t want to do that. Sky is the limit and we are just going to keep doing what we can do and keep playing hard and doing the ordinary things better than everybody else. I don’t think our scheme is hard. We’re not trying to out-scheme anybody. We just do the ordinary things better than everybody else. Our whole goal is to out-play our opponent.
(on Brian Urlacher’s interception return for a touchdown and if he has ever seen him run that fast)
I haven’t. I was so happy for him. I called it before. He said ‘It would be nice to get a touchdown.’ I said, ‘Hey, call it, man. The tongue has the power of life and death. Call it, say it, speak it, believe it.’ He did and he got in the end zone. Good play on his part. Obviously, he had to dodge a lot of people, but our whole motto on defense is score. We practice it every day in practice. Every single day. Not the game, but practice.
BEARS DE COREY WOOTTON
(on his five-yard touchdown on the blocked punt in the first quarter)
I saw the ball up in the air and I tried to play basketball and go up and get it. I held on to the ball and just started rumbling into the end zone.
(on the team opening up a big lead following his touchdown)
It was great. Special teams did a great job all day. Defensively we were able to get turnovers. Charles [Tillman] and the guys in the back half were doing a great job getting the ball out and we were able to get on them. It was a great team effort.
(on when he last scored a touchdown)
Junior year of high school, so it has been a while. It was good to finally get back in the end zone.
(on if he had any doubt that he would make it into the end zone)
Not at all. I wouldn’t be denied. There were some guys on my back, and I just had to keep pushing through it.
BEARS RB MATT FORTE
(on if the team is getting to where it needs to be)
We’re not there yet, but we are taking steps forward I think.
(on the performance by the defense)
Week after week they keep getting the turnovers and making it a short field for us. The first turnover they got we didn’t capitalize on. Making us go 40 or 50 yards instead of 80 and 90 yards makes it a lot easier on our offense.
(on the complete team effort in the win and having fan support on the road)
A lot of fan support here. Special teams did great and scored a touchdown for us. That picks up the morale of the team when you get a big play like that, especially early in the game with a blocked punt and they score.
BEARS DE JULIUS PEPPERS
(on Charles Tillman forcing four fumbles)
It’s different because most of mine come from the blind side of the quarterback and getting strips that way. He does it while the guy is looking at him and trying to run him over. He does it in a different way so I think it makes it a little more impressive on his part because I do it from the backside and the guy doesn’t see me coming.
(on forcing a turnover on the first play on defense)
It sets the tone for us definitely on defense that we are going to come out and we are going to take the ball away, which is our first objective anyway is to take the ball away. So when he comes out and does it on the first play, it sets a tone for the rest of the game.
(on if he has ever seen a season like the one Charles Tillman is having)
No I haven’t. It’s one of the best seasons that I have ever seen before.
(on where this ranks in the team’s big defensive performances)
At the top, definitely. We have guys working well right now, guys stripping the ball, and guys intercepting it and scoring it. We just have to keep it going.
(on Brian Urlacher’s interception and if it was surprising that he got into the end zone)
That was nice. I think everyone was happy to see that with everything he does for the team and who he is for this franchise. To see him go out and make big plays like that, it just lifts the spirits up on the whole sideline…No it didn’t surprise me. He does it in practice all the time. It was bound to happen in a game sooner or later.
(on if defense in the first half and offense in the second half is their formula for success)
We are just going to continue to get better. We are not going to worry about who is setting the tone and what the offense is doing, we are going to concentrate on getting better ourselves and continue to get wins however they come. Whether we score 50 like we did today, or if the defense plays well.
BEARS CB SHERRICK McMANIS
(on if he and Corey Wootton played much special teams together in college at Northwestern)
Not much, that was the first time for the Northwestern duo. That was sweet, but it took the whole team to execute it and we got a block.
(on the special teams, defense, and offense scoring)
That’s our goal, all three phases to go out there and execute on each phase and we were able to do that and we were successful and we won the game.
(on starting the game by forcing a turnover)
It was a way that we started out fast and we finished fast and we finished strong.
BEARS CB TIM JENNINGS
(on how one turnover turns into more for them every game)
Well that’s kind of how the defense rolls man. We feed off of each other and have fun. When one guy makes a play, we kind of make it a competition, and everyone wants to get in on the fun. It was fun out there today.
(on what it’s like to force so many turnovers as a defense)
It’s fun out there. Guys are flying around out there making plays. Any time you can do all of that and get all the guys involved, it’s going to be a good day and that’s when they start coming in bunches.
(on Brian Urlacher’s interception and if he ever doubted that he would get into the end zone)
I think we were in cover one. I don’t know exactly what Brian (Urlacher) saw but obviously he was there in the right position and (Matt) Hasslebeck didn’t see him obviously and Brian was able to catch the ball and take it to the house…No, not at all because once one guy catches the ball everyone wants to get a block. He just had to make one guy miss and then it was off to the races on that.
BEARS LB BRIAN URLACHER
(on Charles Tillman forcing four fumbles)
I have never seen anything like it. Every week it seems like we are talking about one of those two corners doing something like that. A defensive lineman I can understand getting sacks, but as a corner to get four like that, it’s unbelievable.
(on setting the tone on the first play of the game)
Well they had a big gain on the play, but he does what he does and ran to the football. We had some guys down there and knocked it out. Anytime he is around the football, you better bet that guys on defense are running to the football because something good is going to happen for us.
(on if he had felt left out by not forcing a turnover)
I never felt left out at all. Every time we win, I’m part of it.
(on his interception)
I didn’t see where he was looking. He likes to look our defense off and go back the other way. He knows our defense pretty well. I don’t know if he didn’t see me, it was man, I just cut underneath and he threw it right to me.
(on having such great fan support on the road)
It’s amazing. Dallas, Jacksonville, here, the only time it’s not like that is in a division games. That’s when it doesn’t happen. It’s fun going on the road when the crowds are like this.
(on the defense playing well)
We are playing well. We gave up a few plays there in the third quarter when they came out and scored on us right away, but for the most part we played well and got takeaways and got pressure on the quarterback and stopped the run. They had that long one there at the end but it didn’t really matter. We are playing well and we have to keep it up.
(on if he was able to read Matt Hasselbeck on the interception)
I was just reading him. I was the plugger and I didn’t have any responsibility. No man. Lance (Briggs) was guarding the back and I was just reading his eyes and trying to get underneath one of those guys running across the middle.
(on if they can keep this pace up)
We are going to keep trying, I know that much. It’s all we can do. There are going to be times where we can’t do this but we are going to try to do it every week and keep practicing it and it’s worked so far. Our offense played great again today too. They had one turnover there in the red zone, but Matt (Forte) had 100 rushing and Brandon (Marshall) had three touchdown catches so that’s awesome. Special teams blocked a punt, so that’s awesome.
(on if this is the best defense he has ever been part of)
The takeaways and the big plays, I have never been around anything like this in high school, college, or any level. Every week it seems like someone else is doing it.