HC ANDY REID
OPENING STATEMENT: “As far as the injuries go, (Jerick) McKinnon hurt his hamstring, so he came out and we’ll just see. We’ll get him an MRI and check it out. Then, (Rashad) Fenton landed on his knee and again, we’ll get an MRI on that tomorrow. The crowd was phenomenal. There was a lot of blue in there and we didn’t hear them, so my hat goes off to the red. It was a beautiful thing. Defensively, what a game. That’s the number one offense in the National Football League and I just thought our defense brought it every snap, in particular our defensive line against a heck of an offensive line. So, I’m proud of the guys for that. Frank (Clark) got it started off with a strip-sack, but three takeaways is great. Four sacks by Chris Jones, I can’t say enough. Charvarius (Ward) and (L’Jarius) Sneed and (Rashad) Fenton, 21 (Mike Hughes) jumps in and does a heck of a job, Willie Gay had a couple nice plays – I could probably go through all of them, they all did a nice job. Offensively, we had some ups and downs. We started off right and had a couple nice drives, and actually the one that was great was the last drive where we had to chew some time up and get them to use their timeouts. Even though we didn’t score on it, it put them in a big-time bind. Then, (Dave) Toub had the pooch kick and (Harrison) Butker did a nice job of getting it down there. Very seldom do you see a punter covering and an offensive guard covering. We practice it every week, and that’s how you practice it right there. They executed it perfectly. Good to have 25 (Clyde Edwards-Helaire) back. Clyde played well and stayed aggressive, covered the ball in traffic, was patient – all the things you need to be to make the thing work – trusted his O-line. Darrel (Williams) had another nice game when he filled in both in the pass and the run game. Then, (Travis) Kelce, Tyreek (Hill), Pat (Mahomes) made some beautiful throws too. So, all in all, this is a good football team we played and that’s a heck of a win. Before I turn it over, just happy Thanksgiving to you guys and to our fans, we appreciate everything. Time’s yours.”
Q: What happened with Tyrann Mathieu before the game?
REID: “I should have mentioned that because he played well. He had surgery on that knee at one time and his knee swelled up overnight, which is a little unusual. It’s done that in the offseason, it hadn’t done that during the season, but my hat goes off to him letting us know when he got up and getting in here and getting treatment done and then wanting to play, that’s the next thing. He was in here for hours getting treatment. That kid is an amazing kid, and the fact that he was out there doing what he did was likewise amazing.”
Q: Is there much concern about him going forward?
REID: “Well, Rick (Burkholder) and our docs wouldn’t have let him play if that was the case. But they felt like he would be safe playing – I mean, as safe as you can be playing football – and he could still run. They were able to get some of that swelling out, so that was important.”
Q: What was your chat with him like before the game?
REID: “Just get off your leg and sit there for a bit. He went through warmups and did everything. Just let him get right. He’s a tough kid, man. My hat goes off to that kid. He is a badger. I mean, tough.”
Q: Would you consider this a statement win by your team?
REID: “Every week is crazy in this league, so I’m not sure there are any statements. There’s not a lot of consistency going on right now amongst the NFL here. Every week is a big-time challenge. I’m talking about wins and losses haven’t been consistent. There are these ups and downs, and teams are favored and then they get beat. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s what the league strived for, parity in this league, and I think they’ve done a great job with that. Every city has an opportunity to win football games, that’s a great thing, and we’re no different. We’ve got to just keep our nose to it and bear down as we go. Take each game as it comes. We haven’t proven anything yet. You can talk about it all after the season – go find an island and go lay around and tell everyone about it. But right now, not so much.”
Q: What is your message to your players going into the bye week?
REID: “Make sure you take care of yourselves.”
Q: What’s different about the pass rush now that is making it more productive than it was at the beginning of the season?
REID: “To get 24 (Melvin Ingram III) in there I think is a nice thing, a nice addition. He brings a certain energy to the group. A veteran player, all the guys respect him and welcomed him in. Not that he’s playing every snap, but he’s playing quite a bit, and he’s strong at the point and does some nice things. But I think it upped everybody’s game. That’s what I think happened. And we’re back healthy there, and that matters when you can line up that lineup that we’re doing. I don’t want to slight Jarran Reed, I mean, I’ve mentioned him before and he’s playing good football right now and just doing a nice job. He has kind of settled into the defense. We know him better, he knows us better, and he’s doing a nice job for us. And 55 (Frank Clark), 95 (Chris Jones), you watch all these guys do it, 51 (Mike Danna), 97 (Alex Okafor), all these guys, 98 (Tershawn Wharton) contribute. You just start going through these numbers – 91 is playing good football, (Derrick) Nnadi. So, my hat goes off to them. They’ve been working their tails off.”
Q: What was your message to Clyde Edwards-Helaire after the taunting penalty and where is the Preston Road Trophy now?
REID: “It’s at Clark’s [Hunt] office. That’s two different sides of things, but yeah, I talked to him. You can’t point, you can’t do anything. You get excited and do something. We had another one on our young right guard [Trey Smith], so you can’t talk. There’re some restrictions now and if you cross those lines, they’re going to get you. Listen, the union was part of that, they agreed to all of this. Better off just go and play football and celebrate with your teammates and not mess around with the other team.”
Q: How would you evaluate Chris Jones?
REID: “Yeah, again, we mixed them up a little bit today. I didn’t even mention the last play where he tipped the ball, we end up with a nice interception. He’s good either place. He’s a good football player. At either place, when he gears it up, it’s tough to stop.”
Q: Do you agree that the fundamentals of tackling have improved?
REID: “Yeah, fundamentally, we’re probably playing better. I think the way training camps are now and the way preseasons are and that whole deal, it takes you a little bit of time to kind of get in the swing. I think you probably see that around the league, and now that they’re warmed up and going, I think it gets better. Our guys have worked extremely hard on the fundamentals and as much tackling as you do here on dummies and so on. Rallying to the ball I think helps, narrowing down running lanes helps, all of those things.”
Q: Can you compare the mood of the team now compared to after the Chargers game?
REID: “Yeah, they’ve had to work for this, and I think when you have to really work for something and bear down, I think you enjoy it a little bit more and you’re not resting on what happened before, but you’ve earned this right here with the knot in the stomach and the ups and downs. So, you earn every one of these. I think that’s where we’re at right now and they like each other. They’re getting to know each other better and I think they like each other, so playing hard for one another.”
Q: Do you attribute the better play of the secondary to anything and the play of players like Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed?
REID: “Yeah, it’s good to have him [Charvarius Ward] back healthy, right? To get all these guys back in there and going. We were kind of one guy in, one guy out and that whole deal, and then the badger [Tyrann Mathieu] helps bring it all together with his leadership, and that helps. He felt obligated to be out there with his guys and you start getting that type of feeling and that’s a good thing. They’ve all upped their game, but they’ve worked hard at it.”
Q: What are your Thanksgiving plans and what are you bringing?
REID: “I’m probably cooking it now. I’ll be finding a big turkey and we’ll do the whole thing, so I’m excited that I can contribute both ways.”
Q: Have you proven to yourselves that you can win even when it’s ugly?
REID: “Yeah, I think winning in this league is so hard. I mean, that’s not an easy thing to do. I think teams are better than they’ve ever been. That’s why you’re seeing what you’re seeing. There’s great competition. You’ve got to work for it every week, so we’re going to enjoy this, we’re going to enjoy the win, but we’re also going to know that we have to step back on the pedal here and get ourselves ready in another week.”
Q: Have you seen your defense flip a switch?
REID: “Yeah, they’re flying around and they’re working well together, rallying to the ball, getting great rush, we’re doing a good job with our gap responsibility, linebackers, I haven’t mentioned Hitch [Anthony Hitchens], his leadership is so valuable. When he’s healthy and he’s in that position, man, and now he can eat for free when he goes home to Dallas in the offseason.”
Q: What does this season say about Patrick Mahomes and the way he has responded?
REID: “Listen, he’s pushed through the ups and downs. Not that everything was perfect because you’re never going to be perfect against good teams, but he sure did some nice things and had some beautiful throws today. His leadership is so valuable. There’s not a lot of hanging head there. He’s going, ‘hey, we’re onto the next one. Let’s go.’ So, he’s a positive influence on a lot of people there.”
Q: Can you talk about the job you and your staff have done to turn things around?
REID: “Yeah, the guys never hung their head, the coaches. They just kept trying to find a way to use the strengths of the players that they have, whether someone was hurt or not hurt, the next guy up, and they utilized the strength of those players to do it. You were right to make this one of the bigger games today in the National Football League, but I’m saying, before the game started, there were a lot of eyes on this game, and so, two good football teams playing each other, this was a little bit of a combination of their perseverance, so it’s very easy to hang your head, it’s tough to power through it. Maybe at times you have to say I’ve got to do a little better right here.”
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: Is switching from trying to score to burning the clock a hard thing to do?
MAHOMES: “Luckily enough we’ve been in those situations a couple of times now, so we’ve figured out a way to do that. I made the one bad decision trying to make the throw to (Byron) Pringle there and they played it well. Other than that, I think we ran the ball well when we needed to run the ball and made plays happen. At the end of games, it comes down to that. When the defense is playing like how they’re playing, to grind out drives to kind of kill the clock down, those are big drives that you’ll need at the end of the year.”
Q: How did Clyde Edwards-Helaire look in his first game back from injury?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean he rolled. It was a good defensive front; a good defense and he was finding little creases here and there to make some stuff happen and I thought the offensive line did a great job getting him those windows. We’ll keep incorporating him more and more. I mean he looked healthy so just glad to have him back and hopefully we can find ways to throw him some passes too. He’s pretty good out of the backfield as well.”
Q: What are your thoughts on Dallas LB rookie Micah Parsons?
MAHOMES: “Yeah he’s a special player. I mean to be that good of a linebacker and be able to play defensive end, there’s not a lot of guys like that in this league. He has a high motor, he chased me down on that sack, the strip sack, and the whole game, he was in there the whole time battling and battling. Like I said, they have great players on that defense, and I thought our guys did a great job especially early and then we battled through at the end of the game.”
Q: What stands out to you about how much better the defense is playing and why? Is them playing good affecting you positively?
MAHOMES: “Ever since pretty much the second half of the Tennessee game, those guys have been playing better. It got lost because the offense wasn’t playing very well, that we were winning games because of the defense. People were so used to our offense kind of going out there and putting up these numbers, but I would say it every week when I was right here at the podium, don’t lose how good our defense is playing. To go up against an offense like that, that has put up so many yards, so many scores and touchdowns and to shut it down, that’s impressive. For us as an offense when you get into these kinds of funks that we kind of did in the second half, we know if we can just grind it out, get a field goal, try to get a touchdown, then we’re going to win the football game.”
Q: Your interception on that throw to Travis Kelce was the sixth one this season with a 75 percent chance or higher of being caught. Have there just been plays this year where you just try to figure out how it was incomplete?
MAHOMES: “That’s a heck of a stat, I didn’t know that. I mean it’s part of the game, I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve had these turnover worthy plays that haven’t got picked off too. I think you just go out and play and an interception happens, you move on to the next play. That’s how I’ve always rolled and I’m going to keep firing. When you’re firing to a guy like Travis Kelce, he doesn’t drop the football. If I put the ball a little bit out in front of him, he probably makes that catch and splits a couple people. So, it’s a combination of two things of me not putting it in the right spot and then just getting unlucky there at the end.”
Q: Where would you evaluate how you guys are now going into the bye?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean I’m excited about it because we’re still not playing our best football and we’re sitting here at 7-4, at least a half game up in the AFC West and you go into the bye week knowing you’re going to play a lot of divisional opponents coming up, so everything is right in front of us. We can be better, especially offensively, defense can continue to get better and better each and every week. To be where we started to where we’re at now and still not even playing our best football, I would take that every time.”
Q: What was your message to Trey Smith after the flag and personal foul?
MAHOMES: “He’s like the quietest guy so I don’t know how he ended up saying something that got him in trouble. You have to kind of teach them you can’t – I mean if you’re going to say something say it under your breath at least, don’t let anyone hear it. You love having the mentality that he has. He wants to be great; he wants to continue to be – I think he’s probably mad at himself as much as was mad at anything else. For him, he’ll learn from that. I highly doubt it happens again, but I want him finishing every single play and playing the way he’s played this entire season.”
Q: Are you at all surprised with how quickly the team has turned the season around?
MAHOMES: “Not necessarily. We’re just going to take it week-by-week. We’re going to get better and better each and every week this year. We lost some games close early that we probably should have won if we found ways to finish. We took some big lumps and had some big losses that we don’t usually have here. I think we have those leaders in this room (and) we kind of went back to the drawing board, went back to the fundamentals and decided to take it week-by-week, go through the process, trust in the coaching staff. We’re sitting here now with everything in front of us, we just have to keep that same mindset.”
Q: After the option touchdown run, it looked like the offense came over to the bench and it looked like Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy was excited.
MAHOMES: “So he wasn’t excited. He was very upset at first. We had already talked to Clyde (Edwards-Helaire) and obviously Clyde knew that he probably shouldn’t have done it (the taunting penalty). There’s a really high emphasis on the taunting right now. He came over there, Clyde already knew, but (Bieniemy) started getting mad and we started hyping him up and it made him start laughing. It’s hard to break him whenever he’s in those moods. It’s kind of what we do. We all love each other and want to be better together.”
Q: When you see the scores on the Jumbotron from the early games, what does it do to you when you see the teams at the top of their divisions struggling?
MAHOMES: “I think that’s been this entire season. There’s been a lot of ups and downs for everybody. We know that we have to go in with the mindset every week that we have to be at our best. If we’re not at our best, we have to find a way to continue to get better and find a way to get a win. I think you’ve seen that this season, we’ve had games where we’ve put up a lot of points and played really well, (then) we’ve had games where we haven’t, and we still found a way to get a win. It’s a team game in this sport. It’s not the same as it’s been the last few years, but when you play as a team and you find a way to win these tough, adverse games, that’s when you have those special teams and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Q: In what ways do you feel the offense can improve following the bye week?
MAHOMES: “I think when you get in those third-and-medium areas, where teams are playing that man/thief coverage, just finding ways to beat that. A lot of teams are playing it to us. We have to be better there. We have to stop the self-inflicted wounds, whether it’s the holdings or the interceptions or the fumbles, or whatever that is. Whenever we don’t have those, we usually drive the ball and score – or at least get in range to kick a field goal. Just execution on that part. And then finding ways to beat coverages that have given us some funks here and there throughout the season. At least you know what they’re going to play, so you can try to find ways during this bye week.”
Q: I’m sure you saw all of the, ‘The Chiefs are broken’ takes from earlier this season. What is your message following this four-game winning streak?
MAHOMES: “There’s still a long way to go. Obviously, I knew we were never broken as a team, we have too many good players, too many special guys on this team that go through the process, even when there are bad times or good times. We’re still early in the season. I know we’ve gotten to that second half, but our goal was to be on top at the end of the season, it’s not to win the regular season. But you have to go through that process every single day or being better and winning that week to be a great team and I think we’re going to try to do that. At the end of the year, we’ll find out what we need to say then.”
DL CHRIS JONES
Q: What is it like playing in the zone like you did today?
JONES: “It’s fun. Football is fun. Winning is fun. Playing with those guys, up-front is fun. The backend played exceptional today. I think the game ball should go to the backend. They played so exceptional that they made the quarterback hold the ball and we were able to affect the quarterback and he couldn’t go to his first read. The backend played really, really good today.”
Q: Do you feel like you are playing too good on the inside to get more snaps on the outside?
JONES: “It’s wherever Spags puts me. Spags does his thing. He moves me around. I benefit off of it. The offense just can’t slide to me every series. He puts me in position to make plays.”
Q: How gratifying is it to put this defensive performance together before the bye week?
JONES: “It’s never how you start it’s how you finish. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You are going to go through adversity along the way. We went through adversity. We had a lot of guys hurt. We were rebuilding the chemistry back on this defense and getting guys healthy. Being able to play together, I think this was the first time, within four weeks, that we had all of our guys healthy and able to mesh and play together. That is a huge part of our defense.”
Q: How much do you feel like you guys are feeding off of each other as the game goes on?
JONES: “Bringing Melvin Ingram in and acquiring Jarran Reed this offseason helped this D-line tremendously. Those two proven guys, in this league that had success on other teams, we were fortunate enough to grab them. Brett Veach did a heck of a job acquiring those guys. They can bring versatility to the defensive line.”
Q: What was the reason you were so dominant today?
JONES: “Give it to the backend and the guys around me. Frank Clark started it off with a sack. So they started sliding to Frank Clark and giving me one-on-ones. If you watch the backend and how tight they were playing in coverage, they took his first option away. That forces him to hold the ball a second or two longer. I was able to make some plays.”
Q: Does this defensive performance mean more knowing that it came against a good offense?
JONES: “Listen, they are going to talk about us regardless. We can beat the Cowboys and they are going to say the Cowboys are off and they didn’t have their top receiver. Every week we have something coming. It’s okay, it’s a little bit of adversity. It’s good for us. It’s a challenge. We hear it. We still suck. We can use that as a building point. We can continue to build as a defense, as a team, build chemistry and continue to put up points and win.”
Q: How is your wrist injury coming along?
JONES: “I give all the props to the training staff, Rick Burkholder and his group. He has been doing an exceptional job to make sure I am ready to roll on Sunday. The practice plan they have for me is protecting my wrist and making sure I don’t get banged up in practice. I give all the props to those guys for preparing me mentally and physically and being able to play on Sunday.”
Q: What is your overall goal this year?
JONES: “Doing whatever I can to help this defense succeed. Put your personal goals aside. My personal goal is always to win the sack title and be the best player I can be for this defense.”
RB CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE
Q: When you went down with your knee injury, did you fear the worst?
EDWARDS-HELAIRE: “I would say I’m more on the flexible end. I’ve been in some bad tie-ups. A lot of people wouldn’t be standing here if they were in the same things that I was. Initially, just feeling it, I knew it wasn’t the best. I mean, who wants to be hurt when this is what I want to do every day Monday through Sunday. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I’m done for the time,’ it’s, ‘Well damn, I do this every day and I can’t do it anymore.’ I’m frustrated and that’s just what it was.”
Q: How would you evaluate your performance after missing five-straight games? Did you feel any rust?
EDWARDS-HELAIRE: “I felt good. You all watched the game, I was in the game. As far as being in the game, I felt good.”
Q: Take us through getting flagged for taunting and then going back over to the sideline.
EDWARDS-HELAIRE: “There’s nothing to really talk through. Pat (Mahomes) pitched it, I showed my personality. We’ve talked about it, being me and playing football. That’s just what it is. You get the taunting penalty, it’s 15 yards. You take it with a grain of salt at the time and go to the next play. (Harrison) Butker kicks a 40-yard field goal, an extra point, and we make it happen and it’s on to the next play. The thing on the sideline, it’s EB (Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy), it’s one of those things. You have to be a real strong-minded player to play for EB and a lot of people wouldn’t be able to. I just went to the sideline knowing I was going to hear him. I’ve been playing for him, so I know. Then here comes TK (Travis Kelce), here comes the offense right behind me. It’s more than just the things that you all see, it’s a brotherhood. Me and EB going back and forth one-on-one. I buy a pair of shoes, then we’re arguing about the color. Literally, those are the things that go on throughout the week. It’s a relationship. Everybody sees one thing, but it’s one thing when it’s just us. With the crowd (being loud), once we’re on the field, it’s kind of like a family-oriented thing. That’s why it ended up being a yelling mosh pit, so it was pretty cool.”