ANDY REID’S OPENING STATEMENT: “As far as the injuries go, really Chris Lammons is the only one. He hurt his left ankle. He’s a tough kid and did it on the opening kickoff. He’ll work his way back through that. The fans were incredible tonight. Today I got here relatively early in the morning and that line was already starting 12 hours in advance. They’re an amazing bunch, and we appreciate every bit of that. The defense again had a nice game here. It was beautiful to watch, the pressure we put on Teddy (Bridgewater) and the way we were able to sustain against the run game. They’re obviously a good football team. Vic Fangio is a heck of a football coach. Offensively, we did some good things and then we had probably too many drops and penalties in there. That’s my responsibility, I’ll get that straightened out. The turnovers from the defensive side, we ended up with nine points off of that. It was good to see Dan (Sorensen). Dan a few weeks ago, I was sitting in here and everybody wanted him gone, and this is what’s so great about this game. All the sudden, he’s back and performing. His last two games have been beautiful things to watch there. (Harrison) Butker sets a record for the most 50-yard field goals, and my hat goes off to him. I’ve got to work with him on the extra points, but the 50-yard field goals, he’s spot on. So, we’ll take care of that as we go here. All in all, it’s tough to win in this league, and to have that opportunity against a good football team, we feel good about ourselves for a minute here until we get ourselves ready for the Raiders come Tuesday. With that, time’s yours.”
Q: How important is it to make sure that you right the ship offensively going forward?
REID: “Well, we righted it to win the game, so that was important, but we need to take care of some of these little things that are happening here that are killing drives. Again, it’s my responsibility to make sure that happens, and we’ll do that.”
Q: Why did you kick the field goal instead of going for it on fourth down?
REID: “We had an opportunity to put us up by two scores, and I thought that was important.”
Q: Why weren’t you more aggressive with trying to score before the end of the first half?
REID: “That was a decision on my part. I felt that was the right thing to do.”
Q: How much is Melvin Ingram going to be a factor as a starter going forward?
REID: “We look at him as if he’s a starter, but we rotate all those guys. So, it was good to get him in there and get him some extended snaps, and he played his tail off and did a nice job. I thought that whole front did a nice job.”
Q: There were times when the uprights were moving with the wind—how big of a factor was that in this game?
REID: “Yeah, they were moving, and they had confetti or whatever it was hanging from them—I mean, it was kind of crazy—off of the net there. It moved the right way on the one, so I was good with that. Butker has got a strong leg, so we trust him from those different depths. The wind was blowing in that direction, so we were good to go with the long one there.”
Q: Do you think the drops are due to a lack of focus?
REID: “I don’t think that’s it, but I would tell you on the other hand we’ve got to look it all the way into the tuck. So, we’ve got to make sure we do that and take care of those. Tipped balls become problems and drops become problems, and we’ll keep working on it until we get it right. So, if I’m saying it every week, we’re going to keep working on it.”
Q: How do you account for the defense’s improvement?
REID: “I think health is one thing. I think our front is playing well. It was a nice addition that Brett Veach had with Melvin Ingram. The guys are taking a lot of pride in what they’re doing there, and they’re healthy. So, knock on wood, it stays that way, but they sure are playing hard.”
Q: What did Bryon Pringle’s performance say about him tonight?
REID: “He had a drop and then he had a catch and then he had a drop, and then he came back and made one of the bigger plays of the game. He’s a consistent player. You’re going to have days like that things don’t go absolutely right, but you’ve got to keep pushing through, and that’s what he did. He’s the epitome of that. He’s going to work his tail off. You guys know him, but he’s going to work his tail off until he gets it right. He’s not going to give up on himself.”
Q: What’s it like seeing the reaction of Dan Sorensen’s teammates when he made the interception?
REID: “I love it. I love the enthusiasm they have and the love they have for one another. That’s important with a team.”
Q: What caused you to stick with Daniel Sorensen through his struggles?
REID: “He’s a good player and he has a role on that defense. Everything’s not going to go perfect. We understand that. As long as he can still run the same way, somewhere age gets you, but if you can run the same way and you’re seeing things right, then you kind of push through those things. It’s why Pat [Patrick Mahomes] came back to [Byron] Pringle. So, there’s a certain trust that you build up with a player knowing his knowledge and toughness and skill level.”
Q: What told you that Daniel Sorensen was going to make plays?
REID: “He’s wired that way. That’s why the guys went crazy for him. They know. They know what he went through. You just knew he’d power through it, and you always hope they come out on the other end. So, we trusted that.”
Q: Can you elaborate when you say he’s wired that way?
REID: “Sure. Guys can hang their head if things aren’t going right, especially if it’s as big as it was becoming, and he didn’t do that. He trusted himself. He trusted the coaches. He trusted the scheme and the guys around him. That’s not always the case. We have a good locker room here. When we talk about that during training camp or when they start going through these ups and downs during the season, you need that. You cherish the guys that give others support.”
Q: What do you say to Tyreek Hill about the ball going through his hands?
REID: “Let’s go ahead and look it right into our hands and squeeze and we go with it. Those balls are coming out of traffic and we’ve got a strong-arm quarterback, so you’ve got to really make sure that you see it all the way into the tuck and into the hands and into the tuck there.”
Q: When you’re dealing with players of their caliber, how do you weigh if you know those guys will figure it out or if you have to have a conversation?
REID: “I don’t know. I’ve been doing it a long time I guess, but I can normally tell with these guys. Now, with those guys [Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce], have had a lot of time with. They’re not trying to drop the ball, but they also need to be reminded at times. So, as confident as you are in your hands, you’ve still got to do the fundamental things. So, I try to remind them and keep as cool of a head on myself as I can when I do it. I’m here to be a teacher, and so, I try to teach and go about it that way.”
Q: What are some things that you’ve liked over this winning stretch?
REID: “I’ve loved the attitude. I’ve loved the defense. Our defense I think has stepped up and really played well at football. They’re attacking. It’s a great tempo setter for everybody. The offense has been doing enough. Grab a couple points and have some nice drives with room to improve. We all have room to improve, and then special teams has also upped their game. They’re doing well, and I appreciate it, but most of all, the attitude. I watch these guys come out to practice and they’re 100 miles per hour. You don’t have to say anything to them. They know what’s at stake and they approach it that way, but yet they enjoy being around each other.”
Chiefs Players Game Quotes
December 5, 2021
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: Are you feeling some frustration with the offense at this point?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, I mean obviously we feel like we’re not playing our best football. We have spurts where we’re really good and we have spurts where we’re not scoring, we’re not finding ways to finish drives. Definitely as a competitor you want to be better, but I think you win football games, you win football games at the end of the day. For us if we keep winning football games, defense keeps playing the way that they’re playing, when the offense – when we really become who we know we can be, we’ll be a hard football team to beat.”
Q: How surprising is it to get this kind of performance off of a bye week?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean I say it every week, we just didn’t execute at certain positions. There were throws I didn’t make, there were plays that didn’t get made and there were penalties at opportune times so we had stuff there. We had plays that were open. We thought we did a good job of getting stuff going and we just didn’t finish drives.”
Q: Is there any commonality you’re seeing with the dropped passes?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean for me all I can do is have better ball placement on some of those. Like the one to Tyreek (Hill) was a little high and hard so try to find ways to make it easier on them. These guys make plays so I’m going to keep throwing the football to them. They’re going to go out there and make plays happen and if it happens, it happens, and we’ll move on to the next play.”
Q: Did the wind have an effect on how hard you were throwing the ball?
MAHOMES: “I don’t know if I was trying to throw it harder, but it definitely makes the football move a little bit. I mean there was the one throw to Tyreek (Hill) where I had some pressure in my face and didn’t somehow get it out there, the one deep down the middle in the second quarter I believe. There’s stuff like that but you can’t – we’re in Kansas City, I was in Lubbock before that, so I’m used to some wind. Just go out there and try to execute as best we can.”
Q: Did you all make a decision to not throw to the side Pat Surtain II was on?
MAHOMES: “We didn’t have anything like that. We just called plays; we had some open receivers. They played the shell over the top, there wasn’t a lot of man-to-man situations and we had drives going. We just didn’t execute them long enough to score enough touchdowns that we wanted to.”
Q: What was your conversation with Eric Bieniemy on the sideline after that false start penalty?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean I still don’t know why I got called for the false start, so I’ll try to figure out that, so I’ll try not to do that again. I thought it was pretty common with what I usually do on hard counts, but he called it so got to try to not do it again. We kind of got put into a situation where we tried to get into field goal range to get another field goal and we didn’t get there. It was not executing the way we want to. We kind of drove it a little bit and kind of like the rest of the game, we didn’t find a way to put points on the board.”
Q: Are you feeling pretty strong about your pocket presence?
MAHOMES: “Yeah for sure. I think I’ve done a great job of getting a better and better feel for the offensive line. Those guys are blocking their tail off and doing a great job there. I thought they did a great job today. It is just going to continue to get better and better, but still not lose the scrambling ability you saw a little bit in the second half. It’s kind of the give and take, you want to stay in the pocket and take the throws, but whenever there’s chances to make the big plays happen, you try to go out and do that as well.”
Q: How long did it feel like you were waiting for the opportunity to run for a touchdown?
MAHOMES: “I haven’t had a rushing touchdown since, I think, Week 1. It’s been a while. It worked out where they were in a zone that matched man in the middle and we had crossing routes going. I believe it was D-Rob (WR Demarcus Robinson) who set a good block on the guy out there in the end zone and I was able to get it across the pylon.”
Q: What is the message from you to the receivers when some are currently struggling?
MAHOMES: “I think they know from me and from all of us and it’s the same from them to me, they just have to be themselves. There’s nothing extra they have to do. They have the talent, they have the playmaking abilities. It’s just continuing to go out there and be themselves. I think we’ll continue to get better and better. We’re still winning football games – we don’t want to get lost in that – we’re winning a lot of football games and we’re winning by pretty big margins. We expect greatness from each other. We want to continue to get better as an offense and the defense continues to get better. Hopefully that can create a great football team.”
Q: In the last six seasons, this is the first time the Chiefs have won a game in which Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill had fewer than 50 receiving yards each. How important is it for guys like Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams to have big games in those situations?
MAHOMES: “You figure when you hopefully get to the playoffs and try to make a run at this thing, (teams) are going to try to take away those guys. And we’ll do our best to try to get those guys open and scheme those guys open in different ways. But other guys have to step up and this week it was the running backs out of the backfield. Next week, it might be other receivers, it might be different tight ends. I think we have the guys to do it, we just have to continue to go out and do it.”
Q: How do you navigate winning all of these games while not scoring as many points as this offense is used to scoring?
MAHOMES: “I’ve learned as my career has gone on that you can’t get caught up in the hype and the show of playing. I’ve been in a lot of football games where we’ve scored a lot of points and lost. I promise you, when you win football games like this, it feels a lot better. I don’t know if that’s just with experience, but I preach that to these guys. They were running the ball and trying to grind the clock through, I told them to not let it affect how we play. Just execute, go out there and put points on the board because our defense is playing the way that they’re playing. You have to learn how to manage games, you have to learn how to win football games when it’s not pretty and I think we’ve done a great job of that this season.”
Q: Did you have any advice or encouragement for Daniel Sorensen when he was going through his struggles early in the season?
MAHOMES: “He definitely took some (criticism), but he makes plays happen. If you looked at his entire career, whenever there’s a big moment in a football game, it seems like he’s around the ball making something happen. I actually told the QB room, ‘Man, it seems like every division game, he gets a pick-six.’ I would like to say I called it, so whenever he comes up here, make sure you tell him that.”
S TYRANN MATHIEU
Q: Did the adversity you faced earlier in the season lead to the defense’s recent success?
MATHIEU: “You could probably say that. Anytime you have shortcomings, or you go through adversity, you tune out what is going on outside of you and believe in your teammates and coaches a little bit more. We are just trying to play our best ball knowing that we are in December and that is when the games really count.”
Q: What do you think has contributed to the improvement of the defense as the year has gone on?
MATHIEU: “Mostly it has been our commitment to each other. Believing in each other and not letting outside noise dictate the way we feel, dictate the way we approach this. I would say it is a total team effort to stay committed to each other.”
Q: Was what you are seeing from the defense now what you envisioned you would see when the season began?
MATHIEU: “I think everyone in that locker room wanted to start the season much better. It didn’t go that way, but we can’t necessarily worry about that. It is all about moving forward and staying committed to the team.”
Q: What was it like for Dan Sorensen earlier this season?
MATHIEU: “He took a lot of heat, man. It was good to see him make big plays like I know, like our team knows. We rely on him to do a lot. In our eyes he is a special player, a very smart player, a player who can do a lot of different things. It is good to see him have a lot of success under the bright lights. Dan is a team player, he is all about team. If you can focus on team you can get through some of the rough patches, which we all go through as players. He is the ultimate professional. Nothing has changed about him. He still does the same thing each and every day as far as routine. He is somebody to really count on.”
Q: Did Steve Spagnuolo talk to you and Anthony Hitchens to help keep things together during the difficult stretch of the season for the defense?
MATHIEU: “We have a lot of good guys in the locker room. We have a lot of leaders. It’s not just me and Hitch. There are guys that really want to become that, and they want that respect from Spags. I attribute it to everybody staying together, staying committed. Then the ball has to bounce your way. Every once in a while, we have been getting that.”
S DANIEL SORENSEN
Q: Take us through your pick-six.
SORENSEN: “I saw one of our linebackers blitz and the running back pick him up, so I was able to free up. Ben Niemann got a hand on the ball, tipped it and it fell right in my lap.
Q: How did the celebration at the end feel? Was that letting some emotion out?
Q: How gratifying is this performance tonight following the start of the season for you?
SORENSEN: “I’m more focused on how we played as a defense, how we played as a team. That’s more satisfying than anything. Juan (Thornhill) was able to get another turnover. We had a big turnover on special teams, Byron (Pringle) forcing that fumble and recovering it. We had a big fourth-and-two stop in the red zone after the long drive. Those things are important. If you get a pick-six and lose, it doesn’t feel good. It’s good when you can play team, complementary football. I think we did that tonight, all three phases working together and coming up with the big win.”
Q: In each of the last three years, why has the defense improved as the season has gone on?
SORENSEN: “The coaches do an unbelievable job of understanding the personnel that we have on defense and then making adjustments. We have a lot of guys that are able to play multiple roles. We have a lot of depth, as you can see – the d-line subbing in and out, the linebackers subbing in and out. A lot of different guys contributing on defense. That allows people to play fresh, play fast when they get in there. There’s a lot of guys that are playing really, really well. The coaching staff has the ability to put guys in the right place for them to succeed. It’s about fine-tuning and finding the right chemistry that works. The coaches, they’re the best at doing that. We’ve been here before in years past where we’ve had to fight back, and I think we play well when our backs are against the wall.”
Q: How much of the critical outside noise from early in the year did you pay attention to and how do you fight through that?
SORENSEN: “I’ll be frank, absolutely zero. I didn’t read a single article. I won’t read an article from tonight, either – what people say, good or bad. I don’t get on social media, I don’t read articles. I don’t care, frankly. The only people that I care about are the people in that locker room – coaches and players. We’re a family, we stick together, and we have each other’s backs. Good or bad, I could care less. I’m more focused on the next task.”