COACH REID OPENING STATEMENT: “Congratulations to the fans, first of all, for doing what they do and doing it so well. They’re loud and it makes a difference. It makes a difference when teams can’t hear themselves think out there. That was tremendous. L’Jarius Sneed, I just want to address that upfront here, our hearts go out to him. Great kid, great player, but just his family, they were all visiting at this time, so it’s a tough deal. But our organization stepped up and got everybody back to where they needed to be to go through the grieving process, and that locker room is grieving with him. With that, five turnovers, 28 points off of turnovers. 21 (Mike Hughes), who is going to come talk to you here in a minute, had an unbelievable day—fumble recovery for a TD, two forced fumbles. Then, the Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) jumps in and he’s got a pick and a fumble recovery, and so on and so forth. Anytime you can put together four or five turnovers in a game, you’re probably going to come out on the right end of the stick there. Offensively, I thought the offense did a nice job of moving the ball, taking time off that second half, which was important, being able to run the ball and still being able to throw it efficiently. Pat (Mahomes) had a nice day, along with the offensive line. Receivers caught the ball and did well there. The defensive line, I thought the pressure they applied up front was just top-notch. Derek (Carr) could never quite get comfortable back there throwing the ball. That makes everybody’s job just a little bit easier. Hitch (Anthony Hitchens) did a great job of helping lead that defense up. It’s very easy to take a step down from just having played that team four weeks ago, three games ago, but the guys didn’t. They knew the urgency that was needed, and they did a great job with that. The coordinators I thought were tremendous, the assistant coaches were good. The guys that were out at practice saw the energy that we had at practice—the guys practiced fast. With all that said, we’ve got a short week here and have to get ready for the Chargers. It should be a great atmosphere for a game, but we’ve got some work to do before we get there. The one positive is we came out of this without injuries, unless something pops up, but we should be good there. Time’s yours with all that.”
Q: Did the Raiders gathering on the logo pregame motivate your team? And can you talk about Josh Gordon scoring his first touchdown?
REID: “Yeah, I should have mentioned Josh. Josh has been doing a great job. For him to get that and another catch was great. We don’t pay much attention to the other stuff. We know what they do, and we try to play good. That’s what we try to do—play to the best of our abilities, and that’s about all the time you have for that kind of stuff. You’ve got enough time to focus in on yourself and try to get better every week, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Q: Was that a play call for Josh Gordon?
REID: “Yeah, that was a play call for him.”
Q: Why was the offense so in sync today?
REID: “Things worked—I think everybody was clicking. They were disappointed after the last game that we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. There’s just such a small margin. You catch the balls last week and you might have the same type of thing happening here, but we didn’t. So, the guys did a nice job with all that this week.”
Q: Is this the type of complete team that you thought you could have at the beginning of the season?
REID: “Yeah, listen, I’m proud of the way the guys are playing. The neat part is we have a chance to even be better. We’ve just got to keep the foot on the pedal here as we go. We still have some things we can fix on both sides of the ball and special teams. I should have said special teams did a great job today too. Dave (Toub) had a nice plan there.”
Q: What has Melvin Ingram meant to this team?
REID: “Melvin [Ingram III] has brought a great attitude to the room, which is tricky because if you come in and you’re a downer, that can pull everyone else down being a seasoned veteran Pro Bowl player like he is, but he came in with a positive attitude, a great work ethic. He’s very intelligent. He knows the game. He’s studied the game. So, that was welcomed into the room with the talent we have in there. We’ve got good talent. So, he’s done very good for us.”
Q: Can you talk about focusing on fundamentals to turn this thing around?
REID: “You’ve got to concentrate every week. We’ve just got to make sure we keep our focus and be smart with the ball, whether we’re running the ball or throwing the ball or catching the ball. You keep your focus on the job at hand. It doesn’t matter if you’re up or down. You’ve got to keep going. Consistency against zone defenses becomes important. You might not have all the long shots, but you’ve got to be able to put a drive together, and that’s a tough thing to do in this league, consistently. So, we’re working towards that.”
Q: How perfect was the start?
REID: “Unbelievable way to start a game. That doesn’t happen every week, but he [Mike Hughes] went right after it and you can see, it wasn’t a fluke. He ripped it out or punched it out. Good deal. Great way to start.”
Q: What have you seen from Mecole Hardman?
REID: “Yeah, Mecole [Hardman] did a nice job all the way around. He’s got a great attitude about him. He’s willing to get better and that’s what he’s doing.”
Q: What has it been about the Raiders that leads to success for you guys?
REID: “Listen, they’re going through a tough time right now and Rich [Bisaccia] is doing the best Rich can do on keeping everything together. So, my hat goes off to him. They’re all busting their tail to do the right things and get it right, but it’s a tough situation. It’s unique and tough, this league that type of thing happens and we’ll see where it goes from there, but I’m proud of our guys for taking care of business. You let off just a little bit. Dallas kind of went through this. Whatever happened there happened, but they came in and got after them. So, our guys are aware of that. I’m proud of them for doing that because, pretty easily, you could’ve looked forward and not taken care of business today, and they didn’t do that.”
Q: How much can balance be a key ingredient moving forward?
REID: “Yeah, you need that. You need everybody to be a threat somewhere. The defense has to cover everybody. You can’t give up on this guy because Pat’s [Mahomes] going to shoot to another position. Yeah, that ends up being important. Absolutely. More pressure you can keep on these defenses, the better off you’re going to be with your players.”
Q: How much added emotion is there for your defensive guys with L’Jarius Sneed?
REID: “You saw them over there dancing away. They like each other. That’s the common denominator of that group all along here, even when it was a rough patch there. The guys like each other, really both sides of the ball. Everybody gets along, so that can be unique in this league. Tribute to Brett [Veach] for bringing in the right guys and kind of putting the puzzle together that way.”
Q: What has this season meant to Patrick Mahomes and growing as a player?
REID: “I like him better for down the long road. Every time you have an opportunity to get out there, you learn something, and this year with all the zone coverage, not being able to absolutely use the power part of his game, but to use the finesse part, that will be a benefit to him for a lot of years.”
Q: Were you tempted at all to get the guys out sooner since you’ve got a game on Thursday?
REID: “Yeah. I’ll tell you what’s hard, is getting the guys out because they didn’t want to get out, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I got them out when I thought it was right. You don’t have the numbers that you do during training camp, so you’ve still got to spot guys in and do all of that.”
Q: Anyone in particular that it’s hard to get out?
REID: “Tyrann [Mathieu], really that whole defense. When you’re going good, you want to keep going. They all got spotted and everybody got a breather, and we’ll need that this week. We’ve got a good team we’re playing.”
Q: What does Mike Hughes’ score do for a team to set the energy for a game?
REID: “The guys like him. He’s a new addition to our team and the guys know he’s a good football player, and he’s also a good returner. He’s done well on special teams, but you’ve seen him progress and you kind of favor those guys that work through the tough spots and get themselves playing well on the defense. So, he’s a popular guy. He’s going to talk to you here in a minute.”
Chiefs Players Game Quotes
December 12, 2021
QB PATRICK MAHOMES
Q: What did it mean to get Josh Gordon his first touchdown as a Chief?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean when guys put in work like he has over these last few weeks and obviously hasn’t had the targets and catches that we’ve wanted him to have, just because of the flow of the game and how we’ve played, for him to get that touchdown – I mean we worked on that play for a couple weeks now and we were set up in the perfect area. He hit it and it worked perfectly, so for him to make a big play for us in the game, it’s just going to help him continue to get that confidence that we can go out there and we can utilize him and his talents to help the offense.”
Q: How have you tried to support L’Jarius Sneed during this difficult time?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean, such a tragic situation for him and as a brotherhood and as an organization and as a team, we’re going to go support our brothers. I thought guys played hard for him today, we got the win and I’m just praying for him and his family. It’s a tough deal and we want him to be in a good spot as a person before anything on the football field.”
Q: How much did it motivate the team that the Raiders were dancing on the logo pregame?
MAHOMES: “There wasn’t a lot of conversation about it, but I mean you definitely don’t want people coming into your stadium trying to disrespect things that you’ve kind of built. So, for us, it gave us a little bit more motivation to go out there and win against a really good football team that we have a rivalry against that usually is a tough football game. I think guys were ready to play today and it showed on the field.”
Q: Did you hear that they played ‘Wheels on the Bus’ after the game?
MAHOMES: “I didn’t but I saw the tweet about it, but no I didn’t hear that.”
Q: Were you aware of the victory lap last season?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I was aware of the victory lap and we didn’t want them winning here again so I think we went out there and handled business.”
Q: Do you think this time around it’s more real that you guys really did get your swagger back offensively? Do you think you can carry it into next week?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I mean I think we can. We’re playing a good football team this next week that we’ve already played once this season, so we have some familiarity with them. They have a lot of great playmakers over there, but we still have to go out there and do it. Defense is playing great football right now, offensively we have to prove that we can drive the length of the field week in and week out so I’m excited for that opportunity.”
Q: How does the Thursday road game impact preparations for this week?
MAHOMES: “Yeah you kind of just have to flush this one immediately and move on to next week where you really have to start preparing. We have a long day tomorrow, a lot of film study, a lot of trying to get the whole entire game plan in. The coaches have already got a jump start on that so being able to talk with them and get a sense. The only thing is they have a similar type scheme that we’ve played before and that the Broncos play, so you at least have a feel for that, and you prepare for that in the offseason. We know it’s a big game and they have a really good team, so it’ll be a great opportunity for us.”
Q: Was the Mecole Hardman play not your first read?
MAHOMES: “It was actually supposed to be like a stop route. He was supposed to run and fake like he’s running a hitch, run deep and then stop. He faked and the corner fell down and I kind of didn’t know what he was going to do. I saw that hand go up and I was like “I just got to get it out there now” so he made a great play on it. I wish I would’ve got it further and got him a touchdown, but he made a big catch and kind of got that second drive, first touchdown drive going.”
Q: Do you still practice and work on deep shots to receivers like Tyreek Hill even though they’ve rarely been open this year?
MAHOMES: “Yeah for sure. Like you said, we haven’t had it a ton this year. We’ve had a lot of spies and guys kind of maneuver away from me having those scramble plays, but it’s a big part of our offense. I’m glad we were able to do that today. I thought the offense line did a great job against some really good pass rushers of allowing me time to make some of those throws that we’re accustom to doing down the field. I’m glad I got it to him and I’m glad he’s all good. A little scary there for a second, but he made a big time catch for us.”
Q: Is there anything that you noticed that helped get you guys into the red zone this game?
MAHOMES: “Yeah I think it was just execution. Even the plays that didn’t score, I feel like we executed and were in the right position. We had a good feel for what we were going to get, and I feel like guys ran the routes the right way. When it wasn’t there, we made plays happen off script. I say it every week, but we can do what we want to do as long as we execute. We have the players, we have the playmakers, we have the coaches and when we execute, we score a lot of points and when we don’t, we don’t.”
Q: How much do you feel like this is a complete team?
MAHOMES: “Yeah, with the defense playing the way that they’re playing, if the offense can get it rolling like we’ve been known to do, we’re going to be a tough team to beat. The defense is playing with confidence, they’re understanding the scheme that ‘Spags’ (Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) is calling and they’re playing well. The offense, I think we’re getting better and better each and every week. I’m excited to build this momentum and try to keep it rolling into next week.”
Q: What is it about the Raiders that seems to bring out the best in the team offensively?
MAHOMES: “I think you just understand that it’s going to be a battle. There’s a rivalry for a reason, you can feel that being around people in Kansas City. Even though you didn’t grow up here, you feel like you’ve played this team for years. For me, I think guys are just knowing they have to come into the game with that mindset of we have to be great every single drive. We really accept the challenge and we go out there and have success.”
Q: During the winning streak, the turnover margin has completely flipped. Is there something that happened in practice that you can attribute that to?
MAHOMES: “We definitely focused on it. We focused on me not trying to throw it to the wrong spot, and placing it in the right spot, runners tucking it and covering it up in traffic. At the end of the day, I think it’s guys going out there and making plays on defense. Offensively, it’s just playing hard and rallying to the football.”
Q: Is there a similar vibe now to 2019 when the team started to come together in all facets and playing well at the same time?
MAHOMES: “There’s a feeling of we’re coming together, figuring each other out and learning how to play complimentary football. But every team is different. Every season is different. You’re going to face challenges and adversity together. We faced a lot of adversity early in the year, which people hadn’t seen and people threw us down and acted like we were done. You’re seeing now that we have the guys to do it. If we come together as a team and take it day-by-day, we can go out there and do what we want to do.”
Q: With the different ways that you’ve won this year, do you look at Tom Brady because winning is the most important aspect of the game?
MAHOMES: “One hundred percent. You can even watch the documentary he has out right now. He just wants to win at the end of the day. There’s all types of guys that have done that. It’s awesome to win and throw for 500 yards and five touchdowns and all that different kind of stuff and it feels amazing. I’ve learned in my career that those losses, when you’re throwing for all those yards, it feels terrible. You’d rather win no matter what it takes – if it’s throwing for 100 yards and winning or if it’s throwing for 300 yards and winning. As long as you have that ‘W,’ nothing else matters.”
Q: On the sideline near the end of the game, were you trying to join some of your teammates as they were dancing?
MAHOMES: “I was joking around and acting like I was trying to back those guys up. I’m not the best dancer, so I try to stay away from that. I have a little bit of rhythm but nothing that you want to put on TV. I try to stay away from that as much as possible and just try to be the funny guy on the side.”
Q: What did the first play of the game do to the team to set the tone?
MAHOMES: “When guys step up and make plays – I believe it was (DT) Jarran Reed that knocked it out and (CB Mike) Hughes picked it up – those guys are playing tougher and tougher each and every week. Whenever you get a big play like that on the first play of the game, it builds that momentum and that confidence throughout the entire team. It just sparked us to go out there and get a win.”
S TYRANN MATHIEU
Q: How much was L’Jarius Sneed on your mind?
MATHIEU: “He is on our mind a lot. Anytime somebody loses somebody that close to them, I feel like most of us can relate to that. We just wanted to play for him today and his family. I felt like we did that. I feel like we started the game with some L’Jarius energy. We kept it going throughout the game.”
Q: Were you able to be in contact with L’Jarius Sneed recently?
MATHIEU: “I spoke with him a couple of times. I think, for the most part, you want to give people their space and let them grieve. Let them enjoy their time with their family.”
Q: Since you have been with the Chiefs have you ever been this confident in the defense?
MATHIEU: “Yes, when we won the Super Bowl. Outside of that, anytime you can get back to who you think you are and who you know you want to be. A lot of that credit has to go to the coaches and the players too. For the most part, none of the coaches panicked and none of the players panicked. That gave us the chance to get back to who we thought we would be.”
Q: How important is it to carry over the level of play of the defense into Thursday night’s game in Los Angeles?
MATHIEU: “I think it’s important. I think anytime you can get late into the season and your defense starts to come alive, it goes back to the old quote, “defense wins championships.” I think, as a unit, we are trying our best to get better each and every week. We want to give our offense as many possessions as possible. I think we have been doing a great job getting to the quarterback and taking the ball away.”
Q: Did you know about the Raiders stomping on the Arrowhead logo before the game, and if not, what was your reaction when you did find out?
MATHIEU: “I didn’t know about it. I found out about it postgame at an on-the-field interview. One of the guys mentioned it. It doesn’t really move me. I don’t think champions act in that manner. It doesn’t really matter.”
Q: How impressed were you with Mike Hughes’ play?
MATHIEU: “His time has been coming for a long time now. Early in the season, he was still getting adjusted to the defense. It took some time. Right now, he is playing with that confidence and that swagger. He is one of those guys, every time he is around the ball he is trying to punch it out or rip it out as well. That in itself creates energy and that is what our team feeds off of.”
Q: You played a lot in the slot today where L’Jarius usually plays. With a change like this did the coaches come to you or did you volunteer?
MATHIEU: “It got a text at five that morning (Saturday). For the most part, I have a good feel for all five positions back there. I am one of those guys who can go play anything and kind of get us through the game. It always feels good to go back to the position that you first started at. It kind of makes you feel young again.”
CB MIKE HUGHES
Q: When did you find out you were going to be starting?
HUGHES: “Yesterday. I was going through some plays that coach gave me.”
Q: Are you a former boxer? Do you practice your mean right cross?
HUGHES: “No, I am not a former boxer. We practice that weekly in turnover drills in practice, just different ways to create opportunities in the defense in those situations. Multiple situations like that came up today and I had the opportunity to push, and it felt good.”
Q: What was the feeling like to score in the first play of the game? Have you ever done it before?
HUGHES: “I did once in high school, but I was the quarterback. It is always good to get a fast start like that. I think that was huge for our success today and jumped on it quick. I think that fueled everybody and got the team going.”
Q: Have you contacted L’Jarius Sneed?
HUGHES: “He was on everyone’s mind today. Before the game, we said we would play for him. We got our brother’s back, no matter what is going on. I think he is dealing with a tough situation right now. We wanted to play for him today and we went out there and did it. It felt good to get that done for him.”
Q: Could you walk us through what you saw on the fumbles you forced?
HUGHES: “Those guys were carrying the ball pretty low. I saw some soft spots and I took my shot. It worked out in the end. It is always good to create turnovers and get them off the field. That is all that matters. We got the win. Defense came to play. Offense came to play. We are all happy.”
Q: What do you think about your ever-changing role on this team?
HUGHES: “My mindset is always to come wherever the team needs me. That is how I try to approach the game, no matter where they try to put me. It is going to help the team. That is all that matters.”
WR JOSH GORDON
Q: How did it feel to get into the endzone for the first time in a couple of years?
GORDON: “It’s exciting, it’s rewarding, a dream come true. It’s a blessing.”
Q: I’m sure you guys have worked on that play for a while in practice.
GORDON: “Yeah, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be up this week. We’ve been practicing it for a couple of weeks. Coach Reid has been reassuring me that I was going to get my opportunity. I had my trust in him and I knew my time was going to come, I was going to be ready. I made sure that was the case today and it worked out.”
Q: What has been the toughest part of jumping into an offense in the middle of the season?
GORDON: “I’ve done it in the past a few times. Sometimes it feels like a whirlwind, but it’s just extra time with coaches watching film or at home. Any free time I get, I’m trying to do a little extra. Just putting the time in to study the plays, study the film, the nuance, and then getting better and knowing exactly what Pat wants to do, how he wants to do things. That comes in at practice. Obviously practice, there’s a bunch of mistakes from me, but repetition has been the key. (Mahomes) has been patient with me and I appreciate that.”
Q: Was there sometime this week in practice that the coaches took to get the receivers refocused, resulting in zero dropped passes today? And is there a difference in catching the ball from Mahomes as opposed to different quarterbacks you’ve played with before?
GORDON: “Yeah, there’s definitely a change in velocity (with Mahomes). I think that was a big thing in being unaware to how quick the ball gets to me. Obviously, I’ve been out for a little while, so I had to realize I had to knock the rust off. It was interesting to see, and I wasn’t the only one dealing with that issue. I think a lot of times we expect it to come a little bit easier because we’ve been doing it for a while. The attention to detail that happens at practice, it happens off the field, going the extra mile. The coaches have been big in helping us with that during the breaks in practice. We’ve been making it a point to make sure we do our part on that end.”