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What the Broncos had to say after the game

Posted Jan 17, 2016

Postgame quotes from the Broncos’ locker room following their 23-16 AFC Divisional Playoff win over the Steelers.

BRONCOS HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
Opening Statement
“[S] Omar [Bolden] is our big injury. Other than that, nothing. Have to wait and see. We’ll take a look at that and see how he’s doing.”

On how the team turned the game around in the fourth quarter
“I think the wind was a big factor in the football field. It really was. The ball was moving. We had, what, four or five drops in the first half that could have been big plays. It made a difference, but we just kept our poise, kept grinding. That’s what our team has been about all year. We’re in a close ballgame, then we make a big play. [OLB] DeMarcus [Ware] makes a big play, [WR] Bennie [Fowler] makes a big play and then we finally lined up and ran the ball the way we’re capable of running it. Just proud of our team. We found a way to win. They’re a great football team, great organization. They played really well today. Just glad we hung in there and got it done.”

On Fowler’s big play on the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter
“Really they went to two-deep is what they did. They cut the cover-two. [QB] Peyton [Manning] read the covers well. Bennie bent to the post and he made a great throw. Bennie has made some big plays for us this year as a player. That’s kind of what our team has been about all year long. You’ve got to give the Steelers a lot of credit. On both sides of the ball they made big plays offensively, defensively they gave us a hard time with some things that we had to adjust to and had to waste some timeouts. Like I said, we hung in there until we made that play. [K] Brandon Mac’s [McManus] field goal at the end of the game obviously was big, too.”

On Manning taking snaps from under center and shotgun
“We’re going to do both. He’s fine. I’ve been asked are there any limits of what—no, he’s fine. He can play under. He can play in the gun. We would like to do both. It all depends what we’re getting a lot of times, those type of things. Tried to do a little bit of both today. We had some struggles with some of their pressures and those type of things, but we just kind of kept our poise and kept playing.”

On what he thought when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw deep on their first offensive play
“You know what, we kind of talked about it and probably said knowing Ben, the great player and competitor he is, you knew he’d be ready to go. When we saw them line up in a certain formation on the headsets, it was mentioned be careful here. Definitely let us know right there he was going to be able to throw it all day long, but he’s a great football player. Got a lot of respect for him.”

On Manning’s performance today and if he was frustrated by the dropped passes
“I thought he was playing really well. There were some plays we didn’t make for him. I’m thinking of a big play to Bennie we didn’t make. I’m thinking of a fourth down we don’t make. But he kept his poise. He did a great job, too. It’s interesting in this league—first time we play these guys, it’s a high-scoring football game. Today it’s a field goal football game. You’ve got to be able to adjust. You’ve got to stay in the moment. We said winning the turnover battle may be the difference in the game and it was at the end of the day.”

On Pittsburgh’s big plays
“There were just so many big plays, but you know what? We left some coverage today. We were in coverage, doing our job, Ben holds the ball and he moves a little bit. We left our coverage. We have to stay disciplined and stay in our coverage. We got burned on some of those things. We missed some tackles that I can think of, out there. You’re right, they’re a big play football team, but the good news is that we settled down defensively and found a way to sit there and hold them to 16 points.”

On Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips being knocked over on the sideline
“Did he get hurt? Oh, did he? I can assure you that he’s fine. He’s in there hollering. I just left him, so he’s alright.”

On the fourth quarter takeaway changing the momentum of the game
“It was a field position battle in the second half. We pinned them a couple of times and had them in good shape. They got out—I think that they were around the 45-yard line right there, so it looks pretty good for them. That was a big, big play. We had a couple of big plays and couldn’t capitalize on them. We had to punt them down there. I can think of the one punt that made its way into the end zone barely. That flipped the field. That was the series that we made a big third down on, too.”

On persevering through the season to host the AFC Championship game in his first season as Broncos Head Coach
“I’m very proud of our organization and our team, but what you just said is exactly what we’ve been about all year. There hasn’t been one way that we’ve won. We’ve kind of won all kinds of different ways. We’ve had a lot of different players contribute to our success when we’ve been successful. We’ve been through a quarterback ordeal with two guys playing, but here we are. That’s what team is all about and that’s what I’ve preached to them. I told them it would take them all today. It sure did. It will continue to take all of us as we move forward.”

BRONCOS RB C.J. ANDERSON
On the team’s late drive that resulted in a touchdown
“That is how it’s been all year. We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve struggled, but we keep on battling. Throughout the season we’ve learned that it is going to take four quarters to beat teams. We’ve been up on teams and teams came back and it’s going to take teams to beat us four quarters. We’ve been down, teams relax and we find a way to get back in it. That is what it’s been all season. We’re relentless in there. We fight, we grind and we just keep pushing. We keep fighting every time.”

On the offense gaining momentum after fourth quarter fumble
“We say it every drive, ‘Let’s go get some points,’ but right there it was, let’s go get some points and stop playing around. We needed to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We were moving the ball but if you get a penalty there and a sack there, it just turns the tide and kills the momentum. I think on that last drive me and Ronnie (Hillman) we just kept going and Peyton (Manning) made some good throws.”

On dropped passes and the wind
“It was windy. I dropped a pass, but I don’t want to blame the wind but it happens. We just need to catch the ball and that is something we’ll work on this week. The forecast said there was supposed to be no wind or five miles per hour but 9News, Channel 4, who is right? We’ll never know. It was just frustrating and we kept working, kept grinding and we got it done.”

On the play of Peyton Manning
“I thought he played great. I thought he played amazing. The ball he threw to [WR] Bennie [Fowler] had some rope on it. He threw some balls, we had some drops. I thought he played great. He put us in some great plays, he saw blitzes coming. We kept him clean for most of the game, so if we can do that we always have a chance.”

On emphasis about holding onto the football
“It was huge. The last three weeks of our season I think [RB] Ronnie [Hillman] had one and I had two. During our bye week we went back to training camp fundamentals of protecting the ball and getting out of bad habits and things of that nature. You have to give it up to our running backs coach. [Running Backs] Coach Eric [Studesville] is always on us about holding onto the ball. That is pretty much what he told me on that last drive, ‘Hold onto it, don’t give them a chance, don’t give them life.’”

BRONCOS QB PEYTON MANNING
On the facing the Pittsburgh defense
“They’re a good defense. I think they’ve been playing really well the past number of weeks and have not given up many points, so real credit to them. We had some good field position early and we had to settle for field goals, I’ll give them credit for that. Field goals are better than no points. We knew, eventually, that we needed to get a touchdown drive. Defense got the turnover there late and finally we put a drive together to get down there and get a touchdown.”

On if he felt he was giving himself up on the potential sack that turned into big play
“I don’t know. I’ll have to take a look at that play. I’d like to get in there early in the morning and then I can get it deleted off the game film. I don’t know because those video guys get there pretty quick. I think it was probably our longest pass play of the game. We’ll take it.”

On his message to the receivers when they were struggling with dropped passes
“No message. I think one thing that I’ve always believed in was that if you have missed throws and you have some dropped passes, you just keep firing. [WR] Bennie [Fowler], there was no doubt that I was going to keep throwing to him if the read took me there. I’ll tell you what, I don’t know if you guys could tell, but it was quite windy down there. You could feel it throwing. You had to lead the receivers, but that factored into them as well. It was windier than anybody thought it was going to be. It stayed very windy up until what seemed like late in the fourth quarter. Bennie’s catch there versus tight coverage late in the fourth quarter was probably the biggest play of the offensive game.”

On the team being 10-3 in games decided by less seven points or less
“I think it helps playing a lot of close games during the course of the season, starting with the very first one against Baltimore. That was a dog fight, grinder and went down to the last drive. If you can be in a lot of those games and win those games, it certainly gives you confidence and, hey, it’s playoff football. Even the game this morning between Seattle and Carolina ended up being a one-score game, right? It’s very rare that there are huge blowouts in a playoff game. It’s going to be close game. You know it’s going to be a grind down to the wire. That’s certainly what it was tonight.”

On whether he realized the defender did not touch him the potential sack that turned into big play
“I don’t really want to analyze this play too much. I’d kind of like it to go away, if it could. I was stepping up. When you fake that way and kind of get your head around, I felt that guy closing, so I stepped up and kind of leaned forward. My momentum kind of just took me down, I guess. I didn’t think that he had touched me. I told [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] just to kind of be alert in case I fall down, get back up to be uncovered.”

On how quickly he saw Sanders open on the play
“I knew what I had on the original pass play. I guess it turns into a little bit of a scramble. It was a big play, it kind of changed field position. We ended up not scoring. We punted and then, I didn’t know you could fumble a punt a get a touchback. That was a new one to me. I didn’t feel good about it, really, at that point, but the defense got that turnover on that next drive.”

On his big completion to Fowler
“It was a play where really all four guys, all four receivers, were options. They ran a blitz and Bennie did a good job of kind of crossing the defensive back’s face. He got in front there and made a great catch versus tight coverage.”

On calling a timeout before the two-point conversion attempt
“[Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak called it. I’m trying to think of what happened on that. I don’t think we were lined up quite right. That was my fault. I think I didn’t have us lined up quite right. We wanted to be sure that we were in the right formation because that was a critical two-point conversion, obviously, because then they had to score a touchdown just to tie.”

On facing New England in the AFC Championship Game
“Obviously, we’re excited to be in the game. We knew we were going to have to beat a good football team tonight in order to get there. We’ll try to enjoy this one tonight and then get a jump start on preparing for that game on Monday and then we’ll talk about who we’re playing on Wednesday.”

On if there was a feeling of urgency after the takeaway in the fourth quarter
“Yeah, I think everybody understands when you’re in the fourth quarter that there’s certainly a sense of urgency, especially when you’re behind, you’re losing the game and you realize your opportunities are getting fewer and fewer. We wanted to take advantage of that field position and that opportunity.”

On the number of players that are able to step up and make big plays in key moments
“Our defense has been outstanding all season. They have led us to this point. Let’s make that clear. Different guys stepped up at different times all season--[S] David Bruton [Jr.] and [S Darian] Stewart kind of combined for that interception on the last play at the Baltimore game; [ILB Brandon] Marshall, [CB Bradley] Roby creating that fumble for a touchdown in the Chiefs game, and I could go on and on. Each game, key defensive players stepped it up, but you have to be a good team to win these playoff games and you have to win as a team. Defense did a great job holding them, and offensively, we did just enough to win.”

On if he had doubted he would get to this point when he was injured
“Certainly I have tried to stay kind of in the moment, tried to stay one week at a time, tried to be patient and not look too far ahead. We talked about it last week. [It’s] been a unique season. A lot of new things have happened this season, but I think kind of like tonight, we stayed patient tonight. We never really got frustrated. I think that served us well tonight, and it served me well during this season.”

On if he has more satisfaction getting to this point after what he has endured this season
“It’s very satisfying to win, to beat the Steelers in a playoff game. Those guys over there are battle-tested and they’ve been in a lot of big games. You’ve got [Steelers QB] Ben [Roethlisberger], gutsy effort by him tonight for playing with some injuries. You knew you were going to get a great effort by Ben. A lot of respect for [Steelers Head] Coach [Mike] Tomlin and the way they get their team prepared. It was really the kind of game we thought it was going to be tonight. It’s always satisfying to get a win.”

On how his foot held up during the game
“I felt fine. I felt fine throughout the whole night.”

On his 17th matchup against Patriots QB Tom Brady
“Like I said, we’ll deal with that on Wednesday. We’ve still got a couple hours to enjoy this one tonight.”

BRONCOS K BRANDON MCMANUS
On the how the wind influenced the game
“During warmups, we went out there and it was a pretty calm day, a nice, tempered day. We come out seven minutes before kickoff and I see a 30 MPH crosswind come in over the Rockies, so I wasn’t nervous at the time, but I knew it would make for an exciting day, and you know, play a little target practice out there. You kind of have to hit a ball to a spot and hopefully the wind takes it. I had that 51-yarder right before halftime. I thought it wasn’t going to be easy down the middle, and it barely snuck in that way. So it definitely made it difficult conditions for us kickers, punters and snappers, but I have the two best snapper and holder for me. I know it’s been tough for the week and laces make a difference and stuff like that. But I have two of the best in the business, [P] Britton [Colquitt] and [LS] Aaron Brewer, that help me out a lot.”

On the pre-game conditions
“We were in the locker room before, but our special teams coach Joe DeCamillis came inside and said, ‘Hey, when you get out there, let me know where the wind is going now because something fresh just came in.’ We went out there and kind of readjusted our spot numbers, and how far I could make kicks from certain directions, so that’s where that went to.”

On if he had to aim his kicks
“I had to, based off the wind, I think I hit the ball pretty well. I have a strong leg, so I’m not going to ever aim outside the uprights, but with the wind, you might be one yard inside each upright. Sometimes you’re kicking with the wind, sometimes you’re kicking into it. Certain crosswinds makes it difficult sometimes, especially from certain yardage.”

On whether it was easier kicking into the north end or south end of the field
“At the end, it was a little easier to kick to the south because there was at least some wind behind you. But it was mostly crosswind coming into our bench the whole time. I think I hit a 45-yarder in warm-ups coming out of halftime that went short coming to the north end, so I laughed at it a little, but sometimes when you’re out of control with that, you just try to hit your best ball to a spot and hopefully it goes through.”

On his mindset watching each drive
“Anytime I think No. 18 [QB Peyton Manning] gets the ball, I’m thinking we’re going to score a touchdown. I try to prepare my mind for the extra point. We move the ball decently all game, and we weren’t able to at least punch them in for touchdowns, but I want to help my team any way I can. No matter the yards or the field goals, it’s kind of my job out there to make them. So I’m just happy I was able to help the team, and they were able to punch it in for a touchdown and give us a little bit of a lead at the end.”

BRONCOS OLB DEMARCUS WARE
On recovering fumble late in the fourth quarter
“We talked all week about the turnovers we had to get, we said the team that is going to win this game will win the turnover battle and that was probably a big momentum changer for us. You could see, once I got the fumble and we got the turnover, [QB] Peyton [Manning] went down and scored. The momentum built from there and we were able to close the game out.”

On how the play unfolded before he recovered the fumble
“On that play, I read pass, but it was a run play. I got off the ball pretty fast and I saw that it was a draw play and [CB Bradley] Roby came around, and he actually saves the day. He knocked the fumble out. It was a hustle play for me saying, ‘I know I messed up,’ and I needed to do a spin move to get the ball and save the day. That is what happened on that fumble and I was able to recover it.”

On whether there was any tension between offense and defense
“There wasn’t any tension. We knew eventually the offense would be clicking on all cylinders. They didn’t score 45 points, but they scored enough points to win the game. We said we had to hold Pittsburgh to a certain amount of points, a certain amount of yards. We pride ourselves on that and we have to win the turnover battle, and we did. Once we did that, Peyton got the ball and really drove it down the field to score points.”

On the effect of the wind
“I don’t think they had any problems. You just have to be able to adjust, but I think that practice was beneficial for us. It was really windy in practice and this game, by the third quarter, it started getting really windy and cold. They were able to adapt to it and catch some balls and make some big plays.”

On playing in the AFC Championship
“It is real big. For me, I’ve played in a game like this and was never able to close it out. This right here is that chapter that you can write down and say you did that. For me, it is always, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ I’m still writing on that page and trying to get to the end. We’ll be ready for next week and I’m excited about it.”

BRONCOS TE OWEN DANIELS
On reaching the AFC Championship
“It feels awesome. Just an incredible season, awesome effort today—kind of a microcosm of our season. It just feels great.”

On winning ugly
“It wasn’t pretty. We struggled offensively, but when it really counted, we found a way to put a great drive together and run the ball. The offensive line guys did a great job, [Broncos RBs] CJ [Anderson] and Ronnie [Hillman] and the guys up front. Everyone was working really hard, didn’t get down on anything as the game went along. That was obviously a huge drive. It’s another one of those games we found a way to do it.”

On why the offense struggled in the first three quarters
“It’s a little hard for me to analyze the game right now like that, but I’ve got to assume we weren’t very good on third downs. I don’t think we were particularly great running the football on first and second down in the first half, so those things we’ve got to get better at to get ourselves in better situations.”

On the Denver offense wearing down the Pittsburgh defense in the fourth quarter
“I think we did. We just continued to go at them. That drive in the fourth quarter was big, but I think the work we put in throughout the game kind of chipped away at them, and we were getting big, big chunks there that we weren’t getting earlier. That’s kind of what you want. You’ve got to trust that’s going to happen like that—stay the course, continue to do those things and trust that they’re going to get worn down in this elevation.”

BRONCOS WR BENNIE FOWLER
On the offense trying to take pressure off of QB Peyton Manning
“I don’t think we were necessarily saying that at halftime, but we know we have to make those plays. In the back of your mind you know you have to make those plays. This is a team game and we want to do it for 18 as much as he wants to do it for us.”

On facing New England in the AFC Championship
“We know it’s going to take execution because we both know each other well. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great game.”

On having to beat the best to be the best
“They’re the reigning Super Bowl champs, so we’ve got to be ready.”

On if his impact surprised him
“No, not surprised. I’ve been playing all year, and Peyton has a lot of trust in me, so he didn’t hesitate to throw me the ball. Those two drops early, they are what they are. At the end of the day, he still came to me. I had two catches, and he trusted me on a third-and-12 in the fourth. He threw me the ball and I made a play.”

On if he thinks that trust from Manning will continue
“Definitely. I think his trust in me has never wavered all year, and I’m going to continue to make plays for this team and try to get to the Super Bowl.”

BRONCOS TE VIRGIL GREEN
On winning the game
“It took everybody—[K Brandon] McManus hitting those field goals, it took everyone to win this game. We are glad to get out of here with a win.”

On the defense forcing a turnover in the fourth quarter
“You just get so excited. Our defense does such a great job of staying in it and stopping those guys and stopping the run. We just had to capitalize on offense and we did on that last drive.”

On looking ahead to the AFC Championship Game
“They have to come to our house again. As you can see from tonight, we are not a team that is going to give up. We are going to fight until it says all zeros on the clock. I am glad we have guys on this team that are going to do that.”

On what Head Coach Gary Kubiak said the Steelers defense did to force the Broncos to take timeouts
“They switched up some of their blitzes. They had guys moving all around. They had [Steelers ILB Ryan] Shazier all over the place. I think that is what Kubiak was talking about.”

On the running game on the last drive
“We did a good job of running the ball. When we got into the huddle, [QB] Peyton [Manning] said, ‘We have to get seven here.’ Everybody bought in and we just went down and finished. We go to the goal line and [RB] C.J. [Anderson] did his thing, and that is all she wrote.”

BRONCOS CB CHRIS HARRIS JR.
On [CB] Bradley Roby’s play
“He made a lot of plays for us. There was not much I could do, and it was good to have [CB] {Bradley] Roby come in and step up for us.”

On how much of a gut check it was for him to get through the game
“I had to play through it against San Diego. It is two games that I have had to fight through this. It’s just football. I have to do the best I can to be me out there. It’s very hard.”

On how tense it was during the fourth quarter
“It is something that we are used to. We are used to being in that situation when the game is on the line and for us to come out and get stops. We have been pretty good at that all season. It is something that we have been battle tested and something we have been through as a defense. That is why we are up for the challenge.”

On if this was the Chris Harris he wanted to see
“I’m still not myself. I am getting there. I have to take it week-to-week and hopefully get back to 100 percent and get back to the way I want to play.”

On the team’s confidence in QB Peyton Manning and the offense
“We have tons of confidence in Peyton. He did the job we needed him to do. There are a lot of things we can learn from in this game. We’ve got to score and not get those field goals. There are a lot of things we did in coverages. We busted coverages and did stupid things out there, and they got yardage off of our busted coverages. It is good to learn from this. We need to be on point next week.”

On playing in the AFC Championship next week
“We are a veteran group, a veteran secondary. We have played against [Patriots QB Tom] Brady tons of times. We have played against their offense a billion times. We know they are going to put us in a lot of motions, check our tools and our coverages, and we need to have great communication next week.”

BRONCOS RB RONNIE HILLMAN
On being held without a touchdown until the fourth quarter
“It was tough. It’s playoff football. This is do or die. They did have us bottled up, but that last drive, our offensive line buckled down and gave us some lanes to run in. That’s what happened.”
 
On the team’s mentality when the offense is held in check
“It’s tough to stay at it and keep your head in the game when nothing’s going your way, but you just have to in those kinds of games. It turned out good for us.”

On the winning another close game
“Our team is resilient. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, we’re going to continue to fight.”

BRONCOS DE MALIK JACKSON
On shutting down Ben Roethlisberger
“Yeah, I think we knew what to expect this time. Our coaches did a great job of preparing us this week and we just went out there and put ourselves in a good position. We messed up on a few plays but we got the ‘W’ so we live another week and we get to work and fix those mistakes and keep working.”

On the defense
“I think we work well under pressure as a defense and the closer we get to the goal line the more everybody gets their blood pressure up and we have to stop them. I think that’s something that we strive on is living under stress and we do it very well.”

On what time they start getting ready for the Patriots
“What time is it, like 6:00? So until like 12:00 you party and then get ready for the Patriots. You get your body right, we have one more game until the big show so I think everyone is going to go have a good time, stay mellow and tonight at 12:01 you get working on the Patriots.”

On close game throughout the year
“I think it’s great. One of the things, like you said, we’ve had a lot of close games and we’ve had a lot of games where we had to go out there and keep them down. I think all of this practice with these teams, that we’ve played a lot of good teams has helped up get ready for this playoff run like the regular season is supposed to do. I think we’ve handled it well and we keep working and learning and our coaches do a great job of putting us in great positions.”

BRONCOS OLB VON MILLER
On his dance in the end zone after the final stop of the game
“It comes from [Broncos DE  Derek] Wolfe, actually. Derek, when he signed his new contract that was the dance that he hit. Let me ring it up. What a better time to do it? I thought it was a touchdown. It was a great game, great day. Happy for all my guys, as usual.”

On the Broncos’ defense making up for the struggling offense
“We just came out there and did what we do, what we’ve bene doing. It’s nothing new now. We just go out there and play Broncos defense.”

On the Broncos being a defense-first team
“I don’t know about last year, but this year, we've handled adversity like I’ve never handled it before. I’ve never been on a team that handles adversity so well. It was a great day. I’m proud of all my guys. [Broncos CB] Chris [Harris Jr.] came out there with a banged up shoulder and was still able to make some plays. [Broncos CB] Kayvon Webster was the momentum today. He was sick all day. He was throwing up, IV all day.”

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
“Like I said, I read through the blood.”

On playing the New England Patriots next week
“They looked good. Having [WR] Julian Edelman back is just another plus for those guys, but you know, tonight, we played a great game tonight. I’m happy for all my guys. We’re going to celebrate tonight and get right on the Patriots tomorrow. … That’s what we got. I wouldn’t want it any other way. They’re one of the best teams in the AFC, let’s go out and play and see who wants the Super Bowl."

On finding different ways to win
“I think it just trickles down from our head coach He’s dealt with all types of adversity throughout his coaching career. Hs mentality, the way he handles adversity, it just falls down here.”

On if he thought Broncos LB DeMarcus Ware’s fumble recovery would swing momentum
“No, we still had time on the clock. I just wanted to be there for my guys, cheer for them. I didn’t really know what was going to happen. We just played and tried to finish the game.”

On defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ aggressive play calling
“I don’t know. We have our plays during the week and coach, he just calls them. We run them. So I don’t know if he’s being aggressive or not, it just felt like regular Wade Phillips.”

On if the Broncos ever panicked
“We’ve just got to play. We’ve got great fans here, they want to see us win and we want to win as well. We’ve just got to take it one play at a time and just grind."

BRONCOS CB BRADLEY ROBY
On forcing the fumble at the end of the game
“It was a great feeling. We were all stressing that we needed a turnover, that we haven’t had a turnover all game. I was one of the guys saying it and stressing it, and I just got the opportunity and I capitalized. I just saw him [RB Fitzgerald Touissant] kind of holding it out, and we were just talking about getting turnovers, so I just punched it out.”

On whether they felt like there was ever any doubt that they would win
“No, we never have any doubt. We’ve been in too many close games to have any doubt. We always feel like we are going to win at the end of the day, but it would be better if we didn’t put ourselves in this position all of the time.”

On whether playing in so many close games in the regular season helped tonight
“It gets you ready for situations like this. If you haven’t been in a situation like this all season, then when it happens, you start thinking of the wrong things. For us, we’ve been here all the time, so it was just that we were going to do our job and make something happen.”

On being one win away from the Super Bowl
“We just take it one game at a time. We got the win tonight, and now we get ready to play the Patriots next week. It will be a great game.”

BRONCOS WR EMMANUEL SANDERS
On the Broncos coming on strong late
“That win was ugly. It was gusty. I a lot of people watching on television, even when you’re in the stands, you can’t tell. When the wind slowed down, we were able to slow down. We were kind of geeked up out there for a little bit. In the fourth quarter, the offensive line took off, and we took off and were able to score.”

On the fourth quarter reception when Manning was not called down by contact before hitting Sanders
“That was definitely a crazy play. I thought it was over with and (Manning) just kept moving. Peyton, he looked like Big Ben [Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger] out there the way he was running and threw it on the run. ”

On getting one step closer to a Super Bowl berth
“Man, that’s what it’s all about. There’s obviously a lot of emphasis on it being the Pittsburgh Steelers that we just beat, but for me it’s just huge to play in the AFC Championship game. I was talking to [Broncos Defensive Coordinator] Wade Phillips; he’s been coaching for over 30 years and he hasn’t had the opportunity to even go to a Super Bowl. That’s huge. This is my sixth year and my second AFC Championship appearance. I’m just feeling really blessed right now.”

On how long he will celebrate this win
“For me, it’s probably going to be like seven o’clock in the morning (Monday). I’m going to go out, I’m going to enjoy this one a little bit, but Wednesday when I show up, I’m going to be ready to go to work because I know what’s on the line.”

On Manning’s performance
“He had a big game. Obviously we started kind of sluggish, and we were able to pick it up in the fourth quarter and win the ball game. At the end of the day, we got this win. Even though it wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, we got another shot, we got another week. Hopefully we improve on this game as well.”

BRONCOS CB AQIB TALIB
On the turnover in the fourth quarter which led to the Broncos’ winning touchdown
“Huge man, huge. [CB Bradley] Roby got that left hand in there and knocked that ball out, and [ILB DeMarcus] D-Ware again—Johnny on the spot. Offense went and ran that ball down their throat, and [WR] Bennie [Fowler] made a big catch. We were able to capitalize on it.”

On the game being a reflection on the season
“We are going to play football until the clock says 0:00. If it’s our time to get on the field and make some plays, that’s what we’re on the field trying to do.”

On the Steelers being shorthanded without WR Antonio Brown
“Definitely. [Steelers WR] Martavis Bryant, that’s a great receiver. One day he is going to have a nice pay day. He’s an excellent receiver. He could easily be their No. 1 receiver, and he came out and played a great game for them. They just came up short.”

On facing the Patriots, his former team, in the AFC Championship
“Couldn’t have happened any better way. The only way to go to the Super Bowl is to go through them.”

On the team’s confidence right now
“Our confidence is perfect. We’re good. We’re playing a team who we beat earlier this year, we’re at home, we’re healthy, so let’s get it.”

On the offense leaning on the defense a bit more this year
“It’s football. We lean on them, they lean on us and be both lean on the special teams to keep them backed up. We work all together as three units working together as one.”

On the fans making a difference in the game down the stretch
“Definitely. These are the loudest fans that you can play for. When it’s time to turn up, they definitely turn up.”

On what this win says about the team
“That’s how we play. We’re going to play until it’s 0:00 on the clock—all 53 guys and Bennie Fowler making a huge play at the end. You never know, it could take all 53 of us. We’re a real team.”

BRONCOS WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS
On whether the game was ever in doubt
“There was no doubt. CB (Bradley) Roby made a big play I can say that, and then we went down and scored some points. We were getting field goals instead of touchdowns, especially at the beginning of the game when we had short field, short field and we weren’t able to get in the end zone. It came out the way we wanted and that’s all we can say right now.”

On always finishing games late
“I have no idea what it is, but whatever it is works. We did it the first game of the season and I think it has got to us to where we are right now.”

On dropped passes
“A couple of those were the wind but as a receiver we should have still made those plays. He was putting the ball in the right spot so we could make plays. It is no excuse for us dropping those balls, but the only thing we can talk about right now is the win and we’ll work on that next week. We can’t do that against our next opponent.”

On emotions of playing in front of his mother
“Mom didn’t put any pressure on me. There wasn’t any pressure that I haven’t had here. I was just excited she was here for her first game. We came out with a win to make it even better.”

On Brandon McManus’ field goal at the end of the first half
“I think all of them were big. He kept us in the game with the field goals. Him (McManus) being able to kick with this wind helped us.”

On what was said in the locker room after the game
“It wasn’t too emotional. We got a win and got over the hump but the main thing is trying to go out and get the win next week. He (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) was proud of us. It wasn’t pretty he said. The main thing was to go out fighting and we kept fighting.”

On whether they started the game tight
“I don’t think so. I was excited. The first one, the sun caught me off guard and I let that bother me. I was excited about the game.”

On being one win away from the Super Bowl
“I feel good that we just won this one. We are going to have to put in a lot of work come next week to play them because we already beat them this season and they’re going to want to beat us.

BRONCOS ILB DANNY TREVATHAN
On the defense forcing a turnover in the fourth quarter
“Our defense is one of the best in the league. We believe if we keep playing, something good will happen our way.”

On CB Bradley Roby’s performance
“He came out and performed. Everything is not going to be clear. He does a good job of working his tail off in practice and it shows out here.”

On the team’s ability to win close games
“We knew it was going to be a close game. It’s playoff time and people don’t want to lose. They came out here with their best game and gave us everything they had. We felt as long as we played our game nobody can beat us.”

On playing the Patriots next week
“Can’t wait. It’s going to be something to watch. Every time we play them we put on a show.”

BRONCOS S T.J. WARD
On CB Bradley Roby’s performance
“Bradley has been improving tremendously through the weeks. It’s tough on him because he is the youngest guy in a room full of vets, so we expect a lot out of him. I know it’s tough on him, but he’s been stepping up.”

On how they prepared to face Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
“I’ve never seen a game where Ben is hurt and he looks hurt, so that’s what we expected.”

BRONCOS DE DEREK WOLFE
On the key to another comeback victory
“I think our perseverance. We’re a grinding kind of team. We have a bunch of grinders out there. We’re not going to give up. It doesn’t matter how many points we have, we’re going to keep fighting.”

On hosting the AFC Championship Game
“It’s just another game. We have to win that game and get to the Super Bowl. That’s just somebody that’s in our way.”

On the focus this upcoming week against New England
“I can’t tell you, yet. We haven’t even started talking about that. We’ll get back to it tomorrow. We’ll be in the weight room tomorrow. We’ll meet with the coaches and figure out what the game plan is.”

On not having let up when leading in the fourth quarter
“No, this is playoff football. Anything can happen and everybody is trying to move onto the next game. You have to play every single snap.”

On playing after signing a contract extension earlier in the week
“It makes it so you can play a little more loose. You don’t have to worry about your future, where you’re going to be living or all of that stuff. It’s all about football at that point. You don’t have to worry about money and what you’re going to do with your life. I know that I’m going to be here for at least another four years and hopefully the rest of my career.”

On his performance
“Yeah, [it was good]. Always could play better, though.”

On persevering through adversity
“I think it shows how much we care about each other. We’re playing for each other. We’re not playing for anything else but each other.”

On facing New England again
“Well, it’s always harder to beat a team twice in the same season. If anything, we’re at a disadvantage. We’re going to have to really be on top of our game.”

On the mood on the sideline at the start of the fourth quarter
“Just put your head down and go. Let’s just keep grinding. That’s all that we were saying. Let’s keep going, let’s keep going and it’s going to work out in our favor.”

On if the defense thrives on keeping the game close and coming up with a big turnover
“I think any defense thrives in that formula. If you can get turnovers in big games, you can win them.”

On the fan support
“They were really loud. They have to be even louder next week. We have the best fans in the country, I love it.”

On defensive miscommunication
“It was loud, so it was hard for us to communicate as well. We tried to figure out a way for us to get signals to each other and get the play to each other. Once we did that, everything was good.”

On the veteran presence playing a role
“Leadership is key. We have a ton of savvy vets on this team that have been in big games and know how to win big games. They always come up big. [OLB] DeMarcus [Ware] is a heck of a guy anyway, so he’s always going to come up with a big play.”

On how close games in the regular season help in the playoffs
“We’re battle-tested. We’ve been there before, so it’s not like anything new. There’s no folding. We don’t fold. We’ll bend a little bit, but we don’t break.”

On his excitement level on making it to the AFC Championship
“All I’m thinking about is a Super Bowl ring. Whatever we have to do to win a Super Bowl ring, that’s all I’m thinking about.”

On sacking Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
“He’s not easy to bring down at all. Actually, I hit him and I thought the ball came out, so I almost let him go to go get the ball and he still had it in his hands. I had to get his legs. He’s a tough quarterback to bring down. He’s a great competitor. I have a lot of respect for the guy.”

On if he was surprised and Roethlisberger’s level of play
“No, not at all. I wasn’t surprised at all. I knew he was going to be fine.”