STEELERS vs COWBOYS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2008 KICKOFF -- 4:15 P.M. POST-GAME QUOTES
HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
Coach Mike Tomlin: What a beautiful game; and I mean that. I just told the team that. People get too preoccupied with style points. That was a beautiful football game because we displayed mettle and we hung together. Are we far from perfect? Yes. But this is our football team. Those guys fought, they believed in one another; and they didn't blink in the face of adversity, most of which was caused by us; but that is life. That gives us something to work on as we move forward; it is great to do that with a victory against a top-notch opponent and it was great to do it in front of our fans. This is December; we will take the "W."
*What defense were you in when Deshea Townsend made that interception?
We were in a zone coverage and rushing four; playing coverage right behind it. We were in the right place at the right time. That was a heck of a play by him; plays that define a defense that has the potential to be great.
Was it your own breakdowns or what Dallas was doing that was stifling your offense?
It was a function of both. In the first half, we just didn't capitalize on our opportunities. We fumbled in their territory; we fumbled at midfield when we were moving it. We missed a field goal. When you don't have an opportunity to establish rhythm, it looks like that from a performance standpoint. We have to get better. Taking nothing away from the Cowboys because they came to play; they are a great defense in their own right and they are a great football team.
Were you concerned that your team would get demoralized after being stopped at the one-yard line?
One of the things from a coaching standpoint that make you feel comfortable under the circumstances is that we have a great defense. They have shown me time and time again that when we have field position or potential field position, they keep it for us. That is why you do it in those situations where you are struggling offensively and we are close to an opportunity to put seven (points) on the board. When you have a great defensive unit you take those kinds of chances. Unfortunately it didn't work out for us, but, again, I thought that the sequence of events that followed that is encouraging because we have a football team that doesn't blink.
What is your reaction to Jeff Reed kicking a kickoff out-of-bounds and then drilling the next two into the end zone?
I thought that, as impressive as anything, late in that football game, was our kickoff coverage unit on those last two. Those guys were foaming at the mouth; they have been an excellent unit all year. It was unfortunate the kickoff out-of-bounds, but Jeff is human. That kickoff unit on those last two times down, that was a display of the character of our football team.
Did you know that you were going to go for it on fourth-down when you passed on third-down?
Yeah, we were committed to trying to put that ball in the end zone. Of course, we thought we were going to put it into the end zone when we hit Carey Davis in the flat. When you complete that ball, usually your momentum takes you into the end zone. That was a heck of a football play by whoever made it for the Cowboys; I don't know who made it. When that guy catches the ball, usually that is a touchdown. Somebody made a heck of a play.
*Was the weather a factor?
You could say that but the weather was the same for both offenses so the playing field was level. We don't worry about things that are out of our control; weather being one of them. When it is cold, it is cold for both teams; when it rains, it rains for both teams. We tend to keep our attention on our performance and what we need to do. We acknowledge that we fell short of perfection today. It is good to make corrections with a victory in our pocket.
Why was Nate Washington so wide-open on the game-tying drive?
We just take what is given to us, or what is the most opportunistic look. Tone (Santonio Holmes) had made a play or two and probably created an opportunity or two for Nate. They did an excellent job of being aware of where Hines (Ward) was for most of the day. It was just his time to rise up and make a play for us; he made several.
On the third-and-16 completion to Holmes, were you just trying to make a play?
It was just a big, big play at an appropriate time. Third-and-16 under those conditions, based upon what we had done through that point in the game, was a dire situation. It was big-time protection, a big-time throw and a big-time catch.
How amazing is it for your defense to still be ranked first overall, rushing and against the pass?
We are a work-in-progress in that regard. Those guys in that room know that great defenses and legendary defenses make their mark in January football. We have to get there and then they can earn those kind of stripes. They are a heck of a defense and they are a big reason why we were successful today. From that standpoint, that is what we are excited about. We are not excited about the historical significance of what we have going on right now; we can't. We take a victory today and we have to go to Baltimore next week.
Did you suffer any notable injuries today?
None at this point, thankfully. I don't know how Nate got up from that deal. We will see. Adrenaline maybe; we will see how he feels in the morning.
Was it Washington's ankle or knee?
It looked like his ankle but by the time that I got out there he was jumping around and running.
**What is your take on Deshea Townsend and the way that his role has constantly changed this year?
This guy is a veteran football player who is capable of making plays for us. He is a team-guy; he doesn't care about anything but winning. I have limited him some in an effort to keep him up and running. I have made him a sub-package football player; he hasn't blinked. It is great that he had an opportunity to make a significant play like that for us because he is as deserving as anyone.
**QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER
It took you awhile to get going out there. Can you talk about that?
The credit goes to their defense. I don't think that I have ever played in a football game that more balls have been batted down or tipped at the line of scrimmage. They just found ways to get in and get their hands up, a couple hit off guy's helmets. You know what, we persevered. Our defense is the best in the world for a reason. They kept us in the game and gave us an opportunity to come back late and put some points on the board, and eventually tie the game. That's what this is about. That's what the team is about. We're the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, defense, and special teams got it done.
**Re: Heath Miller's touchdown. Was that a response to a blitz?
That is where Heath was going, we actually had that look in practice. Bruce (Arians) called it, it was a great call. We had Hines (Ward) running a quick route, their guy was inside and he wasn't open. I knew Heath was going to be open real quick, so I tried to get him the ball and he isn't going to be denied too many times when he gets the ball down there.
Re: To responding to the blitz tonight.
We didn't do it is often as we should have tonight. We left a lot of plays out there, but a lot of the credit goes to them. That was one example that we executed well.
Re: Nate Washington on the last drive.
Unbelievable. He continues to step up every game for us at critical times in games, whether it's a deep ball or an underneath route. The first one that he caught I kind of had to hold it for a second, move the linebacker with my eyes and I threw it kind of low. He went down and made a heck of a catch. You never know in certain situations whether the ref is going to call it complete or incomplete so I hurried up, called a quick play, got Nate on a slant and he took it for a while. Then we hit him a couple of plays later down to the five or six yard line.
Was there a turning point in this game?
I don't know if there was one particular moment. The whole first half the defense gave us opportunities and we just couldn't do it. In the second half I challenged the guys and said we got to go. Then the deep ball to Santonio (Holmes) it was third and a ways. I was talking to Newman (Terence) afterwards. He was sitting on everything all night, I gave him a pump fake and chucked it up for Tone and he ran under it and made a heck of a play.
How happy are you for Deshea Townsend?
Before every game I tell Shea, you know you are our leader out there, you're our old man. Be a leader for us. He does it time and time again, whether it's the tackle on third down on Witten, (Jason) keeping him in bounds or making that pick. That's Deshea Townsend for you and that is the type of player that he is.
To play poor and beat a team like Dallas is that something special?
Absolutely. It's frustrating early on because we couldn't do what we wanted to do for whatever reason. I'm really proud of the guys for the way they stepped up when we needed it the most. We answered the bell when we had to.
What happened from the time that you missed the fourth and goal to the next time that you got the ball?
Desperation. The guys knew that we had to do it. It was now or never. It was a little later than we wanted to. It was time to score and score quick.
Did you get hurt on that quarterback sneak that you fumbled?
Yeah, I got my funny bone hit so my whole left hand went numb, no excuse obviously that's what happened. Unfortunately I was stupid I shouldn't have lost it.
You have more wins than any quarterback in their first five years. Where does that rank among your accomplishments?
I didn't know anything about it until you just told me. It was a win that's all that matters to me. Those individual accolades don't matter to me.
Re: 2-2 against the NFC East
I know, I was glad we got that we didn't want to only win one. We wanted to get this win to make it two and two, and that was the best we could do.
OT Willie Colon
Re: game-tying drive
"It was just adversity. It was one of things where we felt, no matter what happens, as long as we keep fighting, something is going to crack. We knew, with the ball in our hands, this is our time, we've got to answer. We had an unfortunate stop down at our goal line. But the "O" line stuck together as a unit. You see we made big plays [and] we protected. The defense did an amazing job like they always do. It's just amazing, man."
Do you feel like you are a team of destiny?
"I wouldn't get caught up in emotion, to be honest. I understand what we have. We have an amazing defense. We have an "O" line that believes in us five. We have a great coaching staff. We've got a quarterback who is a big-time gamer. So it's an overall team win. All we're going to do is take it one game at a time and get it done."
WR Santonio Holmes
How big a factor were the elements?
"I don't think we can factor in the elements because look at what we did last week up in New England. The weather was really bad. It was really cold this week. You just have to continue to keep playing. We can't worry about the elements. That's nothing we can change. We can only change what we do."
So it was a case today of two good defenses?
"For the most part. Their record speaks for itself and their defense has been doing a pretty good job of keeping teams out of the endzone."
S Ryan Clark
How good does it feel to come out and win a game in the fourth quarter?
"It felt awesome. It was what you expected from this game. Nobody expected them to come in here and blow us out. And vice versa. So we knew we were going to fight tooth-and-nail to the end. The offense came up big when they had to. [When] we needed points from them, they scored points. They gave us the opportunity to have one last drive. When Deshea [Townsend] got that interception, all I was thinking was, 'please, don't get caught.' It's his 11th year, you never know. He made a great play and got in the end zone. It was big for us."
With the way they were struggling offensively, did you think that maybe you'd have a chance to win the game?
"We said in the third quarter that we had to score. After we gave up those points, we knew we had to try to score to even it out. We just kept working. One thing about when you have an explosive offense, they are going to take chances. They are going to try to beat you. I think they tried to beat us in the end when it was 13-13. Deshea made an awesome play."
Did Deshea say he was going to score by any chance? Was it him?
"[Joking] Yeah, Deshea, right before the play, he looked back at me and said he was going to intercept it and … No, we just all as a collective group, we knew we had to make a play. If we want to be great, sometimes we're going to have to win football games. I think we kept our team in it and we kept fighting. The offense scored at a timely point, and we finished it off."
LB Larry Foote
Sometimes when one side of the ball has it going a little better than the other, there can be a bit of a rift or some dissension. You guys don't seem to have any of that.
"No. This is a team. It's been like that since I got here and I just follow suit. In college and high school, there was a lot of finger pointing, a lot of trash-talking [and] arguments on the sideline. I see that on TV, but not here. This is a class act organization. And the players really follow suit. We set the tone with all the guys. We set the tone with the younger guys when they get in here that there isn't any finger pointing and we're all a team. Because everybody knows that the day is going to come when everything just isn't going right. So I don't point any fingers."
CB Deshea Townsend
So in the Dallas huddle, [Tony] Romo said, 'we're going to throw it to Townsend,' right?
"It was a great play call by them. No, it was a route that they had been running all night. Coach [Dick] Lebeau made a great call and … it worked out for us."
Did you know that the play was going to go toward you?
"They had been running that route all night, with trips and the tight end inside, trying to work [Jason] Witten. We had a defense that worked out well for that."
How does it feel when the defense does what it did and wins the game for you?
"We hate to give up any points in a close game when the other defense is not giving up points. You have to make sure you are on all of your keys. It's important for us to get those touchdowns back that we give up. When you can make a play – anything to help the team."
Are you a team of destiny?
"We don't worry about that. We go week to week. We come out and play for 60 minutes, no matter who we play. And we knew it was going to be a close game. We're going to prepare, go out and play hard."
I know you don't worry about the team of destiny thing, but were you yelling it?
"No. We always say 'believe,' no matter what the situation is in the game. We've had guys that have been in a lot of situations before. It's just good for us to go out there and finish."
We you surprised that the pass was thrown to you so cleanly?
"It was good. It was a great pass, right at eye level. Fortunately for us, I caught it. It was a big play in the game for us."
Did you know you were going to score?
"I saw the tight end and nothing else was there. If I had gotten caught by the tight end, I'm sure the rest of the fellas wouldn't let me [live it] down. It felt good to catch it cleanly and get to the end zone."
There looked to be a lot of talking between T.O. [Dallas WR Terrell Owens] and the defensive backs. Were you guys just exchanging Christmas greetings?
"Oh yeah, it's Christmas time, the holiday season. Greetings are good. He's a physical, talkative player. He's one of those guys who gets himself going by talking. But Ike [Taylor] did a great job on him."
How did you shut those guys down tonight?
"We have a great team defense. There's not one person on this defense that will say they'll take all the credit. We all know that it goes up front [with] the linebackers and the secondary. In order for us to stop the run, the secondary has to be a part, and in order to stop the pass the D-line and linebackers have to be a part. And that's one thing that makes us a close group. We all genuinely care about one another. And we care about our defense."
LB James Harrison
Did you see Tony Romo throw it with his left hand?
"No, I didn't pay attention to what hand he was using to throw."
Some people have described him as slippery. Is he tough to bring down?
"I wouldn't say that really he's slippery. He steps into the right spots. He gets away from pressure."
As a linebacker, this has to be the perfect way to win a game.
"Yeah, it's good. Whatever we have to do to win."
Did you know [Deshea Townsend] was going to score?
"I didn't know. I was looking back and I was looking for a receiver in the area and all I saw was him. So I thought the man just might have made a bad throw. Deshea just had a good break."
Can you believe they threw the ball right to him?
"He didn't throw it right to him, Deshea just ran the route for the receiver."
Deshea said it was a perfect pass.
"Oh yeah, it was."
Deshea also said that was the first time you were in that particular defense. Does that say something about the kind of year that Dick LeBeau is having?
"Coach LeBeau, what can you say? Fifty years and he's still going strong with it. He has the plays for almost any offense."
You picked up a sack and now are tied for the all-time team lead for sacks in a season.
"It's all right. It's not the big one though. The big thing is [that] we won."
Can a win like this give you any kind of momentum?
"We're going to win by any means necessary – if the defense has to score, if the special teams have to kick in a score, or if the offense has to score 50 points – whatever it takes to win."
How good do you feel like a guy like Deshea, a veteran guy?
"I feel really good. Deshea is a guy that's been around here for a long time and been doing it at a really high level for a while. And for him to go out there and have the big play to win the game, it's great."
Did Dallas seem to celebrate a bit too early, when they stopped you guys on third-and-one?
"I don't know. They did a little bit more jaw-talking when they were up 10, I guess. But it's not over until the fat lady sings."
Didn't [Dallas QB Tony] Romo question you guys calling a timeout, like what are you guys doing trying to get the ball back?
"Yeah. He gave us that, 'who called a time out? You guys called a timeout.' Yeah, we called a timeout. And you go and throw a pick to Deshea, so we can win."
Is every sack that you're going to get from now on destined to cause a fumble?
"I don't know. That's what I'm trying to do. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
Is that something you can practice to simulate, or is it just a knack?
"It's just something you get used to doing. When you get to the quarterback, you want to try to sack him and strip the ball. That time, he just didn't hold on to it good enough. I really didn't reach for it."
HEAD COACH WADE PHILLIPS
That was a tough loss. You're not going to win many games like that, and we didn't. We fought hard. I thought our defense played outstanding, but we just didn't get it done. We had a lead and opportunities, but we just didn't take advantage of them. We had some individuals who played well but the team didn't and that makes a difference. They obviously have a good defense and they played well, but I thought our defense outplayed theirs. It didn't turn out that way in the end.
What happened on the interception?
I don't know.
Have you suffered a tougher loss?
Not here, no. This is a tough loss for us and there were a lot of ramifications. But we're still in there and we're still going to fight. We're just going to come back and face another team next week.
*What are your thoughts on Tony Romo today?
He played a tough game. We knew it was going to be tough against this defensive team and the weather conditions weren't great. He had a rough game.
*How much did the weather play a part in Romo's performance?
I don't know. It obviously played some. The wind wasn't as gusty as we were worried it was going to be, but it did seem like some of Romo's throws were bad.
*How bad did that punt return hurt you?
Just as bad as the turnovers did. The ball hit the ground and they had had a real bad one once as well. They kicked it so bad, and it caused a turnover because our guy hit it or kicked it.
It was a real tough break.
*Are you happy to have Adam Jones back?
He made some plays in the game. He didn't break out or anything for us, but he made some plays and is part of our defense.
*What did you say to your team in the locker room about how to re-group and get it back?
You have to realize that you've lost first and then you have to do something about it. Whether the weather plays a condition or not, you have to play better the rest of the way and that's what we have to do. We'll be glad to get back home. That certainly makes a difference.
*Has it sunk in yet that you lost because it seemed like it was going your way?
It wasn't going our way. I just thought it may go our way. We didn't doubt that we were going to win, but we didn't win.
*Talk about Tashard Choice and how he played.
With Marion Barber out, I thought Tashard played very well. It looked like he blocked well and certainly ran the ball well. We ran the ball better than they did. They are one of the better running teams in the league and we shut down their running game. I thought he did a good job.
*Do you feel like the defense was tired on that drive that tied the game?
The Steelers made some plays and the quarterback scrambled. He made some plays, he's still the same quarterback that knows how to win. One time we had him on the sidelines throwing footballs, and he knows how to pass. The poorest play was that third and 16 where we let them get that big play. That was the one that cost us. We could've shut them down. That was the big play that really hurt us and that was inexcusable.
You said Ben Roethlisberger knows how to win. Do you feel sometimes that your team hasn't gotten that to that level yet?
No. It was a tough, hard fought game and someone came out a victor. It was a wonderful team that played the best at the end. They came out with a victory. The interception for the touchdown when the game was tied with ten minutes left. They scored more goals. We didn't' play perfect, but I thought we played well. We stopped them at fourth down on the goal line, we had a couple of turnovers ourselves, we stopped a lot of third downs and had a lot of sacks. I thought they played pretty well, just not well enough to win.
*What were you expecting in regards to weather conditions and this defense?
We knew if we turned it over that that was the big thing and we didn't get that accomplished. We knew that if we could keep from turning the ball over that we could win the game. We turned it over four times in the first half.
*Did Marion Barber do something Saturday morning that resulted in him not playing today?
No. We just couldn't afford to play him if he's hurt.
*In regards to re-grouping and preparing for the future.
We have another game next week and it's a big game for us.
*Is that the best you've seen your defense play?
This week I think we played well. We have a new challenge next week.
Re: Interception that decided the game
Totally on me. Completely. Tony trusted me on that, and I slipped coming out of the break. He threw it exactly where it's supposed to go. I cost us the game. You dream about those situations – you want the ball in your hands. We had success on it earlier. Coordinator has confidence to come to you, and you slip out of the break. It's all on me. I don't know what else to say.
Was it a ball you could have caught?
Oh, yeah. We've been running that play a lot – two, three, four times. We got it earlier in the game. Just slipped coming out of the break. It's the little things that matter. You feel horrible. You feel like you're a Pro Bowl player, and you get the chance to put the team on your back there, and just like all the other playmakers in this room, you want the ball in your hands. Then you slip. It's all on me – it wasn't Tony. He put it right where he's supposed to put it.
Did you address your teammates after the game?
I told the offense that I was accountable for it, disappointed in it. I wanted more than anything to let them know it was on me and not Tony. He's got enough going on. He's a hell of a quarterback. He trusted me to make the play, and I didn't do it. I wanted them to know that it wasn't on him.
Did you have two different choices of routes to run on the interception? *You can hook in or hook out. I just thought I'd hook outside to get that first down. Didn't do it, obviously.
*Re: Fourth down play in final series
I'm not sure what he was reading. They really didn't give us the look we wanted. Fourth-and-10 there, it's really a cover-two look. I don't know what happened on that.
What would it have meant to win this game?
It's huge. It's a dogfight – we knew that coming in. Great defense. I felt like were moving the ball up and down the field on them. We knew it would come down to a play like that, or a series that was going to cost it. We had a lead, 13-3, and we just couldn't finish it off. I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in myself. It's tough. We all know what it would've meant to be 9-4 with three games to go. Instead, we've got a fight.
Can you take anything out of this?
I don't think you can take anything positive. You play good but you lose. Second place. That doesn't help at all. We felt like we could win. We had a lot of respect for them, but we felt like we could come up here and win. I thought overall that we hung in there. We fought through it. It's a tough team. We had a chance to win there, to go on the game-winning drive, and I blew it.
Re: Effect on momentum
I don't think it can. We have three tough games. I think we all know where we stand – our back's against the wall. It's a huge challenge for us. You can't let it affect you, you have to be able to move forward.
Re: Effect on season
We're still in it. We still have a shot. This one stings – it's bad, but we realize that it's still ahead of us. There are some things to build on from this game. We have to finish. We have to do a better job of closing it out.
Re: Adjustments in second half resulting in pressure on Roethlisberger *No adjustments, really. Guys started beating people. We played defense like we were capable of playing, up until we gave up passes and the touchdown. It's tough. It's real tough, because if you look at the stats and how we played, you feel like you should win a game like that.
*How much did you feel like the game was in the Cowboys' grasp?
It was never over. When they were one touchdown away to tie it up, you knew the game wasn't over. We had to continue to press, and they made plays and we didn't. They got in the end zone, and then they got an interception and went up. As a team, you have to give those guys credit, but you feel like this is one you let get away. That's how I feel about it, that we just let it get away.
What things were frustrating at the end of this game? *You lose. That's the bottom line, because if we do give up a lot of run yards, and a lot of points but we win, we're not talking about the same thing. This is a business of winning and losing, so you always want to have that "w", and when you don't, statistics and what this guy did or didn't do, it doesn't matter.
*Tough to swallow the results, given the defensive performance?
It's tough, but they play well on defense also. It came down to who would make the mistake. We were on the bad side of that. We allowed them to score a touchdown, and then they took the interception in for a touchdown. There are a lot of guys in here who feel like we let this one get away as opposed to them coming out and beating us.
Re: Playoff race
We're still in it.
Re: Steelers defense
No one ever doubted that they had a good defense, but the last time I checked we play defense in Dallas as well. I think that was kind of overshadowed. Our defense outplayed them today. We just gift-wrapped it for them at the end.
Did the wind affect the pass that resulted in the interception?
No, not at all.
Re: Surrendering a 10-point fourth quarter lead
Horrible, man. Just a sick feeling right now.
Do you have to guard against this game having longer-range effects?
No, we're not worried about that at all.
Was there miscommunication on the late interception?
It was just one of those things.
Will this loss motivate the team, or will it have a negative effect?
I think it does kind of deflate you. You bust your tail for three quarters and twelve minutes, and come away with a loss like this, it is kind of deflating.
Did you expect the running game to be as effective as it was?
Yes. Without a doubt. The Steelers have a very good defense, but we have a damn good offense. We came in, and we're a real good football team as well. I think if you ask them, they'll say the same thing. I think Christmas came early for Pittsburgh.
Did this one get away?
It didn't get away. It didn't get away, it was given away. That's the difference. It wasn't taken away, it didn't get away, it was given. Like I said, Christmas came early for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Re: Team effort and near victory
It's hard to say. We played our tails off for three-and-a-half quarters, and we made some mistakes. It hurts. You don't want to lose a game like that. When you're on the road, you have to make sure you don't make mistakes. We didn't play winning football today, so it cost us in the end.
Re: Cleaning up miscues
We just have to practice hard. It's your preparation every day. You pay attention to detail and the little things. Those are the things that help us win when you have close games like this on the road.
When did you find out that you would be the feature back?
I knew Monday. Marion (Barber) is a warrior, but he had problems with his foot. He talked to me, he trusted in me. I worked hard because of those guys, the guys in front of me. Those guys work their tails off so we can be successful, and it hurts when you lose like that. You want to bust your tail to get your opportunity, and you never want to see your teammates down. When they give me a chance like they did today, I just want to try to get a win for our team?
Re: Your performance verses the result of the game
I doesn't mean anything. It means something as far as the coaches understanding what I can do, but all I care about is winning and losing. I could've had a terrible game, but if we would've won the game I would've had a smile on my face. But losing, it takes it all out of you. All it makes you want to do is go back and work harder and play some more.
Re: Need to start December off well
Everybody felt that way. I think all 53 players on the roster, and the practice squad, that's how we've been practicing. We feel like we need to come out now. We need to do all we have to do all we need to do to get in the postseason, so we've been busting our tails.
Do you feel you've lost some momentum?
No. It takes something out of you, but true character shows when we come back next week.
Did you get more comfortable as the first half progressed?
That defense – they're good. Gaps. Polamalu – heck of a football player. I love him. He plays the game like it's his last play. The offensive line was blocking, there were going to be gaps. It was up to me to make some plays. I had to change my cleats at half-time – I slipped a couple of times on the grass. We switched it up, did a couple of things differently in the second half.
Re: Fourth-quarter interception *It was designed to go to Jay (Witten). I don't know if it was miscommunication, or just a slip, or what. It's part of the situation. You have to do the right things, and I threw it where he wasn't, so that's on me.
*Re: Effect of the wind and conditions
I think it was a combination of the wind and the environment, as far as your body trying to stay warm. You're always fighting that battle. It's just not normal to pick up the ball and throw it in that weather. I thought we did a decent job as the game moved along. Give them credit, they made the plays that counted at the end to win.
How damaging was the outcome?
We'll see at the end of the year. When the season is over and if we didn't make the playoffs, it's obviously going to be very damaging. If we get in, it probably won't matter much. I thought our guys played a great football game. I thought the guys defensively had an outstanding performance. I think offensively a lot of guys played good football. This one's on me. As a quarterback, you can't turn the ball over that many times and expect to win. Especially not in an environment like that against a defense like that.
Will you have to approach the next three weeks like playoff games?
No question. I think we definitely have our backs to the wall, and it's tough to swallow this one because we had a good opportunity as the game moved along. We didn't close the deal. I hurt us tonight. I'm going to go back and look at what I did. I'll learn from it and we'll get better.
Jason (Witten) said the mistake on the interception was his.
I haven't looked at the tape. It is what it is. Obviously we both wish we'd done whatever so it didn't happen. Jay is a great guy, a great player.
Talk about Tashard Choice.
Choice stepped up big. He did a great job in a lot of different areas against a tough-looking, tough schematically, team. He rose up to the challenge and did some really good things. That was good to see.
**WR TERREL OWENS
Did you guys think that you had things locked up when it was 13-3?
I never think that any game is over until the end. I think that we didn't give ourselves an opportunity when you go out and turn the ball over. Those mistakes are costly. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had. Our defense played great; they played awesome and we didn't give them any help on the offensive side of the ball.
**It seemed like you guys were down there having a good time with the fans and acting like the game was over:
It is all about momentum. It was all about momentum and not about us thinking that the game was over by any means. Sometimes it is just like that where momentum is going your way and you are excited. That is just the nature of this game.
Can you talk about the turnovers?
That is just football. I have been in situations like that before. As good as this team is, we can't allow those things to happen. I think that the defense played a hell of a game, but when you have turnovers, it is hard to win the game.
Did you get too conservative?
I don't know. You will have to ask Coach that. I don't know anything about being conservative. All we do is go out and go with the plays that are called for us; that is it.
What did you see on the interception by Deshea Townsend?
I pretty much had one-on-one on my side and I ran out of my route because the guy was probably about 10-12 yards off of me when I came out of my break. When I turned around out of my break, the guy was intercepting the ball and going the other way.
Was there any talk about the wrong route being run or a miscommunication?
You will have to ask those two.
Was Ike Taylor covering you the entire game?
I am going to come out there and compete during every play, every week. It didn't really matter who was on me. My mindset was to come out here and get a win against a good defense. I think for the most part of the game, for three quarters, we had the game. You have to finish the game and we didn't do that.
How do you keep this from snowballing?
We just have to go out and play. I have no answers.
Can you talk about your touchdown catch?
At that point in time, after I ran my route, Tony was just scrambling around in the pocket and I just thought about finding a hole and getting open. He threw the ball; it was two guys just trying to make a play.