Read the full transcript from Head Coach Josh McDaniels’ press conference on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022.
Las Vegas Raiders Transcript
Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels
Opening Statement: “Well, I’ve stood up here a lot this year after some crazy finishes. I just told the guys in the locker room;we keep fighting and keep playing with great effort. We obviously have a lot of character in our locker room and continue to fight and press on even what it felt like it was hard. Lost a lead there late the fourth quarter and guys came back and made the plays that they needed to make to win. I mean, its football, the ball bounces crazy, crazy ways. It’s not a predictable game sometimes. And obviously the ending was probably the most insane ending I think I’ve ever been a part of, but we’ll take it. We’ll take it for sure.”
Q: How much pride do you have in them [the team] for following what you’ve taught?
Coach McDaniels: “A lot of pride. They’ve been through a lot;it’s been well documented. We’ve been in every game except for one and all that, and we certainly haven’t been perfect in any of them. But you can’t take away from their effort and their ability to handle adversity and the character that they have. They just continue to fight and continue to give great effort. And fortunately, here the last month or month and a half, the ball has bounced our way a few times and we’ve made the plays that we needed to make at the end to win. I mean, sometimes it’s not pretty. It’s not about style points, it’s just about the result. Very proud of the effort and the result today.”
Q: When Chandler catches it on the last play, what were you thinking?
Coach McDaniels: “Don’t get tackled by the quarterback. I mean, literally I just was thinking – I don’t know what the word would be, but once Rhamondre [Stevenson] pitched the ball to Jakobi [Meyers], I figured we’d probably just tackle whoever had it and then that would be it, and we’d go to overtime. And then, when he lateraled the ball, I had no idea. It didn’t seem like a lateral play to me when they handed the ball off to the back. So, when they handed it to the back, I thought, ‘Okay, tackle him and go to overtime.’ And then when I saw the ball up in the air and then I saw Chandler underneath it, I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god, we might have a chance at this.’ And then when he caught it, I saw Mac [Jones] was back there, and just hoping that he could avoid whatever effort Mac had to tackle him and then hopefully had enough juice left in his body to get to the end-zone.”
Q: Can you just talk about that final drive to tie the game?
Coach McDaniels: “In that situation, everybody in the stadium knows you’re throwing it, and I really give credit to our offensive line at that point. Dylan [Parham] went out, and then we had Hroniss [Grasu] in there and Jordan [Meredith] was playing quite a bit of snaps today. He and Hroniss, they hadn’t played football – the two of them haven’t played in a game since August. So, I give them a lot of credit for fighting and battling and being able to hang in there on that drive. Gave Derek [Carr] enough time to make some throws. I thought Mack Hollins really kind of got us going there on the fourth-down play, and then had another one. Darren [Waller] made a good catch down the middle and then Keelan [Cole]. Like most teams have done, they paid a lot of attention to Davante [Adams]. Trying to really avoid him beating them, which they did a pretty good job of that. We had a couple opportunities, but I thought the other guys really had to come up and step up big, and they made the plays they needed to make.”
Q: Can you talk about the penalties today?
Coach McDaniels: “I mean, seemed like we were in between silent cadence, using a cadence. I mean, obviously, they had a little bit of a showing here from their side. They are unforced errors. And so, we like to pride ourselves on not beating ourselves, and we certainly put ourselves in a lot of holes today with a handful of offensive penalties. And then we had some, I’d say some special teams’ penalties. Like, we had a good return, but then the ball comes back to the nine-yard line. So, we lost quite a bit of field position in some of those swings as well. Wedefinitely have things to clean up for sure. Got to do a good job of trying to address those and fix them. No excuses.”
Q: How does it make you feel knowing that you’re 2-0 against Bill Belichick?
McDaniels: “Yeah, it’s really not about me. It’s really about our team, obviously. That team over there and that organization, I mean, they’ve been the standard for a long time. Our team knew the type of challenge this was going to be, we knew they would be disciplined. We knew they would be competitive, physical, tough and play hard in all three phases on every down, and that’s what we got from them. I thought they really did a good job of –they had some adversity early in the game. We blocked the punt, we scored right before the half, and then they were able to sustain the momentum they created there at the beginning of the third quarter and eventually take the lead. I obviously give Bill a ton of credit for some of the adjustments that he made in the game and got them back in it and ahead. And just grateful for the effort and performance of our team here down the stretch.”
Q: On the Keelan Cole catch, did you get a good look at the catch. Were you surprised that held up over review, or did you think he was in?
Coach McDaniels: “I mean, I obviously saw him catch the ball. I think the biggest thing they were trying to determine was, was there really a clear angle that you can say without a shadow of a doubt that has to be overturned. And usually when they call it a touchdown and it takes that long, if you’re the team that wants it to be a touchdown, that’s usually a good sign. So, I think they were struggling with trying to determine whether or not his toe was actually on the white or did his foot hit and then eventually got to the white, or did it not hit the white. So, they just said it was inconclusive and so they left it up.”
Q: From the opposite vantage point, is there ever really a way to expect something in terms of this adjustments?
Coach McDaniels: “I think the one thing you can expect is that if you’re hurting them with something, that they’re probably going to adjust and stop that from hurting them. Doesn’t matter what phase of the game it would be in. So, I thought we had some success running the ball early, and then that obviously tailored off a little bit. We stopped them with some things early, and then they kind of made some adjustments and found some success certainly with the running game there in the second half. He’s the best, ever.
And to sit there and assume that you’re just going to hurt him with the same thing over and over is silly, they’re not going to let that happen. So, I thought they did a really good job of preparing their team and then they made some adjustments there in the second half that really hurt us.”
Q: How important is it for your team to be on the other end of one of these games today?
Coach McDaniels: “Yeah, I mean, we’ve had our fair share of close losses and ones we let “quote on quote” get away. And so, I love the fight of our team and the fact that they came back and tied it. I mean, none of us would have expected the last play to happen the way that it did. So, that was just good fortune. But I think our team continued to fight and play hard and never got down on themselves. And that’s a good football team over there, clearly, and they made things hard on us especially in the second half. Just proud of the effort and the fight and the finish of our team.”
Q: With your relationships with the Patriots, what are you feeling right now doing that to them?
Coach McDaniels: “I mean, look, it’s football. I obviously have a lot of people over there that I have great feeling for and admiration and respect. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the people there. So, I’ll never forget that. But I think I’m happiest for the group in our locker room. The ball has certainly bounced a couple of funny ways for us this year and I think our team was really thrilled to have that kind of bounce our way today, and in a crazy ending. I spent some time on the field after the game because there’s a lot of people out there that have helped me to get to where I’m at. And hopefully I did my part when I was there.”
Q: Have you seen in the past where some crazy ending like this can propel teams? Or is this over tomorrow and you go on?
Coach McDaniels: “It’s funny, isn’t Saturday the anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. I don’t know what they’re going to call this one, but it’ll probably have a nickname here shortly. Yeah, I don’t know. Look, every week hard in our league, as you guys know. And Pittsburgh, obviously Mike [Tomlin] does a tremendous job, and this is going to be a huge challenge for us on the shorter week to go there. So, we will not count this towards any points on the scoreboard for next week. We got to go back to work and get ourselves ready to go and try to win a tough football game on the road against a tough football team.”
Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr
Q: You’ve seen a lot of football. I mean, come on, have you seen anything quite like that?
Carr: “If you’ve been with the Raiders for any amount of time, we’ve seen our fair share of things happen, right. But I have not seen that one. I’m glad it went our way. I’ve stood up here and answered some hard questions sometimes, about how I don’t even know how to tell you what happened sometimes. They’re sitting there, trying to run out the clock, trying to go to overtime. They break some tackles, they get down there, and it’s hard as a competitor, too; because you’re down there now, they start tossing it around, you get it, and it’s hard to just sit down on it — give up on the play. I get that as a competitor. It’s tough. That’s a tough thing to do, especially if that’s not a thing that’s talked about, right? You’re like, ‘Okay, this is what we’re doing.’ Crazy he threw it back, Chandler [Jones] caught it, and in my brain, I was like, ‘Pitch it.’ I don’t know Chandler’s 40 time, but when you stiff arm, and it goes down a little bit. But he made it to the end zone, it was an unbelievable play. And I’m glad we had one go our way that way.”
Q: Where were you and what was your vantage point on that final play?
Carr: “I was on the bench. And what’s sad with technology is I didn’t even watch it in person. I was watching it on the Jumbotron. It’s like when Tiger Woods is hitting the shot, and everyone’s on their phone, trying to watch it. Just enjoy it. But I was watching the Jumbotron, and honestly when the running back [Rhamondre Stevenson] tossed it to the other player [Jakobi Meyers], I think I even said it; I was like, ‘Throw it back, we’ll catch it. Throw it and we’ll catch it; throw it and we’ll catch it.’ And he threw it, and I was again, I was watching it up there. And then all of a sudden, I just see Chandler [Jones] put his hands up, and I started yelling at Bo [Hardegree] my quarterback coach. I was like. ‘Bo, Bo.’ And then he didn’t react until he crossed the finish line. So, respect to Bo, but once he did, we went nuts.”
Q: Mack Hollins had a few catches and Darren Waller hadone on that last drive. Can you take us through that drive with the fourth down reception, all the way to the touchdown?
Carr: “I was very proud of that group. We had a chance, was it four minutes left? We had a chance right there. You want to take a two-minute drive, take the time to score your touchdown, do that. And we didn’t. We had a few close plays, whatever the reason, doesn’t matter. It was close, didn’t happen. So, you’re sitting there, and you got to count on the defense to get you the ball back, to have another chance. And they did, and we got it. Ends up being, again, fourth down. And in the huddle before that play, they took a timeout, or it was the two minute – I can’t remember what it was. But I remember in the huddle, everyone’s like, ‘Take a deep breath.’ And I just remember Davante [Adams] said, ‘Just find a way, just find a way. Everyone do your job, find a way to just do the right thing.’ And it takes all 11 guys on offense to do the right thing, or it’s not going to look pretty; no matter who it is, what it is, and all that. And our guys did the right thing. Mack makes two huge catches in a row for us right there. We hit Darren on one; hit Josh [Jacobs] on another. But, I mean, it takes everybody doing the right thing. And our guys stepped up in that moment and did it right.”
Q: Are you are you holding your breath when they’re doing the review on Keelan Cole’s touchdown pass?
Carr: “I mean, I was like, ‘A Patriot-Raider game ending in a review.’ I remember a lot of things. I remember I was in Bakersfield, California it’s nighttime and I was watching Charles Woodson strip the ball from Tom Brady. And I don’t know how old I was, but I was sitting there with my dad watching the game. I remember my rookie year, we go down on a two-minute drive, we run in the end zone and all sudden there’s a flag. The next play, I throw it to my receiver, checking it down, it bounces and Vince Wilfork? picks it. I’m just like, ‘Can we please just have one go our way.’ And when they showed that one view where you saw his [Keelan Cole’s] cleat hit the grass, and then his foot went down, you’re like, ‘Oh.’ We started going nuts. And then the ref next to us said, ‘Touchdown.’ And we went nuts.”
Q: It seemed like everyone was on the edge of their seat when that review came up. I saw you motioning touchdown. Were you telling people that he was in? Or how did you know that was going to be a touchdown?
Carr: “So, like they always tell the coach. If you stand next to the head coach, you get a lot of good information. So, if you ever see a ref standing by the coach, most of the time – I don’t know if it is every time. I don’t know the rule or anything like that. And I remember, I was talking to the ref actually about the play and he said, ‘That was a heck of a throw, man.’ I was like, ‘Well, I hope it counts.’ And I looked at him and he goes like that (signals touchdown) to Josh [McDaniels]. If they changed it after that, I would have fought somebody.” (laughter)
Q: You guys talk a lot about playing until there’s zero seconds left on the clock. What’s the message there win you won with no time remaining?
Carr: “I mean, you got to finish. Something you talk about high school kids, finish the drill. They put a line out there, they say run to that line, and finish it means run through the line. Don’t stop before, or at it. It’s not cliche. It’s just stuff that you’re taught like to build your character as a young football player, to build your character as a young man, and you got to get a whole team. That’s Josh’s job and the captain’s job to do whatever the coach’s message is. One was discipline, can we do it for the whole time? And that right there was great discipline for Chandler [Jones] to not give up on the play or just to stay on the ground or whatever. I didn’t even see it, but great discipline to stay alert in that situation. In football, you never know. I always had a coach tell me, the ball is shaped funny, and it bounces a funny way sometimes. And it bounced our way, with Chandler staying disciplined on that play, and he finished the play. And the rest, is what it is.”
Q: There are three games left to play and you’re still alive. Does that continue to be the message or a rallying cry to play the play through the finish line here?
Carr: “Yeah, I think we’re just every day, honestly, we’re trying to do the right thing. We’re trying to get all the right guys and everyone on the same page to do the right thing every day. When everybody does the right thing, the results are good. And I’m not talking just a game, I’m talking a play, to do the right thing. It’s familiar, we talked about the same thing 12 months ago, but we have to keep playing, and is it guaranteed? No, I mean, a lot of things got to go our way. We got to work really hard and win this week. And so, it starts with my preparation tonight on the Steelers and moving on. We get to enjoy it with my teammates and then as soon as I’m out of here, it’s over. And so, I think as long as we keep that focus and stay true to what we believe in as a team and who we are – and I mean, Josh’s message, we believe in it, and we do it – he’ll give us the keys to win the next game and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Q: It’s been a minute, but you got a couple of your teammates back in Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. What was it like to get those guys back in the rotation?
Carr: “It was good, and they obviously as you saw weren’t in there every time. They were rotated in and kept fresh. I thought Josh did a great job with that, making sure they were good to go,and you saw them in there when it mattered, and we needed them. We needed them big time. And the guys that filled in for him we’re playing a good level, so whenever you have good football players and you have depth, it just helps the overall thing. You don’t worry about a guy getting too tired on play. He’s been straining for three quarters and all sudden he’s tired, now is his time. Whenever you have good players, you can keep rotating them, keep them fresh, and it’s a good thing for everybody. So, to have them back was nice and I think everyone likes seeing Darren run down the middle of the field again, with how tall he it, how fast he is, seeing him get in the endzone again. It was good for Raider fans to see him back out there and see Hunter out there and all that. So, it’s good.”
Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
Opening Statement: “Unfortunately here today we collectively made too many mistakes and gave up some big plays that were obviously the difference in the game. So, we just can’t do that in this league, and it cost us. We will work to eliminate those and continue to play the good football that we play, but we just had too many mistakes and too many bad plays to win. So, that was obvious.”
Q: On that final play, was it instinctive on Rhamondre Stevenson to pitch it, or did he have the green light to lateral?
Coach Belichick: “I would say we made a mistake on that play. The play didn’t work. We made a mistake on the play.”
Q: On the block punt, how did the ball get snapped? What did you see on that play?
Coach Belichick: “It’s another mistake on the play.”
Q: Jakobi Meyers took some accountability for that mistake, saying he knows better than throwing the football back across the field. Was there any coaching point after you called the draw, to say the play is over, just go down or go out of bounds?
Coach Belichick: “Obviously, that would have been better thanthat result.”
Q: Was that said to Jakobi Meyers?
Coach Belichick: “Yes, look, we’ve talked about situational football. We talk about it every week. Obviously, we got to do a better job playing situational football and not making critical mistakes in the game.”
Q: On the Raiders WR Keelan Cole touchdown, what did the refs tell you? And did you agree with the decision?
Coach Belichick: “Was there a pool report? There you go.”
Q: 14 games into the season and you are still having delay of game penalties. It seems like guys are having trouble getting plays in. How disappointing is it this late in the season, you are still having operational issues with the offense?
Coach Belichick: “We need to try to eliminate all the mistakes we made. All of us.”
Q: On the red zone play, where you ran down the sideline to call a timeout. What did you see that you didn’t like thatlead you to call the timeout?
Coach Belichick: “Yeah, we really didn’t have the play right.”
Q: Is that a situation where the result didn’t match necessarily the play?
Coach Belichick: “No. The whistle blew before the play was run. We didn’t have the play right, so I took a timeout so that we did it right.”
Q: On the QB sneak soon after that, there’s a false start. Is Mac Jones supposed to wait for everybody to get to the line? Was Jonnu Smith a little bit late? How did that happen?
Coach Belichick: “It was obviously a mistake on that play too.”
Q: On the final play, how do you weigh what was called as opposed to taking a shot at the endzone?
Coach Belichick: “Taking a shot at the endzone? We couldn’t throw it that far.”
Q: What’s the message to the team after a loss like this? And that was a challenge for you and keep things moving with three games left?
Coach Belichick: “We have to eliminate those mistakes and we just gave up some big critical plays. We need to eliminate thoseand keep making the good ones and stop making the critical bad ones.”
Patriots Quarterback Mac Jones
Q: Can you take us through the last play, how stunning was it? What were you guys thinking on that play when you came out of the huddle?
Jones: “I think we just got to finish better and, obviously, it’s a tough situation. It falls on all of us and we just got to do better. So, it is what it is – tough way to go out, but we got to just watch the tape and get better.”
Q: Rhamondre Stevenson said he was told to pitch the ball if possible, if it was something he saw?
Jones: “I think you just have to ask Coach Belichick. Obviously, we have a plan for the end of the game, and just didn’t do a good enough job there. So, I have to watch the tape, and get better, and do all the things so we don’t even have to be in that situation.”
Q: You were in the position as Chandler Jones caught the ball, can you take us into that moment and the possibility of wrapping him up. Was there a chance to do that or is that a sort of shocking situation to find yourself in?
Jones: “I got to tackle the guy. It’s on me, and it’s my fault. Because if we tackle him – or I tackle him – then we play for overtime. It’s all on me. Got to make that, not good enough by me. It is what it is, just got to tackle him and play for overtime. So, it’s on me.”
Q: Jakobi Meyers said just a few minutes ago to reporters in the locker room that he was ‘trying to be a hero, trying to do too much.’ How much do you feel for him on that play?
Jones: “I think Jakobi is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. I mean, he’s a fighter, and he does everything he can to try and help the team. Obviously, you’d have to ask Coach [Belichick] about it and see what our plan was. At the end of the day, the guy’s out there fighting and trying to compete to win the game, and there’s a lot of things I could have done better in the game – like I said earlier – so we were not even in that situation. When I don’t play very well, we’re in that situation, and it’s terrible. It’s tough, but I love Jakobi, and I love all the guys on our team. It’s not to Jakobi’s fault. I think we just got to watch it and see what we can do better.”
Q: Situationally, with what you practiced at that point on the field, was a Hail Mary completely out of the discussion? Or was that in your mind going into that play?
Jones: “I think Coach Belichick makes the coaching decisions there, so we put a lot of emphasis on it and work really hard at it, but just got to do better with execution as players.”
Q: In the first half when you guys were unable to punch the ball over the goal line, what can you pinpoint for what went wrong in that situation?
Jones: “I think we just got to score more points early. A play is a play, and I didn’t execute enough good plays today. If you don’t do that, then you’re not going to score. Just a tough situation that definitely falls on me – I got to be better. I’m going to watch the tape, and do what I always do, and just try and get better. Tough deal, but just got to keep working.”
Q: Knowing the stakes of this game and your playoff chances and how you seemed to have this game at the end. Is this the most painful loss you’ve had?
Jones: “I think we want to win every game that we play in. And as a competitor, and as a team full of competitors, we want to have a better result. It stings, and it’s going to sting, but we’ve got more games to play, and we got to turn the page, and keep fighting; don’t quit. That’s the one thing we can’t do is quit. Just attack each day, and come together as a team, and do everything we can to become a better team.”
Q: What was the message from Coach Belichick in the locker room after the game?
Jones: “I think that’s personal to us and our team. Obviously, we’re all disappointed. Players, coaches, myself, everybody. Just a tough deal, and we put a lot into it, and love all these guys on this team. We’ve got more games to be played, like I said. And we got to watch the film, learn, and get better. It’s tough to say that right after the game, but it’s really all you can do. Disappointed and want to do better.”
Q: You were very complimentary of Jakobi Meyers as a teammate. What can you share was your message trying to console him after the game? And how do you hope you respond now with what’s at stake for the final three games?
Jones: “Like I said, Jakobi’s one of my closest buddies, he’s a great dude, and he’s a competitor. He’s going to keep working, and it doesn’t fall on him. It falls on all of us, falls on me. We’re all in this together, and we love each other. It’s what it comes down to – coming together, and building, and just trying to do the best we can. We just got to watch it, and get back to work here, and just keep working.”