Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022.
(Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
(Second straight week where we've seen the offense really go down the field and score a lot of points, but on the other side of the ball the defense struggled to get stops until late. Is this type of play sustainable? From one side of the ball playing this well to the other side not being able to get stops for much of the afternoon?) – "I kind of see it the opposite way. I see that – I see a strong example of complementary football. There's been instances all season that I'm really fired up about with the team where one phase, the whole stadium and both teams can feel that they don't have momentum right now. For this game, it was defensively – (the Bears) were able to convert some stuff and really stay on the field and dominate time of possession for the first three quarters, really. But what I'm happy about is the resolve. Of course, you want to dominate your opponent. They get paid to … They did a good job not – we were hoping to get some turnovers, and they didn't really give us opportunities to. They were very strategic in how they approached the game plan, I feel like and keeping the ball out of our hands. To their credit, Justin Fields is as dynamic with the ball in his hands as any player in the league, really. It will never be sustainable for one side of the ball to dominate in the National Football League anyway. It's hard to within one game. What I'm just happy about is when the offense wasn't able to score points, the defense found their best play, and that's what we're going to build on moving forward."
(178 yards from QB Justin Fields running. What did you see that allowed him to be that successful and really keep that offense going for them) – "That was a big point of emphasis going into the game, just knowing how he's really helped really change that offense's complexion the last couple weeks. So, you do your best. There was a couple missed tackles live that I saw that you'd love to have. But ultimately, you just have to continue to stress rush lanes, and we've got to improve on our plan that we were trying to execute, that type of – you run into those type of players once in a while in the National Football League, and you've got to be able to take away what they're doing really well. We were able to do that for probably the first three quarters, but I'm just happy that we did in the fourth."
(On the fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, you chose to go for it. A field goal would have made it a six-point game and you chose to go for it. Did that have everything to do with the missed field goal earlier in the day?) – "It had to do with the elements, which direction we were going. I wasn't – Every decision is independent really in those situations. I know we've had a lot of situations where I have gone for it. That doesn't mean I'm a riverboat type guy and that I'm just going to do that all the time. But in this particular situation, had we been going the opposite end, we probably would have kicked it. But that was a – in this stadium in general, it's kind of a whirling, unpredictable gust type situation. I just thought it was safer in playing to the style of game a little bit more to go ahead and go. Didn't work out, but it was definitely influenced by the weather and which direction we were going."
(In that same sequence, what happened for you to burn those two timeouts?) – "There was one timeout where I think there was a huddle situation. Another one, it was probably the second time all year that I was going to get him the play that I wanted too late, probably with like 19 seconds on the clock. So instead of trying to rush it, I just let it bleed out and tried to get the appropriate play. There was a situation that the communication in the huddle was a little off one of the timeouts, and there was another situation where it was me just choosing to do that because I was going to get it in too late."
(Off of that first question, is QB Tua Tagovailoa keeping… Do you see a growth week to week in his keeping composure and maturity whatever is hitting you guys defensively? Do you see a growth over time?) – "It's really – the growth really since we started, I think our first team meeting was April 4th. So in seven months' time, the growth has been unbelievable in how he's playing the position, learning the whole system, and then how he's handling the ebbs and flows of natural in-game momentum. I saw it again today. He didn't really give the defense an opportunity to take the ball away, really, and then he just continues to impress by being — through the course of the game, just taking it one play at a time. The players themselves can really feel the visceral confidence and energy that he's bringing forth to play the position and responding to it on both sides of the ball, I feel like."
(What did LB Bradley Chubb and RB Jeff Wilson Jr. offer to the team today?) – "Oh, it was very, very good play by both of them. The particular individuals, not just their skills but the human beings, getting them this week was exactly what we had hoped. They're the type of people that are both physical but team guys and very talented. So that really paid off all week, had everyone real excited. I think that it paid off in several people's statistics defensively. The rotation – guys were able to be a little bit more fresh. (Bradley Chubb) was in and around the ball a ton. Then Jeff (Wilson Jr.) was exactly what I had known from my experience with him. He's a big-game player that really thrives when his number is called upon, and to bring that aggressiveness and then made a couple plays in the pass game that were pretty cool. (I'm) really happy with those two guys – glad they're with us."
(With the score on special teams, your perspective of LB Jaelan Phillip's blocking the punt and then LB Andrew Van Ginkel?) – "We were hoping – we knew we were going to shoot our shot, so to speak, and try to get one. When you have those opportunities, not only do you have to get home, but you have to be on the spot. For Jaelan (Phillips) to come through like that was phenomenal and to turn it into immediate points with (Andrew) Van Ginkel's scoop-and-score, it's pretty cool that I think those two also with – maybe that doesn't happen if that group isn't as fresh, and we can't use them as much on special teams. So the whole team benefits when everyone is playing and contributing. It was awesome to see those guys flourish then."
(In the first half, we saw you guys work going down pretty easily. I think there was about 40 seconds left and you had an illegal formation that pushed you back and you had to burn the timeout to save the time. You ended up kicking a field goal, but can you just kind of walk me through what happened there?) – "So kind of the mode of operation, or what we're trying to do, is you have the ball, and you're trying to have one or two things happen. You're either finishing the half with points or the ball, because that ensures that the other side doesn't get an opportunity, which is what our kind of mode was. You'll see at the end of halves, there will be times where we're moving the ball well, but we're taking the whole 40-second clock knowing that we have a chance to lap them in the second half, getting the ball back. The 12-men kind of threw me off a hair. So then after we called the third-down play and it was surprisingly short – I was thinking it was going to be a first down just by the depth of the route, so I immediately took a timeout right after the completion. In hindsight, had I known that it would have been fourth-and-short and we didn't get enough distance, I would have waited until like four seconds before I called the timeout. But there was solid execution. There were a couple things that we can learn from, and then I will adjust my vantage point because my angle from where the spot was and where the first-down chains ended up hurting us in that given moment."
(I apologize if you've been asked this before. There are a lot of running quarterbacks, a lot of mobile guys. What was it about QB Justin Fields that made the running element so difficult to contain?) – "Well, he's as fast as any skill position runner. Like he is really, really fast, and he can cut and break tackles. There are a lot of running quarterbacks. This one in particular, I think, is very elite and adept at that. In those type of situations, it ultimately comes down to like an arm tackle a lot of times and a difference between a sack and a 40-yard explosive, so you have to go back to the drawing board. Then when you ultimately are in a situation against a player like that, you have to recognize how big of arm tackles those are, where you're half engaged with a lineman and you've got an arm on the guy, you've got to find a way to wrap up a leg or do something like that, because he makes those very small windows of opportunity to these gigantic (windows) very fast. We had a plan. They definitely got the better of us in that regard, so we'll take a look at the tape and see how we can improve, because that's something that will always be the case in this league. There's going to be dynamic players at that position."
(WR Tyreek Hill had a big day, 20-yards per catch. He has over 1,000 yards for the season now. There was one play in particular, it was his 39-yard catch, I think it was in the second quarter. He's in a bunch formation on the right side.) – "Yup, I know the one."
(I wanted you to kind explain that route to me because it was so cool, he kind of like casually walked a couple steps and then burst down. I wanted to know what you see in him in that and what exactly that route is for him?) – "There are certain times where you can utilize his unparalleled zero-to-60 burst. In that particular play, he was an option for the quarterback that if they gave us a certain coverage and they were attacking internally with man coverage, attacking internally on the inside part of the field, that he'd be able to find his way through traffic and we could layer something out there. It's something that you're not really afforded that option to do a play like that that comes up a ton. With our players, we're able to do some pretty cool stuff that is just kind of like abstract creative thought with a lot of guys. But with him in particular, he can find his way through traffic, and then the key is that him and Tua (Tagovailoa) are on the same page, which they were, and it was a very big play in the second quarter."