Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on August 19, 2023.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (transcribed by Houston Texans)
"First off, great team effort, great team win. Any which way you can put that, proud of the guys. They went out there. They competed. Didn't matter who was in. So that was really good to see.
Tua, let's start with before the game. What was going through your mind before this ballgame knowing you'd be returning to the field for the first time in a long time?
"It was awesome. You get all the feelings that you normally feel of getting back out there again. Butterflies, anxious to get out there, all these thoughts going through your head. But I thought it felt really good being able to go out there, call plays with the guys, the camaraderie in the huddle. Things didn't go our way, adversity hit, and it was cool to see the guys respond."
What did you think of the interception on the first play?
"Yeah, it was just a bad play. That's really all it was, just bad quarterback play right there. That's not how you want to start out a drive any way you look at it. It was a bad play, but like I said, I'm glad with the way we responded because the next series, things were still jarred up with the first two plays and then we got into third down and things started to settle and we found our rhythm in the game."
Was it good to get that one out of your system?
"It's never good to do that. It doesn't matter which way you look at that. It's never good to turn the ball over. It's never good to throw a pick. I'm not happy about that, but like I said, I'm really happy for the guys that were in there that were able to go out and showcase their skills and be able to perform at the level they did today."
You took your first quarterback hit from the defender, I know one of the things you focused in the off season was making sure your head doesn't snap back and it seemed like you avoided that. After the fact, did that come to your mind? That the Jiu-Jitsu was really working there?
"Yeah, I would say yeah. The thing with that, I mean, you just have to continue to rep it. We do some things at the facility that help keep up with that. But it's football. There's hits that you're going to see that you know you can fall and then there's others where you're not going to be able to see, and it's how you react to it. It's a physical sport. It's tough. But yeah, went out there and was expecting to get hit, was expecting to go to the ground, all of that."
On the interception, my friend Dave pointed out that you spun towards the guy with the ball. In the future would you think about not getting involved in the tackle, or is that something you're just not going to be able to avoid?
"I mean, as a quarterback, I understand the whole outlook of, okay, like he threw an interception, try not to get hurt while you're trying to make a tackle. But on top of throwing the interception, what's even worse than that is the guy scoring when he intercepts the ball. I think for me, I'm going to do the best that I can to make a play, and if not, then so be it."
Would you feel that the operation and flow of the second drive is what led to converting those 3rd downs?
"Yeah. We definitely got into a good flow, and it was both the run game and the pass game. When we needed to run, I felt like we did the things necessary to gain some yards, and when we had to pass the ball, I thought we executed really well."
As the game kept progressing and the offense kept scoring touchdowns, you always ran on to the field to celebrate with your teammates. What was going through your mind when the touchdowns just kept coming?
"Yeah, I don't think people outside looking in understand the amount of work that these guys put in day in and day out. There's a lot of guys that have the luxury to slough off because they are who they are. But the guys that don't have that luxury and don't have that opportunity, the amount of work that they put in day in and day out, it's tough. So, to be able to see them go out and execute and execute at a high level regardless of who's out there on the field, I mean, you're just happy for them. You see the reward that is out there when they've worked so hard their entire lives. Guys are all competing for a job. Everyone is competing for a job. I thought that was something super, super cool, and I just wanted to be there to support those guys as much as I could, both offensively and defensively."
What did you think of QB Skylar Thompson's game?
"I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. Three touchdowns? What do you mean? Any which way you call that, that's awesome. He led those guys, and it was both the twos and the threes, due to some unfortunate circumstances. But I'm very happy for him. He got into a groove with the group that he was with, and he balled."
If the team can run the ball the way it did today, what impact do you think that will have on the offense?
"I think it'll have a big impact. You could see through the games last year when we were able to run the ball how efficient we were on first, second, third. It didn't matter, because the defense didn't know what to expect. When we're able to do that, we're able to play on our terms, and we're able to play fast, physical, and play with elite type things, so it's good."
Are you happy right now?
"Am I happy right now? Anytime we can get a win, I'm happy. Big shout-out, Annah, Ace, if you guys are watching, love you guys."