Quotes from Dennis Allen and the Oakland Raiders players press conferences from raiders.com following their 21-18 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Head Coach Dennis Allen
We want to make sure the fans got their money’s worth. Obviously, we got off to a fast start with our defense having a couple of 3-and-outs to start the game. I thought the big run for Terrelle [Pryor] was a huge play in the game, to be able to start off and get that type of momentum in a game against a defense where you know they haven’t given up a lot of explosive plays. And for us to start the game that way was huge and I was pleased with some of the things I saw from Darren [McFadden]. He had a couple rushing touchdowns; I thought that was good to see. I thought our coaches did a nice job of having a few little wrinkles in there, some of the gadget plays down there in the red zone, that gave us an opportunity to score some touchdowns when we had those opportunities down there. And that’s what we have to be able to continue to be able to do; we have to be able to score touchdowns when we get in the red zone. We were better at doing that today. I thought our defense was outstanding. I thought they were outstanding all game long. Couple of times they got put in some tough situations. We turned the ball over right before the half, which can’t happen. And our defense goes right back out there and stops them. They did a great job. They made a lot of plays. The interception by Tracy Porter was a huge play in the game. Mike Jenkins making a huge play in the game. I thought those guys did a great job. Things that we have to get better at – we still have to learn how to finish better. You get a team and you’re 21-3, now listen, we all knew this is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re not going to throw in the towel. They’re not going to give up. But when you get that type of lead, you have to have that killer instinct and we’ve got to be able to come out and be more effective in the second half of the football game. It’s really the second-consecutive home game where we’ve started out fast and haven’t been able to finish our opponent off. But we made enough plays at the end of the game to win the game and that’s what’s the most critical. So we’ll take a look at the tape, we’ll make the adjustments we have to make. It’s always better to make those adjustments and corrections after win. Our guys should feel good about themselves, coaches and players, because I thought we did a great job coming off the bye, handled that the right way and I thought our guys were ready to play. That’s a tribute to both those coaches in that locker room and the players.
On the offense in the 2nd half
I think it’s more about execution. You got opportunities to make plays and we didn’t make the plays when we had the opportunities. And there wasn’t a ton of possessions in the second half. They got the ball on the first drive of the second half and I think they ate up about 10 minutes of the clock. That’s going to limit your ability to be effective when you don’t have many possessions. But we have to do a better job in those clock management type of games. Listen, it’s 21-3. I knew what type of game this was going to be; points were going to be hard to come by. Our defense was playing extremely well. I didn’t want to do anything that was going to give them an opportunity to get back into the game, so we wanted to be able to run the ball. We wanted to be able to get some quick, short passes out. When we call those short passes, we have to be able to complete some short passes so we can keep the clock running. I think we just have to do a better job of understanding situations and managing situations.
On if Steelers defended read-option plays differently after Pryor TD
No, not really. Really, that’s what the read-option does. It makes you be exactly right on every single play. Obviously, they closed down pretty hard on the first play of the game and Terrelle was able to keep it and we got a big gain on it. Then there were some other plays in the game where they did a better job of defending it. I don’t think they really did a whole lot different schematically to stop it.
On specific issues in the 2nd half
We didn’t complete the ball when we had opportunities to complete the ball. And we didn’t block them as good as we needed to block them in the second half. It’s really not complicated, it’s just block them, catch it, throw it, it’s pretty easy.
On making that first play call
It was just something…Listen, we wanted to get it into the game. We wanted to give Terrelle a chance to get in the flow of the game and give him some easy plays to start the game. He did a great job of making the right read and when you execute the play and you read it out properly, you have a chance to get explosive plays. I’m glad he was able to run it for 93 yards. That’s pretty fast.
On when they decided to make Pryor’s read-option play the 1st play of game
I think we ended up making that decision on Saturday morning. That’s kind of what we end up doing as far as…we kind of have a menu of plays that you want to start the game out, your openers.
On Pryor making the right read
As the play unfolded. It’s option football. You have a guy you’re keying and he did a good job of that. That’s something we had to look at with this team because some of the different looks you can get make it a little more difficult.
On the Raiders pass rush
I thought our guys up front did a great job. I thought we were able to get pressure on the quarterback in a variety of different ways, not always with bringing extra rushers. I thought our four-man rush was able to do a good job of getting some pressure on the quarterback. We were around him a lot in the passing game. Obviously, he’s a big, strong guy and he’s hard to get on the ground. He was able to get out of a couple of sack opportunities and make some plays down the field, but I thought our defense, I thought those guys flew around. I thought they did a great job in the game.
On Rashad Jennings’ special teams play
That’s what you expect out of a guy that’s been around, been a pro. That’s what these guys get paid to do; they get paid to make the plays that they’re supposed to make. I thought he did a great job. He’s been great for us in special teams. He’s done a nice job of coming in and filling in for Darren when Darren goes out. He’s obviously been a valued asset for our football team.
On reassessing Jacoby Ford at punt return
I think we have to look at everything. We all feel good about winning a game, but we have to understand is you put the ball on the ground in a game like that, you’re giving them an opportunity to get back in the game and you can’t do that. Good football teams, they don’t do that. And part of it is I think they make some plays, but part of it is just our ability to focus in. Right before the half, we have a pass that hits Brice right in the hands and pops up and they get an interception. Jacoby’s play on the punt return that could have been a huge play in the game, luckily we got the call in our favor. What I’m going to visit with our guys about is you have to understand what wins and loses in this game. When you’re in these games like this, the only way they have a chance to get back in the game is for you to turn the ball over and make mistakes and we can’t do that.
On momentum heading into next few games
We need to take it one game at a time. We have the Philadelphia Eagles coming in here next week. We’re going to have to do a great job in preparation. We’re going to have to play well to have a chance to win that football game. I think that’s the mindset we have to have. We can’t look into the future. All we control is what happens this week. We can’t control anything that happened in the past. We can’t control anything that’s going to happen down the road. All we can handle is this week and so our guys are going to be focused in on the Philadelphia Eagles this week.
On facing Steelers last year and this year
We are better in the secondary. We do a better job of covering. We do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us. Obviously, those guys are doing a nice job of understanding what we’re trying to ask them to do. I think our secondary has really allowed us to do some different things from a defensive standpoint. They’re not the only reason, but they’re a big part of it. I think because of that we’ve been able, JT [Jason Tarver], has been able to implement a few more things that we want to try to do defensively. We can get a little more aggressive.
Nothing more than the normal bumps and bruises. Obviously, we’ll get in tomorrow and have a better feel, but everybody was able to finish the game today.
On why he was confident in the defense coming into the season
I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen and I knew coming into this season that this football team had the right mindset. I knew we had pros that wanted to come to work everyday, that were going to be unselfish, that were going to put the team first. I knew we didn’t have a lot of big names; we probably wouldn’t do very good in Hollywood, but I knew they were football players. They’ve done a great job for us so far. We’re almost halfway through the season, so we have a long way to go, but I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to improve.
On the personal foul flag on Mike Jenkins that was picked up
Number one, I thought the ball was kind of bouncing around a little bit. Looked like Mike went for the ball. They said it was a hit to the head. I don’t know exactly who it changed, but one of the other officials on the other side I guess came in and said that it wasn’t a hit to the head.
On P Marquette King’s tackle
Yeah, I’d rather it not get back to Marquette, but at least he got him down.
On the win
Like coach said, we started fast, the defense was playing good; it’s a team win, whether we play great or the defense plays great. I think we had a phenomenal first half and then our defense had a phenomenal second half, so at the end of the day it’s a team win. Very proud we got a W and sure did.
On his 93-yard touchdown run
When I gashed out I was like alright, he has to block (Troy) Polamalu; I was saying that in my head, like Polamalu has to get blocked. When I was coming around the corner I saw Ryan Clark flying over with Darren on the fake, so if he gets this block on Polamalu, I’m going straight up and going to the house. Rod (Streater) did a good job of not holding or anything, no penalty, and it was a great play.
On the running game
I’m very proud of the offense, the offensive line, Darren (McFadden), Marcel (Reece), the outside guys blocking. We had the run game going very good.
On playing the Steelers
It’s just another game, another team in the roadblock. They have a phenomenal coach, coach (Mike) Tomlin, phenomenal defense, phenomenal offense, and a great players over there. Big respect to them, they fought back well. It’s just another game. If you really think of it like that, you get too excited and things don’t go well, so in my mind it was just another game and team we had to beat.
On the game
It was good for everyone’s confidence. Coming back [after] we haven’t played ball in a long time it was just good to come out and strike first and strike fast because the Steelers are a good team. Traditionally they play very good defense so we knew we had our work cut out for us, so to come out and score early was pretty good.
On the offense’s fast start
I think it was just good work by everybody. I think our staff put together a good plan and we worked at it all week. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Thankfully I have a little bit of familiarity [with the Steelers] from playing against them every year in my career, from Jacksonville to here. I kind of know how [DE Brett] Keisel plays, how [S Troy] Polamalu plays, how Willy plays and those guys play, so I try to give insights to the other guys on the line. But it was just everybody; it wasn’t one set person. It was our staff, us executing during practice, and us staying course on the field and just executing what was called. So I think it just goes out to everybody doing a good job of staying on schedule.
On the significance of the win
If we go to 2-5 you have a tough road ahead of you, but 3-4, win next week and we’re at .500 and who knows what happens. It’s a huge step and important coming off the bye to get going in the right direction.
On the offense’s struggles in the second half
I think we just stopped executing. We had some opportunities there. The runs weren’t getting as many [yards] as they were in the first half and [there were] some missed opportunities on some pass plays and it was one thing here, one thing there. The Steelers were certainly loading up the box up against the run, but even still we’re getting one yard when we need to get three or four even if they’re loading up there, and then hopefully make some plays in the passing game with all those guys down there.
On Terrelle Pryor’s 93-yard touchdown run
I didn’t know if he was going to keep it or not. It’s a read play and he just so happened to pull it and he smoked around the end for 93 yards. [It’s] one of the longest plays in Raider history so that’s something you can be proud of any time.
On winning the first game after the bye
It’s a victory for us. Using that bye week to get healthy, we got a couple of guys back healthy so to come out here and get a victory meant a lot to us.
On the offense’s struggles in the second half
We have some things that we still need to clean up. We went out there, we played hard, we fought hard and we came away with the victory.
On Pryor’s athleticism
Being able to see a guy go 93 yards, not many people can do that. Being able to see him go 93 yards just makes you very happy and you know you have a great quarterback back there.
On how the play developed
I talked to one of their defensive players, Ryan Clark, [and he] told me that he worked on tackling me in the middle all week. That’s what he was juiced up about and Terrelle just went around the end.
On Raiders five sacks
We made it our job to make sure we harassed the quarterback throughout the day and stop the run and we were able to do that. And the biggest thing is we were able to do that when it came down to the fourth quarter and were able to finish.
On first sack of the day
For me, it’s just about rolling off, getting off and just trying to do my job the best that I can, and getting better each and every week. I’m happy that things are starting to go in that direction and it’s because coaches are trusting me more and more and giving me more to do.
On how hard it is to take down Roethlisberger
Yeah, you have to hold on for dear life a little bit with Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a good quarterback and he knows how to escape guys; half the time you think he’s sacked. The biggest thing we were saying throughout the week was when he’s down, he’s not down, so keep going.
On holding Pittsburgh to 35 yards rushing
Like I was saying, as far as running the ball, or stopping the run, it’s a mentality thing. It’s football, but it’s more mentality and the biggest thing we want to do is that we stop the run and I’m glad we come up on top.
On seeking .500 record
I can smell the film. I can smell the film and taking a look at this film because everything wasn’t perfect. We played well but it wasn’t perfect so get to the film and let it transition into Philadelphia and then we prepare for Philadelphia because you can’t jump to a win. Nothing is given, as you can see by how hard that game was. We prepare for the week and come out Sunday and try to do it again.
CB Mike Jenkins
On defensive philosophy for the game
We just wanted to come out and be on the same page. I feel like we’ve been playing pretty good football these last few weeks and we came out today, we had a task ahead of us; we just wanted to get the W. We knew what we had to do and we came out and executed.
On interception of Ben Roethlisberger
I just wrapped my keys. Just pretty much doing what I needed to do. I was in the right spot at the right time and I made a play.
On what was said in the locker room post game
There definitely was some hoo’s and ha’s. Everybody was happy; there was a lot of joy in here. We just want to keep it going, stay on the same page and get it next week.
On what made him effective during the game
Just showing different looks. We came out and we disguised very good today. You have to get out to the safeties, and we all played together so hopefully we did a good job confusing them. He [Roethlisberger] gave us some balls and we capitalized on them.
On pass rush against Roethlisberger
The important thing was for the most part; when we got hands on Ben [Roethlisberger] we got him down. There was a couple of times like on the touchdown where we could have gotten him but he ended up making a play for the touchdown but those guys did a great job of the guy that hit him got him down. If he was escaping, somebody else would get him down and that’s huge against Ben because he makes so many plays, shedding guys off of him, spinning out of tackles and today our guys got him down to the ground.
On view of Terrelle Pryor’s first quarter touchdown
Initially I saw D Mac [Darren McFadden] carrying out the fake and I heard the crowd screaming and I was trying to figure out what they were screaming for, and all of a sudden T. Pryor is at the 50-yard- line running the ball. Obviously, it was a fake and we have a quarterback that can take it the distance.
On if defense is better than he thought it would
I think we’re a good defense, we still have a lot of room for improvement but I’ve said before, I thought at minicamp and training camp, the way we practice and what I see out of the guys we could be a good defense. We’ve been able to put some wins together and played some really good defensive games. I think the guys on this defense and the coaches will still go back and say, ‘hey, how can we eliminate the touchdowns?’ If we can do that we’re talking about being even better.
On how the remaining schedule is shaping up: You have to go out and play every game. It isn’t about the schedule or the records of people we’re going to play. Anybody can win any week and we don’t want to sit here and have our chins in the air about one game. We got this win, it feels good and it’s still about going out and working and getting yourself better as a team.