Here are some highlights from Doug Pederson and Zach Ertz’s postgame press conferences after the Eagles' 32-30 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
On what he was thinking when the Texans rallied to take a late lead:
We’ve got time and timeouts again, and I have a lot of confidence in the offense. That’s something that we work on a lot. It was a two-minute drive and tempo offense. And you know, this league has always been about players making plays, and a lot of credit to the offense today for putting us in that position to win this game.
On Nick Foles coming back into the game after taking a big hit that sidelined him for a play:
That’s just Nick. He’s always been calm in and around his preparation during the week, and then of course leading up to the game. He’s a guy that just wants to continue to help the team win, and dish the ball and put it in our playmakers’ hands and, you know, really not get much credit, just let the other guys do it.
And even after taking that hit and then going back in, I thought it took a lot of courage and guts at that point to want to finish the game and come back in. It’s just a credit to Nick.
On whether the Eagles are playing their best football of the season right now:
I think so. I think these last three, four, five games I think things have kind of picked up for us. I do feel like at this time of the year, if you want any kind of momentum - if you get a chance to go to the postseason - you need to be playing your best football now. And I think that’s what we’re doing at this time.
On being able to go into Week 17 with something to play for after his team was written off multiple times this season:
It’s everything. These guys were so excited to be still in the hunt. We talk about controlling things that we can control. Well, we get to control our destiny a little bit. We get to make our own and create our own.
These guys never quit. They don’t quit. And it would have been easy today just to let your guard down at the end and not finish the game. But again, it’s a veteran group, a resilient group They hang together and find a way to win, and as a head coach that’s all you can ask for, really.
On the game-winning drive:
I think that fourth quarter, those circumstances, it’s kind of been the epitome of our season – and we did not blink. The guys in the huddle were so confident, [Nick] Foles was so confident, everyone was so calm. I mean, we’ve been in that situation so many times together, and no one flinched, and I think that’s the mark of a good team.
Obviously, the season isn’t exactly where we thought it would be, but a lot of guys would have kind of mailed it in. To be up 29-16 with four minutes in, then to be down in the blink of an eye, it’s tough. But guys didn’t blink. Guys stayed together. That’s the mark of this team. We’re always going to stick together. We truly care and love one another I think you can see that each time you interact with the guys in the locker room.
It’s not an individual game for us by any means. Guys just want to play to the best of their abilities for each other, and I think that’s the mark of a great team.
On Nick Foles’ return after taking a big hit that sidelined him for a play:
Obviously, the place went crazy. But we just wanted to make sure he was good. And I think the way he jogged off the field, everyone thought he was going to be good. He sat out a play and came back and led us down the field like he seems to do.
He played out of his mind. To set the franchise record for passing yards is incredible. He’s just an unbelievable player, an unbelievable person. He’s so calm. His demeanor is so calm. And he’s a really good player.
On the hit that knocked him out for a play:
It was a great hit. He got a good one on me. The trainers got out there, I was able to get my breath back - my ribs are a little sore, but all in all I feel great. I had to go out for a play, and Nate went in, and great experience for him to go into a game. But then I was ready to roll, and I felt great.
On the big cheer he got when he came back:
I’ll have to see a different copy [of the tape ] I was more focused on just the people in front of me and knowing if we caught the ball or not. I had no idea if Alshon [Jeffery] had caught the ball [on the pass that Foles threw on the play] or anything, so I was trying to figure out what the scenario was. But the crowd was amazing today. It’s always a joy to come out here and play in the Linc and wear this jersey. They were amazing and, you know, we’re grateful for that.
On being upset when the Texans weren’t called for grabbing his face mask on the failed two-point conversion attempt:
That’s not what I normally do. But I also know that John [Parry, the referee] and I had a talk later. It’s hard for them to see very angle and I understand that. I was just a little upset and I shouldn’t do that. I was fired up a little bit. You know, it’s a game. We’re going out there to win against one of the best teams in the NFL right now. We were able to calm back down, get the crowd going and ultimately get a W.
On what he said to the referee in that conversation:
I just asked him if he saw what I felt, and he didn’t at the time. But we had a great conversation later. It’s a hard job to see everything, so they did the best they could. (edited)
On his role in building camaraderie across the team, including Chris Long’s shrine to him in the locker room:
Chris is a character. We have a long history together. Love him. I think the big thing is, I just want to be me. I want the guys to know that when I go in there, that’s who I am. When I step in the huddle, I’m not going to change, when we’re at a restaurant or out in public. I want to be who I am, I want to be genuine. I think that’s a powerful thing.
There’s a lot of times when we try to be politically correct and we don’t get to show our personalities. I know Doug says it, I know Andy Reid said it, but they always taught me: let your personalities show. You know, we all come together as a team, we have x’s and o’s, but the way teams win is there’s personalities. Let them play, let them play, stick with one another, and you’re seeing a lot of that throughout the game. You’re seeing a lot of that in practice, in meetings. And that’s really important. That’s what a family is. Everyone’s different, but everyone can come together [for] a common goal. Tonight was a fun night for all of us to do that.
On whether he had thought before the game about the possibility of it being his last time playing a home game for the Eagles:
Yeah, it did. It’s emotional. Like I said, I love playing in Philly. I knew there was a chance this could be it. And you know, I don’t think about the future but I am aware of that. Because this city means a lot to me, this team means a lot to me, wearing that jersey means a lot to me.
A couple weeks ago, when I ran out of the tunnel, I didn’t expect to play. I’m there to support the team and do what I can. And I got emotional then, because I knew that there was a chance it was coming to an end. But at the end of the day, I am very grateful for every opportunity to play here, to play in front of our fans, to wear that jersey. No matter what, no one can ever take that away from me.
And this was a special one tonight. I don’t know what the future holds. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to focus on now, enjoy just being in Philadelphia, enjoy the people, enjoy wearing this jersey, because it’s some of the most special moments of my life.
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