Dungy: A Big Win In A Lot Of Ways

Tony Dungy updated the media and talked about Sunday's win in Pittsburgh on Monday. See what the Colts head coach had to say about the win, the team's narrow escape on the final Hail Mary, the strong play of Keiwan Ratliff since being re-signed, how Marvin Harrison is working through his struggles, new defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, and more!

On Sunday's win at Pittsburgh:

"I thought it was a big win for us in a lot of ways. We went on the road and beat a good team, and that's always gratifying. To win like we did, coming from 10 (points) down, that's not easy to do, especially there. That is certainly a team you don't want to fall behind and have to get one-dimensional and have to throw to win. But, we got the big interception from (DB) Keiwan (Ratliff) that got us back in the game so we didn't face that uphill battle in the second half of having to throw. I thought that was big. We did some things well. Number one, taking care of the football and not turning it over. We still got hit by some of the penalties, which I don't like to see. We had some fundamental errors, but all in all, I thought we played hard, we held together and won a game that we needed to make plays in the fourth quarter to win. So, that was positive."

On if the team has to go on a streak to make the playoffs:

"You really do. It's hard to win two, lose one, win one, lose one and win enough games to get there. That's how we've been in the first half of the year, and we talked about starting off the second half of the year. We got our first win, but now we have to put one together. We have a chance, coming back home, to get win number two of the second half and build on it. It'll be critical to have a good performance (vs. Houston) and play better than we did against Pittsburgh."

On what he has seen that shows him the team is ready to go on a winning streak:

"We're playing a little bit better. We've played three really good teams in the last three weeks, and had three good performances, which we hadn't really had those good performances back to back. I think we're practicing better. We just have to now make that show up in the game situation."

On defending the Hail Mary pass at Pittsburgh:

"We didn't quite get lined up the way we normally would if we had time to set up for that play. We normally are going to have one guy jump and try to knock the ball down. It ended up OK, but not the way we practice it if we were going to diagram it for the last play of the game."

On DB-Melvin Bullitt's play on the pass:

"It was a good, smart play. He knew (DB) Tim Jennings was going to go up for it, and he did a really smart, veteran-type thing, and fortunately was there to get it. That would have been a heartbreaking way to lose. It was a good catch."

On players stepping up at Pittsburgh:

"That's what it takes. You have to get big plays from a number of guys. It's funny, we talked about it. I had mentioned going there a couple of times myself and winning games where we got contributions from young guys. I talked to the team about (K) Adam Vinatieri, when he was with New England, going there and winning in the (2002 AFC) Championship Game with a blocked field goal and a punt return. We just said, ‘You never know who's going to make the big play.' We had to have all 53 guys feeling like they could make one for us to win, and we did. Some defensive backs stepped up with some big interceptions, the defensive line play, not only (DT) Eric (Foster), but (DT) Antonio Johnson went in there and gave us some good play, (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) coming off the bench and giving us some good runs and that big catch. It is kind of gratifying when it's not just your starting players, but it's everyone."

On WR-Marvin Harrison:

"He's 100 percent. It's just one of those stretches we're going through. We have taken those plays for granted ever since I've been here, that we're normally going to get two or three deep shots, and when we get them and get them set up, they're usually touchdowns. (WR) Reggie (Wayne) catches two tipped balls where he's covered pretty well, and we have Marvin open and haven't been able to hit him. We just have to keep working, but he's 100 percent. Hopefully, we'll hit some of those in the second half of the year."

On if he allows Harrison to just work though the trouble:

"He's practicing and working. If he wasn't getting open and wasn't getting behind people, I'd be concerned. But, every game we seem to get him behind people. Like I said, we've taken those for granted. I think we'll hit them in the future."

On if starting Harrison gives the team its best chance to win:

"I think so, yes. Otherwise I wouldn't be starting him, I can promise you that."

On Harrison going back into the game after it was announced he had a concussion:

"I apologize to you, because I wasn't aware that that was announced. I said that (Sunday) night, but it was announced. I don't know what to tell you about that, other than the fact that he was evaluated and sent back in the game. I promise you, if he had a concussion and he wasn't able to play, he wouldn't have been in the game. We're very, very cautious about that. We've had guys out for a long time with concussions, so he was evaluated and allowed to go back in the game."

On if making the playoffs is in the team's control:

"It is, in a way, because we're playing a lot of the teams that are contending with us and we'll have a chance to have a good AFC record, which is the number-one tiebreaker, if we continue to win. If we win 11 or 12 games, I think we'll be in there. If you win nine, you probably won't. If you win 10, it's going to be dicey, so we just have to keep winning and not put it in other people's hands, not worry about tiebreakers. We just have to keep winning."

On if he is surprised so many teams still have a chance to make the playoffs:

"Not really. It's always like that, it's just for the last five or six years, we haven't really had to think about it too much. But, it's no different than it has been in the past. Three weeks from now, there will be a few less, and then three weeks from there, there will be a few less. But, it's probably no different than it always has been."

On if DB-Kelvin Hayden will return this week:

"We'll look at it and see. Hopefully, he'll be able to practice on Wednesday. I'd say it's still iffy right now, but it would be nice to get him back."

On the goal-line stop in the 4th quarter:

"That's really just goal-line charge, something we've been working on. We hadn't been very effective at it, but we got some penetration (Sunday) night. They ran the same play five times and scored twice. We kept looking at the pictures, ‘Here's where they're going to run.' The same guy went in motion. By that time, you had to have an idea of what was coming. The last two times, we got some good penetration and stopped it."

On the last time the team had a goal-line stand:

"We had one in Cleveland, opening day of '03, the 9-6 game. That was the last one I remember."

On DB-Keiwan Ratliff:

"Keiwan's a smart player. He has great ball skills. He has a lot of things you look for. He's had that perseverance that a coach appreciates. When he's the last guy on the totem pole and gets released, you say, ‘Hey, stay alive. Leave us your phone number. If we can get some guys healthy, we'll bring you back.' He's always done that. He's been ready. He hasn't looked at it like, ‘Gee, they're mistreating me.' When we call him, he's ready to go, and he's come in and played well with not too much notice the last two weeks."

On Ratliff's tackling at Pittsburgh:

"We said it was going to be that type of game, where their receivers block really well. We didn't think they would let (DB) Bob Sanders free, so our corners were going to have to make some tackles, and they did. They came in and blocked our safeties, and he and (DB) Tim Jennings did a good job tackling."

On how the run defense played at Pittsburgh:

"Believe it or not, kind of average. (Pittsburgh) had some runs that we didn't play well enough and runs that we can play better. Overall, you look at the numbers, it was OK, but probably not a whole lot different. I think we can still do some things better."

On the team's run defense:

"We're getting better. We're improving. Guys are getting a better feel of what we're supposed to do and playing more consistently. But, again, we had some that shouldn't have gotten out, some five- and six-yard runs (Sunday) night that really should have been one- or two-yarders. I think we're still not quite there yet."

On KO returns:

"It's not good enough right now. We're a little inconsistent there. We've had some good blocking at times. It was tough (Sunday), because you couldn't really tell where the ball was going to be kicked with the wind, and you couldn't predict how you wanted to return. But, (WR) Pierre (Garcon) has done some good things. He hasn't run behind his blocking at times. We can be better, and we'll continue to work at it. We can't let them start at the 37 or 38 (yard line), which they did twice, once with the penalty and once with a good return, and then we're starting at the 23 or 24. Against good teams, you can't afford to give up that kind of field position, so we have to be better."

On if he prefers not to throw the ball 40 times per game:

"You have to do what you have to do and what the game dictates. I thought we ran effectively, for the most part. The way Pittsburgh plays, you're not going to get a lot of big runs. We got some runs that we needed to get. We converted a couple of 3rd-and-shorts running the ball. We hit their blitzes a couple of times running away from the blitz and got some runs. That's a tough team to run against. We got 24 points when they're usually giving up 12 or 13, so it was a good game for us. There will be other teams that we have to run better against because of the defense that they play. We have to run better than we have been. (Sunday) was a start."

On running well inside the red zone:

"When we get to the red zone, we have a lot of offensive weaponry out there and a lot of receivers that people worry about, so you get different coverages and you get different looks. We don't get as much blitzing down there, and we are able to run the ball some. But, I don't get too caught up with, ‘Are we running? Are we throwing?' If we're being effective and when we do run, they're effective runs. In the red zone, we've been very efficient, especially in the last three weeks."

On if AFC games mean as much as division games at this point in the season:

"They really do. I told that to the team after the Tennessee game, ‘We're playing New England, we're playing Pittsburgh, we're playing Houston, and San Diego the next week. These are all teams that you're in the hunt for that wild-card spot with.' Head-to-head will probably be the first tiebreaker with somebody, and then the next thing is going to be AFC record, so you have to win all these games against these AFC teams, especially the ones that are in the wild-card chase with you."

On if the team's demeanor has changed the last two weeks:

"No, not really. I think we're just playing a little bit better. Getting some guys back helps you, and we're a little bit healthier. But, I think guys still feel like we've dug ourselves a hole. We aren't digging down anymore, but we're still in the hole."

On DE-Dwight Freeney:

"Dwight played well. He was a little frustrated. He wasn't having a lot of production the last couple of weeks. We felt like if we could take away their running game and get them in situations where they had to throw, we'd have a chance to rush them. He rushed well. He had two sacks, missed a couple of sacks, but was much more like the Dwight we're used to seeing."

On if he was happy with the pass protection at Pittsburgh:

"We probably got hit more than we'd like, but with all the things that they do – and they have some pretty good rushers, too – probably neither side was all that pleased with their protection, but overall it wasn't bad."

On OG-Mike Pollak:

"Mike's doing OK. He still has things that he has to learn, and it's a new experience. He had a lot of stuff coming at him (Sunday), and he handled it OK. Every week he's making improvement and doing well. He's going to be a very, very good player when he really learns everything that's going on, but he's doing well."

On if he was surprised DT-Antonio Johnson played so much at Pittsburgh:

"Not really. We had seen him in practice and he was doing a good job for us, and it was going to be the type of game that was going to be his type of game with a lot of inside running, so we thought we'd get him in there."

On if he would be surprised to play Pittsburgh again:

"I hope we get a chance to see them again. They're going to be tough to beat. I don't think they're going to lose many home games, so I'd be surprised if they're not in the playoffs. So, hopefully we get to see them again."

On if beating the number-one NFL defense gives the team confidence:

"Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tough, and we scored points against them. They hadn't given up many points before we played them, either one, and we got points. We got points against Tennessee, so I think we are showing signs of moving the ball. Our whole team just has to build a little bit more consistency doing things right more often than not, and we're going to be in good shape."

On getting bounces at Pittsburgh:

"We did. We got two from Reggie, and we got the tip that went to (DB) Melvin (Bullitt) at the end of the game, instead of going to their guy. Sometimes you can't explain that, except that the more you hustle and the harder you play, the more those tips go your way. That's what we keep emphasizing to our team, that you just have to keep playing hard and they will come your way."


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