Head coach Tony Dungy:
"Every game in the NFL is tough. We expected this one to be tough and it was. We weren't as sharp as we would like to be. I think some of that you have to credit to Detroit some of it to us. I think we had a good week of practice and were ready to go. But every time we got a little margin we couldn't make the play that we need to put the game away. They continued to fight back which I think is a credit to them. But we see that on tape, every game we watch. So it wasn't a surprise. We have a short turnaround now to get back. We need one more game to get ourselves in the playoffs. It's a team that beat us here. I now they would like to keep us out. So we'll have our work cut out for us. But we'll continue to work, come back to practice on Tuesday and get ready to go."
On Detroit playing the Colts tough: "It's something we expected. These guys have played a lot of close games on the road. They hadn't won any. But they had the ball at Carolina going in to take the lead and win the game. They had the ball last week going in to take the lead and win the game. It's not like we didn't expect them to come out and play tough. You obviously can't mishandle two punts and give them short fields, those kinds of things. We can't fumble at the end of the game. Those are the situations that usually get you beat. Fortunately our offense had some long drives; they had put some clutch drives together. But it was not really much different than we expected."
On the fair catch call:
"Because he was being blocked, he can run into him. Our question was whether the ball hit them first or us. They called it us first on the field. Apparently it wasn't conclusive on the replay. That's a situation where we have to call to our guy and tell him. We've got a code word when we are going to fair catch. We've got to get that communicated. The second one, you just have to hang on to the ball."
On the tight end game:
"It just developed. They're obviously trying to do a good job on our outside receivers and take our deep throws away. So they played a lot of cover-two and the tight end had a chance to work some holes in there against cover-two. We see that defense a lot at practice. Our guys know how to work against it and Dallas did a good job. That's what they gave us today and we did a good job of taking it."
On the Colts organization:
"We gave game balls to Jim (Irsay) and Bill (Polian) today for setting the atmosphere to get it done. For creating a climate where you can be consistent. Kudos to those guys. The scouting that we have, bringing in here, the atmosphere that Jim creates where you are able to put stable teams together. We're able to keep coaches and pay guys well enough to keep them here. All those things go into it. Our coaching staff has been phenomenal during this run, working with young guys and getting them ready to play. It takes everything and it takes talented players and players able to focus. I don't take that lightly. It's great to be here. We celebrated that a little bit in there right now and in about 15 minutes we have to start working on Jacksonville because we've got one more win to get ourselves in the playoffs."
QB Peyton Manning:
On the game being in doubt through the 4th quarter:
"It has sort of been the theme of our season during this little winning streak. They have kind of been four-quarter games. We were playing against a team today and not a record. Detroit played hard and we certainly did some things with the turnovers on special teams that sort of made it a little harder on ourselves. We had two unfortunate penalties, I didn't really get a good angle on them, but those certainly were unfortunate with the timing. On the one series in the fourth quarter it forced us to punt, but it was nice when we had to score, had to make a couple plays, we did it there. That is what you want late in the season is to be put in tough, high pressure situations and see if you can come through with them. It was nice that we did that."
On the performance of TE-Dallas Clark:
"It is not really like that. It is not like that before the game (Dallas being the focal point). One reason our receivers are always running good routes is because they think the ball could come to them every play because we do spread the ball around. We have no token routes. For example, every player on every pass play is a live option and the ball could come to them so that is why everybody runs full speed routes and it puts pressure on the defense. They were kind of mixing some zone and some man and Dallas did a great job versus zone catching the ball, getting yards after the catch. A couple times they did play man he did a great job beating the man coverage. He made a great catch on that last series. It was kind of a back shoulder, seam throw. Great catch by him. The touchdown was outstanding, getting his feet in bounds for the touchdown. Great job by him today."
On the consistency of the franchise:
"Like I said this game meant that we did something with the 10 wins and the winning streak, but this particular game we obviously would like to play better than we did in all phases. Offensively I think it was just a matter of getting the ball and staying on the field. It was unfortunate with the two punt fumbles that our defense stopped them and we had a chance to get out there on the field and had to go back on the sidelines. It was kind of hard to get into a rhythm, especially there in the second half we were on the sidelines a good bit of it, but when we had to score and had to make the plays we did and that was the encouraging thing."
On the running game:
"I think the key thing is we were pretty committed to the run. Had almost 100 yards. I think we had pretty good balance with the play calling. I felt like Detroit felt we were at least a threat to run a couple times and had to put a safety in the box or an extra linebacker in the box and it called for some one-on-one coverage and we were able to exploit that coverage. I think the theme with the running game throughout the season, even when it hadn't been as effective, at least we are a threat to run. We stayed committed to the run which at least keeps a defense a little bit off balance. Are they going to run it here? Are they going to run play action? (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) did a good job and (RB-Chad) Simpson did a good job getting into the end zone. He sort of kept the thrill in it there on the last series, but he did a good job on the one touchdown where he scored."
RB Dominic Rhodes:
On getting a chance to carry the rushing load:
"I always look forward to my opportunities and obviously taking advantage of them. Today was a great opportunity for me. I'm glad I was blessed enough to do a good job for my teammates."
On Detroit's effort:
"People look at their record and want to say what kind of team they are. They're grown men. They get paid just like we do. They're going to play you hard every time. So it was a little bit on us, not taking care of our business and I think being a little lackadaisical. We should have been putting them away earlier and doing what we need to do and we didn't. Like I said to my teammates after the game, next week we can't have a game like this because we all know that Jacksonville's going to be all hyped up to play us. It's Thursday night, they're probably going to have on their black uniforms and they'll be ready to go. My hat's off to Detroit for giving us a great game. We just need to execute better."
On the Colts' 4th-quarter drive:
"Today was a real frustrating time for me because I felt like we shouldn't have let these guys stick in here like that. I felt like we're at home and we know what we're playing for . . . If you kind of realize those things and you understand what you're being a part of, then you'll get it done better than what we got it done today. I'm not saying the Lions are a bad team or anything, I'm just saying that we have to know what we need to do to be where we need to at the end of the year."
RB Chad Simpson:
On making a key third-down conversion in the second half:
"I was just making plays. (QB) Peyton (Manning) and those guys put me in a position to make a play and that's what I did."
On being able to contribute so early in his career:
"It's big. I never thought I would be in this spot. I got blessed with being able to play, period. I'm behind two nice backs. It's just a blessing to me."
On getting his first career touchdown:
"I'm happy. I never thought I'd be able to get one because I had two nice running backs in front of me. Our guys blocked, and I just put my head down and ran."
On what went through his mind when his play was called before the touchdown:
"Oh, here we go. It's a big chance to further your career, help win and take us to the playoffs."
On his late-game fumble, which was recovered by the Colts:
"It was a freak accident. The guy kicked the ball. It was wild. Of course I'm going to be down because that . . . could have been worse. I have to get over that, move on and get ready to make some more big plays."
TE Dallas Clark:
On his performance:
"Every game kind of has its own personality. Especially with the weapons that we have you never know what defenses are going to do, who they are going to try to stop. I think they did a good job. You could tell that the focus was on Marv (WR-Marvin Harrison) and Reg (WR-Reggie Wayne). I know they are not too happy because they want their receptions and their catches and their looks, but I am just glad to be able to step up like that and make some catches. It was good, we needed that. We didn't know kind of how the game would go toward the end. We needed a good drive and it was a good way to answer, especially with the poor field position."
On his opportunities against the Detroit defense:
"Peyton does a great job of kind of seeing coverages and seeing what they are trying to do. A lot of those checks were Peyton doing what he does and getting us in the right position and the right call. Just able to make some moves and things like that. You just don't know. They tried to take their shots with some blitzes. (QB) Peyton (Manning) did a great job of checking all day and really getting us in positive calls where we were able to be successful with."
On the consistency of the franchise:
"I think it is from the top to the bottom. I think (Jim) Irsay is a magnificent owner, one of the best. Coach (Tony) Dungy, can you get any better? I mean, a great man, great coach. I think the players, I think we have had great leadership. (QB) Peyton (Manning) and (C) Jeff (Saturday), they are our leaders on the offensive side of the ball, defense has theirs. It's 53 guys buying into the system and buying into the coaching and buying into everything. Just going out there and doing your job. It is hard in this business to do something like that. It is not made to have that longevity of a record and winning. I think it is just a credit to everyone in the front office, to all the players that have come and gone and just done a great job."
On his record for most single-game catches by a Colts TE:
"It is pretty cool. I kind of count it as one since I dropped that one. I am a little upset about that. Those are kind of the ones I focus on. The other ones were good, but I got to work on the other one and get that fixed. So just things like that. What is great about this game is that I don't think you can ever have the perfect game. I mean the stats were great and all that, but there are things to work on and that is what you love about this game. It just keeps you driven. Go back to it and get everything corrected and move forward. But it is pretty cool (the record) and I am very happy, but there is work to be done."
On the game:
"No game is easy in the NFL. Everybody is a team full of professionals and you can't sleep on anybody. It was proof of that today."
On success over recent years:
"It feels good to have consistency in the organization and it's just good to be a part of it."
LB Clint Session:
"We have to give them a lot of credit. They fought hard. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us, and they had some trick plays that had success on us. Fortunately, we were able to make more plays then they made at the end of the game and we won."
On preparing for Jacksonville:
"We probably won't get a chance to put in a full game plan since it's a quick week. We'll go out there with what we've got. We have some good guys that can make any scheme work so we'll just play it by ear."
DB Antoine Bethea:
On the game:
"The most important thing is we came out with a win. We knew they were going to come in here and fight hard and fight long, which they did. We let them hang around too long. They got their confidence up so they were flying around and playing hard out there. At the end of the day we made some plays and came out with a ‘W'."
On Detroit's game plan:
"We knew they were going to 81, (WR) Calvin Johnson. He's their big play threat. We knew they were going to run the ball and that we had to stop the run and the big plays. We knew what we had to do. They had some big plays on us but we came out with a win."
On his two punt return fumbles:
"I was fortunate that my teammates had my back after both of those. They came out and made enough plays to win."
On matching up with Detroit WR Calvin Johnson:
"You see him out there, and he's bigger than a tight end, and he's bigger than a linebacker, and he's faster than the 11 guys on the field."
DB Melvin Bullitt:
"They just showed us that they're not a bad team at all. They kind of humbled us a little bit. We had that big winning streak, and it just shows you there are a lot of things we still need to work on to get ready for the playoffs."
On Detroit WR-Calvin Johnson:
"He's probably the best deep-ball threat in the game right now. He's 6-5, 240 and probably the best down the field. You can't take anything he does for granted because he can take it to the house at any time."
On if he was happy with how the defense played:
"No, not really. We missed a lot of tackles. We let a lot of interceptions go, I think it might have been five or six that got out of our hands. We're definitely going to look at this film, and there's a lot we have to learn from this game."
On playing at Jacksonville Thursday:
"We have to get some rest, enjoy this victory, recover and get in the film room and see what Jacksonville did to beat us last time."
Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli:
"I had two injuries, (S) Dwight Smith looks like a fracture of his ankle and he'll be out. (CB) Keith Smith reinjured his groin and it popped so we'll have to wait and see in a couple days. Just a little review myself, some key things that we missed, penalties, that personal foul gave them the third down – that's like a turnover with that offense. Just some errors, mental errors, third downs, we were 6 for 12 defensively and we've got to be better than that against that offense and in the red zone. Offensively, we did some good things; we got the ball to (WR) Calvin [Johnson] better. I thought we showed some good effort in our offensive tackles, and I just take my hats off to them."
On the play of the defense:
"I thought we played hard on defense. You could see that in the time of possession. I'll see more on tape."
On the personal foul call:
"I don't know. I'll have to see it on tape. That's what they called. I'll have to see it on tape."
On the Colts getting the ball to TE-Dallas Clark:
"They saw a weakness and took advantage – 18 (Colts QB-Peyton Manning) is smart."
On what they will do differently this week due to pressures of preventing going 0-16:
"The only pressure there is comes from you all not from me. We work each day to improve and go to work to try to win."
QB Dan Orlovsky:
On losing the game:
"It sucks. As politically correct and as bluntly as I can say, it sucks. It's hard to swallow. Getting close and coming close is stupid. Yeah we played great and we did a lot of good things, but we lost. Hats off to them, they made some plays in the fourth quarter. To fight back the way we did and have the emotional ride the way we did and to not finish it off is a telltale story of the season and it's frustrating. It sucks. It's not fun."
On if he will start next week:br> "That's next week. I didn't play well enough to win and that's what I want to measure myself by and that's what we are measured by. Coach will make his decision. I'll prepare the same way. I can't say this enough, I love playing with the guys on this team. I do, and I just didn't do enough in my position today to win the game so next week will take care of itself."
On throwing so much to WR-Calvin Johnson:
"Going into this week, just watching film and watching what they do, I had a really good game plan in my head watching film this week I kind of saw who I wanted to attack and who I wanted to kind of use. My goal was to have no sacks and get the ball to Calvin 12 times. I think he had nine or 10. In the third quarter I wanted to continue to work my game plan of what I thought was going to be best for us and it got us back in the game, and that's not me doing anything. I just really wanted to get Calvin the football and you can't point to a point this year where we have gotten him the football and he hasn't responded. That's my game plan, but also not being so focused on him that you make stupid decisions."
RB Kevin Smith:
On if the closeness of the game was any consolation:
"Yeah, we fought. We took it to round 12. All 14 (games) have been a nightmare for me. All these teams, Carolina, Indianapolis, we had a chance to win. That's what the good teams do. In crunch time, they find a way to pull it off. We should have at least taken us to overtime."
OT Jeff Backus:
On being encouraged by playing the Colts so close:
"I think the one thing that you can count on is that the guys that are here are going to give you the effort. They are going to do everything that they possibly can do to do their job. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties and negative plays. We have to be consistent both offensively and defensively, week in and week out, series to series. Until we clean up some of our mistakes and play at a consistent high level, this is what we are going to be dealing with."
On kicking two field goals after the two fumbles by the Colts on punt returns:
"We have to score touchdowns. We had that problem last week too. We had opportunities and we just didn't take advantage of them. We walked away with three points which isn't nothing, but we want those seven especially against a team that has a Peyton Manning at quarterback."
DE Dewayne White:
On the results of the game:
"Just need to keep fighting. We made a lot of mistakes. We just have to get better. The (2nd quarter) penalty was big. It was a third down and we should have got off of the field. That set the team back and then they went down the field and scored. They are a great team and we brought it down to the wire. We just have to finish."
On the personal foul penalty:
"I felt like they were jumping. I was defending myself and I pushed his head down. As his head went down, his helmet came off. I walked off and didn't even know it was a penalty. It is what it is. It fell off, it wasn't thrown off. It rolled off of his head."
K Jason Hanson:
On setting the NFL record for career 50+-yard field goals:
"We played better today. You know it makes it a little tougher because you're there. But it is a great team. Yeah, you know, it's bittersweet to set marks and then you lose again."