Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.
(transcribed by ASAP Sports)
Q: You warned everyone to check their pulse before you came to Miami. How does it feel knowing that you're the only standing undefeated team in the AFC East and just transitioning to a short week getting ready for Cincinnati?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, again, people take me way too literal. I don't like these shock endings., but I'm just really, really happy for the team because this much I do know: Teams win football games, and if you are going to have success over the long haul, you have to have confidence that whatever phase can win a football game for you, can go ahead and do that, and it takes a collection. Every play is almost as equally as important as the next. So to guys persevere in a tough situation in a game that they took very serious, I knew that we were going to get our best effort from everybody. Then to be able to finish the game with two unbelievable efforts by the defense, I think I couldn't have written a better script for what we're trying to do. It's an exciting day for the team, and we've had three opportunities, and we've won those three. So, that's also a strong perspective for us because three wins doesn't do anything at the end of the season. You need a couple more than that. But right now very proud of the guys. We have a short week, so we can enjoy it for maybe a half hour. Then, it's on to the next.
Q: Mike, time of possessions, yards, first downs, you guys were underdogs in all that today. Can you talk about what you learned about the team, especially at the end of the game when they had the punt situation? What did you learn about the way they held their heads high and were able to overcome that?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think we have a lot of team - I learned a lot about the resolve. You don't know until you have it happen. The team got a lot of confidence in the offense last week. So when you worry that when push comes to shove and you're trying to finish the game that if you get a first down, the game is over, and you can't get a yard, you worry about the team's resolve.But I see much better than I hear. I was hoping, but to see the way they came back with confidence and played attacking football, I learned what I would hope to learn. You never know until you're in those situations, but I was very happy with the entire team and how they pressed forward because even special teams, you know, we have an unfortunate situation. We were trying to get some yards at the end of the game to at least, worst-case scenario, punt the ball from our own back end line. We have something that doesn't totally go our way, but we don't win that game if we don't completely flip the field on a punt previous in that half. It's a great experience for guys. I'm happy that they were able to come out with a win because they definitely did everything in their power to get that done.
Q: When Tua goes out with the I guess head injury and some of the offensive linemen going in and out, how does that affect you if at all in terms of kind of getting the offense running again? How did you adjust to that?
MIKE McDANIEL: That was live-speed action. Now, Tua, he went out with a lower back, and I hadn't had that rep with him yet. He kind of got bent back pretty significantly on a quarterback sneak earlier. I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury, but his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose and as he described it, he said his lower back was like Gumby or something. That is a challenge. That happens all the time in NFL games. It was kind of fast and furious. We had some skill position players get dinged. We had some linemen fight through it, but those are things that you just have to be able to adjust on the fly. Your whole staff better be in concert. You better have contingencies, and you better know some plays you want to go to if things happen. We were able to do the best we could, but it was a lot better when we had everyone back. That's for sure.
Q: You weren't here for seven straight losses to Buffalo like a lot of these guys were. What was your impressions what this meant to them?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think it meant something to everybody. I talked to the guys about it, and you're not there, but you've been in the league long enough, and I've been on both sides of the coin where you've had a streak against a team and then you've been on the poor side of the streak as well. I just told the team that it doesn't matter that we weren't here. That at some point or just because now moving forward we're a part of that streak, so at some point in time we're going to have to handle that. Otherwise, we're going to keep hearing about it, but I think it's important for them. So it was special for everyone involved in that regard, as special as a Week 3 regular season game can be. I will say that much, but we know that we're going to see them again. If they at all took us lightly at all, I promise you they won't again, so we're going to get their best shot. That is a really, really, really good football team. So that's why what I'm happy about most is that our team battled against what's as good of a team that exists in the National Football League.
Q: A minute ago DT Christian Wilkins said when we brought up the 3-0 part, and the first place in the AFC, he said 3-0 is not our goal. I guess what I would like to ask you is, are the goals being raised as you go along? Is that the impact of the start that you've had, or are the goals of this team the same as they were back in...?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think you make it a little more abstract because to me I think everyone can identify what you don't want to do in this situation in any year of your career, but particularly one where we have an opportunity to play some games with a team that we feel pretty confident in is, you don't want to do yourself a disservice and fall short of your potential. So you just want to be as good as you can get and continue to grow. I think you bring up things as they're pertinent and to me because if you don't, if you are talking about goals that happen 15 weeks from now, you're just going to get hit in the mouth because every single week in the National Football League everyone is giving you their best shot. So I think now we can talk about not sneaking up on people, but realistically whether we're 0-3 or 3-0, we're playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, and somebody is going to come out with a win and somebody is going to come out with a loss so you have to do everything you can in your power to make sure that you continue to progress in your game and give it your best shot. I think they will change when our circumstances change. Right now there's no difference really between Game 4 and Game 1. We have to do our best to win football games, and if you win football games, you can kind of control whether or not you get to play playoff football or not, and that's kind of our objective.
Q: Can you take us through what's going through your head through all the final sequences whether it was Josh Allen and then fourth down close to the goal line, punt that goes for safety and then also time running out?
MIKE McDANIEL: It's what you call a roller coaster, that's for sure. When you are the head coach, it's a lot easier to stay balanced ironically, because you're taking in the entire portion of the game. What I did know I was watching the defense and hearing the calls and seeing how they're communicating, they were not giving up. I knew they were going to have to earn the touchdown. Once they got to two-minute and we knew we were going to rip off the time-out and going to try to keep them from scoring a touchdown, so then a couple of those things happened. We were very excited. Me, as the offensive play caller, I immediately knew we were on or minus-2. We felt pretty good about a run play the first down and got minus yardage, so you are trying to make sure that you don't get a safety. And when you quarterback sneak it, I think we might have lost a quarter of a yard, too. At that point I didn't want to have to pass the ball, but I thought that was the only way we could protect the team with the way the line of scrimmage was playing out right then. And you get an incomplete. It's not a safety, but it's almost the worst-case scenario. You would rather just take a zero yardage kneel and run time off so that was not an exciting moment, definitely. And then we get a redirect off of a punt when we're backed up. Something that was kind of caused on our own end. And yeah, it's not exciting, but I was very encouraged. I knew they had to go the length of the field, and I knew our defense was ready, that they've been working for this for a long time, and they enjoy those opportunities. So I thought they were going to bail us out, and they sure did. So that was pretty exciting.
Q: Third-and-22. Early in the fourth quarter. There's a lot of time left. You're losing - possessions haven't been - that 45-yard pass, where what did that say to you about Tua? Obviously, it was a huge play. Then, was he playing with any pain at that point? Just what did that play...?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, I think that's one that's a big play that I think Tua will always remember, that a lot of his teammates will because he was battling through and that's really hard. Especially with how he throws, he uses such great base and balance that he uses his whole core to throw. And he had to be on time and on rhythm. He saw the coverage the right way. He attempted to move the field safety as best he could, but I think it goes to show how important it is to him, how gutsy he is, how tough he is. He can sense when big moments are on the line, and just very happy that him and (Jaylen) Waddle came up with the play to get us into scoring position that Chase (Edmonds) ultimately ended getting the score on. That was a big one that I think we'll all remember for sure.