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TRANSCRIPT: LA Rams HC Sean McVay, QB Jared Goff, RB Todd Gurley, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Cooper Kupp, ILB Alec Ogletree, DL Aaron Donald, OLB Robert Quinn post-game media interviews

Here’s what the Rams had to say after the big 26-20 Week 12 win.

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(On what impressed him about the way his team responded)

“I think when you look at it – very tough, confident football team coming in here. No. 1 offense in the league and I thought our defense did a great job today making them earn tough yards, they did a good job in the two-minute at the end there. But, I think they were 3-for-13 on third downs, guys flew around, we were rushing the passer, they were pursuing to the football. They’ve got great playmakers. You look at a couple plays that (Saints RB Alvin) Kamara made and you just say, hats off to him – he’s a special player. Obviously we know what a great player (Saints QB) Drew Brees is, but we got some pretty good players on defense. I thought (QB) Jared Goff, when you look at just the way that we called the game, we felt like – you look at it maybe a little pass heavy, but we felt like that was going to be the best way to move the football, he consistently made us right on those decisions by distributing it. The one kind of freak deal where it gets tipped for the pick ended up kind of working out as a punt for us. But, you look at the way (WR) Cooper Kupp responded, the offensive line playing with toughness, (RB) Todd (Gurley II) had some great runs at the end there and then (WR) Sammy Watkins, to be able to make some tough catches consistently throughout the course of the day and then to close it out with the onside recovery. There’s a lot of positive things and that was a tough, hard earned win for us.”

(On what it means for a young team like his to beat a playoff caliber team late in the season)

“I think every win provides an opportunity to gain some confidence, but we’ve got a confident group and I think, it sounds monotonous, but the biggest thing is we got to 8-3. Now the challenge is – let’s enjoy this, let’s comeback ready to put this one away tomorrow, look at the good, look at the bad and then be ready to move forward with a great division opponent coming up when we go to Arizona next week. It’s just part of the process, it’s a step in the right direction for our season. Certainly there is a lot of football to be played and very pleased with our team’s effort today though.”

(On the emphasis on the pass being the result of the Saints injuries at cornerback)

“Yeah, it was a great job. You look at a couple key plays – I thought Sammy to be able to start out the game with that catch, get us going a little bit. Todd had some good, tough runs and then (TE) Gerald Everett makes a play in the high red zone and then Jared and Sammy connect kind of on the little run alert to be able to finish up that drive. I thought that was a great way to be able to start it off. Again, I think you guys are starting to see Jared continue to mature week-in and week-out, making good decisions – a lot of tough looks that they do present. (Saints Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Dennis) Allen mixes it up, they caught us with a couple blitz looks right there, but he stayed tough, the O-line protected very well and then when we had to run the football, I thought they did a good job running it efficiently, Todd put his pads down, squared some runs off and it was good to get (WR) Tavon (Austin) involved as well.”

(On if he thinks he set a standard that the team should expect to be 8-3)

“I think that the guys set the standards themselves and I think they have high expectations week-in and week-out. I think that when you put in this amount of work that we do, you want to come away with a win. We’ve got a lot of confident players in that locker room – I think when you look at some of the veteran leaders that we do have, whether they’re guys that have been here or guys that have come from other places, that’s the expectation that they have started to set. They have a lot of confidence, but hey also appreciate and value the fact that you did a good job today, but if we don’t get ourselves ready, we can get humbled very quickly the following week and that’s what this league is all about – is making sure that you just move forward and take steps in the right direction.”

(On if this was the biggest win of the season for his team)

“I think it was the biggest because it’s the most recent and I think it’s because every one of these counts as one. Last week we didn’t get the result that we wanted, but I think what we were pleased with as a whole was just the way that we responded. These guys are very resilient and I think they do a good job of just being able to move forward with that positive belief and expectation that we can find a way to accomplish our goal the following week. That’s something that we feel like will serve us well. We know that it is our eighth win – it’s a very important one because it is against a great team like that, that’s won eight in a row. I think that does help gain a little bit of confidence, but they all count for one and we have to see if we can find a way to get our ninth next week.”

(On the defensive front’s play today)

“That’s where you’ve got an athletic front – they force you to move and kind of get you off your spot a little bit because they are able to create a little bit of push and a rush and then when you’ve got guys that can run like (LB) Alec (Ogletree) and (LB) Mark (Barron) can, they’re built to be able to match some of those crossers, turn and run with their lateral agilities and their short-spaced quickness. But, I thought our defense as a whole played really well and I can’t say enough about the respect that I have for the New Orleans offense, led by Drew, what (Saints Head) Coach (Sean) Payton does. I studied them hard for the last handful of years, they’ve been kind of one of the standards. So, really great job by our defense and hats off to (Rams Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and his staff.”

(On the defense not causing a turnover, but limiting big plays)

“That’s it. I think it was limiting some of those big plays and there’s a reason why – I don’t know how many they ended up with today, but they came in with 57 explosives (plays), that was 10 more than No. 2 in the league, so I think you want to limit those. Then you look at a couple plays where they convert the 4th-and-5, then to be able to hold them to make them kick the field goal, just make them earn every single-yard They’re a great offense, they’re going to get some plays, but I just thought our ability to respond and just make them play another snap, make the play another snap was a key component to being able to get this win today.”

(On if he saw something in WR Cooper Kupp leading into this game where he knew he would have a bounce back game)

“I think it’s just who he is as a human being. Even right after that (Minnesota) game, there was no doubt that he was going to respond in the right way and even if he did have a couple drops or anything like that we talk about those couple plays don’t define you. I would say not surprised at all, just proud of Cooper today. That’s kind of what we expected and he did a good job.”

(On WR Josh Reynolds performance)

“I think you can see the movement, the athleticism. Josh has great length, great ball skills – we feel like he is going to be a really good player. So, we always are looking forward to seeing some of these young guys step up in the absence of a great player like (WR) Robert Woods and I thought that’s exactly what Josh did today.”

(On what has impressed him about Kupp’s development this season)

“I think really you just look at the maturity that he’s displayed since he first got here. I can remember sitting there when we interviewed him at the 15-minute window at the (NFL) Combine, looking over at (Rams Wide Receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber and saying, ‘You’re lucky that he doesn’t want to coach, you might not have a job.’ He’s a pretty sharp, impressive guy and I think he’s just continuing to get better and better. You talk about having an understanding above the neck like a quarterback, playing receiver and I think that really helps where you give him some routes where he’s got some different varieties and options that he can run a route a certain way based on the look and the leverage and he and Jared have a really good rapport. He’s going to continue to be a big part of our offense for years to come.”

(On what kind of looks the Saints defensive backfield gave and what he tried to exploit)

“I don’t know that we were able to exploit anything. I thought they did a good job mixing it up throughout the day, whether it be single-high, some single-high fire zones, brought a couple zero pressures at the end there and then they played some split safety. Coach Allen did a good job mixing it up, keeping us off balance, but I thought our players did a pretty good job executing for the most part.”

(On OLB Connor Barwin’s injury)

“Not yet. I’m not sure.”

(On not finishing drives with touchdowns)

“Certainly you always want to try and finish those drives with touchdowns, but I think when you have a player like (K) Greg (Zuerlein), you feel like once you get really inside that 40-yard line, we feel pretty confident that he’s going to be automatic. You look at the attempt that we had at the end of the first half, that’s a decision that we wouldn’t second guess – we’d make that again because I think more times than not Greg is going to hit that kick. Great job by those guys covering, but Greg continues to demonstrate why he is one of the best, most consistent in this league and we’re very happy that he is on our team.”

(On if it means anything that this is the first Rams team with eight wins since 2006)

“I think it’s a great accomplishment for our players. Through 11 games, to be able to get to eight (wins) they’ve done a great job to put us in that positon. But, like you’ll consistently hear us talk about, it’s time to come together tomorrow, look at it, clean it up and then see if we can go get a good division win next week against a tough opponent.”

(On how important CB Kayvon Webster was today especially the third-down stop)

“Huge play. Kayvon, he’s a tough player. I thought he did a great job making a handful of plays, being in on some things. That play that you mentioned on (Saints WR) Michael Thomas – Michael is a great player, very physical in space, to be able to make that was huge and it really ended up being a four-point play for us. Very happy that we had Kayvon. Hopefully we’ll be able to get (CB) Nickell Robey (-Coleman) back next week, but I thought he did a great job coming back and having a great game today.”

(On how he can improve third-down efficiency)

“Yeah, today wasn’t good enough. That’s one of the things we feel like we have done a pretty decent job with throughout the year. But, to credit them, they did a good job of changing up some looks, forcing us off our spot and that’s something that definitely have to do a better job of putting our guys in some better positions. But, hats off to them, they did an excellent job on defense today.”

QB Jared Goff

(On if he thought the team would be 8-3 after reflecting on last season)

“Yeah. I think we went through the offseason and we went through OTAs in the summer and then training camp and realized we have the personnel for it. Then as things started to come together, we realized we have a pretty good team. You never really know. I think when you start playing real games and there’s some games this year where we kind of realized that we can play with anybody. This is for sure one of them.”

(On if he felt as comfortable as he looked today on the field)

“Yeah. It felt good. I think we had guys step up. (WR) Robert Woods goes down, our highest production guy right now and having (WR) Josh (Reynolds) step up and then (WR) Cooper (Kupp) doing what he did and then (WR) Sammy (Watkins) playing as well as he did. There’s so many things that Sammy did today that don’t go, they go unnoticed a little bit, because it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet that were so good. He was really good today and then upfront we were really good and (RB) Todd (Gurley II) ran well.”

(On what most impressed him about the way that Watkins played today)

“He just plays hard on every snap. I think that’s something you never have to worry about him, is his effort. Every snap whether he’s blocking, I think he takes pride in his blocking, and when you have a receiver that does that you want to reward him and get him the ball. Then every snap he’s running a route, you know he’s aggressive and physical. He’s fun to watch once he gets the ball in his hands, that’s for sure.”

(On what different look the Saints defense gave him after losing their two cornerbacks to injuries and what he thought he could exploit against them)

“I think they played a bit more zone than they’re used to because of that which makes sense. But, we just executed. I don’t think we changed much and didn’t go after anybody or anything like that. We just executed our play calls and there’s definitely some that we want back. We scored 26 and felt like we could’ve scored much more than that if we would’ve finished up some drives.”

(On how much credit he wants to give to the defense today)

“They were tremendous. You play a team coming in off an eight game win-streak. Big win last week they had. A guy like (QB) Drew (Brees), Hall of Famer and the running backs they and the guys they have outside are really, really good. Our defense stepped up today and even with some injuries and guys out we had some guys step up and make some plays.”

(On the touchdown pass to Reynolds)

“A little backyard ball. They had what is a called ‘drop eight’, they rush three and drop eight. Most of the time when that happens, it’s going to be an off-schedule throw. I saw him go over the ball over the middle and saw a linebacker on him with his back turned and kind of pointed to him, go that way. And sure enough he did and it was over.”

(On being 8-3)

“Again, it was a big win for us. There’s a big difference between being 7-4 and 8-3, especially against a team like this. It was a game that, not necessarily a must-win, but a game that’s going to give us a lot moving forward and a lot of confidence for sure. Especially coming against a team like the Saints with all they’ve been doing this year.”

(On this being the first time since 2006 that the Rams franchise has had eight wins and if that means anything to him)

“No. We got however many more left to make our goal and win the division and make the playoffs.”

(On how important it was for WR Cooper Kupp to overcome his struggles from last week’s game and what did he see on the 50-yard pass to him)

“There’s never any doubts with him. He’s so level-headed and such a hard worker. There’s never any doubts, no matter what. I think there’s even some he’d like to have back, I’d like to have back. I think I missed him on a couple, but he played really well today. That deep ball was a really, really good route by him in man coverage and he ran a really good route.”

(On what his thought process was going into the game without WR Robert Woods in terms of who he wanted to focus on, how he wanted to spread the ball around and attack that defense)

“Didn’t really change much. All I wanted to do was be aware of who was in there. Some guys are really good at things, some guys are better at other things. So, just be aware of who’s in there at his spot and for the most part it was Josh today. I thought he filled in really well. Did a really good job and like I said earlier, I think Sammy and Cooper stepped up tremendously.”

(On what was the reasoning for multiple sacks from the Saints defense)

“I don’t know. I only remember two.”

(On one sack being credited to the Saints when he ran out of bounds)

“Well that’s obviously not their fault. They’re good upfront. (DE) Cameron Jordan’s really good. Cal Bear, he can play. We had to be aware of him. I think have some other guys up there who can rush as well. They’re a good team. They’re a good defense. They’re also 8-3 for a reason.”

(On how the team won the game with nine penalties and no turnovers)

“The defense played well. We put up 26 and like I said earlier, it probably should’ve been more than that if we executed like we should’ve. Our defense played really well. Kept us in the game and kept us in the lead and then ultimately finished it off.”

(On how important it was for the team to get a win coming off a loss at Minnesota and the schedule ahead)

“Yeah, yeah – it’s huge. Like I said, everything goes along with it. It’s an NFC team, a team that’s won eight in a row. We’re coming off a loss, they’re coming off eight wins. We’re playing at home in front of our home fans. (QB) Drew Brees, a Hall of Famer, I mean all that stuff goes together. It makes it a big win and one that we’re definitely going to hang our hat on and be happy about. We’ve got a division opponent next week we have to get ready for. Arizona just beat Jacksonville today, so we’ve got some work to do.”

(On if his intention is to spread the ball around since he threw to eight receivers today)

“Yeah, yeah – I think so. I think anytime I can move the ball around is good. I’m not consciously thinking of who’s got however many catches, but for sure anytime you can get eight guys involved – it’s always good.”

(On the change of the culture)

“We’ve changed a bunch of stuff, but I think ultimately what we have now is a lot of confidence. Our team is playing with a lot of confidence and we don’t care who lines up against us. We’re going to go out and play our game and execute to the best our ability. We believe in the defense, defense believes in us. We all believe in the special teams and we all believe in each other and have a lot of confidence in each other.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On what his mindset was coming into the game when he knew it would be two high-powered offenses)

“The biggest focus is just get the win. Obviously not try to turn the ball over, just go out there and play our game.”

(On what it was like to see WRs Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp have big games)

“I don’t know, I was too busy blocking, but those guys did a great job. I know Kupp, he had some key completions at the end of the game – that was huge. Josh got his first touchdown, so congrats to him and hopefully we can get those guys to keep going during the year.”

(On what it says about his offense that without WR Robert Woods they were still able to move the ball the way they did today)

“I mean, they were missing ‘DBs’ as well. We did a good job out there just to be able to go out there and attack those guys and (QB Jared) Goff did a great job and the receivers did a great job of getting open.”

WR Sammy Watkins

(On why they were able to have so much success throwing the ball today against a team that had won eight straight games)

“We just do a great job with the game-plan. Coaches do a great job of putting us in situations and (QB) Jared (Goff) does a great job with having us on point and offensive line blocked well. We go out there and catch the ball. The running back runs the ball well and it’s just simple football.”

(On if it felt like a video game the way QB Jared Goff was able to distribute the ball to the receivers today)

“I’m not going to say it was easy, we just got the right looks and right situations. We saw what was open and how the ‘DBs’ were playing us. Had a lot of great inside routes and we connected on them.”

(On if a game like this between him and Goff helps their rapport for future game)

“It does, but I know Jared’s a great quarterback. We have a great team and great group of guys. It’ll start hitting when it needs to and we’ve just got to keep building.”

(On if he feels like that rapport with Goff has started hitting a little more the past few weeks)

“Yeah, most definitely. I just think we’re connected. He knows how I run routes, my speed and routes. We only can get better.”

WR Cooper Kupp

(On if he felt extra motivation today given how last week turned out)

“No, it’s not really extra motivation. I didn’t treat this week any different than I do other ones. It’s just about…you can get down on yourself pretty quickly, I think, when things aren’t going your way. Like I said before, when you trust why you’re here and what you’re playing for, it motivates you just to get back on the horse and prepare because you’ve got to come out here seven days after the game. Win or lose, you’ve got to get back out there and go out there and pursue a ‘W.’”

(On how quickly he was able to turn the page from last week)

“It’s hard, but by the time we get into the facility tomorrow on Monday, we’ve got to start preparing. We’re going to watch the film real quickly, get some personnel stuff done on the Cardinals and then preparation starts in less than 24 hours.”

(On if he knew his opportunity was going to grow this week with WR Robert Woods being out)

“You never know. Throughout this entire season, I think, has been a testament to the guys we have on this team, that we don’t rely just on one person to make plays for us. Week-in and week-out, you see different guys step up. You’ve just got to always expect the ball is going to be coming your way because there’s so many guys that can make plays and you never know when that’s going to be your opportunity.”

DT Aaron Donald

(On how he feels about the victory)

“I’m just happy we won. It feels good anytime you come away with a big win against a good team. It felt good.”

(On if this was a statement win for this team)

“Every week is a statement. Anytime you come away with a win, it’s hard to get them in this league, you make a statement. We just have to keep going.”

(On the defense being able to disrupt Saints QB Drew Brees)

“Anytime you go up against a quarterback like that, you want to get to him early. I thought we did a good job – multiple guys were flying around making plays. It was a big key for us to get some pressure on him and that’s what we did.”

OLB Robert Quinn

(On if this was a statement game for this team)

“No, I just think it was a game we needed to win. Every week is crucial. Like you said, we played a great team today, an eight-game winning streak or something and it was just a big challenge for our team. It showed that we are something that we [inaudible]. I think we have a lot to prove still but it’s great to have this one under our belt.”

(On how important it was to get to Brees early)

“Brees is a Hall of Famer, no doubt. So if we let him get going early, we know the type of chaos he can cause for a defense. Like I said, guys just stayed to our game plan. As a pass rusher, we just worked our moves and once we got to him tried to get him down and just make his day a little hectic.”

(On how this felt after losing to them last year)

“You know the good thing about last year? It’s last year. We don’t think about it. We have a whole new coaching staff and a whole new team. This is a new year so we don’t look in the past like that to what they did to a different team. This is (Rams Head Coach Sean) McVay’s first year as a head coach, this is his team. Like I said, what they did to the Rams of last year has nothing to do with McVay and this team now. Last year is last year and that’s what it is.”

LB Alec Ogletree

(On the defense not getting any big takeaways but being tough when they needed too)

“Yeah, we found a way to get it done and that’s all you can ask for. We definitely missed a lot of opportunities to create turnovers, but after all we did enough to get the job done. It’s a tough team to play against and get a win and we came out and did what we needed to win.”

(On beating a division leader and what that says about the team going forward)

“We’re just going to keep fighting until the end. Everybody trusts the process that we’ve been doing all year and everybody is continuing to work and believing that we can win games. We have that belief, you have to still go out there and play and find a way to get it done and we were able to do that today.”

(On how much he values consistency at his position with another year registering 100+ tackles)

“It’s what I’m paid to do, make tackles and get everybody lined up. We don’t really pay attention to the stats so making 100 tackles again this year, it’s something that I’m definitely proud of but more proud of the win for sure.”