DENVERBRONCOS HEAD COACH MIKE SHANAHAN
General opening comments
"As I told our football team, we weren't in control of who they were going to play on offense, defense, or special teams. We knew that they would keep a couple starters out and try to protect themselves for next week. Anytime you have a 45-man roster in the National Football League, there's only about three or four guys you can keep out, and the rest of those guys, obviously, are very capable. I was really pleased with our team, the way we came out and played today. I thought they fought exceptionally hard. The bottom line is we had to find a way to win and we did do that."
On the challenge of playing the same team two weeks in a row
"Last year we played a very good game there (in the regular season). We came back (two weeks later in the first round of the playoffs) and they dominated the football game. What we're going to have to do is we're going to have to move the football. Last time we played them, we didn't move the football very well and if you don't move the football and don't put some points on the scoreboard against an excellent offensive team, and you get behind, you're in for a long day and that's what happened a year ago. So hopefully we can play a lot better defensively then we did a year ago. We know we've got a great challenge ahead because they're an excellent football team both in the running game and the passing game. So it's a great challenge for us. They're a very well coached team and a very disciplined team. We did the things we've had to do a couple weeks in a row. We've had very few penalties and one turnover in the last couple weeks. When you do those type of things where you can have some balance in the running game and in the passing game, you have a chance to put some points on the scoreboard and not put your defense in bad field position."
On what he can take from the Colts' offense and defense this game for next week's game
"First of all, in the National Football League, these players are pro players. If you show your hand each week and you don't have a different type of game plan, the defense is going to recognize what you're doing, and you'll be in for a long day. So that's the nature of the National Football League. They didn't have to show their hand today, but we went in with a certain game plan where we had to win and obviously we'll change some things up and they will too. The bottom line is we've got an opportunity. Obviously it's a great challenge for us to go into their backyard against a defense that has created a lot of turnovers this season and an offense that has not made a lot of mistakes and scored a lot of points. So it's a great challenge for us and we're looking forward to being in the playoffs and having an opportunity to win."
On how he feels about Jake Plummer going into this year's playoff game as opposed to last year
"I think Jake feels much more comfortable with the system and much more comfortable with the people around him. Obviously, I feel more comfortable with Jake, just having him in there with a couple years under his belt. This is an opportunity for us. We're all judged on what you do in the playoffs and hopefully we'll play accordingly."
On if he held out a bit on the game plan today because of the possibility of playing the Colts again
"There's always a lot you hold out just because you don't get to it during the game. Sometimes you need it and other times you don't. Some of those things we didn't have to do because in the fourth quarter the game was kind of out of control. Both teams played a little more conservative then they normally would. There's some of the game plan that you don't necessarily show, but that's really minimal. Both teams are going to try to put their 'A-game' together. We know what's at stake and we'll see who gets it done."
On how Jake Plummer has responded in the last couple weeks
"It's not just Jake, it's our whole team. I think we had two penalties a week ago and I think we had two penalties today, so the focus was there. I don't believe we had a turnover today and, you know, you can't turn the football over against good football teams, especially against teams that score like Indy. A lot of respect for Peyton Manning to have a 121 passing efficiency for the year is just incredible. I don't think people realize what a feat that is. I can't even imagine those type of statistics for the year. It's something that this guy has played very good throughout the whole season. We know it's a big game for them and a big game for us and we'll get a chance to show what we're made of."
On his assessment of Trevor Pryce's return to the field and the seriousness of his re-injury
"I was just a little skeptical because he looked good during the week. It's always tough for a guy to come back and play at a certain level when he hasn't played for 14 or 15 games. I don't think it's anything serious. I think it's just a little sore, being out there and playing football full speed for the same time. I think it will help him if he's ready to go for next week. I talked to him a little bit down on the sideline in the fourth quarter. He thought it was just a little sore, a little scar tissue, nothing serious. I'm sure he was just a little bit tired."
On the performance of Cecil Sapp and Charlie Adams
"I had a good feel for Cecil anyhow. He's just a natural runner and has a good feel for the game. One of the reasons we put him in there at the end of the game is to see what he could do at the tailback position. Anytime a guy has had the success that he's had over at CSU (ColoradoStateUniversity) running the football, you know he's got a natural feel both as a halfback and a fullback and I was pleased to see what he did on kickoff return. Charlie Adams was an excellent punt returner in college. Obviously he wasn't active for the whole year, and he showed some running skills back there as well. I'm not going to show my hand for next week, but obviously two guys who helped themselves today."
On if he wanted Jake Plummer to throw the deep ball on the touchdown pass to Ashley Lelie
"That was the call. Third-and-1, we had a certain tendency that we were going with the deep ball. It's called a stutter-go. It was a situation where we would've went for it on fourth down anyhow so we thought we had a free down. So, it made it a little bit easier to call, and a great throw and a great catch."
On if he could put Indianapolis' offensive numbers in historical perspective
"I think I just pointed out that with passing efficiency, I don't think people realize what a feat that is. I was with Steve Young when he had a 112 (passer rating) and I just couldn't imagine anybody breaking that record. And so, for Peyton (Manning) to shatter that record, just speaks volumes of what he's been able to accomplish this year. And defensively, they've had a bunch of turnovers. So, they're playing at a very high level and we know that. We know we've got to minimize our mistakes to have