Texans S Michael Thomas (11.15.20)

Texans S Michael Thomas:

On the long run play by Browns RB Nick Chubb to seal the game:

“They ran their crack-toss play that they ran previously in the game. We knew it was coming and I saw guys fit in where they needed to fit – I think it was T.A. (Texans LB Tyrell Adams) – he comes up and sets the edge and takes out a part of the line. I see (SS) Justin Reid coming downhill and relentless – he goes hard every single game; he never takes a game off – and unfortunately, (RB Nick) Chubb found a way to get outside and we did not get him to cut back into the teeth of our defense, nor did we get a way to push him out of bounds, which would have been better. You see him somehow stay in bounds and tightrope the sideline. I think our guys fought hard. They knew the situation and they knew we needed that play to keep ourselves alive and give us a chance to come back and win the game. Chubb made one more play than we did.”

On the second half running defense struggles:

“I think guys kept going hard. I saw us continue to play good run defense in the second half, particularly on that touchdown drive to make it 10-0. We needed to get off the field on third down. We did a great job stopping the run on first and second downs—and it will be third and long, but we cannot get off the field. Then, you play against a team that has a good rushing attack with two great running backs and they kept getting the downs extended and extending the drives. They kept getting opportunities until they finally scored. On the last drive when special teams pinned them down to help give us a chance to win. I think guys were going hard, but we got to set edges and make tackles.”

On the third-and-long conversion by Browns WR Rashard Higgins:

“Everybody was exactly where they needed to be. I was on that side in underneath coverage, (QB) Baker (Mayfield) got out of the pocket, saw his guy in between me and (DB Vernon) ‘Vern’ (Hargreaves III) and somehow, someway, even with me making him put air on it and Vern playing top-down—they tried to put somebody in the flat to draw my attention and they wanted me to bite on it, but I did not. He made a hell of a throw and (WR Rashard) Higgins had enough awareness to keep his feet in bounds and make the catch. That is tough. If you want to be in zone defense on third and long, you have to find a way to have rushing coverage to go in there and get a sack or hopefully he does not make that good of a throw, or he throws it to Vern or me.”

On Chubb’s decision to go out of bounds at the end of the game:

“That was a smart football play. There will probably be some fantasy football participants who have Chubb and are upset about it, but he made the play he is supposed to make. You want to go out of bounds and never let special teams or the opposing offense touch the ball again. It was a good decision by him and that is why he is one of the best running backs in the game. For us, we are beating ourselves up about that, because we were doing a great job as a defense, stopping the run. If we had gotten that stop, which we set ourselves up for, we knew the play, we were there to make the play and we did not make it. That is tough on us.”

On if this is the most frustrating loss he has dealt with:

“It was one of them, just because we gave ourselves a chance to win the game. We want to give ourselves a chance to win every game, but this is going to teach us a lesson. Guys are beating themselves up about it and we were right there. We had the opportunities and we know we had a chance to win it, so we know what it takes. We knew we had to go in there and stop the run and guys did that. We knew we had to tackle better as DBs and as a defense than we had previously done in the season and guys did that today. Guys who are flagged as not being great tacklers, you saw them make great tackles today. We did a great job setting the edge and a great job filling the gaps in the run game. We did everything in our power and special teams did everything in their power to try and help this team win. We were right there. We just have to finish, so we will learn from that.”

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