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Quotebook: Titans, Texans Players Talk Surprising Result

One quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, threw four interceptions while the other, Tyrod Taylor, scored two touchdowns on runs in the biggest upset of Week 11 in the NFL season.

NASHVILLE – It was not just the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2021.

It was Any Given Sunday, as are so many in the NFL, when the Tennessee Titans’ 22-19 loss to the Houston Texans reminded everyone that the difference between the league’s best and worst teams is minimal, at best. The Titans had won six straight and were the No. 1 team in the AFC. The Texans had lost eight straight and came into the game with the conference’s worst record.

Here is some of what players from both teams had to say afterward about the unlikely result and some of the key aspects of the contest.

On quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s career-high four interceptions

• “He was playing his ass off trying to help us win the game, and I don’t put any blame on him whatsoever. I trust (Tannehill) wholeheartedly. I mean, he was doing everything he could to try to help us win, and sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce the right way. Mistakes happen. He fought. I can tell that he was fighting all day.” – WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

• “We just knew he’s more of a play action type of quarterback and just drop backs, it’s a weakness of his. So, that’s just something that we just kind of picked up watching film and I knew playing with him last year, just little things about him and how he does and what he looks for during the play.” – Texans CB Desmond King, who had two interceptions

• “My confidence level in (Tannehill) is 100 percent. I think (Tannehill) is an outstanding quarterback. … I think the way he is going to handle this week, the way he handles himself on a weekly basis, we should all be appreciative of him to be our quarterback of this franchise.” – Titans LT Taylor Lewan

• “I’m not going to get into the details of everything. At the end of the day, it all falls squarely upon me. I have to be better.” – Tannehill

On Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor scoring two rushing touchdowns

• “They did a good job of getting him outside the pocket, on boots and sprint outs and stuff. We knew he was a good player. … We knew we were going to get his best, and we did.” – Titans CB Elijah Molden

• “He is a tremendous player. The fighter he is to sacrifice for his team, giving up his body was pretty cool.” – Texans RB Rex Burkhead

• “We knew that (Taylor) is a hell of a player coming into the game. We knew that he could win games. He got outside of the pocket twice. He scored twice. So, we just have to be better.” – Titans DT Jeffery Simmons

On playing the majority of the game in the rain

• “When you get conditions like this, some stuff you’re comfortable with, some stuff you have to get away from until the conditions slow down a little bit. I think (offensive coordinator Tim) Kelly did a great job calling the game, putting guys in the right position to go out and make plays.” – Taylor

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• “It was a fun game. It definitely was fun. That’s football right there. Mud game.” – Texans LB Kamu Grugier-Hill

On the Titans cutting the deficit to six points (19-13) in the fourth quarter

• “The attitude was good. I think the belief was there. We were moving the ball. The confidence was there.” – Tannehill

• “I wholeheartedly thought we were about to come back and win that game. Like I said, mistakes happen, and it didn’t turn our way. But we’ll be on to the next game and have that same belief.” – Westbrook-Ikhine

On the result, which ended Tennessee’s six-game win streak and Houston’s eight-game losing streak

• “This is huge, you know? To get this thing rolling, it’s been tough. It’s been super tough. To come out here and get a big win on the road against probably one of the best teams in the AFC right now, that’s huge. So, we’re excited.” Texans LB Kamu Grugier-Hill

• “We understood in a game like this you’ve got to go out there and start fast. You’ve got to have some urgency, and we didn’t have it today. They did, and they ended up beating us.” – Titans S Kevin Byard

• “Wins in this league do not come easy and to go out there and perform like we did on the road is big.” – Texans DB Eric Murray

• “Our message was to make them not interested in playing this game. So, they came to play. We didn’t execute our keys, that was to create the urgency, create the juice. We have to walk into this game like we wanted to win.” – Titans DT Jeffery Simmons

• “It is the NFL. Everybody has really good players no matter what their record is. Today they showed up and outperformed us. When you step on the field it is always 50-50 on who is going to win the game. (Sunday), Houston came up with the victory.” – Titans ILB Jayon Brown

On the current state of the Titans

• “It’s on to the next one. This is a past game, that’s how we’re looking at it. No turning back. It’s on to the next game, next person playing.” – Titans RB Dontrell Hilliard

• “Everybody on the team just has to look at themselves and say, ‘What can I do better?’ I know I missed some tackles and missed some assignments. I need to work on that, be more of a playmaker for this team and continue to lead by example. I just have to fix myself first and guys on the team will do it as well, because we care and we want to win.” – Jayon Brown

• “We’ve had a lot of great wins. We’ve had some bad losses. That’s the way it goes in this league when you don’t go out there and play well, you underestimate a team, you get your behinds whooped. … We’ll find out what type of team we are when adversity hits. We’ll find out what kind of team we are next week.” – Byard