CARDINALS HEAD COACH KLIFF KINGSBURY
Was this the best game your team has played this season:
"Not sure if it was the best game but I thought, it was all three phases rising up together. Our defense had incredible stops. Our offense made plays when they had to. Special teams had some big returns that were called back and we kind of dominated field position. I thought all three phases rose up together probably the best they had all season and we found a way to get it done."
How bad is Kyler Murray's hamstring:
"Will see. I'm not sure how bad it is. We didn't want to put him in harms' way in any way if he can't be him. So we just decided to sit him."
Thoughts on Brett Hundley:
"Very impressed, that's not easy, it's cold. He had not played meaningful snaps all year. With a rookie quarterback we have been pushing all the snaps to him. So in practice he didn't get much work at all except for scout team. So for him to come in and handle himself in that environment, with the game on the line, I was really proud of his effort. It's a testament to his preparation and how he approaches the game."
Did Murray hurt himself in that scramble:
"He did. He felt something tighten up. We will see how he feels moving forward."
Thoughts on the defense today after they have been criticized a lot this year:
"Just the fight and the constant effort to keep going through that during a tough year at times and the last couple of weeks. Guys have been playing at a very high level, creating turnovers and have great juice. It's exciting to see those guys are that locked in. It's week 16, we're not going to make the playoffs and to see the guys playing with that level of effort and that type of enthusiasm is exciting to see."
Thoughts on Chandler Jones play this season:
"He has been phenomenal. If we had a better record he would be in that conversation for defensive player of the year. He should be, he's phenomenal. Anytime it's a one on one, there's a good chance he is going to get home. He is a tough matchup for anybody."
What did Murray say to you about sitting out:
"You know he wants to be out there. Particularly on the road in this type of environment, against the top seed in the NFC. He wanted to play this one out. He was playing at a high level and made a bunch of great plays and it was hard for him to sit. But we have to be smart, he has a lot of football ahead of him. So we want to make sure he is at his best when he is out there."
Was Kenyan Drake's 80 yard touchdown run a new play for this week:
"Coach (Sean) Kugler and Coach Saxon and Coach Heiden drew that one up and it hit. It worked pretty much the entire game. We have run versions of it but that was kind of a new wrinkle and they blitzed it. It was just the perfect call at the perfect time. KD (Kenyan Drake) has that real explosiveness to take it to the house. It set the tone. They (Seattle) scored after we went three and out. That answer, I could kind of feel our guys' were kind of like okay, let's do this."
What was the offensive mindset after Kyler got hurt:
"Just make sure that we attack. We had a lead but they have Russ over there. No lead is safe with him and the way they have played in close games. We continued to be aggressive and I thought Brett was. He had a couple of drops that would have been big plays but he checked it down and he ran. He found a way to get it done."
Has Kenyan Drake been better than you thought since trading for him:
"I don't know better. I think we predicted as the number one back what he could do. That's why we made the trade, We would not trade at that point in the season if we didn't think he couldn't play at a high level if he was made the guy. Getting those number of touches, he has stepped up."
Has Larry Fitzgerald exceeded your expectations since you started as coach here:
"Yeah, no question. Just from the first day I got there. The practice habits and walk through, he is running through. He shows up to everything, catches everything. I knew he was good, I didn't know he was this good. He has got plenty left in the tank."
He has had 22 or 23 different guys (quarterbacks that have completed a pass to him). He doesn't have the rings to point to. But when your talking pure receiver, he has to be up there with anybody. He has played inside, outside and produced at a high level no matter what he has been asked to deal with or whatever quarterback is playing."
Did the safety duo of Jalen (Thompson) and Budda (Baker) stand out to you today:
"They did. Budda was a missile out there. I know coming back to Washington, Jalen played up here as well at Washington State. But I know Budda particularly was on one for the opportunity and he was flying around and made a ton of plays."
What are the chances the Murray plays next week:
"I couldn't even make a guess at this point. I'm not sure. We obviously won't put him out there unless he is 100%."
QB KYLER MURRAY
On when he felt his injury and why he didn't finish the game:
"Just felt a little tightness. I wouldn't put myself in any situation where I couldn't be myself, play my game. I didn't want to put the team in jeopardy by putting myself out there like that."
On how frustrating it was not being out there for the end of the game:
"Obviously, I feel like anybody in that situation wants to play. Everybody out on that field wants to play. It's obviously tough, but I'm just glad we got the win. Woke up this morning and it just felt like we were going to get the win. It was a good week of preparation and to cap it off with a win in a hostile environment, it's a great job by the team."
On if he has any idea if he will be available to play next week:
"I have no idea."
On if he feels like he has grown with his command of the offense throughout the season:
"Yeah… It's unfortunate how bad we were at the beginning of the year. Looking back, watching some of those games it's just like golly, we left so much out there as an offense, as a team. I feel so much more confident, so much more comfortable out on the field now. I feel like it's pretty evident. I think it's easy to tell as a whole when you're gelling better than we have all season. It's part of the process, I think everybody knows that."
On if they feel like they have improved and if they might be better than their record indicates:
"We haven't done anything, so I don't want to put that out in the air. Obviously, getting better each and every week. I'm proud of the guys for not giving up. Obviously our record doesn't show it, so it'd be easy for us to kind of lay down against a good team like the Seahawks, but we came up here into a hostile environment and got the win."
On Brett Hundley seeing limited action until this game and the difference he made in Murray's absence:
"That's tough. At the same time, I always have one hundred percent confidence in Brett. I've seen him throw in practice, I've seen the way he works. I'm just glad he's here, because I feel like that's tough for any backup to do and for him to do this for us is huge. Like I said, it's not a one-person effort. The defense played lights out. We ran the ball. It was a great job by everybody."
On how well RB Kenyan Drake has played and if he has set himself up for a big contract in the offseason:
"That's above me (laughs). He's just hungry. I feel like you can tell when he gets the ball, he wants the ball. If he's not getting the ball he telling everybody he wants the ball. I think that's something you like to see in a running back, kind of demand the ball, be angry, run hard, and he does that. Like I said, he's versitle. I feel like there's really nothing he can't do on the field."
On the touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald and how the timing of a play like that works:
"I think it's just a certain feel you have to have. Kind of be aware of your surroundings. We had a two-on-one on the defender, so I'm just glad… Larry's a freak, so he's got the wherewithal to understand how I'm throwing the ball. We were pretty close to each other, so that was the crazy thing that he actually could tip it to himself and catch it and then continue to run."
RB KENYAN DRAKE
On his touchdown celebration:
My girlfriend told me that I really didn't come hard enough last week with four touchdowns in my celebrations, so I thought I would bring something up. I was letting everybody know that, you know, we got to run it up a little bit.
On what kind of zone he is now:
I'm only as good as the people around me, so everybody around me is going out there and playing great ball. We're being very physical with the point of attack. With the physical defense that the Seahawks are, and the environment, so I'm just a piece of the puzzle in this great cog we've got going right now.
On getting a touchdown right after Seattle scored on their first possession:
I just knew that I needed to find an oxygen tank, that's all I was thinking about after that run. I was tired and I figured that we were going to have to go back out there and play another four quarters of football, so that's all I could think of, honestly.
On whether he was aware that his ability to run through contact fires up his teammates:
Yes, I'm feeding off them, moving the pile, and me not getting touched for 80 yards, as well. So, I do my job, they do their job to the highest ability. When everything comes together, you get plays such as the long run. Also, I've always been taught to be the hammer, and not the nail. That's the way I play. Despite my physique, I try to be a football player. It's a contact sport, so go out there and play hard.
WR LARRY FITZGERALD
On what a win like this means:**
They are hard to get in the National Football League in general. This place is special. I think this is the greatest home field experience of any place in the NFL. I've played everywhere, and there is nothing like this place when they are playing well. They make it difficult to win here every time, especially with Russell, a future Hall of Famer back there at quarterback. They're just a really tough team to beat.
On whether the win today validates the team's progress:
Every week is different, but I just know that we turn that tape on earlier, of the Seattle game, and it was tough to watch, because we are a completely different football team now. Today we were able to run the ball downhill, and get our playmakers some space. The thing I really like is that we won the last two weeks, but we won in completely different ways. We threw the ball a lot more efficiently last week; this week we were dominant in the running game. To be able to win in different ways is a great sign of a team on that's on the rise.
On whether he was surprised with Kenyan Drake:
No, most Alabama guys, they're winners, obviously. They come from a winning pedigree, and he puts the work in every day. Every time you look at him, he's in the playbook, he's watching tape, he's doing everything he can to prepare himself to play fast. What he can do, the skills he possesses from an athletic standpoint, he wouldn't be here if he didn't have those, but what he brings in terms of intangibles, and his football character, how much he cares to be accountable every single day, and on Sundays. He's a wonderful teammate.
On what the future holds for Kenyan Drake:
He has to be one of the top backs on the market. I don't know if he's going to get to free agency.
On Brett Hundley:
Brett's always prepared. He's a diligent studier, as well. Consummate professional. He's played the backup role before in different places, and understands that the backup quarterback has to be ready at any time. He did a great job of making plays with his feet, throwing it when he needed to. Overall, just leading us with some great energy. It was great to be able to have him out there.
On the 17,000 career receiving yards:
I knew I was close. I'm a long way behind Jerry. I'm a football historian. I'm the son of a journalist. Growing up, when I was a kid, my dad used to bring the media guides home, basketball, baseball, football, and I used to read them, cover to cover. I know that we have to get Chandler 3½ next week.
S BUDDA BAKER
On the defensive unit coming together:
I feel like we're finally starting to develop an identity as a defense. Just like you said, there's been games where guys drive the ball on us and either tie the game or beat us, and today that didn't happen. That was great for us.
On what their identity is on defense:
Just take it play by play and be stingy on third down. [Chandler Jones] of course gets sacks. He gets sacks and hopefully some turnovers.
On if they wondered if they would be able to find an identity on defense early in the season:
Yeah, like you said, we're just trying to develop an identity and right now we had some new guys come in and they played right away and they've been playing great. They've been helping us out a lot. What we always talk about is win on first down, make them throw on second down and stop them on third down. I feel like that's what we tried to do and that's what we did today.
LB JORDAN HICKS
On preparing for the game:
I knew it was coming. We looked at it and made a point of it. I just shot the game. I trusted my instincts. If we don't win downs, first, second down – the first play was a TFL. Second play, I think they got me on a flat route on us. Should've been a pick. It should've been an offensive penalty. But, yeah. It's just film study, man. It's huge. It's teamwork.
CB PATRICK PETERSON
On the defensive performance:
It meant a lot, going into these last two games, we wanted to make sure that we created an identity in what we wanted ourselves to be resembled as. We're playing fast, we're playing together, we're playing confident. Like I told Coach Thursday, it's unfortunate that we don't have enough games because I can feel that confidence starting to build in each and every man that is in this locker room. Unfortunately, we have one more game next week. Hopefully, the energy and the vibe in this locker, will carry over to the 2020-21 season.
On the play of Chandler Jones:
The Sackman! That's what he does. Chan makes it look very, very easy, very flawless. What he is able to do on a week in and week out basis, on a consistent basis, is definitely is a key component to helping this defense. If we want to continue to be great, he is one of the main pieces that we need to continue making those big time plays.
On winning in Seattle:
This is our home away from home. The atmosphere here is always a playoff atmosphere. The fans are always into the game. The D.J. is always rolling. There's nothing like coming to CenturyLink and winning. We've done that now, 5 of the last 7 or 8 times that we've been here. This is home away from home. At the same time, these fans do a great job of honestly getting both teams into it. They have some jawing, while we're on the bench. The D.J. is rolling, so we're vibe to the music as well. So, this is always been a fun place to play.
On what it means to beat Seattle after losing to them earlier this year:
We're a totally different team. We're finally starting to find that trust in one another. We're starting to play with a different confidence level; guys understanding what they need to do in this defense to be successful. Today was a great team win. Got a blocked field goal, gave up three. Those guys from the first drive had a big drive, but after that gave up nothing. I believe they had under 100 yards rushing, if I'm not mistaken. 170-some yards passing. This was a great, great team win. I think we needed this going into the last game, so we can keep that momentum going, and hopefully it rolls over to the next season.
On the play of Brett Hundley:
We see Brett every day. He's the backup quarterback on this team, so there have been times when he steps up in practice as well. As a starting defense, when you have your backup quarterback going up against real NFL, and I'm not saying everybody else isn't a real NFL player, but he's going against a first string defense, week in and week out. It just helps him grow confidence as well. The message has always been next guy up, and that mentality and that message is real, because anybody can go down on any given Sunday. The guy that gets that call, he has to come in and perform at a high level as well. We've seen his feet before.
LB CHANDLER JONES
On what goes through his mind after a performance like that:
"I had a previous interview and they asked me a similar question about what it means for our team. I said unfortunately, we're not playing for a playoff, but we want the successfulness now to roll over to the next season. Today a lot of young guys made plays so I'm pretty sure the coaches are going to be analyzing that and getting ready for the next season."
On how he feels when he gets it going and gets in a rhythm during a game:
"If you watch the film early in the game, I was winning clean early, so I knew I was fixing to have a big game. After my first and second sack, my coach said those sacks aren't good because you're not getting the ball. He said get me the ball. So late in the quarter I punched the ball out when the guy was carrying it and late in the fourth quarter I strip sacked [the] quarterback."
On how the end of this season feels compared to last year and how it can help them moving into next season:
"I just feel like the success we are having at the end of the year will roll over to the start of next season. Like I said, we have to make a few moves and we're going to move some puzzle pieces around and we'll be good rolling into next season for sure."
On what goes through his mind when he sees the starting quarterback on the sidelines:
"Whenever anyone goes down it's always the next-man-up mentality. Unfortunately, Kyler did go down, I'm not sure what happened, but Brett (Hundley) came here and stepped in. He made some huge plays for our team. Not just for the offense, but for the team. Hats off to Brett for coming in with that next-man-up mentality and capitalizing."
On being within just a few sacks from Michael Strahan's single-season record:
"I had no idea until I think Larry (Fitzgerald) he was telling me 'Hey, you're a few sacks away!' I try not to think about the numbers, I just play. Hopefully everything else just falls into place. Larry is a huge stat-guy! That would be remarkable. Not just for me, but for my team, my family. I don't think it's been done since Strahan and that was a while ago. A lot of guys have gotten close, so we'll see what happens."
QB BRETT HUNDLEY
On the final drive of the game sealing the win:
"It was cool just to get out there with the guys and have some fun. Obviously, to have this moment, to come back to Seattle and to play the team I was with last year, it was fun. The guys were fighting, and they rallied. I got to give my outs to the O-line and to the receivers and to the running backs for doing what they do. I just got out there and handed the ball off and let them do what they do best."
On what went through his mind when he was told he was going to play:
"Honestly, there's been a lot going into the works for this moment for me. I just tried to have fun. Just like practice, just like scout team, going out there and just playing my game. Like I said, the guys - I trust the guys. [Christian] Kirk was out there rolling for me. Trent [Sherfield]. KD [Kenyan Drake] and the whole O-line. Everybody did their thing. Fitz [Larry Fitzgerald]. I was just happy to get out there."
On if he wanted to show off his speed:
"Man, I haven't run like that in a minute. So, I got to get an ice bath. I got a little juice."
On trading Jersey's with Russell Wilson:
"Yeah and I got to give this back to him. I completely forgot. I didn't even realize. I know they were saying it out there. I know he broke the franchise record in this. I got to make sure I send this back to him."
On if Wilson signed it for him and gave it to him:
"He did. I got to send it back. I can't do that. He needs this one."
On what was going through his mind after the game:
"It was just everything that had sort of built up to this moment. For me, last time I got to play was in Green Bay, and everything I had to go through, as far as like mental work, and just getting back, getting right, and getting back to loving the game of football and just having fun. I think it meant a lot to me to get into this moment. This moment meant a lot and everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for everything. This moment meant a lot to me and I got to get in there and help the guys finish out this game that we really wanted and have some fun. It was just a lot that went into this moment and to be back around guys that really helped me in a time of need in Seattle with Russ (Wilson) Dave Canales. I mean, those two, I couldn't say enough. They helped me a lot."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 16 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.