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Game Quotes: Panthers at Cowboys


On his team's performance: "The first three quarters, the defense set the tempo right off the bat. Interception for a touchdown, then coming back going three-and-out. Luke (Kuechly) got an interception for a touchdown. It really just kind of set the tempo for us. I'd like to see us get us get opportunities to score touchdowns when we get down near the red zone but kudos to them. They're a very well-coached team."

On Kuechly's two interceptions: "On the first one, Luke put us in a different defense. They came out in the audible so Luke checked, put us in into another coverage, and I thought he did a great job reading the actions. You've got a man going into the seams. I think you've got somebody come digging in, and that's where he ended up. On the second one, he was just running the seam with the tight end and he was able to catch the ball. He made a nice play staying underneath the tight end. He had a safety over top so he knew he could be in position to have a chance to make a play."

On Kuechly's level of play: "Obviously, he missed a few games because of the concussion protocol he was in, but seeing the way he's playing right now, he and T.D. (Thomas Davis), they make a terrific tandem. It's exciting to watch those guys play as a group. I really like the way we're playing on the defensive side right now, sans the last few minutes of this ballgame. As I said, they didn't quit. You've got to give the other team credit, but he's playing very well. He's playing very heads up football. He's really into it. He's understanding what his opponent's trying to do. He's expecting, anticipating very well."

On defending the run: "That's one of the things we focus on whether we're playing Dallas or we're playing somebody else. We really do focus on trying to stop the run. We know if we can do that, it will help us as far as the rest of the game is concerned. The thing that we want to do is eliminate their opportunity to go hard play action. They're a very dangerous team with hard play action. We know that."

On being 11-0: "It's nice. We get a little bit of a break, now. We'll get Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. We'll slow it down with the guys. Obviously, we'll go in tomorrow and correct a lot of things, and look at some things and we'll give them the weekend off. Get back and start getting ready for the next one. There's still a lot of things for us to accomplish, a lot of things for us to do. It's nice to be in our situation. It really is but the truth of the matter is we've got to take them one-at-a-time. The nice thing is the 24-hour-rule (for celebrating a victory) is going to be extended to about 72 hours, and we will take advantage of it."


On the job the defense did: "We got a lot help from our defense. The defense brought their A-game today, made our job a lot easier. Just have to find ways to finish in the red zone. But yeah, a performance like that by our defense makes everybody's job easy."

On the Panthers fans in attendance: "It was big for us to feel the support. We knew Dallas; they always have a pretty good fan base, but to see the Carolina blue and black reign supreme at the end of game meant a lot."

On his touchdown celebration: "Yeah, you know, I've got diverse dancing ability. I've got to switch it up sometimes…The Twist. Back in the day, they used to do the Twist. Every now and then when I get my Grandma up to dance, she likes to Twist. Her name's Hattie by the way. Hey, Hattie."

On Luke Kuechly's personality: "Luke's a little firecracker. He has a dark side. I don't want to give away who he is but a person that plays like is not just a nice guy. He has the smile, the charisma, the lawyer look, but he has like a demolition mentality. That's Luke. We all love him. I wouldn't him any other way."


On team's response to challenging circumstances: "That was a pretty good environment there and to respond that way with the short week, traveling, a team fight for their lives still having playoff hopes…they had a lot positives to draw off of. From the first series with Kurt's (Coleman) touchdown, we kind of never looked back. Overall, it was a pretty good performance."

On the defense: "It makes playing offense really easy. Not only the touchdowns, but short fields, the impact of three-and-outs. You can't say enough about our defense. Obviously, that little spurt before the half with Luke, that was awesome. Anytime you have two pick sixes, that makes life for an offensive guy easy."

On converting third-and-longs: "Obviously, we put ourselves in bad spots there with penalties and a couple of tackle for loss plays there. We just hang in there and say it's third-and-long, we're going to protect it up. They will probably blitz, but if we can pick it up and identify it, we're going to have guys open down the field."


On poise of the offense: "Coach (Mike) Shula preaches on handling the what-ifs. The different situations that come up the game, we practice those and we feel comfortable whatever the down and distance is. When we go out there, it's up to us to execute."

On handling any set of circumstances: "We have a great mindset attacking the week as far preparation goes, and then making sure we carry that over to the game. But it doesn't matter if it doesn't show up on game day."


On the defensive performance: "We started fast on defense. Kurt (Coleman) had that big pick and really set the tone. He did a great job on that, made a great read and our guys blocked well on the return. I think that is something that kind of goes unnoticed; guys really block. I think that is what makes this team really fun. Guys play for each other, not just themselves. Kurt really started off fast."

On his pick-six and getting in the end zone: "Oh man. I haven't done that in a while. It was good. Bene (Benwikere) laid a good block on someone, and I was able to scurry in there."

On the defense's continued ascent: "We are trying to improve every week. That is always an important factor. Are you on the rise, or are you plateauing? I think we continue to be on the rise. Early on we weren't able to finish in some of the earlier games. But I think this week and in the past couple, we have really been able to spread ourselves away from the other team and gain a big margin." LB THOMAS DAVIS

On the defense: "We stepped up to the challenge. All week long, we heard how good their offensive line was. And how much Tony (Romo) was going to come in and carve us up. We heard all that stuff. We felt disrespected, and we went out there and played like we were capable of playing today."

On 11-0: "It is a great feeling. The way we've done it, that's what makes it so special. We go out, week in and week out, and we compete hard as a team. That's the reason we are where we are."


On the defensive performance: "We prepare hard. We prepare. We know how to do our jobs. We try to be the best out there. We play to our expectations; that's the best way to put it. We don't try to compete against the offense. We are not spending all week saying, 'Oh, goodness, this is the Cowboys offense.' Everybody has got good players in this league. We knew we had to come in and we had to execute. We had to run our game plan. We had to do the things that we have to do right. If we can do that, we can be dominant."


On the game: "First and foremost, let's give thanks. Let's give thanks for all the wonderful things God has blessed us with. He blessed us with Thanksgivings, and to all the many people and fans out there, he blessed us with the game of football that we play violently. He also blessed us with thievery, for our DBs. He blessed us with a D-line that comes off the football. He blessed us with linebackers that fly around, side to side, the best in the league. … He blessed us with a secondary that breaks on the ball and put points in the box. He blessed us with so much that we can't be grateful enough. He also blessed us with the people out in Las Vegas who decided to go against us. That gave us a two-point underdog. For everybody that pid their money for that, I appreciate you guys, but Las Vegas was wrong. And I hope you guys are giving thanks for that."

On the continued team effort: "No one person wins a game by himself. It takes a team of offense, defense and special teams. And as you see today, we put all that together. Obviously, on the other hand, they didn't. And that's why we came out ahead and we were victorious today. We give thanks for them. And the people who have injuries, say a prayer to them. Hopefully they get better, get back on the field and play this game of football that we love so much. Gosh. We have a lot to be thankful for. I am really thankful we are 11-0 and we have four days off!"

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