Venables: We were really solid in run defense. We played a whole bunch of guys on the back end, as well. We might have emptied the roster tonight. Against a good, quality team on the road, having a perspective from that standpoint, our guys seem to continue to get a little better each week, week in and week out.
In a game like this when your offense is scoring at will, when you give up a couple of big plays, does it make it a little easier to deal with?
Venables: Not for me, not at all. Obviously, the opponent’s hand is forced when we start to pull away and get the comfortable lead. In regards to playing good defense, you don’t take it an easier when bad things happen, trust me. People are going to make plays. They’re going to move the ball. They’re going to score points. You want to make people earn it and not give up cheap ones. Tackling, staying on top of routes, doing your job, having gap integrity, being disruptive up front, those are all things that you’re looking for. It wasn’t 60 minutes of it, but we’re getting closer.
But the last 44 minutes of it, was it adjustments or just playing better?
Venables: Just having better positioning. Then, you kind of figure out some things that they’re wanting to do, maybe that they haven’t done on tape. Whether it’s certain formations or personnel groups, that’s game to game, those in game adjustments -- OK, here’s what they’re doing, here’s what they’re trying to major in. Now, here’s how we need to defend it. Here’s what we need to look for. It’s a combination of the two.
The sacks, you kept pressure on him. You continue to get to the quarterback.
Venables: Pleased, very pleased with that. For this reason, watching them on tape -- I don’t know what their sack numbers are for this year -- I just watched how they protect the quarterback, and they’ve done a great job of protecting the quarterback. At times, we had good coverage that allowed our guys to get there, forced him to hold the ball, maybe, longer. They like that rhythm offense. They like to throw it on time. There are times the coverage had something to do with it. That’s pleasing, obviously, as well.
After the slow start, it seemed like the guys responded well.
Venables: I’m very pleased with how they responded to a few bad drives and a few bad plays. They responded well. They had some turnovers and the guys really responded well to those. Good pressure. Would like to have some turnovers, but we’ll take it for what it was.