(On if he felt rusty because of the time off) “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it had any effect on me or the rest of my teammates. It was just a matter of them playing well as a team. Defensively, they are a solid defense. They did some good things against us today, put some pressure on us. They never allowed us to really get into a rhythm, but I don’t want to harp on whether we were rusty or not. We had a great week of practice, a great week of preparation. It was just a matter of coming out and executing and unfortunately we didn’t do that enough today.”
(On how hard it was to get into a rhythm because of the defensive pressure) “The first couple drives we moved the ball decently. The second drive we had great field position and put together a scoring drive. But after that, we had too many three-and-outs. The second half, it was a poor decision on my behalf with the interception in the end zone, trying to make play but I probably forced the issue against the blitz and didn’t give Joey [Galloway] a real good chance to make a play. The corner did a great job playing the ball, but still, not where I needed to go with that and not what I needed to do at that time in the game because we were already in a position to at least get three points out of it. That is not indicative of my play and that was too bad for us at that point in the game. It didn’t play out the way we wanted today. We weren’t effective enough as an offense enough times during the day. Too many inconsistencies and when you play like that, you are not going to end up winning the football game.”
(On how hard it was to take hit after hit) “It wears on you, it does. But I felt like in the second half I came out and knew what I had to do. I felt good about things all day long; they were doing a great job. Defensively, they have a solid defensive team. They create pressure in certain ways. Their d-line does a great job of getting after the quarterback and they did a great job of mixing up blitzes at opportune times for them and frustrating us.”
(On the Giants secondary) “Their secondary did a great job of being physical with our receivers, getting their hands on our receivers, taking away some slant routes at times. Not allowing Joey to really break free on the outside and I don’t know if that’s more so because of his shoulder or their corner just doing a great job. I give them credit for how they played. I think they played better as a defensive secondary than maybe what we gave them credit for. We knew that their front seven was tough and strong and solid, but their secondary really stepped up, especially not having [Sam] Madison, one of their starters playing in the game today. [Corey] Webster stepped in and did a great job for them.”
CB RONDE BARBER
(On the Giants offense) “We knew they were going to try to establish the running game and the first couple of drives were good and obviously they adjusted. We gave them some good looks actually, for him, some easy reads, [Eli Manning] made a whole bunch of quick throws and they were hard to defend.”
(On the turnaround in the game) “You have to give them a lot of credit. They adjusted, I guess, a little bit faster then we did. In the second half it was a little different story, but they had two critical drives in the second quarter that ended up being the difference as far as I look at it. On top of that, we couldn’t get anything going. I guess we were a little off, we were not on it, they put a lot pressure on defense and they have a great front four.”
(On if Amani Toomer was forgotten about) “You don’t forget about Amani. He gets a lot of opportunities over there. He gets many balls and he has been doing it a long time, and obviously he had a bunch of premium looks and he dialed up a couple of them.”
LB DERRICK BROOKS
(On the game) “First of all, I just want to take a moment and thank God for the season that we had. I know it’s hard to realize at this moment, but a lot was done. I remember having to sit in this locker room after the Seattle game last year and it was very hard to look up coming off the worst season of my career, but I did it and I welcomed the challenge. I welcomed the journey to lead this team this year and win a division championship and have another appearance in the playoffs. Obviously the last two have not ended in a way that we wanted it to end, but there are things that we can be proud of, and over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll take the time to reflect on that.”
(On the adjustments made by the Giants during the game) “The thing that comes to my mind right now are the short passes. They couldn’t get the running game going so they started throwing some quick passes in three step routes. We were getting some hits on Eli [Manning] so they came out with some quick drops, got the ball outside to their receivers and we missed some tackles that we normally don’t miss and that ended up giving them favorable situations.”
(On the turnovers) “I preach it every time I have a chance to talk about this football team. You look at the games yesterday and throughout the playoffs that the team that wins the turnover battle is going to win eight out of 10 games. It was no different today, we turned the ball over a couple times and defensively we didn’t get one. I think that’s more disappointing to me than anything else because I felt that we would have some opportunities to do that today. You have to give the Giants credit for protecting the football and not turning the ball over, but when you go minus two in the turnover battle, it’s hard to win.”
RB EARNEST GRAHAM
(On the overall feeling right now) "It's tough to end on that note. We didn't play very well. We started well, but the rest of the game didn't go our way. We just flat out got beat. There is not much else to say."
(On if he is frustrated with the performance in the first playoff game) "We ran the ball well early then unfortunately we came out in the second half and had a turnover. They got ahead and made plays, and they definitely deserved the victory."
(On the game) "What could you say? It's a playoff game. Everybody came out and played hard. The effort wasn't bad, but we had turnovers today and the Giants did a very good job."
CB BRIAN KELLY
(On Eli Manning’s performance) “He was smart. He did a good job of protecting the ball. He made some safe throws. He didn’t take chances and we didn’t have too many opportunities to capitalize on some things. There were still some areas that we could have done differently. They capitalized today and you have to give them credit.”
CB PHILLIP BUCHANON
(On the Giants) "Pretty much the Giants established a good running game and they kept doing what they were doing. They just kept running the ball and running the ball. We really didn't have too many answers for it."
TE ALEX SMITH
(On the game coming down to turnovers) "Well that's the story, that's the season. When we don't turn the ball over, we win. What we did is we put ourselves in tough situations and there's nothing you can do."
(On the offense, whether or not they were trying to do too much) "I think we had moments where we were able to move the ball down the field and for whatever reason at some time we got away from that. Again, we had some turnovers down there in the redzone and it just makes it tough to win when you do that, but I tip my hat off to them. They played well and we just came up short."
(On the great play of the offense in the first quarter and how quickly it turned around) "Like I said, we were able to move the ball. We did a great job on the ground and [quarterback] Jeff Garcia was making some great passes down the field, and we were able to move the ball. For whatever reason, we just weren't able to continue that momentum and it happens, it's a 60-minute game."
(On if he feels there was a drop-off in performance because some of the starters were resting the last few weeks) "No, I mean, if you look at it, we had starters hurt from playing in the last game. I perfectly agree with the decision, I think guys were sharp, guys were ready to go. Like I said, those turnovers will kill you. I think we all played better. Defense made some great stops and then [the Giants] made some key third downs, so just all around the board – special teams, offense, defense – it was a collective loss."
(On the disappointment of today's loss) "It's very tough. We had a great opportunity, playing a home game, that's what you want to have, everybody playoff chance you get. That's two times in a row now – a home loss. Now we just have to go back to the drawing board, start from scratch, and just get back to where we want to be next year." LT DONALD PENN
(On the difference between the offense in the first and second quarters and if it was due to adjustments made by the Giants) "Not necessarily that, but we were in catchup mode. They knew we had to drop back and pass, so they got to open their defense up a lot, just like if we were in the lead, we'd be able to open up our offense a lot. It played a big role in everything, but like I said, they're a great team. We've just got to keep getting better and keep working hard. We have a lot to look forward to. We have a good team here and a good program, we're getting everything. We're going to fine tune some things, we're going to learn from this, and just keep getting better."
(On what he learned from his first season and first playoff run) "Not to lose – it sucks to lose (laughs). I learned that. I learned that things happen quick. The game turned around real fast. We had momentum and then it switched real fast. In the playoffs, everybody comes to play. We came to play this game but we've got to keep coming, keep stepping up, keep getting better, but everything works a lot faster and things change fast. I'm happy I got that one under my belt, I wish we were still playing, but I made a goal to start working hard this off-season so I can go out here and fight for a spot next year." T JEREMY TRUEBLOOD
(On the defensive line pressure) “That’s a heck of a rush team and there’s no question about that. You don’t want your quarterback getting it or feeling uneasy, but I know as an offensive lineman I don’t like looking back at him and seeing him on the ground, so I wish it didn’t happen but it did.
(On the Giants defense) “They came out and played hard. You have to give credit to those guys because they played a really hard and long full game and we didn’t match their intensity.”
(On the turnover coming out of halftime) “That’s unfortunate, but like I said, there are a lot of other plays in the game that could have turned the momentum here or there, maybe a missed tackle here or there and we score. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ll learn from this. I’m a young player, and I know there’s a lot of guys who don’t have many years left, but it hurts for them, but I know I have a long way to go, a lot of us do, we’re a young team and we’re going to bounce back.” C JOHN WADE
(On if a light switch turned off and everything shut down) “I thought in the first quarter we did some good things as an offense, and you know, the defense obviously did some good things, too, but I focus on the offense. There’s no switch obviously, but we came out in a little groove offensively, we put a few plays together, scored and I don’t know what happened later. We didn’t play good enough obviously. There’s not some secret potion, we didn’t play well enough, the New York Giants did, they’re advancing and we’re going home.”
(On the turnovers) “Obviously if you turn over the ball, you decrease your chances to win. It’s not a big secret, anybody who knows anything knows that’s a big thing. Besides the win/loss column, that’s another column that’s very important, the turnover ratio. Obviously when you lose it, even if you are at home, sometimes you can overcome something like that at home. This is playoff football, you can’t lose the turnover battle.”
(On the kickoff return in the second half) “Things happen. The game was there to be taken by us. The opportunities were out there from an offensive standpoint. We had plenty of time left, even though the second half didn’t start how we wanted, that’s definitely not the reason we lost the ball game.” HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN
(Opening statement) “I would just like to congratulate the Giants. They are a very good football team, very physical. I tip my hat to them. I would also like to say I am really proud of our football players; they overcame a lot. We lost several key guys today during the game. We hung in there and obviously it’s hard to lose. I am really proud of the men that laid it on the line this year and I hope they know that.”
(On Jeff Garcia’s performance) “We didn’t really do a good job around him. Joey Galloway was ineffective; he tried. In all fairness to Jeff, the pass protection at times didn’t allow him to find complementary receivers and things of that nature. But he hung in there and put a score on the board late and kept competing. Again, a lot of that had to do with the Giants today.”
(On resting players down the stretch) “We really didn’t have a choice. People can question it, here I am and I’ll answer any more questions. We tried to get Galloway and Arron Sears and a number of guys to the game today. The best way to do that was to get them an opportunity to rest and heal. I will be happy to take the criticism. We didn’t lose a game because of what occurred last week. We are unhappy to lose but there are plenty of people that will handle it the same way, I am sure.”
(On the impact of the Micheal Spurlock fumble) “That’s huge. That’s the play of the day. It’s a 14-7 football game and that play and the long, 95-yard drive that the Giants put together after that. We suffered an interception after we mounted a pretty good drive. There’s a combination of that, but the turnover to start the third period was a big play in this game.”
(On the defense giving up three touchdowns today in the red zone) “It certainly hurt us today. All I can say is they got us on the same play twice. The gap protection, it looks like the back is blocking a defensive end and he’s not. It’s a well-designed play; they did an excellent job in execution. That’s an area we have to make dramatic improvement in to continue to play at this level.”
"On Garcia's interception) "Well I think what happened was, it's a designed play to try to find one of our tight ends down the middle, we have single coverage on [wide receiver Joey] Galloway, there's a blitz, and I just don't think [quarterback] Jeff [Garcia] got enough on the throw honestly. They made a great play."
(On the play of RB Earnest Graham) "He's a heck of a football player, made some excellent runs and pickups today. I can't say enough about Earnest Graham. He's a big reason why we were able to get through a lot of things this year and compete in the playoffs."
(On taking Earnest Graham out of the game in the second quarter) "We came out and ran the ball with success. We suffered an interception I believe on one play, we were unable on 3rd-and-5 after two pretty good drives, we didn't get the ball much because of the seven or eight minute drive they were able to possess after that. But we tried to stay with the run. I think [of] the first 14 or 15 first-down runs, 9, 10, or 11 of those were running plays. We had some success although we were unable to break a big run, we didn't make many big plays and I think that's what really hurt us."
[On the play of Giants QB Eli Manning]"Well I thought he was solid. I give him credit, he didn't turn the ball over on the road. He gave them a chance to win. He hung in there early in the game when they were a little bit sluggish and struggling, and he made plays when he had an opportunity to."
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