Justin Tuck, post-game, 12.06.09

What do you take from the defensive performance after the starting lineup changes?

Regardless of who was out there tonight, we just played as a team.  That was the most important factor.  I think some games early in this season we played as individuals.  You would have a flash of us playing together and some flashes of us not being on the same page.  Tonight I think we were on the same page.  Our crowd did a great job of getting into the game and we kind of fed off of it and we just did a good job of just playing the whole game.

How hard was it to stay composed given the antics of Flozell Adams?

You know, I laugh at stuff like that. It just proves what kind of dirtbag he is. 

Can you go over what happened at the end of the first half?

They were trying a long field goal so we had our field goal return on with Hixon in the end zone and we set up a wall to our sideline. They blew the ball dead and I was headed towards the sideline and pretty much just stopped and I just felt somebody shove me to the ground from the back.  As I was getting up I was kind of laughing, but then I looked up and before I could get up he was kind of engulfed in our sideline, so I didn’t get to sneak any cheap shots in.

Did you have any discussion with him afterwards in the second half about what that was about?

I didn’t have to find out what it was about. It takes a coward and some more words that I can’t say right here to push a guy in the back when the play is dead. There wasn’t any need for me to talk to him.

After hearing ten days of negative talk about this team and the defense after the loss in Denver, how much did that affect your performance in this game?

There is something about this team where we just play a whole lot better when all the chips are stacked against us.  I don’t know why or how we can change that to just play that way all the time, but you are right.  We heard all the last, you said ten days, I say three weeks, about how we were soft and we weren’t a physical football team and how we couldn’t rush the passer and this and that.  I think this team is one of the most mentally tough teams in this league.  We have been that way for a long time.  Things weren’t going our way and this is one game, don’t get me wrong, we still have a tough road to go, but it is encouraging the way we came out to play today.

How did you respond to Brandon Jacob’s big touchdown?

It was huge. Brandon has been having a tough season.  He hasn’t been having the big plays he had been having in years past and he has just continued to battle and come to practice every day and work his butt off.  We were happy to see him kind of break out right there and get in the endzone for a huge play, a momentum changing play.  I think they had just scored and we come right back and get that big play.  It got the crowd back into it.  It really got our sideline amped and ready to go. We have come to expect that every day from him.  People forget just because he is 200… I say 290 lbs or something like that, but people forget he is that big and he can still run.  He proved that on that run.

You ever see him do that in practice?

A lot.  A lot.  Him and Osi are always racing. They are always talking about who is fastest, but I think BJ kind of proved that he is a little bit faster than Osi because Osi got caught on his run.

What did you think of Hixon’s punt return?

Hixon is, by far, well I won’t say by far, but Hixon is the fastest guy on this football team.  When he broke out, I even started celebrating because I knew it.  I was already telling the guys to go get the extra point because he is probably one of the top ten in the country as far as his speed. Again, another momentum changing play.  This team played so well with every phase, special teams, defense, and offense.  Every phase contributed hugely to our win today.  That was just another way of us coming together as a football team.  All last year Hixon had plays like that.  The Arizona game comes to mind when he had all those return yards and tonight the same thing.  He just did a great job and we just continued to pound the rock.  Coach said keep digging and we had not had a big play on special teams all year and that one hit right in the nick of time.

You had a feel good win vs. Atlanta and then you lost at Denver. What makes you believe that this is the one that sparks you guys for down the stretch?

I don’t have any choice but to believe.  It is no maybe this or maybe that, we are all-in. This football team’s chips are pushed all the way in. There isn’t any turning back for us, man. We know we have a tough road ahead and it starts with Philly next week. They embarrassed us down there and we have a lot to prove and I think we will be completely engulfed in the next team this week and focus on them. Hopefully we can just come out, get this crowd behind us again at home, and have a repeat performance.

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