DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles returns a punt for the winning touchdown as time runs out defeating the New York Giants 38-31 during their game on December 19 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
I will have a whole lot more on today's 38-31 disaster, but right now I can't think straight. So, for starters, here is the transcript of Tom Coughlin's post-game press conference.
Obviously very, very difficult to discuss or talk about. There aren't a lot of words to - even for our team, for them to take a hold of other than the fact that we have two games to play, we've got to win two games. The explanation for this I think: 24-3, 31-10, the game is never over until it's over and we talked long and hard about their fourth quarters. They've had a lot of very strong comeback wins in the fourth quarter, certainly not to that extent, but a running quarterback - we got him third down and he gets outside us and we're coming off the edge. He's supposed to keep the ball inside you, he gets outside and runs halfway down the field and then runs the next play and just takes the ball and runs up the middle of the field. That's as frustrating as it gets to anybody - a defensive team or anyone - to be in position and to be doing what your responsibilities are and the quarterback just slithers his way out of there or he ducks down or however he did it, he made huge plays against us and put them in position. I'll take full responsibility for that last play: the young punter was told to punt it out of bounds and he got a high snap and didn't feel like he could and we all learned the hard way again. At that point in the game with (Jackson) back there, you don't punt into that.
Q: The onsides kick play?
A: We talked about the onside kick as a possibility. We didn't put our hands team in there, no. There were still seven and a half minutes to go and they were down two scores, so we didn't think it was necessary to do that at that time. There was no reason for us not to make a better play on the ball. We didn't have anybody even around the ball.
Q: Did you feel a momentum shift after the Celek touchdown?
A: I think there was very much a concern on my part as to how fast they went down the field. That's not what the intent was. Even if you bleed them and they score, you do have the advantage of the clock, but that didn't happen, so we tried to settle them all down and we had an opportunity to come back out and we had the ball and we were 10 yards away from a field goal with a seven-point lead on second down and five and we had a penalty. The previous series we had a sight adjustment that the quarterback was looking for something to happen there and it didn't happen and we had to punt the ball, but I really did feel like we were going to take the ball down in position for a field goal with the drive that subsequently had the penalty and ended up being punted.
Q: What was the upside to not putting in the hands team?
A: The upside is to try to get field position for your offensive team. Seven and a half minutes to go, let's have a return and position - we had been doing a good job returning. Danny was knocking the ball out. However, all people up front, again, were told to watch out for the onside kick.
Q: They looked like they -
A: I don't know what it looked like. I'm just telling you that they were alerted to it. Obviously we didn't challenge it.
Q: Did Vick wear your defense down?
A: I don't think so. Frustration more than anything else. The week before he had eight carries for 16 yards or six for 18 yards or something like that. He had been pounded pretty good and we were getting after him.
Q: Is this the most disappointing?
A: I've never been around anything like this in my life. It's about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there.
Q: Was there a sense of nervousness on the sidelines?
A: I didn't sense anything except we weren't stopping them and up and down the field they went and they did it with a pass that covered a tremendous amount of yardage in no time and they did it with a couple of quarterback runs that put the ball from the minus-nine or 10 to midfield. They were huge chunks. We didn't tackle. We had a chance to tackle 87 on the long play and we didn't do it.
Q: Was it disappointing for the offense to lose momentum like that and have that penalty?
A: That was it. That was what I'm talking about. That wasn't Diehl's fault. We were trying to move some people around to better pick up the pressure off of the corner and for whatever reason, we just blanked out on it.
Q: What happened on the throw to Nicks on third down?
A: On the pressure? He was anticipating that the receiver would adjust a certain way and it didn't happen. It was an all-out blitz. Everybody in the ballpark could see it.
Q: You said you had no words. What did you tell your guys?
A: I did. I had words for them, but I told them exactly what I just told you. It was a very difficult game for anyone to explain and I gave them the 24-3 and the 31-10 and then I came back and said, "Hey, we're men. There's no lower feeling." Honestly we did work very hard this week - they worked hard. The players were very, very much into this game. This was about as exciting and excited a group as I've been around in a long time. They really looked forward to playing and they were excited at halftime - everybody was talking about just finishing the game - nothing-nothing, 30 minutes to go. As I said, we talked about all of that. We have two games to go and we have to win two games.
Q: How will you get them to recover?
A: We'll bounce back. We'll bounce back.
Q: What was different in the last seven minutes?
A: They ran the quarterback up and down the field. That's what they did differently.
Q: Why was he able to?
A: Because we were rushing the passer and the quarterback quite frankly looked to me like he was looking to run.
Q: Have you ever faced anyone like him?
A: I've coached against two or three quarterbacks that were very good in terms of their ability to run as well as throw the ball. (Steve) McNair was like that. In the two minute drill if you got off in coverage, he would run, if you got up and pressed, he would throw the ball. There have been two or three guys over the years that have played like that. The way in which it worked for them today...when you have a quarterback and you prepare to keep that quarterback inside and in front and even with pressures off the edge, he gets outside of it. His touchdown run, we were pressuring and we came up the field on the angle holding him outside in and he got underneath us for a while. On the long run on the other end out to midfield we were coming off the corner again and he got outside of us on that one. He was able to do a couple of things.
Q: Were you satisfied with Dodge's explanation?
A: There was no explanation. It's a team game. There isn't any one guy - it should have never come down to that. Without a doubt it should have never come down to that, but it did and at that point in time with 14 seconds, you're going to punt the ball out of bounds, you're going to get one play and you defend the one play and you go into overtime. It didn't have to end the way it did either.
Q: After the first half, did your defense change or did Vick adjust?
A: Well, up until the time it was 31-10, I thought our defense was - even though there were some moments on their one touchdown - I thought we regrouped and we were doing a good job. From that point on we obviously had difficulty.