Giants 24, Falcons 2: Mike Smith Post-Game Press Conference

Obviously, the game wasn't the way we wanted to go today. We didn't make enough plays offensively, defensively or in special teams to get the outcome that we wanted. We struggled in several areas of the ballgame today. They won the battle of the line of scrimmage and that was one of the musts we had to accomplish and we didn't get it accomplished today. With that, I'll open it up to questions.

What happened to your offense?
Well, we weren't able to put the ball in the end zone and I think it was based on controlling the line of scrimmage. I think it was evident that we didn't get it done throughout the ballgame even though our quarterback was sacked once, twice, officially. He was harassed all day and we weren't able to get our running game going. There were two opportunities we needed to convert on a fourth down and less than one. Had all the confidence in the world with that group and we didn't get that done. Once early in the ballgame and then later in the third quarter.

Why did you go with an empty backfield on the second 4th-and-1?
It was less than a yard, it was about half a yard, maybe even less than that. That was the play, again, we go through and sequence those things all through the week and felt like that was the play we had up and we just didn't execute it. We felt like at any point and time we ought to be able to move less than a half-yard with the quarterback sneak.

With that same call, did you think about going for the field goal?
Well, it was considered. The score at the time, you could have gone ahead and attempted the field goal. I felt, and we felt as a staff, and with our offense we could move the ball and we wanted to get seven points just like we did earlier in the ballgame. That was the first one, we were just about at the range with our kicker in terms of the attempt. The second one was definitely inside but we definitely had a go if we wanted to attempt the field goal.

There was another 4th-and-1 later in the game that you didn't go for. Why?
My thought on that was we had a little bit more than a yard. It wasn't a yard or less. That was another crucial time in the ballgame, another crucial play. There were a handful of them that I think stood out in the ballgame and I think one of the areas was the short yardage and not being able to convert on that third down and we ended up being a yard to a half of yard short.

What did you see from your offensive line? Did they blitz more?
No, I don't think they did. They are not a big blitzing team. I think that they were opportunistic when they did blitz. But they did win the line of scrimmage and there was no doubt about that. I think it was very evident when you watched the ballgame in person and I think as we watch the film we'll see that being confirmed.

Were you surprised at how well they ran the ball on you?
Well, we had a couple of misfits in the first half on the first score where Brandon Jacobs broke the ball. We had a misfit. But I was surprised there, especially at the end that they were able to run the ball as well as they did.

How big a loss was Grimes?
Well again, you want to have all your best players. Unfortunately, Brent was not able to go. Today we made a decision based on how he was feeling this morning and he was not able to go. You want to have all your guys. But again, at this point in the season you are going to have guys who are injured and other guys are going to have to step up. We'd like to have all our starters out there, but unfortunately we were not able to and we lost William Moore early in the game as well.

You were not able to get the ball down the field...
Their pass rush. I thought they did a very good of putting pressure on the quarterback and we weren't able to hold up to get the ball down the field. We were not able to throw the ball deep throughout the entire game. Very few opportunities to throw the ball down the field.

What were your emotions to your players after the game?
Disappointed. And the finality of it when you're in the playoffs, it's tough to have that meeting. Again, we didn't play very well and I think it's very evident by the scoreboard and by the performance we put out there. It's not the type of football we want to play and we'll start on the 2012 season, starting tomorrow. That's the way our coaching staff is going to pursue this. It's the next season already. We're going to learn from this. We're going to learn from every game that we play and try not to be in this situation again.

Do you feel like the team took a step back this year?
I do not. I do not. We didn't play consistent football. I think, our roster, we've made some moves and we got some guys who are going to be very good football players for us for years to come. Unfortunately, the record wasn't as good and we ended up not playing beyond the first game of the playoffs. And that is a disappointment. It's a disappointment for every man in that room. Players, coaches, and staff. We are going to do everything in our power starting tomorrow to get it better and get it fixed.

Are you looking to keep this staff?
Again, I'm not going to make any decisions on personnel, coaching staffs. We just finished the game 15-20 minutes ago. We will always have a complete evaluation of everything we do in our football operations and that starts tomorrow.

Re: not winning at the line of scrimmage. Does that concern you?
It does. At the core of what we want to do as a football team, we said it the first day that we got here, is we want to control the line of scrimmage. Be able to control it to run the football and to control it and protect our quarterback because that is at the crux of what we believe will lead us to success. And we did not do that today. It is a concern when we did not have the outcome we wanted.

Is this group on the clock after an 0-3 record in the playoffs?
You get what you earn in this league. We earned a 10-6 record in the regular season, we were 0-1 in the playoffs. We did not play our best game and we are going to, starting tomorrow, do everything in our power to rectify the 10-6 record from the regular season and the 0-1 record in the postseason. That is the only way I know how to approach it and I know as an organization we will approach it.

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