I think today we played outstanding defense and that set the tone for everything else that happened in the game. It was wonderful to see it and it has happened over the last two or three weeks of the season. If we can continue to play defense like that, we can make ourselves heard in this tournament. The two fourth down stops were outstanding; the second half we got going on offense and started rushing the ball. I think Brandon Jacobs set the tone physically. The punter did a nice job today and our coverage teams were good although we had some penalties on punt return, which will drive you nuts, but overall we played hard all the way through. Everybody gave it a great effort. It didn't show up until the second half offensively. They are a good football team or they wouldn't be here. We were very pleased to have an opportunity to play at home in front of our fans, it was great to have a home playoff game and have our fans involved as much as they were. Our players greatly appreciate that.
Q: Did Eli Manning know it was third down on the slant pass?
A: Yes, I think he did. It was third and one.
Q: How important and big was the interior rush?
A: Those guys did an outstanding job not only that way but also against the run. You are talking about Canty and that rotation with Rocky Bernard and Linval. Those guys did an outstanding job and when it went to the nickel, you see 91 in the middle and 71 as well. A lot of guys contributed today and did a very good job.
Q: How big were those stops when it was third or fourth and short?
A: The two fourth down stops were just outstanding and both were in the shadow of the goal line as well. That really inspired everybody, to be honest with you. Those plays that our defense made really inspired everybody.
Q: Can you talk about the defensive effort in stopping the Falcons offense?
A: We started with stopping the run and that was not easy with Michael Turner, who is an exceptional back. They are a powerful group and they run the ball extremely well. The guy has over 300 carries this season but we did a good job with that. You are not going to shut them down but we did a good enough job keeping them off balance and forcing them to do other things. For the most part, we were able to contain and control the breakout play which was critical and also kept the clock running. The big play by Hakeem was outstanding. You are talking about a situation where they had done a really good job back and forth with their fronts and coverages. We were able to hit that ball and then split it and that is what happened in the game. Hakeem took off and ran away from everybody, which was good to see.
Q: Was today your most effective day running the ball this season?
A: I think numbers wise it will be, but it was a difficult time getting started. That first half was tough.
Q: What happened on the safety?
A: We had pressure on the edge right in front of the quarterback and we didn't protect him very well. He was trying to escape and get away and unfortunately he let one go and there wasn't anybody in the area. The result was a safety.
Q: How big was Hakeem Nicks today?
A: The catch that he made on the touchdown over the top was an outstanding catch as well. How about Mario, Mario had a big day and he played well. He really worked the sideline and he caught that really nice over the top pass from Eli. I thought he played well today as well. It was also good to get Jake Ballard back in there although he was coming off an injury, to have him play in the game of this nature, with the pressure of the game and perform because he will be another target for us going forward.
Q: Can you talk about playing the Packers again and on the road?
A: I just heard that a second a go and I am sure we will have enough time to talk about that all week. We weren't sure where we were headed but we are headed to Green Bay. We look forward to doing the best we can to prepare for the trip to Lambeau again.
Q: How much confidence do you have knowing how close you played them earlier this season?
A: We did and of course they had a lot of yards and we had a lot of yards. It was a lot of points scored and our defense is hopefully better. When we go back and look at the tape and study what has happened over the last few weeks, hopefully we can do a little bit better job.
Q: What did you say to the guys who were playing in their first playoff game?
A: They were all anxious to play, they were looking forward to it very much. I think it helped us to be at home but we use various themes this week and this one was ‘you have to believe.' ‘Anything is possible if you believe' and ‘keep the dream alive' and of course, they did that today.
Q: Did your heart stop when you saw JPP on the ground?
A: Well Aaron Ross was down right next to him. Anytime you have players on the ground, your first thought is, I hope it is not serious. Fortunately, JPP was able to get up and go and I just saw Aaron Ross and he just counted fingers for me so I hope he will be alright.
Q: How big was that Eli run?
A: That was instrumental when he pulled that down because we were struggling to make a first down. He was able to clear that side of the field, get a first down and give us some momentum. The timing of the play was outstanding.
Q: Can you talk about Eli just making things happen?
A: He has done an outstanding job of that all year. We didn't always have great protection but he was able to maneuver and get some things done, probably not as clean as we would like when we look at the tape but nevertheless.
Q: What do you have to say to the fans who brought so much energy today?
A: I started out by saying that I thought it was great to have a playoff game at home and to have our fans as excited to be involved in the game. The fact that it has made a huge difference and our players really responded well to it and we are excited that the fans feed the players and the players feed the fans. It was nice.
Q: Why was it so important to stick with the run?
A: Balance, you have to have balance and we were able to do that. I was surprised myself when I looked at the stats.