After Chase Blackburn suffered an injury Week 8, Mark Herzlich finally had his opportunity to start at middle linebacker this season. Unfortunately, it did not go as planned as the New York Giants lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20.
"We lost, so [the first start was] not very good," said Herzlich. "I think that for the most part, I was in the right spot for the plays and I thought I played pretty physically and pretty well. But there's definitely some tiems where I could have played better and capitalized on some of the plays."
Herzlich made eight tackles, six of which were solo, but it was not an easy day for the middle linebacker. He said it was mostly because they fought just a little bit harder for those yards.
"I think that one of the biggest things [to improve on] is finishing the play and not letting them get the extra yard," said Herzlich. "Fight for that one extra yard. They fought harder for that one extra yard than we did and it kind of came down to that and that's why they were able to capitalize. In their run game, if you look at it, for the first three seconds of the play it's nothing. but then at the last two seconds of the play is where they broke free and got those extra yards."
Herzlich talked about the things that went wrong Sunday.
"It really came down to us not executing and them executing," said Herzlich. "We have to play ... Same thing as defense -- play longer and harder than them. We didn't do that. We left seams open in the coverage, which we don't normally do, but that's part of the deal. We've got to play well and play hard every single play, every single week."
Even with the poor play of the Giants, one of Herzlich's concerns going into this game was trying to put a smile on the faces of the fans who were affected Hurricane Sandy which devastated the Tri-State area. After losing the game, he was upset about letting the fans down.
"This is the type of thing we play the game every week for the fans and we play it for ourselves and we play it for our team and this was a week where we really wanted to step up for the people who were hit by the hurricane and we didn't do that and it's as simple as that," said Herzlich. "Instead of putting a smile on their faces for three hours, we kind of let them down and we have to pick it up and play better. Not only for ourselves, but for them as well."
It's hardly time to panic over the way the Giants played against the Steelers, and now that Herzlich has seen significant playing time in the middle linebacker position again, he could work out the kinks and get rolling next week (that is if Blackburn is still hurt).
The Giants have a game against the Cincinnati Bengals Week 10 before going into their bye week. With the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Redskins all losing, they still have some breathing room in the NFC East and need to take advantage next week.
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