Tom Coughlin, post-game, 12.30.12

TC: We played well today. We talked about execution. The Sandy Hook elementary school children and parents were here today and we certainly wanted to honor and respect them. We wanted to try and do our part to help them in the healing process. I hope they left with some inspiration today.

We got off to some start in the game. We were all looking for some surprise. We didn’t know how it was going to come—they onside kick on the very first play and instead of just recovering the ball, Justin Tryon tries to advance it and the ball goes back to them, but Stevie Brown makes a play to put us right back in business. I thought we did a lot of good things today from an execution standpoint. Certainly, Eli had a very, very good game. We rushed for 185 yards, which was an outstanding way to finish the season. Bradshaw went over 100 yards and Wilson, I think, had 75. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different people. We played well on defense in order to hold them, certainly, to just seven points throughout the majority of the ballgame. They had their moments, which of course they will, because they are very skilled. Michael Vick is an outstanding player, McCoy is an outstanding player and obviously, they use their weapons to the fullest of their ability as well. But I was very proud of our team, the way we played today. You are going to want to ask me about the last couple and I don’t have any answers for you on that one.

Q: The Bears game just went final, eliminating you. How disappointed are you?

A: Well, it goes without saying it. The first thing is you never rely on anyone else in this business. You have to take care of your own business. And we certainly had our chances. So, that will be the number one thing I’ll talk to the team about tomorrow. And I really do want to discuss with some of the players what in the world was the last two weeks all about. Quite frankly, I’m anxious to find out if anybody has an opinion or an answer because our program, literally, is the same except for the emphasis throughout the course of our introduction to the next opponent. That’s not to say that the two teams that we played weren’t outstanding football teams—they are. But we certainly could have been a lot more competitive.

Q: Did you pay any attention to the Bears game or was your focus solely on your game?

A: I wasn’t. I wasn’t paying any attention if I was aware.

Q: The last time you didn’t make the playoffs with 10 wins, the season was considered a success. Is this season more of a failure because of the last two weeks or do you feel the same way you felt last time?

A: No. No, I’m not going there. And you aren’t going to make me go there and I’m not going to give you any quotes along those lines, either. We are certainly disappointed that we are not in the playoffs. Our goal was certainly to be there. Our goal was to win the division. We didn’t do that either. But, we won nine games and there is not any way you can talk us out of that one. We do have the nine wins. But it’s not good enough.

Q: Does this win make you feel any better?

A: Oh, it helps, yeah.

Q: Does it make you think what could have been?

A: Oh, I’m sure it will as I sit there later on this afternoon and this evening and wonder why we aren’t playing the 8:20 game. But it wasn’t to be.

Q: With the uncertain future for so many older players, what does it say that your younger players stepped up today?

A: Well, that’s important. But again, I’m not going to start talking about what you are referring to in terms of individual players. That will all be taken care of in due time.

Q: How hard is it to replicate the spark Victor Cruz gave you on Christmas Eve last season?

A: Well, the challenge went out to our team for one spark, maybe more than one, to just get us going again. And we used that as an example last Saturday night. We showed the one play and we talked about it and we used that exact term. But it wasn’t to be. Now, we got some big plays today, but we didn’t get them (the last two weeks). The difficult thing when we go back and analyze it will be the fact that we had it in our grasp, we knew exactly what we had to do, we weren’t able to get that done, we came in today and played like we would have hoped we would have finished the season with and I’m sure that will be first and foremost on our minds throughout the entire offseason.

Q: Do you think your team relied on the fact that it had responded in back-against-the-wall situations over that last couple of seasons?

A: I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. Not at all. You play them as they come. You don’t expect to put yourself in that role. The other thing we’ll look back at is we got two divisional losses by a couple of points. This one in Philadelphia was a hard loss because we had the ball within field goal range and it backed itself out of field goal range. And then the Washington game. We played superbly in the first half in Washington offensively and then didn’t do a thing in the second half to give ourselves that opportunity.

But, you know what I want to say, I have tremendous respect for Andy Reid for what he’s accomplished over the years. Regardless of what happens there, he’s been an exceptional football coach in this league and I’m sure if he wants to coach again, if that’s what happens there, he’ll be right back at it.

Q: When you talk to your team, do you think you’ll find an answer to what happened the last two weeks in Atlanta and Baltimore?

A: We are probably all the same. We kind of look at each other without any answers. I don’t know that I will. But maybe someone will give me an idea. I don’t know.

Q: Have you ever found yourself in that position before?

A: Well, I usually figure it out myself, but this one is a little tougher than that.

Q: Is part of it your struggles on the road?

A: Yeah, that’s part of it. We played much better at home this year than we did on the road. As a matter of fact, the road warrior thing was kind of tough to bring up at the end, to be honest with you, because we hadn’t done what we normally do when we went on the road. And I’m not sure about that, either, but that’s another good question.

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