Justin Tuck, post-game, 12.30.12

Q: Can you speak about the disappointment of not getting into the playoffs?

A: Yeah, we came out today knowing what we needed to do to give ourselves a chance and we did that but we needed a lot of help. We put ourselves in that predicament to need a lot of help. We were really hoping and rooting for the Lions but it happens. You get the opportunity to look back at where you kind of went wrong in some areas and how we didn’t close the season the way we wanted to. Right now you just try to enjoy this win, enjoy the camaraderie in the locker room knowing that guys came out and fought a good fight. It was our last win of the season. It’s a lot better going into the offseason with a win than being the other way around. You try to take the positive out of it but it is disappointing.

Q: Were you watching the scoreboard during the game?

A: Absolutely.

Q: When did you find out the Lions lost their game?

A: This is actually the first time I have heard it officially but they told us Chicago had the ball kneeling down with two minutes left. I was rooting for a fumble there but…

Q: Do you think the guys relied too much on waiting for a switch to flip?

A: I don’t think we relied on it. I just think we didn’t play our best ball at the right time of the season. Other years it was the opposite way around. I don’t think we even thought about that that much. Honestly. The last two games we lost, we were on that football field thinking that we had ourselves a shot at winning those games but it didn’t happen, so football is funny like that. It doesn’t necessarily bounce your way every year. I thought the guys played hard. We prepared the same. I thought our preparation for this game was better than it was last week, but obviously the outcome is different. I’m not going to start saying what-ifs and all that. It is what it is and you try to go into the offseason trying to find ways to correct it.

Q: What do you think about last year being 9-7 and winning the Super Bowl, but this year you’re 9-7 and miss the playoffs?

A: It happens that way. I’ve been 10-6 and not made the playoffs. I remember the year (Tom) Brady got hurt in New England. I think they were 11-5. There are a lot of great football teams in this league and you have to win the ones you are supposed to. That’s why division games mean so much. If we won our division games, we’d still be in the driver’s seat. (It was a) funny year.

Q: What was the most disappointing loss or moment of the season?

A: I don’t know. We had some blowout losses that I wish I could get the taste out of my mouth from those. When you think about the close opportunities we had against Philly down there, Washington down there, the Steeler game here, but it’s the way the cookie crumbles. You can go the other way and look at some games we pulled out, that if the ball bounces for the other team, we could have lost those games. I think a lot of times you’ve got to make your breaks, not wait on them, and we didn’t necessarily do that in the right spots.

Q: Coach Coughlin said he’s going to ask you guys what happened the last two weeks. What do you think your answer to that is going to be?

A: I don’t have one. Maybe I’ll have an answer by the time he asks the question, but as of right now, I don’t know because if you look at how we practice and the game plan, we felt very confident about the game plan in the last couple weeks. I don’t know.

Q: Is there a sense of regret about what you could’ve done?

A: We always want to win a championship here regardless even if we had won eight in a row. We missed it this year. It’s still disappointing. Regardless of what we’ve done in the past, we learn from the past and try to move forward. We were that way last year coming off a Super Bowl win and we’ll be that way going into the offseason without making the playoffs. You still have to have that hunger to be the best regardless of if you’re last in the league or first in the league. There’s so much talent and parity in this league between teams that the minute and cause you wins and losses. The minute can cause you playoff berths or going home. The minute can cause a Super Bowl berth or not so you always have to have that hunger to get better and try to stay above your competition. For some reason, we weren’t able to do that this year. We weren’t able to play our best football down the stretch like we were able to do last year.

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