Very disappointing, obviously. Very, very poor performance by our team. To have the game kind of game that we played today was…I called it for the players ‘the most inopportune of times.’ To have what was potentially at stake for our team, and to be playing at home coming off a big win. Carolina had a big win last weekend but did not have a chance to be in the playoffs. For us to play the way we did today, there is obviously no excuse for it. We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t play with great energy. We had an opportunity with that first drive. We drove the ball down and had a penalty which set us back. Had the ball in the end zone, penalty which set us back. That was not a good omen obviously. But we did not stop them. We didn’t stop them on the ground. They had big plays against us. I thought in the second half at least we battled a little bit offensively. I’m disappointed in our special teams play that we didn’t create something and make something happen there. We have done this. I showed our team a graph last night of our season. For whatever reason, the pinnacle games that we have played, one of those being last weekend, have been followed up by poor performances. That is not how good football teams operate. I am sorry that this game ended up the way that it did. As I said, very inopportune time. We have one more game to go and we have to regain some kind of respect for the way the game is to be played. We have a short week. We have a week to get that accomplished.
Q. Are you stunned by what you saw?
A. I wasn’t prepared for it, let’s put it that way. I had thought we had a good week of practice for it being Christmas week. I thought we had an outstanding Friday practice on Christmas day. I thought that we had talked all week about consistency and about playing at a high level, one game carrying you into the next game and continuing to play well. I’m at a loss for words just as I am sure you are.
Q. The way the defense seemingly revived itself last week and then was pushed around from the start?
A. Well, you are not going to win when that happens. We knew going in here that if we didn’t stop the run… There were a few things, the stopping the run. They had turned the ball over in their eight losses at a high rate. So we thought and believed that would be important. We also felt like the smart teams, the aggressive and alert teams, make good things happen to them. We weren’t that way today. We didn’t do anything to deserve any kind of break at all. We didn’t get it. We didn’t hustle. We didn’t get any turnovers. How many times did a very good runner break through some arm tackles today? That is not the right physical message to your team.
Q. What about offensively, did they do something defensively that caught you off guard?
A. No, I don’t think so. They obviously lined (Julius) Peppers up wherever they thought they had an advantage. We had to keep people in to try and help in that regard, but that happens anytime you have an outstanding rusher. So, they got us once or twice with that. In the very beginning I thought we would run the ball better and we didn’t. It seemed like we so quickly got behind. We were trying to do something to get on the board before the half and weren’t able to do that. I really don’t think so. When I look at a series, even though we don’t play those guys twice a year, we play them at this time of the year. The games as they’ve unfolded the last couple of years, and even preseason, are played pretty much the same way. Their game is to run the ball. The young quarterback did very well again today based on the fact that they can rush the football. They surprised us with some of their big play ideas that they had. Even on the ball to (Mushin) Muhammad, we were in position, we just didn’t make a play on the ball.
Q. The first seven minutes on offense it seemed like you guys were starting to do what you wanted to do. Did you notice any kind of a letdown when that drive ended?
A. I didn’t notice, but there was frustration, no doubt. We were in the end zone and the ball was brought back. A very fundamental mistake, a holding penalty. You hear it a thousand times, if you throw the defender to the ground, they are going to call holding. It’s just the way it is. That’s what he did, he threw him down.
Q. Do you attribute poor tackling to a "giving in" mentally?
A. I don’t think so because it started early. It was early on that some of that was taking place. He is a very good ball carrier but he will go down. We were on the edge a lot. We didn’t really…he spun and he had a lot of yards after first contact. We talked about that, too. I thought that would be a factor and it sure was.
Q. Looking back, do you question your ability to read your team? I am sure you didn’t think they would come out…
A. Question my ability to read my team?
Q. Yeah, it was so unexpected and there were no signs?
A. I am not going to answer that one.
Q. It looked like your team didn’t want it as badly as they did. Do you agree with that?
A. We didn’t play well. I can’t imagine not wanting it when you are in this position. We wanted it. We certainly didn’t demonstrate anything, but we wanted it.