Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Thursday that the New York Giants were "embarrassed by our performance" on Sunday in a 34-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons -- a loss during which the defense missed a whopping 18 tackles.
"We can't explain why that happened. I know this group is determined. They've had a good focus all week. They've been very focused in the meetings and on the practice field, so I expect them to do something about it," Fewell said.
[Full Perry Fewell transcript]
Fewell said the Giants have emphasized tackling this week.
"We didn't tackle well. You've just got to emphasize it. We worked on it today. That was one of our focuses today," Fewell said. "It's something that in the month of December you must focus and concentrate on and hopefully we got our message across. I think the players see it."
Fewell was also asked about the Giants' pass rush, which we have discussed on a couple of occasions this week:
New York Giants' defensive ends: Have they become 'average pass rushers?' - Big Blue View
New York Giants pass rush: Delving even further into the lack of QB sacks - Big Blue View
His first thought on how to improve the pass rush?
"Stop the run. That will help a whole hell of a lot. That will help the pass rush tremendously," Fewell said.
The Giants' pass rushers are "frustrated a little bit mentally because of how people have taken the approach against them," Fewell said.
"It weighs heavily on them because they are a very proud and productive unit and so when you get a sack, it's not an easy thing. They work their hind end off to get there," Fewell said. "I do believe this about them, though: they're a proud unit. I think they will have success in the next couple of weeks and I think you'll see their numbers go up."
Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck admitted there is frustration among himself, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka.
"I haven't had a good year," Tuck said Thursday. "JPP hasn't had a good year. Kiwi, Osi, none of us have had good years compared to what we expect from ourselves. But maybe we're giving O-lines and offensive coordinators and offenses too much credit.
"Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people write and what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think you start listening to what people are saying about, ‘You're not getting sacks and you're not doing this,' you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you. I think that's what we've got to get back to."
For the Giants to reach the playoffs that is without doubt one of the things that needs to happen with regularity over the next couple of weeks.