“I just told the team and anybody in listening distance that the major disappointment here today is to have a chance to get into a game where both teams are 5-7 and have a chance to win a ballgame and try to regain some respectability. We had played pretty well five or six weeks in a row and then we came in here today and the first half was just a very, very poor performance. We turned the ball over twice, they scored twice. They missed a field goal. Of course, we were off-sides and gave them another opportunity to make it. They made that. They scored late on us when we didn’t make a call downstairs that we thought was a fumble. We let the clock run down to two minutes, then they challenged and got the ball back. The first half was a major disappointment. I didn’t think we tackled well. We certainly didn’t stop the run. They were very high percentage on third downs the entire game. We came out in the second half and got a turnover on the first play and put it in the endzone. It looked like we were sparked, the way we came out of the locker room after halftime, but it was short-lived. They’ve come by their reputation for time of possession honestly. They have a very good scheme in terms of rushing the ball and throwing the ball at a high percentage and also throwing the ball down the field. They made the big play on us passing in the first half for a touchdown. Although we were in position, we didn’t make any plays in the redzone. A couple of times we got into third down and distances but we weren’t able to stop them. Then in the second half, right there at the end we were trying to drive to score. We got the ball back with the turnover which wasn’t a turnover, then we turn it over at the end of the game and don’t give ourselves a chance to go down and score. Very, very disappointing loss for us. We have a three game schedule to go. We have three games to work as hard as we can, prepare as hard as we can and see if we can regain some of the respectability we lost today.”
How do you explain four offsides?
“(Philip Rivers) is good with the cadence, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s no excuse for that. Watch the ball. That’s what you do all day long. If you watch us practice, we put a ball on the end of a stick. Player doesn’t move until the ball moves. There’s absolutely no excuse for jumping offsides. Defensively you’re giving them-- as if they needed more opportunities--you’re giving them first downs. No excuse.”
On player motivation:
“Well there’s a lot to play for. There’s pride to play for. There’s the fact that we’re competitors, we play for the New York Giants and we’re expected to go as hard as we can. We created our own situation here. No one else did but us, so it’s our responsibility to finish.”
Because it was such a significant loss, do the players seem more down than usual?
“I hope so. We should be disappointed, but as has happened a number of times, thank goodness for the character of these guys, we bounce back. I expect that to happen come Wednesday. We’re going to have to get back up off the floor. This is no fun for anybody.”
You guys usually do pretty well against the run, were you surprised with your defensive line?
“It wasn’t just the line. It was the linebackers, everybody has to fit in there. The safety and whoever is running down has to fit in there too. They mushed us and pushed us. Even when we looked like we were in good shape, it was four or five yards, which kept them on schedule. We weren’t expecting that to happen. As we studied them and got to know them, we realized they really can rush the ball. Their runner is a really good football player and they had a big, strong
offensive line. They performed well today. They got beat here last week in a game that I’m sure they thought they were going to win. They had their noses to the grind all week and they played like it. Give them credit.”
Did the crowd affect Eli Manning?
“I don’t think so at all. I think their team affected us.”
Does the circumstance change the strategy at all, moving forward?
“We’re going to try to do the best we can, no matter what. I don’t know where else we go. Our team is our team. This is who we are.”
QB Eli Manning
Is it rough knowing that you’ve been officially eliminated from playoff contention?
“Yeah, that wasn’t the goal. Each year this team expects to make the playoffs and to be in contention for championships. To know that with three games to go is disappointing and today’s loss was a tough one.”
On if the San Diego fans affected his play during the game:
“No. Fans have never affected my play and I just tried to go out there and play good football.”
On the lack of success playing in San Diego:
“Obviously we’ve played here twice and haven’t had success in either turn so I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity or not.”
On his confidence level being shaken by his play this season:
“It’s been tough. Obviously today we got down and you try to compete and make some things happen but I haven’t analyzed the whole season but you just try to go game by game and try to make adjustments to get better. After the season we’ll look at it and try to figure that part out but we still have three games to go to try to make some adjustments and get better.”
With three games to go is there a part of you that is anxious to look back and figure out what went wrong this season?
“No. I think we’re just going to try and get ready for this next game. Obviously we’re playing a good team next week and some days are just tough. We have to figure out a way to be more successful and have better situations to convert on third downs.”
On San Diego’s defense:
“I thought their defense played well. They showed some different looks and did a good job of disguising different blitzes that got us into some tough situations. They got some decent pressure at times and I think their defense did some good things.”
DE Justin Tuck
On what went wrong today that gave the Chargers so much success:
“We didn’t play together. We had spots where we played decently but then there were some spots where they made some huge plays on third down in the game and they were able to capitalize on some short fields and get some points up early. You can’t expect to continue to start as slow as we did today and last week and come back from that especially against good football teams like the one we played today. We just didn’t play well enough.”
Was something missing on the field in terms of enthusiasm that had been seen in weeks past or was it about lack of execution today?
“I think it was a little of both honestly. It was kind of frustrating today to have to be questioning where our enthusiasm was. I thought we picked it up coming out of the second half and there was some good things there but it still wasn’t enough. Obviously you get yourself a 24 point deficit on the road against a good football time it’s wishful thinking to think you’re going to come back from that most of the time.”
How do you move forward now knowing your team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs?
“You have to win three games regardless of if you’re in the playoffs or not. We have to redeem ourselves as football players and that’s what we get paid to do is to go out there and win football games. We won’t worry about where we are in the playoffs. We’ll put the blinders on and we have to go out there and win football games and that’s all we have to be worried about.”
WR Hakeem Nicks
Did you think your long catch over the middle was going to spark your team?
“It was definitely a good start. The first series went three and out. We came back and figured them out a little bit. We schemed up a nice play and I took advantage of it.”
Were you disappointed that your team was down early in the half?
“Yes, but it was still early and I thought we could rebound from it. It is what it is. It happens.”
On the Hail Mary play before halftime?
“I knew I was going to get it. I thought I was in the end zone until I got up and everybody was just looking at me. I was thinking why isn’t anyone celebrating?
Did you think your play today helped get yourself going?
“Each week I strap it up and I am ready to go. I had a lot more opportunities today and I wanted to take advantage of it.”
How difficult is it knowing that you are eliminated from the playoffs?
“It’s difficult but it’s reality. Only thing we can do now is control playing these last three games to really show what we are made of. I don’t like it by a stretch, but it’s reality like I said and we have to face it.”
Was there a hint before the game that the team wasn’t ready to play today?
“No hint before the game. Maybe Coach Coughlin saw something different before the game. I know immediately after the game and after the first half we were extremely flat on both sides of the ball for whatever reason. I don’t know the reason why but it’s something that we need to self-reflect on.”
On the break downs in the secondary today:
“On the first touchdown it was a man-to-man play. The guy was on one-on-one coverage. He had a wide outside release and he kept running to the hash. That’s a hard route to cover for anyone because you’re running from the post-safety, you’re running from 11 to the nickel, and Philip Rivers made a great throw and the receiver made a helluva catch and was able to score the touchdown. On the second touchdown play, it was basic Cover 2. We have to make that play. We don’t point fingers. We win as a whole and we lose as a whole. We have to find a way to get better and play beyond the X’s and O’s. They did everything we saw on film. They didn’t throw any wrinkles at us. He just dumped the ball and they were able to capitalize after the throw.”
Have you ever seen a stadium so hostile toward one player?
“That’s not our concern. People are going to react however they are going to react. Coming into the game, obviously, we knew how the stadium was going to be or feel toward Eli (Manning) or the Giants. It has nothing to do with the game at all. As professionals and football players we know how to overcome that and play ball.”