COACH TOM COUGHLIN
Coughlin: 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,
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.
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QB ELI MANNING
Q: Justin [Tuck] admitted to watching the scoreboard. Were you watching the scoreboard too?
A: Maybe at the very end. I was watching and obviously saw that Detroit got within two with six minutes left. We got the word in the locker room that it wasn’t going to work out the way we wanted it to.
Q: When you play like you did today, does that make the disappointment of the last two weeks even greater?
A: We wanted to come out and play well today and we’ve been able to do that at times, and that’s football. Not every game is going to work out the way it did today and we lost some tough games, and mostly to good teams – to playoff teams or in contention – we just didn’t win some of those close ones, we didn’t win some of the tight ones. At the end versus Philly and in Washington it would have been helpful, but even with that, we knew what the circumstances were a few weeks ago. We knew what we had to do to get into the playoffs and we didn’t play well enough under those circumstances – at Baltimore, in Atlanta – to get a win in both of those spots that ultimately knocked us out of the playoffs.
Q: Five touchdown passes – is that any consolation?
A: No, you always want to play well. There’s no enjoyment in not going to the playoffs, but we knew we had a chance; we knew we had a shot, and in this game of football, a lot of times that’s all you want. You want an opportunity, you want a shot. We had better opportunities earlier on in the season that we didn’t take advantage of, so we knew we had to win this game to give ourselves any opportunity of going to the playoffs. We obviously played really well today so it’s good to know we can still play at a high level.
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WR VICTOR CRUZ
Q: Does it sting that you’re not going into the postseason?
A: It definitely stings after coming off a season like we did last year, winning the Super Bowl, you want to get it and go back to the playoffs and potentially do that again, but it hurts a little bit.
Q: What did you find out about your football team today?
A: That we’re resilient. That we have tremendous pride and that we played with passion and we went out and proved to the world that we’re a good team and we finished on a right note, not just for ourselves but for our fans and everybody else that loves Giants football.
Q: Do you wonder where this was the last two weeks?
A: Obviously, you do, but you understand that you got to approach every week differently. You approach every week and go into it with that game plan and come to play and those last couple of weeks we weren’t ready and this week we knew it was all on us and we had to take care of our business at least and we did that.
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DE OSI UMENYIORA
Q: What are you feeling right now?
A: I’m happy man. We got a win. We haven’t played well and we finally came together and we played the way we’re supposed to as a team. It was an outstanding victory for the Giants.
Q: Knowing that you won’t play in the playoffs?
A: It’s unfortunate. You can’t go to the playoffs every year. We were the champions last year. This year we weren’t able to back that up, but we still ended it on a positive note.
Q: Do you wonder where this effort was the last two weeks?
A: There’s no point in doing that. It wasn’t there. Today, it was. We gave the people of New York something to look forward to next year.
Q: What did you think about the pre-game ceremony?
A: It was awesome to see those guys out there and just imagining what they went through on that horrific day and for them to come out here and support us the way they did, it was an unbelievable feeling. We had to put a great effort out there for them.
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LB MATHIAS KIWANUKA
RE: The team’s performance in a blowout win.
A: This is the kind of performance that we should have been putting together a couple of weeks ago.
Q: The mood in here is obviously different than a shocking loss in the playoffs. Did you guys come in here knowing how long of a shot it was to make the playoffs? The mood in here seems to be an accepting one.
A: We knew it was a long shot, but if you look at the teams that we needed to win, it was realistic. All of those things could’ve happened. I think we were trying to stay optimistic, and the fact that we went out and put a good performance together lifted our spirits a little bit.
Q: Can you describe the impact of running through those kids and the parents during the pre-game ceremony?
A: It’s an emotional game, but when you have people like the Sandy Hook, or the Make-a-Wish kids who come in, it’s a similar feeling like we get to play a game. We bring joy to peoples’ lives. There’s no doubt about it that we play a game. We’re professionals, and we go out there hard every week, but there are other people out there who are dealing with way tougher situations than we are, so it’s a humbling experience. It’s very emotional because even in somebody, or some kid’s time of despair, they’re still looking to the Giants to bring them some kind of cheer or hope during the day that they’re going through.
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GUARD CHRIS SNEE
Q: As you were running through that tunnel of people, was there any kid or any parent in particular who caught your eye? Or did you just take in the whole scene?
A: Just looking at all of the faces. I looked at the excitement, and the smiles that I’m sure haven’t been there in a while. I’m sure that when they head back to their town, they’ll still think about what happened. To be able to provide some relief for them made us all feel good, to perform the way we did. Putting on a performance like that for them to enjoy, makes us feel good.
Q: Have you ever had a postgame blowout victory feel like this one?
A: No. Not at all. It’s frustrating, and it will be for quite some time. I believe that we’re a better team than 9-7, but there is no ground to stand on. That’s our record, and the way we played the last two weeks, we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
Q: Does this kind of game make you feel frustrated?
A: Absolutely, it’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating, very frustrating.
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WR RUEBEN RANDLE
Q: How important was it to have a game like this for next year?
A: It’s key. You want to go into next season confident and giving confidence also to the coaching staff and the players around you. So my job was to go out there and make the plays when my number was called.
Q: Were you kind of surprised that this didn’t come earlier?
A: Not really. You just have to wait on your time. You can’t rush things. When you’re out there, do your job and do the best to your ability. So that’s what I pride myself on doing whenever I’m out there doing my job and whatever happens, happens.
Q: Did you feel more confident today?
A: Yeah. I was feeling pretty good with the game plan and understanding what they were going to play and just happy being on the same page with Eli. We understand what we wanted to do and what we wanted to accomplish going out there today.
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RB DAVID WILSON
Q: Do you think you can become a guy who does carry the load for the Giants?
A: I’m just working hard in the same role. When the coaches want me in, then I want to step in and be effective.
Q: On the touchdown reception, it appeared to be a wheel route. What did you see there and what did you make happen?
A: Just running the play. I saw the ball go up, and I knew I had to come back and get it. I just made a play on the ball.
Q: Was there one game on the schedule this year that you would point to as the game that you feel was the one that got away from you, and it might have cost you the season?
A: All the close games, you wish you could have them back, especially with the situation that we’re in now. We need other teams to win and we don’t control our own destiny. If we make the playoffs, I’m happy and if we don’t , I’m looking forward to next year and getting back at it.
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