They played hard. It was a good week of preparation. The defense obviously had listened to enough and they played with good physical play. They made plays out there today and got a lot of stops. I thought special teams made a contribution as well. I thought the entire preparation was very good. The offensive preparation was good; we just had nothing to show for it. Four shots from the 4-yard line – it's inexcusable that we didn't score. You're talking about a team that's, what, sixth in the league in the green zone? We hit that ball to Larry [Donnell] a number of times and he comes back down on his shoulder and drops the ball. We tried to hit Rueben [Randle] with the first one and [Odell] Beckham with the second one. In hindsight, we should've run the ball. We've done a good job in the green zone. We've done a good job in the tight green zone. It's just that today in this particular situation – I could be standing here 17-16, but instead we're standing here with a loss, but I was pleased and proud of the way they played. They should have their heads up. They battled. We'll have another opportunity next week. We can't feel sorry for ourselves and hang our heads. No one person in the locker room feels worse than another one. You're not going to win a game turning the ball over five times – I can guarantee you that. We need to bounce back, and now we've had a defensive fiasco; we've had an offensive fiasco. Perhaps maybe now we'll be able to go and put something together. I thought with our special teams' plays – I thought we had a chance for a punt return. We thought we could do well on the punt return. We had one really good shot up the sideline with an opportunity there. Obviously, the onside kick was a very good play. I thought we were in good shape when we challenged on the fourth and one inch play. I thought that [Odell] Beckham was over the line when he caught the ball. What the determination was there, I'm not sure. They just didn't have any evidence to overturn it. We should've got it on the fourth and one inch anyway, but we weren't able to do that.
Q: On the four plays from the 4-yard line, was there any thought of kicking a field goal there? What were your thoughts?
A: Score. Score while we're there. Here we are – four shots. I know what you're saying. Blame it on me, but we were going to try to score a touchdown right there.
Q: Tom, the first three plays were fades. Did you have a problem with those plays?
A: That's how we've scored a bunch of times. I have a problem that they didn't score.
Q: You said in hindsight you would've liked to run the ball. What was the line of thinking at that point not to run? **
A: That's easy. Well, it wasn't that, it was to score. We did have some runs in the second half – not a lot, but we did have some decent runs. But we're trying to score right now.
Q: Tom, what did you think of [Odell] Beckham's catch?
A: It was a great catch. What can you say? The kid made a play to give us a chance to win. We put ourselves in position to win.
Q: At the end of the game, he [Odell Beckham, Jr.] threw his helmet down. Was that frustration, injury?
A: I'm sure it was frustration more than injury, I hope.
Q: Eli had six interceptions all year, five today. What do you see there?
A: It was obviously the accuracy issue. He had great pressure and I don't think anybody's going to argue with that one. When they run a simple T-E upfront and hit him full-steam two or three times today, but I know on the one interception over the middle, I know he looked and saw it open, then took his eyes off it to throw people off, and came back and by then, it was covered – I know that one. The one that really hurt, we were down there and we talk about field goals – the situation for the field goal was if we hadn't made the first down when we threw the interception there. the ball that went behind [Preston] Parker. Maybe there's an explanation; as I saw it on the field it looked like, again, pressure, and he had to deliver the ball and he threw it behind him.
Q: What was your thought on the onside kick? Was it something you saw on film, or just trying to get a spark?
A: We did and we had prepared for it. They played it pretty darn good. They weren't surprised by it, I don't think. The guy in the middle, when we started to shift and move, when he turned his body rather than stay squared to the kicker, I thought we had a good chance. It's risk-reward, but we didn't do anything with the ball. We ended up having to punt the ball.
Q: You said you have had one defensive disaster, and then one offensive disaster, do you ever remember a stretch where it seems like just one thing each week?
A: I would've blanked that out. Believe me, amnesia would've set in.
Q: The plays that Odell makes – the reach across trying for the first down down the sideline – are those things that you think would usually make you see a spark or energize a team?
A: Certainly. That's what inspires people. It's when people make plays.
Q: Did they guard him [Odell Beckham, Jr.] differently?
A: They had a lot of zone coverage.
Q: What went wrong on the fourth and short? Was that supposed to be a misdirection play?
A: That was straight tailback off the butt of the right guard. They penetrated. I thought he maybe could get up in the air, but I thought he lost it. As a matter of fact, when they put the ball down, it was, what, another length of the ball back? We didn't even get back to where we started.
Q: With the things that have gone wrong over this stretch of losing games, and the way Eli had seemed to turn around and not throw any interceptions, now to see five picks out of him in one game, would that be the last thing you'd expect to see at this point?
A: Absolutely. He, in my opinion, had played very well, was under control, the turnover bug hadn't been a problem.
Q: In the first quarter, DRC [D. Rodgers-Cromartie] got a pass interference call. Did they give you an explanation, that he never turned back for the ball?
A: They didn't give me any explanation. The question is was there any contact, because if there wasn't any contact, why would he have to look back? And he didn't look back.
Q: Is there an update on [Justin] Pugh?
A: I have no update. Pugh practiced all week – that was the shocker. The kid worked his tail off in practice; I don't think he ever missed a snap. Then, real early in the game...had we had some idea that it was that big of an issue, we would've been able to control the snaps.
Q: Is this something that was pre-existing? When was this from?
A: From last week's game.
Q: Beyond [Odell] Beckham's obvious physical ability, what's impressed you about his will to win?
A: He really wants to play. He wants to do well and he wants to be a good player, a great player like all of them in that category. He wants the ball. He's provided us with the idea that in big circumstances, he'll make the big play for you.
Q: On the fourth and inches, a lot of teams will just run the quarterback sneak. Is that something you just don't run with Eli?
A: I don't run the quarterback sneak.
postgame show-highlights top 2 vidsWR Odell Beckham Jr.* *Q: You seemed frustrated after that fourth down play to end the game. What was going through your mind?
A: Just got to catch the ball, got to hold on to it. That is a play we have to make and I am just frustrated that I couldn't.* *Q: When you slam your helmet down, is that frustration over your play or just the loss in general?
A: I just love this game. Sometimes it's hard to control your emotions when you're in the heat of battle. Something I shouldn't have done, but it is just part of the game.* *Q: You are okay, though? You were down for a minute, we weren't sure whether you were injured on the play or not.
A: Yeah, I am fine.* *
Q: Your catch at the four-yard line, talk about that.
A: Eli just threw a great ball. Just tried to go up and, fortunately, I came down with it.
Q: You tipped it to yourself a little bit? A: I was trying to catch it, but I didn't catch it cleanly. I had to get it the second time.* *Q: Were you aware of where you were on the field there and how close you were to the sideline?
A: Yeah, I knew I was on the sideline. I was trying to get my feet down before my butt hit, but thankfully my butt hit first.* *Q: You make that catch and you're at the four-yard line, four downs to go. You were pretty sure you guys are going to score or win the game?
A: Absolutely, that is on nobody but us. We've got to put the ball in the end zone. It is one of those things where our execution needs to come in and we've got to put that one in the end zone.* *Q: In terms of development and confidence, what does this mean to you?
A: You've got to keep working; there is plenty of work out there. I know I had two drops, a couple blocks I need to pick up for running backs to get a hole. There are a lot of things that I need to do to be able to help the offense keep moving the ball, and working on them every day.* *Q: How sure were you in the play when reached across to try and get the first down? How sure were you that you had it?
A: I was positive I had it. I am still positive that it was a first down, but that is not up to me to make the call. That is what the referee's job is and if they got the right call, they got the right call.* *Q: That final play of the game, that was just frustration slamming your helmet down?
A: Yeah, absolutely. That is just the love the game, that is just the passion, in the heat of the moment. I shouldn't have done it, but it happened.* *Q: Is it frustrating for the defense to play so well and the offense not being able to take advantage?
A: I would assume so. The defense came to play today. I think they only scored one touchdown. They controlled the game, even though 49ers did a great job of controlling the clock. The defense did a great job at limiting their offense. Us as an offense, we have to put more points than 10 on the board.* *Q: On that big punt return that you had and you ran out of bounds? You sprinted and ran another 20-30 yards and you tried to fire the crowd up, what is that all about at that point?
A: That just kind of happened. I wish it was nobody on that sideline where I could keep running in bounds, but there was somebody there. Trying to keep the crowd in the game as much as possible. They are the difference, we feel them when they are with us, and we feel them when it seems like they are not. We just have to do our best to keep them in the game and keep our team motivated.* *Q: What is the frustration level in this room now after another loss?
A: I am sure it has gone up, nobody likes losing. I don't think anybody likes losing, or is okay with that. It is just tough, but it is part of the game. Q: You are used to winning your whole life, what is this like for you, being on the other end of it so far?
A: It is tough. They say those…..I can't think of two teams that went 19-0, 18-0, and won all the games in a season. It's the NFL, it doesn't really happen like that. Not saying you have to get used to losing, but you have to be able to take the good and the bad. Sometimes you lose on certain days, sometimes you win.* *Q: You apologized a couple of times for throwing your helmet. Do you think that is kind of the passion people like to see?
A: That is just me. I am not going to stop my love of the game, or the joy I have when I am on the field. Like I said, I do apologize for throwing my helmet, that is unacceptable, but at the same time, that is just in the moment type of thing.* *Q: The confidence you have in yourself. Do you feel like you should get the ball every play?
A: Definitely not. They did a great job of keeping the safety over the top, a corner underneath at the same time. It kind of felt like a trap, or it was being double-teamed. There are a lot of other playmakers on this team and we just have to find ways to all be able to make plays and execute the way we need to.* *Q: What did Colin Kapernick say to you when you guys exchanged jerseys?
A: Just, "you're a hell of player, just keep grinding, keep inspiring, and keep doing what you are doing."* *Q: What was different for you in the fourth quarter?
A: Just opportunities, opportunities came my way. Besides a couple of them, I tried to do the best that I can to make the plays. Anytime you feel like the crowd is behind you like that and they are all standing up for you, they are loud, you feel that, and you feed off of that. I know it is hard for a crowd when the team is losing games, it is hard to stay in it, but I know for a fact that me personally, I know the rest of this team feels every bit of energy the crowd brings.*Safety Antrel Rolle *Q: Can you talk about how the defense snapped back today?
A: That's what it's about. It's about having amnesia in this league. We probably played our worst defensive game last week. I think the coaches did a phenomenal job with the game plan and adjusting throughout the course of the game. The players responded very well to their adjustments. Our thing was just to make sure we hustle, go after the ball, make sure we got to the ball and make sure we took care of our responsibilities. You saw the majority of everyone doing that today. We were able to stop them and keep them out of the end zone for most of the game.* *Q: What type of message were you trying to send with the onside kick?
A: It's the message that, at this point in time, we're a desperate football team. We're desperate to get a win in the worst way. It showed that we have trust in our defense, whether or not we get the ball, that we'll go out there and get the stop. I loved the call. I'd call it every day of the week. That's my kind of game. Just let it all hang out. No guts, no glory. I don't know who made the call, but it was a great call.* *Q: How frustrating is it, the possibility that there may not be a postseason?
A: We all wish to make it to the postseason. I'm not even sure right now if it's attainable or not. This game to me is bigger than a postseason or a Super Bowl. It's bigger than any accolades that can ever be presented to you. This game is about passion and being a competitor. Once you do that, everything else takes care of itself. The game is played for pride and for passion. We go out there and try to be the best that we can be and let the rest unfold on its own.* *
Q: When you saw Odell Beckham make that catch, did you just think you guys would finish it out there?
A: Absolutely. I'm sure that's everyone's initial thought. Odell Beckham, he's a phenomenal all-around player, when you're talking about skill level. His passion for the game—I love it. I wish I had more years to play with this guy. I love his competitive nature, I love his spirit. He wants to win. He wants to go out there and be the best, but most importantly, he wants to win. But absolutely. Having faith in our team, we really thought we were going to finish it then. But regardless, our focus as a defense is that it doesn't matter what the offense does. We have to go out there and play ball the way we play ball and get as many stops and turnovers as we possibly can.* *Q: Is there a point where you say to yourself, 'what do we have to do to get a win?'
A: I know what we have to do to get a win. I've been playing this game since '86 and I've won several games. So I know exactly what we have to do to win.**
QB Eli Manning**
Q: What was the confidence like at the end of the game?
A: Just to… we were in it. Our offense, we had moved the ball pretty well, had some turnovers obviously, but I thought that we had some opportunities to make some plays. The defense was playing well, was stopping them, just giving up field goals. We had opportunities to be in the lead and very much in the game. I thought our guys played hard, just obviously didn't make the plays down the stretch that we needed to.
Q: You always say that each interception has its own story. Can you just briefly… five, what happened?
A: One I just tried to… I had a little quick out, the corner jumped it, tried to pull it back and couldn't pull it back in time and it went to another defender. They played some well just on an underneath ball to Odell. I thought I could get it in there, the guy jumped it pretty well, the linebacker. I tried to hit a corner route to Rueben, I don't know if I just overthrew it. I was on the ground, I didn't see how it all finished up. The last one, obviously fourth down, trying to fit it in there and it got tipped up. I've got to do better. I've got to be better at protecting the ball, making better decisions and throwing the ball more accurately.
Q: Does this surprise you because all season you have not had this issue?
A: Yeah. I didn't expect it. I've got to do better. I've got to make better decisions, better throws. They're all on me, it's nobody else's fault. I've got to protect the ball and can't afford to turn it over, especially a couple times in field goal range.
Q: On the goal line before the third down play and that timeout…?
A: Just talking about what play we wanted to run, whether we could run the ball right there and try to sneak in. They didn't give us the run, we got to a good play, had a chance to hit Larry (Donnell) on a fade route and ran a good route. I've got to throw the ball a little bit further out there so I can make it a little easier catch on him there.
Q: Coach Coughlin said that in hindsight, not necessarily on that play but you guys should have run the ball on that goal line series.
A: They weren't giving us great looks to run the ball. Maybe on first down we could have run the ball right there and possibly snuck in or got closer where on second and third down it gives you that run/pass option. They weren't giving us great looks to run the ball. We needed to throw it. We had some good looks, they hit some plays and we just didn't do it.
Q: Is that a four-down sequence where you had to put the ball over their head a couple more times before…?
A: Yeah, you have four downs from the three-yard line, you expect to be able to score in that scenario. Disappointed, disappointed in myself. I could have thrown some better passes, some better balls. We could have made a play and gotten the lead right there.
Q: In those four plays…? **
A: On one of the plays, we had a play call to try to change it to another play. Time was running down so we had to call a timeout. I think all of the plays that were called, you always have some options down there. If they give you a certain look, you can get to certain plays. We had good plays, we had opportunities to make plays. We just didn't quite do it. Re: Odell Beckham's play in the second half
A: Odell played well in the second half. San Francisco did a good job. They had a plan to try to control him. They were keeping two guys over him for most of the game. We got a few opportunities there at the end in the second half to get a one-on-one, he won those battles. I thought other guys stepped up and made some nice plays for us. It was a great first drive, we hadn't had that in a while. Just obviously the turnovers hurt us and we weren't able to sustain those drives to get points.
Q: What about on the first three throws on the goal line, they were all fades. What about a different kind of pass? Something in the back of the end zone, a pick, something like that? Is that a consideration?
A: Yeah, one of them we had kind of a pick play called, a roll out, but they were doubling Odell and keeping a lot of guys to that side. I had one-on-one to Rueben, so I took that one-on-one. They were doubling Odell down there a lot to his side and everybody else was one-on-one. We had some opportunities on some fades, we've been really good in those situations of hitting fades. We had some good looks at it, we didn't complete it today.
Q: One of the interceptions, did the ball slip or…?
A: I just tried to pull it back. We had a little quick out to Rueben and the corner jumped it. I tried to pull it back and couldn't pull it back enough and it kind of slipped out and went to the linebacker.
Q: You have talked in the past of, despite what happens, even if it's bad, you have to keep throwing. Does it get harder to keep that mindset when those interceptions pile up?
A: I thought that my mindset was fine all game. I was still throwing it, still trying to make plays, hit some tight throws in some scenarios. You can't get gun shy. You can't force it. You can't force it into crowds and make bad decisions. I don't think I was forcing things into tons of covered people or double coverage. It's just kind of the way things went, but I've got to be better at it. Some of it's just making better throws and more accurate and better decisions.
Q: You had Rueben one-on-one on second down and Donnell both to the left side because Odell was drawing coverage to the right side?
A: He was on the right, so yeah. Both of them had good looks to hit them. I could have probably put it a little further out on that fade to Larry. We were close on both of them, the one to Larry and the one to Rueben. Close to converting them, could have been better throws.
Q: What about the fourth down play?
A: I tried to move around. Everybody was going to be in the end zone, we had five guys getting out. They dropped eight guys, it wasn't going to be a clean picture throw, but I tried to fit it to Parker. Maybe I could have scrambled a little bit more and hit Rueben on the outside but they did a good job. They had things covered up pretty well. I could have run maybe or tried something else.
Q: The first down play you tried for Odell to the right, right?
A: Yeah. They had a loaded box. I tried to hit him, the safety ended up running down underneath and the corner kind of backed off a little soft so it was going to be a tough throw. I didn't want to force it or risk anything right there on the throw, they had it covered pretty well. I knew we had three more downs after that.
Q: How tough is it…?
A: It's tough to lose a game. It's tough to lose this many in a row, especially one like this where you felt like you were right in it. The defense played well, the offense did some good things. Get down three yards away from taking the lead and can't execute in that moment, so that's going to be hard to swallow but we've got to bounce back and figure out a way to get a win. Re: the fourth and inches play
A: We had a play to the running back. That was a game plan play. They played it well. They had both safeties down, everybody down in trying to stop the run and did a good job getting a little penetration and preventing us from getting that two inches.
Q: You were under duress for quite a bit of the game. Justin Pugh goes out, how big of a factor was that?
A: Any time you lose an offensive lineman, it's going to be a factor. I thought Charles Brown came in and did a good job and competed. They're a talented front four and have good players. I thought we had opportunities to get the ball downfield and make plays. I thought our guys competed, we just fell a little short.
Q: All four of those plays...?
A: Yeah, the first three of them we had a running back. Just the last one we went three receivers and two tight ends.
Q: After that last one, you were by yourself for a while standing on the field. What was going through your head?
A: Just that hopefully the defense could get a stop and get us the ball. They were going to be backed up, there was still time to hopefully get the ball back and go score and get a touchdown and thinking about how this could be ugly but it could be a great win if we could get the ball back and go get a score.
DE Robert Ayers
A: The season is still going. We have six more games. That's all I care about. All I know is we have six more games and we need to try and win those. We are just trying to get it going in those six more games and we need to win them.
Q: It seemed like you guys had that one quick little spurt, a sack. What happened the rest of the game? It just seemed like you guys couldn't touch him.
A: I haven't watched the film yet. When I watch the film I will be able to figure out what happened. I need to watch it and I'll let you guys figure that out on your own.
Q: Is this as frustrating a loss as any of these have been?
A: I've never had a loss that wasn't as frustrating as the next one. Every loss hurts. Every loss is painful. We've lost seven games, all of them hurt. That's how I view it. Losing sucks. Winning feels great. They all hurt the same, we have to learn from it and keep moving forward. We have six more games.
WR Ruben Randle
Q: How surprised are you at Eli's five-interception day?
A: It's frustrating. I'm sure it's frustrating for him, as well. We have to put it behind us and move forward – correct those mistakes and try to make those plays.
Q: Defense and special teams played well today; did the offense need to score more points?
A: Yeah. We definitely have to put up more points than we did. So, we have to get in the film room, find some way to put points on the board, and come out with some wins.
Q: After that first drive, did you think this was going to be a good day?
A: Yeah, it started out pretty well, then we started hurting ourselves once again. Any time we do that, it forces our hand. It makes it tougher for us to move the ball and make a first down and get a drive going. We have to correct that.
Q: Why couldn't you execute the fade inside the five this week? **
A: Just didn't make those plays at the point in time that we needed. I don't think it's ever going to be something that they do. It's all upon us to go out there and make those plays.
Q: You felt you should have had the one in the end zone?
A: Yeah, most definitely. Even though he had a good jump, I still could have made that play, so just have to comeback next time and make it.
Q: Was there more contact in the secondary than in weeks past?
A: That's a week to week thing. It just depends on if it's called or not. It's on us to keep battling through it and keep making plays.
Q: What was the message from Coach Coughlin after a loss like this?
A: He said we fought hard but that's not enough. We have to find some way to win these games. Fighting hard is not enough. Play it by the X's and O's and come out with the victory.
RB Rashad Jennings
Q: How did you feel in your first game back? Did you feel comfortable out there?
A: We lost. That's all I'm concerned about. We didn't make enough plays to win. That's kind of how I feel.
Q: The fourth and inches play. What'd you see out there? Did you not get enough push?
A: I told you all before, I didn't make enough plays. The ball is in my hands and I have to make the play.
Q: How did the knee come out of the game? Did you feel comfortable out there? **
A: I'm going to be all right.
Q: Were you surprised you didn't run the ball at all on the first and goal from the four-yard line with four chances?
A: No, you're never surprised in this game. I'm a player. I never question a play call, ever. It's just about executing plays. Every play that we call is able to move the ball and score touchdowns. We just have to execute it.
Q: A couple of second halves in a row now the offense has not been able to move the ball consistently down the field and put points on the board. What do you have to do to correct that against Dallas?
A: We just have to watch the type. We have to learn how to protect Eli a little more. We have to clean up the little things. We have to stop beating ourselves.
Q: How did the loss of Justin Pugh hurt the team today?
A: I think anytime you lose a player, it affects the team. This is the NFL, though, it's the next man up. There's no excuses. We played against a good defense. They made plays, obviously, and they won.
Q: It seemed like they ran a lot of twists and stunts to confuse your protection. Is that something you guys prepared for?
A: We're a prepared team and unit every single week. They made more plays than we did. It's not rocket science.
Q: Could you have done anything different on that fourth and short?
A: I could have gotten a first down.
Q: How big was that stop for them on the fourth and inches?
A: Every play is huge because it leads to the next one. It stopped the momentum and it stopped the drive to possibly put points on the board. Our defense played very well. They kept on giving us a chance throughout the whole game. As an offensive unit, we feel like we let the team down.