QB ELI MANNING
RE: Thoughts coming off yesterday's performance...
A: No one likes to lose and no one likes to play poorly. You're hurting about that, so you want to come in, watch the film and how we're going to get better. How we're going to improve the things that we need to fix, things we can look at. It starts by looking at yourself first and see where you need to improve, make adjustments, make sure that you're doing everything you can to put your team in positions to win games. That's where it starts. We know that it's part of a football season. It's never going to be perfect. Every week there will be stretches where you don't play up to your potential and you have to give Pittsburgh credit. They made some plays, they did some good things, but we also left some plays out there. We've got to get back to work, have better practices and that will lead to better playing on game day.
Q: Are you worried about a second-half swoon by this team?
A: No. It's just part of football. We're going to go through a stretch where we're not playing our best football. Right now, our defense is playing well. Offensively, we're not playing to our potential. So, we've got to look at things, make some adjustments and see what we need to fix up. We've got good character guys on here. We know that we'll get to work and we'll do whatever it takes to get back to playing better football.
Q: Are defenses playing a little differently in recent weeks? Dropping more people into coverage on a regular basis, maybe?
A: No. I thought they did a mix. They brought some pressure early on. We got it picked up. I had Victor open and the guy who was rushing, he stopped rushing and tipped the ball. They brought some pressure. We did a pretty good job of picking up their blitzes and we had some opportunities to hit some guys, we just didn't execute as well as we needed to. Whatever a team does, we should have guys get open and be able to run our offense efficiently.
WR VICTOR CRUZ
Q: What's been different the last few weeks?
A: I don't know. It's just certain things that happen, just certain miscommunications that are going on out there. Just as far as for the full scheme of the routes that are going on, everybody has to be on the same page and we haven't been having that lately.
Q: How do you sum the feeling from yesterday's game?
A: Just a little embarrassed. I felt like we wanted to come out there and play some solid football and get a quality victory over a quality team, not just for ourselves but also for the city and for the area but we just couldn't get it done.
Q: How does that miscommunication stuff happen?
A: In the course of the game when things happen that kind of derail us or certain things that we don't expect to see coverage-wise, we just have to do a good job of adjusting to that and I think we didn't do a good job of adjusting throughout the game to the different coverages to adjusting our routes and our route combinations according to the coverage. So I think that was just one of the things that we saw that we've just got to get squared away and learn not just adjusting to what we see on film and during the week of practice, but adjusting to the different coverages they might play throughout the course of the game.
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DE JUSTIN TUCK Q: What are your thoughts on yesterday's game?**
A: It's frustrating. I think the phrase that's going around in this locker room is kind of like the pain of regret because we had opportunities to win that game. You give the Steelers a lot of credit. They came in and played a physical brand of football. I thought we matched them for the majority of the game, but for the plays that we didn't, they made plays that eventually led to them winning the football game.
Q: Do you think there's a trend here or do you think it's just a bad game?
A: I don't think it's a trend yet. That's the first one that we lost… We've been able to pull these close ones out lately. We won four straight and our motto or our focus leading from last night is get back on the right track. Come in and watch the film and kind of get the sour taste out of our mouths this week with a great week of practice and go out to Cincinnati and hopefully we'll be able to get back on the winning track.
Q: Invariably, there will be questions about second half swoons.
A: Sure there will for obvious reasons. The only way we control that or have any say so in that is by going out and winning. We understand what our history has been in November and it's not a good one and we definitely do not want to repeat it, but the simple fact is we've got to play better. We've got some great football teams coming up. They're going to present huge challenges to us and we've got to be up for that and hopefully we can turn this thing around.