Coach Tom Coughlin
Opening Statement: We knew it was going to be a tough game. They're a good team. They played very well. They're the number one rushing team in the league. We knew all those things. We knew it was going to be a battle, and it was a battle. I thought the offense did a great job in the first half. I thought the defense did a great job throughout the game. We didn't get the big break on field position today, but we hung in there and we did our job on special teams as well – we eventually covered well. Our punter did an outstanding job. Our kicker came back on that last kickoff and kicked it out of the end zone, so I was pleased with that. The atmosphere out there; the environment was super. I thought it was an electric environment prior to the game. It was an exciting time, a great place to be and I was just thankful to win.
Q: Can you talk about the significance of the Rashad [Jennings] touchdown?
A: It's a great play. They blitzed; he broke it on a hot, he broke one tackle, he broke another tackle, the other guy hit him in the back, he still straightened up and ran it in the end zone. That was the play that gave us the opportunity right there to take a deep breath. We hit the screen; we get the call for being downfield, and it was upsetting for us. It cost us the mid-field mark and who knows there, but that's the way it goes. But that play, in the second half offensively, was the key play that put us in position and then we got the two-point conversion as well so I was glad to see that happen.
Q: Can you talk about the significance of the goal-line stand?
A: No question there because there was plenty of time. There was time left to do whatever they needed to do. I wasn't pleased with us not getting a first down, but when you're back against the wall, you're careful about what you do there. There's no question about it, it was a tremendous series right there.
Q: Is that symbolic of your game today – six or seven different guys made touchdown-saving plays?
A: It was incredible. The guys played hard. We do play hard. People like Kerry Wynn flew around and played a great game. I'm excited to see the tape, but there was no doubt, a lot of different people contributing. We talk all the time about team; that's what we got today, team.
Q: Can you talk about the Bills front – obviously you were thinking you could run?
A: We knew we had to run. For a while there, we had some very good runs. Then for a while, we didn't. Let's face it; Eli [Manning] in the first half, directed pretty much everything. Our offensive line held up. We got the ball out of hands quickly. He was able to direct traffic quickly and did an outstanding job with that.
Q: The first three games you weren't really able to put teams away quickly – how did it feel to have this one early?
A: I wouldn't say we put this one away either, so that wouldn't be my quote. We got the two touchdown margin and that certainly helped, but the interception took the wind out of my sail to be honest with you. Let's drive the ball down and score; I wanted to score. It's third and whatever from the goal line, and we threw it away. They had been driving hard on the slants; we knew it and Eli [Manning] knew it as well. Rueben [Randle] had done an outstanding job with the slant route, and he let it go. It's unfortunate that it happened, but again, that's my responsibility.
Q: How about your team fighting back to 2-2?
A: It shows grit. We are the team I thought us to be. To be honest with you, we didn't practice as well as we wanted to early in the week. By the end of the week we did, and I told them that before the game started. Our meetings have been very good. They've done a great job. They're battlers. The coaches are doing an outstanding job. I'm proud of the way our staff is putting these plays together. The sideline is not always as smooth as you want it to be, but that's football. There's a lot going on out there.
Q: What did you think of [Devon] Kennard's interception?
A: Super. Great play. That was great, and stayed inbounds as well.
Q: When you were 0-2, did you think you could get to 2-2?
A: Always. Win a game; get started. The process is to work hard during the week, have great preparation, and execute it on the weekends. That never stops. When we're 0-2, we just need to fight. That's what we do. It's what this thing is all about.
Q: They clearly wanted to run the ball. Do you think you established something early on?
A: I thought we did a good job with that. I don't know what the numbers are. [Tyrod Taylor] has a couple runs. He's a good player. We still did a good job overall.
Q: What about the effort from [Ereck] Flowers today?
A: I worked him out before the game to see where he was at. The kid's a tough kid. I ask him how he's doing and he says, "Good." He's always good. The key thing is, on the first play of the game, he hurt the ankle again. He came out and before you know it, he's back in. I respect the hell out of it.
Q: When a team and individuals are willing to play hard, can that cover up some mistakes?
A: Hustle makes up for a lot of errors.
Q: How big was that play by Rashad [Jennings] there in that fourth quarter?
A: Yeah that was a huge play by Rashad [Jennings] great effort and we needed it, the team needed it. Offensively we really hadn't done anything in the second half; we had some penalties and hadn't done a great job. Sure enough we got a few first downs on a drive, got to a third down and they played man to man coverage and we were able to get Rashad to break the tackle just to get the first down and it was great pick up on our tackles, good blocks down field and get the touchdown- big play of the game right there.
Q: What have you guys done a better job of these past two weeks to finish games as opposed to earlier in the season?
A: Yeah, I think Coach challenged us. We were challenged after the first two games where we were had leads going into the fourth quarter and lost them and we weren't able to come back. We weren't playing as well in the fourth quarter. So he challenged us and said 'Hey we gotta elevate our level of play in the fourth quarter' and I think we have done that in these past two weeks. There's a difference in winning games and losing. We had a good first half, we had a little lull there in the third quarter but we found ways to make it happen and we needed some plays late in the fourth quarter and we were able to get to them.
Q: What do you think about your defense?
A: Yeah, a couple big stands by them. Obviously the third and fourth quarter, holding them down to a field goal one time and they missed it. The next time they got down to the one yard line and they stopped them so a couple great stands and turnovers and some big plays by the defense all day. They're playing good football right now.
Q: On that Rashad [Jennings] play when you flipped it up there, were you hoping for a first down?
A: Yeah, I was hoping for a first down. I didn't throw a great ball but I was just hoping he would catch it and make that first guy miss and get that first down. He went down the sideline and made a big play for us.
Q: Can you talk about the interception?
A: I'm not happy about the interception. The guy made a play, it was tough, he drove on it and it was tough to see. I was going into double coverage and usually throwing the slant is pretty safe but he drove on it and it was a tough situation.
Q: I understand the math but can you explain why 2-2 is that much better than 1-3?
A: Well I feel like you just feel like your back in the mix. Winning two games in a row, with everything going on in the division, I know we've got some divisional games being played right now- Washington and Philly.
Q: Washington beat Philly.
A: Washington beat Philly so as a division, Dallas is going through some stuff, so we're right back in the mix and we have a lot of football. It's exciting to not feel like we're 1-3 at that point you're fighting uphill but we still have to fight, we still have to climb but I feel like we're right in the mix.
Q: So what did you see on Rashad (Jennings) touchdown over there, when he broke both tackles? First of all, what did you see as it was unfolding and how big was that given the time in the game?
A: I didn't really see much until I just saw him running down the sideline. He had one guy chasing him and I was going to try to run up and get him but he doesn't need any help.
Q: Did you end up getting hurt on that play?
A: No, I'm great.
Q: How significant was that touchdown, given how the offense was stalling a little bit?
A: It came at a crucial time of the game. It was the biggest play of the game, probably. Somebody had to step up and make a play. It was a time and need of where we needed a play, and he came up big.
Q: You guys have been talking about finishing, it seems like on that play on the defense that you guys were finally finishing.
A: I see what you're saying, but at the same time I think our defense was finishing the whole game, from the first snap, I think they were finishing. That's the point where the offense can do what they were doing and put the team on our back at that point. Make some more plays and put points on the board. When they were getting it down, the defense was holding them. On paper, I would say that's one of the more electrifying offenses: Tyrod (Taylor), Percy (Harvin), Sammy (Watkins) when he's back, Robert Woods, and we held them to 10 points. I just thought our defense played lights out today.
Q: Now they played a lot of open run, man-up on you guys outside and single back safety. As a receiver, do you get excited when you see that or do you see it as a challenge?
A: You definitely get excited. It's you versus someone else, what more could you ask for?
Q: At 0-2, you were kind of the voice of reason, saying "let's not freak out, it's only two games." How do you feel now?
A: We're still 4-0 in my mind. We lost two games, we didn't get beat. In my mind, we're still 4-0. Our goal is to keep moving forward: 5-0, 6-0. I mean, we're really 2-2, but you know what I mean. That's the mentality, keep on going.
Q: Did you guys walk in here expecting to dictate the tempo from the start?
A: Always, always. You come in here and at the end of the day you have to put your foot down and say, "this is what we want to do today." I think offense, defense and special teams did that today. We had some great punts, great punt coverages. Everybody's running down on kickoffs. Everybody is giving effort in every direction we needed. It was great to be able to pick up a win today down here in Buffalo against what's going to come out to be a really good team at the end of the year. It was great to get a win.
Q: Tell me about the goal line stand.
A: Bend, don't break. It's cliché but in that moment, momentum was swinging. We're giving up a couple plays, big plays that we shouldn't have and now we've got our backs to the wall. We could have easily gotten there and folded, it was a collective effort of guys coming out and doing their jobs, executing in the moment and coming up with a huge, huge stop.
Q: What does it mean with two different guys coming up with the stops? It seemed like different people were stepping up.
A: That's the mark of a great team. Collectively it's the unusual suspects, that's the way you want to play, when you go out there and see (JT Thomas) go out there and make that play it's like fourth down. Before that it was Landon Collins. I really can't say enough about each individual guy and their effort in this game. Attention to detail, being relentless and doing it together.
Q: A lot of people look at your defense and say there's not a single playmaker, not a guy who is dynamic like JPP. Are you guys proving that you don't need that player?
A: It's been done before, no name defense. We don't look at ourselves like that. We've got some journeymen, some guys who have been around, guys who have made a lot of plays in this league. We're just buying into a mentality obviously spearheaded by our defensive coordinator and our position coaches and guys are doing it collectively.
Q: At 0-2 everyone thought the world was ending and two weeks later you're 2-2. How do you feel?
A: You look at those games and obviously they hurt. For us, look at the different plays that we made. When we made them. 3 out of 4 quarters we were great. Probably personnel wise in Dallas is the best we'll see all year and an Atlanta team that's rolling right now. We hung our hats on that they were all plays that we did make, now we've just got to be more consistent. We learned from those games and now we're just trying to get better every week.
Q: What's your emotion when you see (Jennings) break the first tackle, then he's down the sideline and he breaks another tackle?
A: It's exciting, especially at that point in the game when we needed the play to be made. He was out there being Rashad, he has been aggressive running, and he wanted to make a play and went out there and did that.
Q: Conventional wisdom was that you weren't supposed to be able to run against this defense.
A: We took it upon ourselves that we weren't going to get pushed around. The backs ran hard, broke some tackles and got some yards after contact.
Q: After your touchdown he had outside leverage on you, right? You guys made it kind of look easy.
A: I worked him a little bit at the line, got inside and Eli did a great job of placing the ball.
Q: Going from 0-2 to 2-2 it has to feel kind of good to get back there?
A: We're just trying to make ourselves relevant, especially in this division where it's up for grabs, we just have to keep winning football games.
Q: How big was Rashad's touchdown, how good did that feel?
A: Biggest play throughout this year so far. We definitely needed it, we were struggling on offense. Someone had to make a play and he did it.
Q: You were 0-2 and it seems like the world is caving in, and now here you are sitting at 2-2. Is this an emotional boost that you couldn't have expected 2 weeks ago?
A: I feel like all we needed was one. Once we got the taste of that one victory we know what it takes to win. We just have to keep building and limiting mistakes.
Q: How much energy did the defense provide for the team with the goal-line stand?
A: That was huge. Our defense has been priding ourselves in trying to finish games. We didn't do a good job of that the first two weeks so that was huge. That goal-line stand was huge for us and headed the right direction. DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) came up and made a pretty good lick I think on Tyrod (Taylor) or the running back and that's always good to see.
Q: Do you feel, you know at the beginning of the year not a lot of people gave this defense much of a chance, do you think you're starting to make people notice a little bit that you guys are better than everybody thought?
A: Yeah. I think each week, and when we win and close out games, I think we are doing that. I still keep forgetting that we don't have JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and whenever he comes back, he's going to make our defense that much better.
Q: You keep forgetting that you don't have him, you said?
Q: You think he's going to come back this year?
A: I hope so. I pray every night.
Q: It was a six point game, the crowd was back into it, how critical was that?
A: That's a huge drive. We needed a drive and went down and scored. When we needed a stop our defense got a stop. When we needed a big play on special teams Shane Vereen picks that one up where we think he's getting tackled on the five and he takes it to the 30.
Q: How does it feel for you guys to go from 0-2 to 2-2?
A: It feels good. I feel like we should be 4-0, we've in every game. I think those two games helped us learn how to finish games better. We've been able to do that and we've been able to finish the last two out to get two wins and they were huge. We're right in this thing in the division and it's exciting.
Q: It seems like they came back a little bit, is this the first time you guys kind of felt like you always felt?
A: We had a huge special teams play by Vereen, we go down and score, the defense gets a stop. It was a great little combination right there to end the game.
Q: Do you guys start to think hey, we're not just talking about this (division) race we're in the race.
A: I thought we were going to win the division when we started the year. When you play the Cowboys and let that one get away and they're the team to beat in the NFC East. We're definitely in this thing and I've thought that since we got into training camp. Everyone else's opinions are starting to change now and get on board.
Q: The running game today it seems like you were really able to sustain it throughout.
A: It was good, there are times we have to finish better and we'd have some big runs. I know myself I've got to finish better downfield.
Q: Can you talk about the pass protection?
A: Getting the ball out quick, that's everyone working together. Offensive line getting on their guys, not allowing free hitters at Eli's face and Eli getting the ball out quick, receivers running their routes with precise timing. That's everyone working together.
Q: Were they getting frustrated out there when you stopped them? Were they getting frustrated when you stopped them in the 3rd quarter, especially in the goal-line stand?
A: I've seen a little frustration but I thought I saw more frustration from their defense against our offense. I thought our offense did a good job of battling and fighting with them and toward the end, you could really see the frustration starting to come over them.
Q: Is there a big difference between being 2-2 and 1-3?
A: Yeah…huge. We're back to .500 now and for us, that's where we wanted to get to. After an 0-2 start we just have to try to dig ourselves out of that hole week-by-week and after two weeks now, we got back to .500, so now it's about trying to push above that and trying to put ourselves in the position where we want to be later in the season.
Q: How big was the goal-line stand? It was early in the 4th quarter; they could have made it a really interesting game?
A: That was huge.
Q: What was the talk going into there? Were you confident you were going to stop them at that point?
A: I mean, yeah. We don't have any quit in us. We never back down every play, no matter what…
Q: Does this defense kind of take it to be prideful as far as not a lot of people are giving you much of a chance.
A: We don't pay attention to what everybody says about us. We know what we have in that room and we have each other's back and we fly around for each other and play for each other and when we do, stuff like this happens.
Q: Does the goal-line stand…can you feel it affect the team like it did?
A: I mean it definitely was a big stand for the defense and big momentum turn for the team.
Q: Why were you successful running the ball today?
A: Since I have been a part of this offense I think our inside zone game has been the strongest point of our run game. We've just been perfecting that and we were able to have some success today.
Q: Can you talk about Rashad's touchdown? What you saw there and how big that was at that moment?
A: Rashad is a special cat. You can't really tell that he's capable of the things he ends up doing on the field. He was one on one on the outside, as soon as we snapped the ball I knew Eli was going to throw it to him. After that he just did his thing, I just got so hyped when he stiff armed the dude and ran into the end zone.
Q: At that point your offense had stalled quite a bit. How critical was it at that very moment? It just seemed like it was kind of an exhale moment for you guys.
A: A six point game, we weren't having a lot of success in the red zone, as our offensive coach would call it when we're backed up. We had a great return and just made a great play.
Q: They're number one or two in the league rushing the ball, what was the focus? What did you think you needed to do well to contain…
A: That's the second time going into a game we were told that we're going against the No. 1 rushing team and that's been a point of emphasis for us from the defensive side of the ball. We want to stop the ball this year, stop the run this year, and so far we're doing a good job but it's going to be week-by-week. We're going to face good backs, good offensive lines almost every week so it's going to be a challenge every week.
Q: Any word on your injury?
A: I got to see the doctors and stuff. I'm hoping it's not too bad. If I can be out there, I'll be out there, so I'll see what the doctor says.
Q: After starting 0-2, how good does it feel to…
A: It's a great feeling. We just got to keep it rolling. It's a great win today but we got to go back to the drawing boards for next week and get ready for our game next week so it's good to be able to finish the first quarter of the season 2-2 after a slow start and now we just got to go to game five.
Q: Is there any feeling amongst the players to kind of show the world that maybe not really believed in you that you kind of get it done? Is there a mindset like that?
A: That's there a little bit, yeah definitely. But we kind of have the mindset of, "it's us against the world," and we're gelling together on the defensive side of the ball and we believe in each other, we work hard, and we want to just keep getting better. We feel like we have a great unit and we're not really caring about what other people think of us and we're just taking it game-by-game and trying to get better.