GIANTS TOP PACKERS, 37-20, IN NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF
- The N.Y. Giants beat the Packers, 37-20, on Sunday at Lambeau Field to advance to the NFC Championship.
- Green Bay’s 15 wins overall on the season rank tied for No. 2 in franchise history (1997) behind only the team’s 16 victories overall in 1996.
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
- Today’s paid attendance was 72,080. It was the 302nd consecutive sellout (285 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- WR Donald Driver caught three passes today, giving him a franchise-record 49 receptions for his career in the post- season. That surpassed WR Antonio Freeman’s mark of 47 career catches in the playoffs.
- With 45 receiving yards, Driver moved past WR Robert Brooks (651 yards) for the No. 2 spot in franchise postseason history. Driver now has 675 career receiving yards in the playoffs.
- Driver has now caught a pass in 12 consecutive postseason games, which is tied with Freeman for No. 2 in franchise playoff annals behind only RB Dorsey Levens (13 games).
- QB Aaron Rodgers set a single-game franchise postseason record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 66 yards on seven carries (9.4 avg.). That topped the previous mark held by Rodgers (39 yards, at Chicago, Jan. 23, 2011). Rodgers’ 66-yard day was the most by an NFL quarterback in a playoff game since Atlanta’s Michael Vick posted 119 yards rushing vs. St. Louis on Jan. 15, 2005.
- With 264 passing yards on the day, Rodgers surpassed QB Bart Starr (1,753 yards) for the No. 2 spot in the franchise postseason record book. Rodgers now has 1,781 career passing yards in the playoffs.
- With two TD passes today, Rodgers moved into a tie with Starr for the No. 2 spot in team history for the most TD passes in the postseason with 15 in his career.
- LB Brad Jones became the first Packer to block a field goal in a playoff game since DL Cletidus Hunt did so vs. San Francisco on Jan. 13, 2002.
- S Morgan Burnett posted his first career postseason interception with his second-quarter INT of QB Eli Manning.
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY
(on what happened to his team with so many errors) “We did not play very well today. I think that’s stating the obvious. As you prepare for playoff games, the research will tell you that the three most critical areas that you have to perform very well in are taking care of the football, taking it away, third down is probably the most important, the research would tell you. And red-zone efficiency. I think we were balanced in the red-zone. I think we were equal in third down efficiency. But clearly, the turnover ratio is something we take a lot of pride in, something we spend a lot of time on. We’ve been excessive frankly, in handling the football in the winter weather preparing for the opportunity in playoff games. And we did not do a good job of handling the football. Turnover ratio is something we don’t lose very often. Quarterback [rating] differential is something we were plus 42 throughout the season. We did not play to our identity.”
(on if his team was rusty coming off the first round bye) “No, no excuses. We practiced well. I thought Wednesday’s practice was as good a practice as we’ve had. We had padded practices during the open week, we had a padded practice this week. There was nothing in preparation that had led me to believe this was going to occur today.”
(on whether or not the long TD pass at the end of the first half was deflating) “I wouldn’t call it deflating. It’s 13-10, it’s obviously a play you practice on both sides of the ball. The defensive call was the right call. The alignment showed you it was getting ready to occur from what they attempted. It’s about making plays. It’s about big play opportunities in big games. It was a big play obviously for the Giants. It was a 10-point game at halftime and we had the ball coming out so a big momentum play for them, but we were not deflated as a football team.”
(on if the Giants did anything in the secondary to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the offense) “Frankly, I think the biggest thing was the self-inflicted wounds. The dropped balls, I don’t know how many first downs we had. We were plus twenty, I know that. So that’s normal. We left some yards on the field. We had some opportunities to make plays. We probably dropped back and threw it more than we wanted to. We initially wanted to stay into a little more run mix than we normally do. Once it got to a two-score game, then we got out of it. The third quarter, I thought was a turning point, having the ball primarily the whole quarter and only having three points to show. That was something that obviously put us in a position to play uphill in the fourth quarter.”
(on deciding to go for an onside kick in the first half and then go for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter) “Anytime you make a decision that has higher risk than normal, you tend to go back and look at it. It’s something I do with the football team. I think it’s important to be accountable for your decisions that you make within the game, trying to put your players in position to make an impact play was my thought process on the onside kick. It’s not the first time we’ve gone for it on fourth down. We were probably five yards shy of the range that was established in pre-game based on the wind. The fourth-down call, I really don’t have a problem there with the call, but I do understand that once they scored it did make it a two-score game.”
PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS
(on how you explain the amount of mistakes) “We just turned the ball over too many times to win. You’ve got to give them credit, they played well on defense. They had a good plan, but we had a lot of chances to execute and didn’t do it. (We) put our defense in a tough spot a couple times and that’s why our season’s over.”
(on how he evaluates the season overall) “Disappointing. We play to win championships. You win a championship, have kind of the top of the mountain and you forget kind of how bad this feeling this. After the 2009 season when we lost to Arizona, it sucks. This team, this organization, this fan base, expects championships. We had a championship-caliber regular season and didn’t play well tonight.”
(on what the Giants did defensively that forced him to run so much) “Just covering guys and kind of condensing the pocket a little bit. When you play that much man coverage you don’t have a guy assigned to me. If nobody’s open, I’m going to try to extend the play and for whatever reason that happened more than usual tonight. I tried to make the most of it, ran for a few first downs. That’s not something I was thinking was going to happen maybe as much going into the game, but their high volume of man coverage kind of dictated that.”
(on the feeling after the long TD pass before halftime) “Going in at half 13-10, getting the ball, (it’s) a little different feeling going in down 20-10. It’s one of those crazy, fluky plays. It gave them a lot of momentum and made it a two-score game, which is big going into halftime on the road. So, it was disappointing.”
(on whether this seems real) “Oh it’s real. We got beat by a team that played better tonight. That’s the reality of this league. I’ve been in for a while and been to the playoffs four times and three times you lose your last game, you go home and then the one time you (get) that euphoric feeling that you keep fighting for. It’s tough. I didn’t think it was going to end tonight, felt good about our chances, felt good about our team. I personally didn’t play as well as I wanted to and it’s disappointing because every year is unique to itself and (there are) different guys, different opportunities. Just the relationships that we have in the locker room with those guys and those coaches, you just know that it’s going to be a new team next year, so that’s probably the most disappointing thing, to stand in there and know that it’s probably your last time together with these guys.”
(on whether he felt the offense was out of sync or out of rhythm) “I felt like we had pretty good rhythm. We moved the ball pretty effectively, we just had some drops and had some uncharacteristic turnovers. I think our third down was 50 percent, so we converted pretty well on that, but we just had some chances and didn’t make the most of them.”
(on what it meant to have Joe Philbin back for the game) “It meant a lot just having him (here). He spoke to us Saturday morning at his usual time. Everybody was surprised to see him in there. (It was) tough for him and his family this week obviously and tough for the guys too. Thursday I was at the wake and Friday at the funeral, as were a lot of us, supporting Joe because we care about him, we love him. I think deep down a lot of us kind of wanted to get this one for him, give him some happiness to him and his family during a tough week.”
PACKERS RB RYAN GRANT:
(on the disappointment given expectations) “It’s not a matter of potential – it’s the body of work. We had a lot of expectations, I’d definitely say. We expect to go out there and play at a high level. It’s true confidence. It’s what we put out and how we work. We just didn’t get it done. I didn’t get it done. Across the board in general, we didn’t get it done. Every game is hard, but when there’s more on the line like this and we’re playing at home, we just have expectations.”
(on turnovers) “We take pride in not turning the ball over and having great ball security. We didn’t do that, of course, I didn’t do that. The backfield didn’t do that. Not dropping balls and not putting ourselves in bad situations and we did. Across the board, we didn’t play Packer football and we weren’t consistent with what we’ve done and what we’re trying to do.”
PACKERS WR JAMES JONES:
(on if the loss changes how you view the season) “It’s not hard because you see all the effort that everyone put in to have a great season. All the stuff we accomplished, it was well-deserved. The Super Bowl was another one of our goals and we didn’t reach that, but you win some, you lose some, and live to fight another day.”
(on what he’ll remember most of this season) “Turnovers. Turnovers in the most important game that mattered and that was today. 15-1 doesn’t mean anything if we didn’t win today.”
(on the offense’s struggles) “We didn’t get on a roll. No. 1 we were fumbling and No. 2 we were dropping balls. We never could get into rhythm. That hasn’t been us as an offense. That hasn’t been us all year as an offense and it showed up today. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, it just happened.”
(on if they felt they could make a comeback) “We have faith that good things are going to happen. You just keep playing through the drops and turnovers. Obviously, we just had too many mistakes.”
PACKERS WR JORDY NELSON:
(on the offense’s inability to find itself rhythm) “We hurt ourselves – turnovers, drops, everyone knows what happened. Give New York credit for making those plays, but it wasn’t up to our standards.”
(on the end to the first half) “That’s not what you want. First off, offensively we wanted to go down and score in the two-minute. I believe it was a three-point game at that point. We were hoping to go down and at least get a field goal and hopefully steal a possession there with getting the ball back after the half. We didn’t do our part. New York was aggressive, took a shot and made a play.”
(on if the week off affected rhythm) “We had two practices in the week off and a week to prepare, so I think we were fine with the time off. I don’t think anyone will ever regret getting that first-round bye. We came out and made plays, but we just turned the ball over and had drops. We practiced well all week and were in good rhythm (going in).”
(on the defense’s performance) “I thought our defense played pretty well, especially with the situations we put them in as an offense. They stepped up and held them to the fewest points possible. The score is going to look worse than the game actually was. I think they played well and we didn’t do our part. We didn’t put points on the board and that’s the end result.”
PACKERS S CHARLIE PEPRAH
(on how the end of the first half affected the game) “They had a 10-point lead, but with our offense we weren’t worried. Even when we went back out and turned the ball over, we still had confidence we were going to come back and win. You just can’t make mistakes, especially in the playoffs, and they capitalized on it to win the game.”
(on the defense’s missed tackles this season) “I don’t think all year we’ve been that bad of a tackling team. I think we’ve done really well. It’s just crucial plays that end up turning into big plays. The missed tackle I had goes for a touchdown. You have to tackle in the playoffs. You can’t turn the ball over. We made more mistakes and we lost because of it.”
PACKERS CB CHARLES WOODSON:
(on the game being a microcosm for defense’s season) “Everything happened to us today. Anything that you’ve seen through the regular season happened to us today – missed tackles, assignments, not getting to the quarterback. We let him throw for a whole bunch of yards. Everything that happened during the season, happened today.”
(on if the Giants remind him of last year’s Packers) “That’s the way this game goes. A team gets hot and they’re hard to stop. They’re getting hot at this particular time to get themselves another shot at a trophy. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about playing together this time of the year and giving yourself a shot to win it all.”
(on Eli Manning’s adjustments from the regular season) “I don’t think they made any adjustments, they just made plays. That’s the name of the game, making plays and they made a ton of them today and we didn’t make enough.”
(on the hail mary before halftime) “It’s a hard play to swallow – a play that shouldn’t happen. They throw the ball up and I came over from the middle of the field. I thought the ball was going to carry a little more when I went up and it didn’t carry as far as I thought it would. (Nicks) was in front of me, but just looking at the play, I think the defense has to slow those guys coming off the ball, so that they’re not running down the field free with an opportunity to get a steal. That play shouldn’t have happened.”
(on New York’s success on third down) “It kills you. We had a lot of good plays on first and second down today. We were confident that we would get off the field and Eli made a lot of great throws and receivers made catches and broke some tackles. They did everything right today to win the game.”
NEW YORK GIANTS HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
(on the win) “I’m very happy for our players, our coaches, and our ownership to come in here against a very, very good football team, a team that had played so well all year long. We were excited to come here and play. We knew what we were up against and I thought we did an outstanding job.”
(on the defense) “Our defense has played well the last few weeks and that has been a huge difference for us in being able to count on that. Today we played outstanding defense and got turnovers.”
(on WR Hakeem Nicks’ touchdown before half) “That was something that we work on every week. We call it flood tip. It was put in a spot where Hakeem went and got it with his strong hands. That gave us a huge lift.”
(on why the Giants are playing so well right now) “I think that we started to believe and trust in each other (after the Washington loss). I think our defensive people got together and decided that they were better than the way we had been playing. Success breeds confidence, and they are a pretty confident group.”
(on why Eli Manning plays so well in the playoffs) “I think it is his mentality. It is his approach. Nobody sees what he does behind the scenes. He is a studier and a pounder. He is looking for every little advantage that he can get. He is just trying to be the best he can be to help this team win. If we could all just remember that and use that. He loves playing against the best competition, but it is just all about doing the best for his team.”
GIANTS RB AHMAD BRADSHAW:
(on the win) “We just kept fighting. We’ve got a lot of guys that don’t quit and we knew today if we didn’t quit and kept fighting we’d come out in the end on top.”
(on his 23-yard run that led to the Hakeem Nicks touchdown before halftime) “I tried to get as many yards as I could and get out of bounds and that’s exactly what happened. The receivers on the outside kept blocking for me and they got me to the end. I looked up before (the play) and there were 15 seconds and I figured I could get a lot of yards before the time ran out.”
(on the effect of Nicks’ touchdown catch before halftime) “We just knew we could come out on top. We had a lot of confidence. Coming back out we knew we could win this game. We just kept fighting. We were winning coming out of half and we just maintained and kept it going.”
GIANTS WR VICTOR CRUZ:
(on what this win says about the Giants) “It says a lot. It says how resilient we are, how much we pay attention to the Xs and Os and how much we were mentally prepared for this game above anything else. Physically we’re always going to be right. We always understand our routes and understand what we have to do, but mentally we had to be prepared for this game and I felt like we were.”
(on the performance of the Giants’ receivers) “It’s just important to make sure we get those crucial catches and crucial first downs that we needed all day today and I felt like we came in and we did that.”
(on how the team’s passing game was more prevalent than the running game) “Obviously we always want balance when we come into the game but it’s just kind of the way that things flowed. Offensively, the passing game was open and we were clicking and we were completing balls and first downs, and that ball that Hakeem (Nicks) caught at halftime was just tremendous.”
(on the Nicks touchdown catch before halftime) “In that situation, you just kind of want to jump up for it and make a play, but I looked and I said, ‘Hakeem is kind of by himself.’ I was going to jump but then I was like, ‘no, let me let Hakeem just do what he does,’ and he went up and he got it and he came down with it. I was slapping his helmet and I was just excited.”
(on recovering the Packers’ onside kick attempt) “We were just waiting for it. We were alert. We saw the body language of the kicker and he came this way and it went right through (Spencer) Paysinger’s legs. As soon as I saw that I just tried to jump down on it and make sure I had it in my hands. Underneath that pile, if I told you what happened under that pile you probably wouldn’t even believe me.”
(on his injury) “I got a knee to the quad a little bit. I’ll get some treatment this week and I’ll be ready to go.”
GIANTS QB ELI MANNING:
(on the second-quarter touchdown to Nicks) “It was just a great catch by him. Everybody knew what to do. It is one of the few that I have thrown up and it was first one that was ever caught. It was just a great job by Hakeem. I just kind of threw it up there and as the ball was coming down I saw Hakeem in the mix, saw him jump up with no one else going after the ball. It was just a great job by him to hold onto the ball and get a touchdown. It gave us all the momentum going into halftime.”
(on why New York is playing so well) “I think we are always confident going into games. Guys understand the way to win football games against good teams. Our defense is playing great with pressure and turnovers. Our offense for the most part is protecting the ball and playing smart football. When we have a chance to make a big play we are making them.”
GIANTS WR HAKEEM NICKS:
(on his second-quarter touchdown) “I was the jump man. I got down there and I didn’t even see who was around me. All I saw was the ball and once I saw the ball, I had to jump and get it. I don’t even know where I landed in the endzone. Once I went up and got it, I looked around and it was exciting.”
(on playing well in big games) “I have always been told that big time players step up in big-time games. I have been told that since high school.”
GIANTS DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL:
(on the win) “We played great as one. The whole team came in harmony. Defense, special teams and offense played together, so that’s all that really counts.”
(on the team’s defensive performance) “We just boosted it up a notch. We just came out here and played even harder and we just rose to another level. Our cornerbacks and safeties did well and our defensive line did a great job. That’s all that really counts. Everybody played as one.”
(on whether or not people should stop calling the Giants underdogs) “People can call us what they want. At the end of the day, we’ve got to go out there and play football.”
(on the Packers’ performance) “They (weren’t) on their game but that’s not my fault. We knew what we had to do and we came in and played some great football.”
GIANTS DE JUSTIN TUCK:
(on containing Green Bay’s offense) “Aaron and that offense have had a remarkable year. For us to come in here and win, we knew we would have to play one of our best games and I think we did that. I don’t think they have anything to hang their heads about. I just think it just seems like our time.”
GIANTS DE OSI UMENYIORA:
(on the team’s defensive performance) “We did well. We know we’re a good football team and we’re a great defense. We might not have showed most of it during the regular season, but that doesn’t matter. This is the postseason and we’re playing the way we’re supposed to be playing right now. We’ve been playing well for the past four or five games now so hopefully we’ll keep it going and take this thing all the way.”
(on the team’s confidence level) “It’s pretty high. We have a very good team we’re about to go play in San Francisco, so we’re not going to go in overconfident, but this is a team that we think we can go in there and compete with.”
(on whether or not the team likes going on the road and being the underdog) “We take on the personality of our coach. He’s a tough guy and the team is taking on that mentality.”
(on what it means to be headed to the NFC Championship) “Well, considering where we came from, it means everything. Everybody wrote us off. They always do that. So we’re just going to keep on fighting and keep on playing hard and hopefully we’ll keep things going.”
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