GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY
I’ll start with the injuries. Andrew Quarless suffered a significant knee sprain. Charles Woodson suffered a concussion. And James Starks had an ankle sprain. With that, I’ll take your questions.
With the two-minute drill, what was going through your head?
Two-minute drive is something we practice every week and, really, it was the drive that we needed. It’s something that I think Aaron Rodgers does an excellent job of. We’ve got a lot of time invested in working on that situation, but we haven’t really had that type of situation come up in some time as a team. He did a great job running the drill and managing the clock, the receivers made even better route adjustments, good protection, just a classic two-minute drive. I thought it was awesome.
Talk about the throw to Nelson down the sideline on the last drive.
Excellent. We were at the line of scrimmage and we made a route adjustment. And Jordy has been very good at that particular route and obviously, it was a big play that put us in field goal position.
Talk about the dropped passes.
Yes, we did. We dropped some passes today, but we caught them when it counted. This wasn’t our best performance. A lot of points on the board. We had adversity football. And our offense stepped up and nailed it shut when we needed it. We were happy to get out of here with a win. We knew this was going to be a tough one, we talked about it all week coming in here. This is a class organization, this is a tough stage to play in. It was a tough game, I’m sure it was a fun game to watch.
You clinched a playoff spot.
It’s part of the journey. We clinched a playoff spot and hopefully by the time we land tonight, we’ll win our division. And if not, we’ll be up early tomorrow and get ready for the Oakland Raiders. But, definitely, we want to make the playoffs and get that home field advantage. Those are our two goals.
You talked about not using the two-minute drive. How good does it feel to put into use something you practice so much?
That’s excellent. That’s what you want. That’s what you train for. I can’t tell you how many times we went to the drill, fifty-eight seconds, fifty-three seconds, forty-nine seconds, one timeout. And Aaron just swept right down the stretch. That’s what you’re looking for. You are going to have to complete two-minute drives to win championships, so, trust me, I would have taken the win a little easier, but that’s a great investment in your football team to get a win like that.
How do you assess how you played defensively?
Defensively, we had the turnovers, but we gave up yards, we gave up points. Got it to a point there with our injuries and some of the calls we had to stay in the packages we were in. Once again, it came down to a two-minute drill and our offense got it done.
Did Rodgers prove anything to you with the drill that he hasn’t already?
I’m running out of things to say about him. He is a great quarterback, young quarterback. He played under a pass rush tonight, we knew that going in. And he just hung in there and just kept going.
Did you plan on running it as much as you did?
I came in here wanting to play run and pass, you don’t want to get into a habit of dropping back and throwing the football all day on the road. It’s something that is tough. I thought their crowd was excellent, especially in key times in the game when the volume picked up. We want to be balanced. Time and time again, I know our numbers don’t always reflect that, but the ability to run the football and have it balance out your passing game is important.
Talk about Nelson’s catch when he got his feet down on the touchdown drive before the final drive.
Well, it was a great catch. Jordy is a heck of a player. Our skill guys were challenged all day. I thought Jermichael had some good matchups all day. I’m very pleased with the way we produced in the clutch. We’ll take a hard look at it like we always do, just tell in the locker room after the game they guys were excited about the win, but there were some guys who made some mistakes. It’s an accountable group, but it’s a resilient group and that’s a big part of why we are 12-0.
Everyone will talk about a perfect season. How do you manage that talk?
To me, from my perspective, and I clearly understand the 16-0 gig, and the importance of it. 38-35, that’s why you stay focused on what’s at hand, because every week it’s going to be a challenge. We’re 12-0, but we need to get to 13-0. We have other goals in front of us before we can even entertain that. So, I hope we are in position to talk about that, but right now, we really aren’t. Not to be clichéd, but you play in this league, you better line up and get ready and have a good week of preparation to make sure you are on point.
PACKERS K MASON CROSBY
Re: on the win?
A: Everyone lays it out on the line every week and obviously we’ve been winning and this is just really important to me and this team. It just kind of shows how we just battle and we just keep coming back and through adversity, you know I missed a kick earlier in the game, but everyone said we’re going to need it in the end. I even got a tackle, I had to patch up my arm because I had to get my feet dirty and that’s something that doesn’t always happen.
Q: Was the missed kick in your mind at all when you went out there?
A: No, no, I had moved on from that a long time. As soon as they scored and got the two-point conversion, I saw we had a minute left, I was like, ‘Alright, here we go, we’ve have a chance to win.’ I looked at my teammates and said let’s get ready because I knew Aaron (Rodgers) and that offense was going move the ball to get us in position to kick a game-winner.
Q: What does this say about your quarterback?
A: Oh man, it’s just unbelievable, he just keeps rallying. It’s one of those things, you know, I just sit on the sideline and enjoy and wait for that next big play to happen and I always have to find myself staying loose as soon as we get the ball because who knows whenever something’s going to break out. It’s fun to watch and this game I think was really good because some things weren’t going right, there were some drops and some different things that weren’t flowing the way they have been and we just battled back and Aaron still had an amazing day. The drive at the end there says everything about his character and the character of this team.
Q: On the one you missed, was the flag blowing a little left, were you trying to bring it back?
A: I don’t know, I’ve been hitting a little right to left draw and I must have just been lined up a little bit on that right upright. You know, I hit a good ball, it just moved a little right. Obviously I was extremely disappointed right there at halftime not being able to get those points and you know the scenario at the end there I had to hit a game winner at the end to kind of finish it off. I’m happy I hit that one at the end to finish what I started and this team just rally’s, we rally around each other, no one gets down, and anytime anything doesn’t go our way, our adversity was so high, we have adverse situations, we bounce back and we find ways to build each other up.
Q: Is there such a thing as a routine game winner?
A: I don’t know. I haven’t had what we would call a routine one. That one was as close as it comes. Great drive, set us up in a perfect position and just a nice mid-range field goal that I felt good about and I just nailed it. I was in a position when I was on that sideline where I was kind of in the zone, I knew as long as we got across the fifty, in my mind, you know if we cross the fifty then I’m ready to go. I felt good about it and I was disappointed about that earlier one because I was hitting the ball good tonight and I felt really solid with everything else and I was happy to bounce back to get an opportunity there at the end.
Q: For a kicker, there’s nothing better than a game winner with no time left, is there?
A: Yeah, it’s nice to be able to walk off that field and you know you put those last points on the board and finished it off and it just says, I just want to do it for this team. They gave it all, laid it all on the line to get me in that position and I think that’s what this team is about. Unselfish guys just knowing that I need to go out there and make this kick so that I we can all celebrate and be excited together.
PACKERS WR DONALD DRIVER
Q: On his performance.
A: You have to make the best of opportunities. My opportunities came today and I wasn’t going to let them slip away.
Q: On your touchdown, were you a little worried when the review was going on?
A: No, I knew I had scored, and I knew I had the feet down and I think they looked to see if I stepped out of the back of the end zone at the end but the guy gave me a nice shove and I happened to make a nice little move on him and he missed me. You know Aaron (Rodgers) made a great throw and I made a great catch.
Q: With this team, you bend but don’t break, you always seem to find ways to win…
A: You know that’s our motto, bend don’t break, and right now we’ve been doing a lot of bending but we haven’t broken yet and we’re 12-0 and it’s great to be 12-0.
Q: Playoffs have got to be satisfying; you guys clinched a playoff spot.
A: Are we in? That’s a good thing. Now I guess we’ve just got to continue to play because once you get to the playoffs it all starts all over again. We’re ready, and we know that we still have four games left and our goal right now is to try to take each game one by one and go to 13-0 next week.
Q: How frustrated were the guys on the sideline? There were some drops out there; you guys didn’t play the game like you normally have been.
A: No frustration at all. We just had to motivate each guy who dropped the ball and we just have got to say ‘hey look, it’s okay, let’s just make the next one,’ and you see when the game is on the line these guys step up and make the plays that need to be made.
Q: People may count you out because of your age or whatever and you’ve seen your numbers decrease this year but what did it mean to have such a big impact today?
A: Oh it was fine. I’m one of those guys, I’m a humble guy, so I take what’s given to me. Aaron (Rodgers) made some great throws today and I made some great catches but you have to have fun. I think if you continue to have fun and play this game, the opportunities are going to come. My opportunities came today and I made the best of them.
PACKERS LB CLAY MATTHEWS
Q: On how close the game was today…
A: We’ve been in that situation before. Obviously there have been a lot of games out of hand recently but in regards to this team and going back to last year, we’ve been in a lot of adverse situations and this was no different. Obviously we’re in a hostile environment; the fans were in an uproar, having them come down, score and get the two points, and we had to march down and get a win for the first time this year. It was a good barometer for where we’re at and we needed this. We’re happy about it but with all that being said, we’re 12-0 and we feel good about that but there’s definitely room for improvement.
Q: How is it to sit on the sideline to watch the offense drive down and win the game for you?
A: It’s definitely nice but I think the type of player I am and I like to think the type of defense we have, we want to be out there to make those plays to win the game. We had an opportunity and unfortunately we came up short but we’ve got a good quarterback and some pretty good playmakers on the offensive side that kept us in it.
Q: 12-0, what’s it feel like to be undefeated?
A: It feels good. Once I step back from the game and let all the emotions subside, it’s pretty special, I will say that. I’m very much a perfectionist and I expect great things from this team and from this defense and we have to get better.
Q: Do you think about going undefeated?
A: I mean it’s something you think about and it’s something that you guys constantly have asked us about but it doesn’t hinder us playing each and every week. We understand that in order to get to the 16-0 mark, you have to make it 12-0 this week. So we focus on the team that’s at hand and it’s been talked about since week 7 or 8 so we just continue to move along and progress as the season progresses and get to the playoffs and keep our nice little streak going.
Q: How’d you feel about your play personally?
A: I thought I did well. I was able to make some key plays for this defense, you know obviously with the interception and the sack, forced fumble to get the ball back for our offense before the half. Overall, I thought I did well.
Q: Is this maybe the most consistent pressure you’ve put on a quarterback this year?
A: I don’t know what type of question that is. I think I’ve been putting pressure on the quarterback throughout the whole year. I think tonight I was able to get a great amount of pressure on the quarterback being that I’m in his face and there was some coverage where he was able to get rid of the ball but I liked the way I played tonight.
Q: You referenced some blowout wins but can a hard fought game like this be a help?
A: Absolutely, I think this is exactly what we needed. Of course we’d love to have a blowout victory each and every week but when it comes down to it there are some good teams and the Giants are no exception. They fought hard and they brought us to the last play so fortunately we were able to march down and get that field goal and get a much needed victory in a much needed way.
Q: Clay, what did you see on that interception?
A: Um, I saw the ball and got it. I just made a good play, I guess.
PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS
Q: On how rewarding it is to execute the two-minute drill
A: Yeah, those are the fun ones when you end up like that. We’ve had a number of games this year where we’ve won by a couple of scores and been kneeling down on the last possession of the game. But to get the ball on the 20, backed up under a minute and get down there and get it into chip-shot field goal range is very special.
Q: On where this game ranks in terms of toughest games this season
A: The toughest game. Probably right at the top. I can’t think of another team that really played us this well on both sides of the ball. The Charger game was close, but we really had a good rhythm. I think that the Giants defense did a really good job of getting us out of some stuff and hitting me a number of times. But we just made enough plays at the end to get the job done.
Q: On the Giants surprising them
A: No, we knew what kind of game it was going to be. The Giants are a very good football team, very well coached. Lots of pride, veteran guys on that team. So, we knew it was going to be a tough game. We were hoping we could put them away there early in the fourth. But Eli [Manning] played very well and put them in a position to tie the thing up.
Q: On letting go of frustrations over drops
A: Yeah, I’ve talked a lot about drops in the past, it’s part of the game. You know, maybe you don’t want as many as we had tonight. But that’s going to happen from time to time, we’ve just got to increase our focus a little bit and just do a better job, we left some yards out on there on the field probably.
Q: On answering critics who said you don’t have a two-minute drive
Q: On Dave Tollefson doing “the belt”
A: Didn’t see it, didn’t see it. But, I’ve known Dave for a while so I don’t mind it. I think it’s more flattery when somebody does it, so.
Q: On final drive
A: I mean, it’s just the situation. We had enough time and a timeout to see what happens. I think the first play is the most important play obviously. That kind of determines the drive. If we had an incomplete pass or maybe a 5-yard gain you’re probably on the ball and by the time you get another play off you’re looking at 45 seconds. It’s probably less likely that you’re going to get a chance to get into range. We talked about on the sidelines the 40-yard line being kind of the cutoff. I’ve got to be honest, you’re thinking unless we get some yards on the first couple of plays you’re probably going to look to overtime.
Q: On what you saw on the pass to Jordy [Nelson]
A: Man coverage. They played us man the first two snaps of that drive and just made an adjustment. And Jordy did a little double move there and gave me enough room on the sideline to put it in a spot where he could catch it and put us in field goal range.
Q: On bigger goals than 12-0 record and clinching a playoff spot
A: That’s the first step. I think we have a chance to clinch the division if the Saints beat the Lions tonight, so it’s kind of one goal at a time. I’m not going to talk about 16-0 or anything, I think it’s one at a time. We got the playoff spot, division, hopefully getting the first round bye and then fortunate enough to be undefeated and I want to talk about something else.
Q: On the two-minute plan
A: Yeah, we saw some things throughout the game that we are trying to make adjustments on but you get into a situation like that and you have to trust your instincts and plays that we’ve run a lot. Jermichael [Finley] ran a good route on the first one and made a great catch and was able to stay in bounds and go down the sideline. The second one was just a route adjustment. And then we have just kind of the dump off pass we stay on the ball we run a base play we have, Greg [Jennings] did a nice job of getting open. So, that drive is really just an example of us trusting the things that we’ve done in practice so many times and executing them as well as we can.
Q: On facing opposing teams’ best shot
A: Well it’s the NFL, I think everybody is going to give you their best shot every week but being undefeated and being the defending champions there might be an extra motivation at times. We are looking forward to each challenge.
Q: On getting motivation after the quote on Thursday to “get after your ass”
A: Not really, I don’t really pay a whole lot of attention to quotes like that. He’s not playing in the football game, so I’m not really going to respond to a quote like that. But they had a good defense, had a good plan tonight and we just executed a little bit better down the stretch.
Q: On feeling like a different win today with the drops
A: Yeah, I mean there was some frustration out there today, for sure. We didn’t play the way we wanted to at times on offense. But we just had a feeling that if we just kept plugging away and converted some third downs there in the fourth quarter we could be in a position to win the game.
Q: On the team needing this kind of challenge
A: I mean I’m sure that’s something you guys are going to talk about. Again, I don’t mind when we’re up two scores and we’re taking a knee there at the end. But it gives us confidence that if we’re in a situation like that again that we can go down and hope we have the same result.
Q: On your season and being compared to great quarterbacks
A: I mean, I don’t feel a whole lot of extra pressure because of some of the stuff that is said about me outside of the locker room. I care about my teammates’ opinions. But I think it is very humbling when I’m mentioned in the same sentence with anybody that I’m fortunate enough to be mentioned in the same sentence with.
Q: On what you were thinking watching the Giants offense at the end
A: What I was thinking once it got down to 1:20 is that if we stopped them on the 2-point conversion, three knees would end the game. When it got under 1:20 and it looked like they were going to score I was interested to see how much time we were going to have on the clock. And I felt like with a short kickoff that Randall [Cobb] might bring the ball out, and maybe if we got out to the 30 we might take a chance. He took a knee. I half-expected Mike [McCarthy] to say let’s run a draw here to see if we can maybe get 7 or 8 yards and we might try and get a field goal. But he looked at me, called a play, I was like alright let’s go, and we went into the huddle with a lot of confidence and we executed the way we wanted to.
Q: On frustration in the third quarter over dropped passes
A: Yeah, fair to say… Drops are part of the game, they are going to happen. It’s just frustrating when they are having a direct impact on a drive, they may stall. When you have a number, I don’t know how many we officially had tonight, but more than is acceptable in an offensive run.
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