Tom Coughlin’s postgame transcript from QDTC:
“Twenty-two to twenty-one and it’s a good football game. We just started the third quarter and there’s no reason to believe that we can’t continue that kind of play. Then the turnovers started to come. That gave them the short field and easy scores. It was very demoralizing for the sideline. The guys did a good job of trying to stay up, but we created a situation for ourselves. I thought it was kind of the same in the first half where offensively I didn’t think they stopped us. I thought we stopped ourselves.”
“We did some good things. The defense did some good things. The punter did some good things. The field position part of it. The young corner, McBride, went into the ball game as a starter and really did some good things. He gave up a play when we thought we might’ve had an interception. It all comes down to the interceptions. Two of them were just… almost unbelievable.”
Q: After the first interception, was there any conversation about Eli getting hit in the helmet?
A: We were on the sideline, but there was obviously nothing coming from the field.
Q: What about the fact that ball hit an offensive lineman in the head first?
A: There was no conversation about that at all.
Q: What do you do with or say to Eli at this point?
A: I honestly believe that he’s trying so hard to get us a win, he‘s almost put too much on himself. He keeps it all pretty much inside. I’m not making excuses. There were a couple of those plays that were terrible. The intentional grounding penalties hurt so badly because not only distance, but to lose the down. At one point in the first half we were down in there deep in their territory, then we get an intentional grounding and another penalty on top of that, so we’re out of field goal range. I think we can make some progress with regard to preventing that. I think we do have to sometimes just cover the ball and go down. I don’t know what else we can do. Sometimes in trying to make a play without both feet underneath you, you throw a ball that you regret you even threw. That’s what happened a couple of times today. I felt that the first drive was good. The second drive was good. Then we slowed ourselves down and we came out in the third quarter and did nothing for the first drive. Then, we caught fire, took the ball down, made some nice plays, got the ball in the end zone and handled the pressure well, etc… to the point where I was very excited and confident that we were in a position to win the game. Then we started giving them the ball in way deep territory.
Q: Early on you got them into a 4th and 4 situation. There was a holding penalty that sent them back. What was your thought there? Did you think they would go for it?
A: I knew they would go for it. There was no question in our minds that they would go for it. The consensus there on the sideline was that we would take them back. We were doing a pretty good job with him at that time. Then, of course, the next play he runs for what would have been that first down and a first down from the 47, wherever the ball was.
Q: What happened on the instant replay challenge when you called the timeout first?
A: The way it was on the field, the confusion, I just settled everybody down by taking the time out. I didn’t expect to lose the next one, obviously. The challenge, we were very sure at the top that the play would be reversed. I decided that that was the route to take. Didn’t get the affirmation right away, but when I did, I just took a timeout to settle them down. Then the challenge came and I was shocked when we didn’t get it. I just put that on myself.
Q: Did you not decide to challenge until after you took the timeout so they could review it?
A: Actually, the affirmation that we should challenge until… When I saw the players on the field, they were trying to get my attention to go ahead and challenge. The clock, obviously, was way down. So, I just instinctively just took a timeout. Obviously if I had known in advance from upstairs exactly what I was going to do, I would’ve challenged first, but I didn’t. Of course, then I immediately asked them for the timeout back if, in fact, they did reverse it. That wasn’t going to be the case either. But, I was very surprised, as was our sideline and upstairs, when they did not reverse it.
Q: Was the challenge about his feet being in or not having possession?
A: We thought he stepped on the line. We didn’t think he had possession. We thought we had two of them.
Q: Over the years, Eli’s been praised a lot for never letting anything affect his play. Is this the first time you’ve seen him adversely impacted by the circumstances around him like it has gotten to him a little bit?
A: I don’t know what the answer is to that question. He never changes throughout the course of the week. As a matter of fact, he’s practiced really well for the last couple of weeks, very much in control of everything. But I do think that he’s trying so hard to make something happen that it’s going out the other end.
Q: Have you communicated that with him, or do you plan to?
A: I just grabbed him a moment in the locker room. He’s way, way too good a player to have these kinds of things happen.
Q: How would you assess the mental state of the team?
A: Very frustrated, very down. The guys have stayed together. They’ve worked very hard. They’ve put pretty much everything into our meetings throughout the week, our practices. They build themselves back up to a really good approach, then the frustration of not getting the win. They’re doing the best they can, even right now. They are doing the best they can. They’re standing up. They’re supporting each other. That’s the way it has to be for a team to carry on. I think if we can get beyond this third quarter thing… I did think there was improvement tonight. I felt good about that part of it. We’re just going to have to line up and do it again in a very short week.
Q: How bad is David Wilson?
A: I really don’t know. They held him out of the ball game, so I’m sure there will be a bunch of tests run.
Q: How much is this getting you?
A: It’s no fun. But, I’m not concerned about me. I’m concerned about those players in the locker room. Whatever I can do to defer whatever to myself. I lose the games and they win them. The disappointment is very obvious and it’s very frustrating. We didn’t expect to be in this situation. We dug our own hole and here we are.