New Orleans Saints 27 @ New York Giants 52 | ESPN.com
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New Orleans Saints 27 @ New York Giants 52 | NFL.com
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New Orleans Saints Fall to New York Giants, 52-27 | neworleanssaints.com
The New Orleans Saints (5-8) were defeated by the New York Giants (8-5) at MetLife Stadium, 52-27, on Sunday afternoon.
New Orleans Saints falter in every aspect in 52-27 loss to the New York Giants | NOLA.com
Larry Holder - Saints players feeling like 2012 playoff chances are over.
New Orleans Saints Postgame Notes | neworleanssaints.com
QB Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons.
Saints at Giants Photo Gallery | neworleanssaints.com
Photos taken by Michael C. Hebert.
From the Saints Sideline
First Take: New Orleans Saints more 'fragile' than ever, hope it's just a one-year anomaly | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Saints have come up uncharacteristically small in past three big games.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees continues rough skid with two more killer picks | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - More observations from Saints' 52-27 loss to New York Giants.
Giants hammer Saints 52-27 | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - With the season on the brink of being lost, the Saints had an opportunity Sunday to at least push the postseason cliff farther back.
Eli wraps Manning sweep of Saints | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - The first two series of Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints didn’t go the way New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning would have liked.
How the game was lost: New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants recap | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Turnovers, special teams woes hurt Saints.
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants Recap: Did you see | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Rookie David Wilson burns the Saints.
Saints three and out for Dec. 10, 2012 | The Advocate
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants: Grading the offense | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - One fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants: Grading the defense | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - One fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants: Grading the special teams | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Zero fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants: Grading the coaching | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - One fleur de lis out of four.
Lifeless New Orleans Saints should be embarrassed by this loss | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - It wouldn't have happened under Sean Payton.
Saints have lost aura of invincibility | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - Thirteen games into this season, it’s safe to say the Saints aren’t that team anymore.
Reality hits Saints hard | The Advocate
Ted Lewis - Sometimes, it’s not your day. Sometimes, it’s not your season.
Giants’ big returns in kicking game put Saints in tough spot | The Advocate
Ted Lewis - In the interest of player safety, the NFL is considering eliminating kickoffs. After Sunday, the proposal probably would have the Saints’ support.
Morgan’s performance a bright spot for Saints | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - Speedy New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan, a second-year pro, was one of his team’s bright spots on a dreary Sunday.
Hopes dashed | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - Going into Sunday’s game with the New York Giants, the New Orleans Saints had painted themselves into a corner with no margin for error.
Wrap-up: Giants 52, Saints 27 - NFC South Blog | ESPN
Pat Y - Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints’ 52-27 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Saints Crushed by Giants 27-52 as Playoff Hopes Evaporate | thesaintsnation.com
Andrew Juge - It's official: I'm ready to call the 2012 New Orleans Saints' season over.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Martez Wilson played Sunday's game with a heavy heart | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Wilson was friends with the two Dallas Cowboys players involved in a deadly crash.
Start Spreading the News
Rapid Reaction: Giants 52, Saints 27 - NFC East Blog | ESPN.com
Dan Graziano - A few thoughts on the New York Giants' 52-27 shootout victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Giants trying to keep things simple - NFC East Blog | ESPN.com
Dan Graziano - In the constant hunt for deeper meaning -- for portents, for short-term happenings with long-range predictive value -- we too often overlook the simple aspects of the games we're watching.
Giants Topple Saints Behind David Wilson’s 3 Touchdowns and Eli Manning’s 4 | NYTimes.com
Sam Borden - On Sunday, Wilson’s three touchdowns — and subsequent heels-over-head spectaculars — guided the Giants to a 52-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
David Wilson scores three touchdowns as NY Giants stay atop NFC East with blowout win over New Orleans Saints - NY Daily News
Ralph Vacchiano - Antrel Rolle called out the "dogs". So it figured it would be a good time for David Wilson to break out of the doghouse.
Antrel Rolle has monster day on defense after mid-week comments supporting NY Giants | NY Daily News
Pat Leonard - There wasn't just "a little bit more dog" in Antrel Rolle on Sunday - the Giants' free safety was one of the big dogs in Big Blue's 52-27 home win over a Saints team that came barking up the wrong tree.
D uses safety trio to shut down Saints | giants.com
Safeties Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Will Hill combined on defense to help the Giants to a big win.
Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebakers Joe Vitt
That was an embarrassment today. It starts with me. That’s where the blame should go. I didn’t do a good enough job of getting this team prepared. I didn’t do a good enough job at getting the major critical factors across to our football team, what it was going to take for us to win this football game. I have not had the chance to look at the stats yet, but I promise you the stats are fairly even. I think offensively we had a good output. We moved the ball. Defensively, we had to defend some short fields. Here’s the key, we can’t have four turnovers in a game, especially on the road against a good football team. We can’t allow them to have the returns that they had and score touchdowns on returns and have the chance to win on the road against a good football team. The average starting field position for their offense as opposed to our offense has to be off the charts. It has to be at least plus 35 or 40 yards. So when you look at the critical factors and when you look at the game within the game, we didn’t deserve to win this game. Again, it starts with me. I have to do a better job at making sure that I get across to our team the critical factors of what it takes to win a football game on the road against a good football team and defending world champions.
Q: It seemed like Thomas Morstead’s kickoffs were a lot shorter than we’re used to.
A: Well, we’re outdoors. There’s a little bit of a breeze down there. It was raining. I don’t think you expect him to go that far. It’s no excuse. Our coverage teams have done an outstanding job all year long. It’s a shame what happened today with our coverage teams, but they miss it. That’s what they’re paid to do. That’s what we’re paid to do is cover kicks and cover punts and get the job done. We didn’t get that done today.
Q: Was it more of a breakdown on the Saints side or was it something the Giants were doing exceptionally?
A: Obviously they out-executed us, so give them credit.
Q: In the last three weeks it seems like it’s been a steady progression downward. Is there anything that you can see coming off of this game for you guys?
A: Like I said, I think our coverage unit has done a great job all along. We’re one of the top coverage units in the National Football League. Today, all of the sudden, they returned the first kickoff and then the second kickoff for a touchdown and we’re all stunned. We’re in damage control mode and the horse is out of the barn. We have to regroup. Just kick the ball off. Coverage guys have to cover. We didn’t do that.
Q: Can you explain the last couple kickoffs?
A: We tried to sky kick it. It’s a great thought. They fumbled the first one we did. We were in position to maybe get that thing recovered. Mack had seen enough of the coverage unit. We were going to give our defense the best chance they had with decent field position. I thought that was a great thought. But, we have to clean that up.
Q: You used the phrase damage control mode. Are you guys just too far out of your comfort zone in these games that you let it get to damage control mode?
A: I don’t think that. When you’re losing the way we’re losing, you’re a fragile football team. We have a lot of new guys, a lot of new faces on this football team. We have enough guys that are used to winning, that are used to doing things the right way. Unfortunately, right now we don’t have enough of them. All of the sudden something goes bad and it’s like here we go again instead of just setting your jaw and drawing a line in the sand and having the mental toughness to get it done. Again, it all starts with me. I have to do a better job of that. The average starting point for them today and the average starting point for us was off the charts. They did a great job in the field position game. We played a good football team on the road.
Q: Since you’ve been in New Orleans have you seen a game quite like this one?
A: I can’t say that I have. We’ve had some heartbreakers. We’ve played bad on both sides of the ball. But, this was a pounding today.
Q: At the end of the first half it was 14-13 and they drove down and got that touchdown. How big was the momentum shift there?
A: I’ll tell you what’s disappointing about that. We emphasized to our football team all week long how good Eli was particularly in the first half of two-minute drills. He was leading the league. We had a blown coverage in that situation on a switch route. If you blow a coverage, you’re not going to give yourself a chance to compete. They complete a big ball, its third down and long and now we’re already losing the game. We’re not doing the things that we have done here in the past to win football games. We have to do a better job of it. We knew the situation we were in and we knew the quarterback.
Q: What is it that you can do to change what’s going on?
A: I promised our football team in the locker room that they’re going to get our ‘A’ game. We’re going to coach them as hard as we can and as well as we can every single time they’re here. They know as well as we do that we’re going to be held accountable for what happens on the field on Sunday. I’ve got to do a better job of making our football team understand the critical factors that you must do on a weekly basis against your opponent to win a football game. You can’t turn the ball over. You can’t lose the field position game. You have to be able to protect your quarterback and pressure the other quarterback. You have to win in the red zone. You have to win on third down. A lot of those things we did today.
Saints QB Drew Brees
Q: Is this the roughest stretch you’ve had in your career?
A: I’m not sure, but it’s been tough. We were at .500; we crawled all the way back to 5-5 after the 0-4 start and really felt like we were catching our stride. We knew we had a tough stretch ahead of us, but we knew we controlled our own destiny at that point. The most disappointing thing is just losing the way we have and doing some uncharacteristic things, doing all the things that get you beat. That’s the disappointing thing, because we know better. Credit to the Giants today because they played exceptional.
Q: What are your emotions like after a game like this? Frustration? Disappointment? Anger?
A: Yeah, it’s kind of all encompassing. Like I said before, we have an expectation level we’ve established within our organization and within our team for the way that we’re going to play. We want to play winning football and want to be efficient and do all the right things. We have great coaches; we’re well coached. We know better when we do some of the things that are either lack of execution or not taking care of the ball; those things that we have engrained in our head as to what wins football games and what loses them. You’re going to have bad days, and typically we’ve been able to overcome those. Unfortunately the last three weeks, we have not been able to overcome the mistakes we’ve made.
Q: With the recent trend of interceptions, is there a theme of trying to find the holes when they might not be there?
A: No, obviously we’ve been behind in some of these games so you’re taking some chances that you might not ordinarily take. Some of them have been poor throws, just bad location; could’ve thrown a little better. There have been some that have been bad decisions. You want to get rid of those. Others have been bad luck. Your arm gets hit or the ball gets tipped and whatever it might be; those are the unfortunate ones and yet, it still falls on you the quarterback.
Q: What would you attribute the interceptions to today?
A: I tried to give Jimmy (Graham) a chance on that one. The defender was kind of draped on him…I’m not sure about the contact, but I felt like I put it in a place where Jimmy could get it. Unfortunately, that ball gets tipped up to another guy, not down. The other one, I really threw it right where I wanted to. The guy made a great play by cutting Jimmy off. Not sure if Jimmy felt that he was there, but that’s just one of those tight throws that I felt like I threw with good zip right where I wanted to. Unfortunately, he stepped in front of it and made a nice play.
Q: How tough is it for this locker room to know that the playoffs are probably out of reach?
A: Yeah, it’s tough. It’s really tough, but it doesn’t affect the way that we prepare and the way that we approach each week. Each of these games is so important, still so important, because we have a lot of prideful guys. We’re not about to shut it down and feel like the season is lost. There’s still a lot that can be done.
Q: Is it tougher for this group considering how successful you’ve been in the past?
A: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve established a standard. Coming into this year, we were the "winning-est" team in all of football the last three years. We had won 41 games and that was the most. We’re used to winning, and we still are, and that’s why it hurts and it’s painful. We have the right type of guys to pull ourselves out of it and make sure that this season is for something.
LB Jonathan Vilma
Q: Are you anxious about the next couple of days and if a decision will be made about your future for this season?
A: Not at all. I could care less about that. I’m more worried about us finishing strong. It’s been awhile since we’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. This is tough. This is tough to swallow. This is definitely my priority and, unfortunately, we’re not getting it done right now, so no, I’m not worried.
Q: Do you feel like you’re eliminated now? A lot of things have to fall into place:
A: Yeah, exactly. I don’t do all that math. I just know 8-8 this season I seriously doubt is going to be playoff-potential.
Q: Do you think this team is "fragile?"
A: I wouldn’t say fragile. I really don’t know what to call it. I just know we’re accustomed to winning, finding ways to win. This year, we’re not. To be perfectly honest, we’re just not doing it this year. To overcome a lot of the mistakes, whether it be a kickoff return, a long touchdown run, an interception return, whatever it is, for whatever reason this season, we’re not good enough to overcome those mistakes. We have to be more conscious in practice, more detailed about how we approach our game and how we handle our business on Sundays.
Q: How much did those long kickoff returns put you on your heels?
A: I don’t think it put us on our heels; it just was tough knowing that if you give up a first down, they’re already in field goal range. If you give up two first downs, whatever it is, one missed read, you give up a touchdown instead of just a long catch. Those were the things that were happening. We blitz, he throws one nice ball, over-out to 85, I think, I can’t even remember now; if we’re backed up, it’s just a nice catch, nice throw. Instead, it’s a touchdown. Those were the things that hurt. We’re out there to do one thing, and that’s to stop their offense and give our offense the ball back. Sometimes we did that and sometimes we didn’t.
Q: Is this the most frustrating loss you’ve had?
A: No, all the losses are frustrating since I’ve been here. We can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to beat good teams.
Q: Can you talk about your team’s performance in all three phases of the game?
A: I’m disappointed; disappointed because we keep giving these things away. You can’t have that many turnovers and you can’t give up field position like that and expect to beat a good team…or to really beat anybody. We have to figure it out.
Q: You had a few dropped passes; can you pinpoint what the problem was today?
A: Not sure.
Q: Is there anything you need to work on or have been working on in practice?
A: I’m not sure. Just get back to the drawing board and hopefully make some plays.
Q: Do you recognize the identity of this team right now?
A: No. Honestly, since I’ve been on this team, we always win. That’s probably the biggest difference.
Q: What has the problem been with protection the last few weeks?
A: I’m not really sure. If we had the answer, obviously we wouldn’t be turning the ball over, but we are. We are collectively as a group and you can’t expect to win games like that.
P Thomas Morstead
Q: Were the Giants doing anything in particular on those first few kick returns?
A: I have no idea. I just play safety in the middle and if he gets through, I do my best.
Q: Coach had you sky-kicking at the end?
A: We haven’t done it this year and the situation hasn’t dictated that we need to do it. Coach made the decision.
Q: Did it just seem like the Giants had a knack for breaking off the long returns today?
A: I guess. I haven’t looked at the film, nor do I know how they got through. All I know is they got through.
Q: Goodell mentioned eliminating kickoffs from the NFL last week. What were your thoughts on that?
A: I don’t know. It’s a big change for the game, I guess, if they were to do it.
Q: You said last week you usually get pumped up kicking off:
A: It’s different kicking off at home as opposed to away.
Q: Pretty tough in these conditions?
A: I thought I kicked well; just not going to go quite as far.
Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin
We knew it was fan appreciation day and we also knew it was the alumni game. We talked about the energy and demonstrating a greater purpose because that is what really encourages all the fans to be involved in the game and appreciative of the way we play on the field and therefore we are appreciative of what goes on in the stands. We are now 2-1 in our six-game season. This was a battle as you can tell. We were plus-two in turnovers. David Wilson broke the all-purpose yardage record with kickoff returns and then he had 100 yards rushing as well. We did a lot of good things today and yet we’ve got more to get done. We spoke at halftime with a smile on my face about we are capable of playing better than we are playing right now. You saw when we jumped out to get a lead, they came back so quickly. And that’s the type of football team that they are and have been. It was nice to play them here in our stadium and it was nice to be able to win the game.
Q: You liked the way you finished?
A: We finished. I don’t even know what the numbers are, but when you say ‘finish’ I’m thinking finish the game. We did finish the game well.
Q: I meant scoring touchdowns in the redzone instead of kicking field goals.
A: That’s the idea. Again, I don’t know what the numbers are so I can’t even comment.
Q: Can you talk about David Wilson?
A: Well, he did a great job. Our kickoff return team gave us unbelievable field position. Some of which we didn’t take advantage of. Then JJ Jernigan jumped in there and he made a play as well. So I was really pleased with that. It was good, hard, fast running, but obviously there was some good blocking as well. And we stayed away from the penalties, too, which, God Almighty, is discouraging. Last week we had a ball returned to midfield and we had a penalty.
Q: Do you think the guys were aware of the endings in the Dallas and Washington games?
Q: So do you think it would have played any factor had they known?
A: It didn’t have any effect on us on the field. Some of them may have known, but I didn’t pay any attention to it. What happened?
Q: They both won on the last play.
A: On the last play? But we won, too, didn’t we?
Q: Well, it just looked like you guys were ready to open up a big lead in the division.
A: Well, you know better than that. We couldn’t stand for that.
Q: How is Bradshaw?
A: Well, I’m sure he is going to be sore as he always is, but he was able to go back in.
Q: Could he have gone back in at the end?
A: I think he could have.
Q: What does it say about David Wilson’s mental fortitude that he was able to have this game after an up-and-down season?
A: Well, I don’t know what you mean by up-and-down because he is the same every day. He’s an upbeat kid. He loves to play, has great energy. Let’s be honest, for a rookie, he struggled at times with some of the protections and that type of thing, but it’s never been anything that has had a negative effect on him in terms of his attitude. His attitude has always been good. So, for him to come back out today and have the kind of game that we needed him to have, we needed a spark, and we certainly got one. The timing is right. The timing is right.
Q: Can you talk about Stevie Brown’s spark and his yardage record?
A: I just learned that as we were coming out here. Steve’s yardage with interceptions sets the record for the New York Giants. He was in position again, the one he picked in the fourth quarter, boy was that timing right. They had flipped the momentum on us almost completely. We weren’t doing much about it at that time. But thank goodness he makes that play and we end up kicking a field goal.
Q: Why does this team play its best when there is no margin of error?
A: I don’t know. You’ll have to go ask somebody else that one. I would hope we would play our best all the time but that’s not the case. We have traditionally done a decent job in certain years when we had no margin for error and our backs were to the wall. If that’s the case, let’s keep our backs to the wall.
Q: What do you think about Rolle? Is he a leader now and do you think your team needed his message about being nastier?
A: I think everyone knows now that Antrel thinks about what he is going to say. And what he does say, at this point in time, people take it in a very positive vein. What he did say last week, he was saying it from the heart. He saw what he saw and he thought it needed to be discussed or at least stated and, so, whether or not there was a response along those lines I couldn’t tell you, but I do know we had a very difficult opponent to try and defend and it was frustrating at times that they were running the ball the way they were, but eventually did a little better job in the second half on that as well.
Q: Why do you think your teams over the years respond so well to having their backs to the wall?
A: Good character. Good group of people. The desire factor, the idea that all the effort and work that you put into it is right in front of you now. It’s for you to determine your own fate. Destiny is a matter of choice. I wouldn’t be able to give you any deep answer to that. Just win.
Q: Is it frustrating you can’t dominate the entire season?
A: Well yeah, you’d like to, but unfortunately you are playing against good people too. This is a highly, highly competitive league. The parity is incredible. Week in and week out, look at what you face now. I mean in Carolina and Washington, their style of offense. The level of talent is incredible. And sometimes, you prepared well, your heart is in the right place, you play hard and you don’t win. And there are times, obviously, this year where we haven’t played as well as we would have liked to. We are all about trying to be consistent, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s what we talked about this week as well. Establishing consistency.
Q: Did you have to say anything to Eli after that first pick?
A: I liked the way he responded. He wears that stuff hard. That one and the later interception he wasn’t very happy about and I wasn’t either.
Q: What do you think the message is going forward this late in the season?
A: Same message, over and over and over. Humble in victory, lots of work to do, very difficult opponent coming up this week. And still, maintaining this one-game lead. Understanding the difficulty of our schedule but understanding also you can’t get where we want to go without playing the best and having a chance to beat the best. The message now is, again, each one of these games is very, very critical to getting to where we want to go.
Q: What did you think about the pass rush?
A: Well, it’s difficult. They did a really good job of keeping lots of people in and causing problems for us from a protection standpoint. I would have liked to have seen more on the quarterback, but to be honest with you, the way they blocked it up it was a difficult thing.
Q: Did Nicks get hurt?
A: No. I don’t think he got hurt, I think he wore down.
Q: Did you step out of character saying you needed to win out?
A: That’s not what I said. When we start the season off, I talk about winning 16. When we had four to go, I talk about winning four. It’s just about winning. You’re better off if you feel you have to win each one of these games. What I try to do is make our people absolutely aware of the circumstances. The way you solve your own issues and your own problems is to take care of your own business. How do you take care of your own business? Win.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Did you like the way you guys responded after that first interception? It seemed like you guys really stepped on the gas pedal.
A: Yeah. Obviously, we had a good little lead there for a little bit. Their offense is high-powered and they fought right back. When they scored, obviously, we responded right back. We had a couple of touchdowns, a field goal and other big plays. That’s what we needed to do. It was a good performance by all three phases, in offense, defense and special teams. Obviously, the defense was outstanding by giving us turnovers and the offense was scoring touchdowns, making up plays and we scored enough points to get the win.
Q: Did you like the way you guys performed in the red zone?
A: Yeah. I thought the red zone (offense) was definitely better. You’re not always going to be 100 percent, but you want it to be. There will be times when the defense makes plays. I thought we had opportunities. We had chances and they made a couple of plays on the fade to Hakeem. They kept us to a field goal, but after that, we started making the plays that we needed to. I hit Hixon on a fade, hit Martellus on a little one and we started running the ball in there as well. Then obviously, hit Victor on a little play-action as well. We talked about needing touchdowns in the red zone and I think when we get inside the red zone more than anybody, we have to make sure that we’re getting touchdowns and tonight, we did a good job of that.
Q: How impressed were you with the job that David Wilson did on running the ball and on special teams.
A: He had a big night. His special teams and his kickoff returns were outstanding. Obviously, giving us a touchdown after I threw an interception for a touchdown was very nice. I appreciated that. Then, he had a couple of other returns that gave us great field position and then the runs. He ran hard. I said to him, ‘Your best play was picking up that three-safety blitz on a play-action.’ He’s learning, running hard and he had a couple of big runs at the end for first downs. He obviously showed speed on the toss for that last touchdown.
Q: How nice is it to get the field position that you guys got from special teams and the defensive turnovers?
A: That’s outstanding when the defense gets fumble recoveries, interceptions that gave us great field position. We want to get touchdowns out of those, hopefully. It makes a big difference when we don’t have to drive 70 or 80 yards and only have to drive 30 yards to get points. It makes our jobs a lot easier.
Q: Do you think that Wilson can score from anywhere on the field?
A: He’s definitely got breakaway speed and he showed it tonight on a few plays. Obviously, his kickoff returns were huge for us. If we could get a couple of those per game, or one of those per game, it creates great field position. Obviously, he had three or four great ones and (Jerrel) Jernigan also. Yeah, you get some runs to him where he can… I thought he ran hard tonight. He made a lot of plays. If we just give him a few touches, the more touches you give him, the more opportunities he’ll have to break a big one.
Q: You threw four touchdown passes today. The pass you threw to (Domenik) Hixon had a particular effect. Did you feel comfortable throwing that pass in the corner?
A: Yeah. They did a good job of rotating their safeties on that one. I knew I was going to have one-on-one coverage and we needed a touchdown in that situation. I was confident, had good rhythm and put it in a spot where only he could catch it or nobody and he made a great catch by staying in-bounds. It was a big play for us, right before halftime. That gave us an eight point lead going into halftime.
Q: You guys had a few weeks where the passing game was out of sync. These last three games, we’re seeing different results. How have you guys been able to get that passing game back on track?
A: I think offensively, we continued to work and make sure that everybody is doing the right things. Making sure that our assignments, our techniques are perfect and getting back to practice and make sure that everything is sharp. Knowing exactly what we need to do to get open, the offensive line is protecting and we’re getting good down and distance and staying out of third-and-long situations. I think guys are just stepping up and responding. Getting Hakeem (Nicks) back and running where he’s making plays, that’s obviously outstanding. Getting Hixon back into the mix, getting him healthy and Martellus (Bennett) has been playing well. All of those things make a big difference.
Q: What kind of space does Cruz get when those two guys are operating?
A: I think when you have three receivers and a tight end who are all capable of getting the ball and you have great confidence and trust that they’re going to get open and beat whatever coverage they’re throwing at you, or whatever the one-on-ones are, it obviously eliminates what defenses do. They can’t just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to double Hakeem and double Victor.’ If they want to do that, we’ll go to Martellus, or we’ll go to Hixon. I thought tonight, we mixed it up well. It just makes my job a lot easier when I can just read the coverage and understand what my rules are, where I need to go with the ball and the first guys are winning on their routes.
Q: Right before kickoff, Dallas and Washington won in dramatic fashion with field goals at the end. Were you guys aware of that and if so, did that change the feel or the urgency of this game?
A: No. We came in all week knowing what this game meant. We needed to get a win. I think our concern right now and for these next three weeks is about the New York Giants and what we need to do. That’s all we can focus on. Obviously, each week might present a different circumstance. Obviously, after the first week of this four-game season, all three teams in the NFC East won. I think Philly won also, so all four teams in this race won games. We have to keep going and keep winning football games.
Q: When did you know that Dallas and Washington had won?
A: I happened to see during the time-out. I looked up and saw that Washington had won. I did not see that Dallas won until after the game. I asked somebody and they told me that Dallas won.
RB David Wilson
Q: Did you feel any different before the start of today’s game – did you know something big was going to happen?
A: Not really, I just went through the regular warmups, but last night I was really tired so after the meetings I went upstairs and went straight to sleep.
Q: You have high expectations for yourself. Did you feel like you had a game like this possible this season?
A: Actually to go back to the first question, I fell asleep watching the Bo Jackson thing on ESPN, so maybe I was dreaming a little bit about that. To come out and have a breakout game like this, it’s an excellent feeling – you want to have a good game. Every game you want to have a good game. I think I went out there and my teammates went out there and we played great. We put up 50 points, which hasn’t been done in a long time.
Q: Talk about how far you’ve come since the first game of the year when you fumbled and Coach didn’t put you back in and you got emotional on the sidelines.
A: I didn’t have the greatest start for a rookie, and rookies have little room for error. At that point I was put in a position where I had to gain the coaches’ trust again. I stuck with it and kept working and working at meetings and working on the field and trying to regain the trust. I knew eventually my opportunity would come again. I did those things so I would be prepared when the opportunity did approach.
Q: Did you feel the organization brought you along slowly to get you ready?
A: Yeah, they did what they had to do. This is a great organization with great coaches. They make the right decisions – it’s the reason they win games. They knew how to handle me and knew what to do with me to put me in the positions where I could win. They just made all the right decisions.
Q: On Friday in practice you had a big kick return – did you feel like this was coming?
A: We go through the special teams script each week and sometimes it’s not there and sometimes it is. This week on every return that I did in practice it looked pretty good, and before the special teams meeting before the game, coach hands out assignment sheets. This game, he didn’t hand me one, so I went to ask him ‘coach, where’s my assignment sheet," and he said, "you don’t need one – just run fast." I think that might be the new thing – I think I’m done with the assignment sheets.
Q: Were you more proud of the 100 yards rushing or the kickoffs today?
A: I think the kickoff return for a touchdown was really exciting and really a spark for the team, so I think I enjoyed that one more. But anytime I’m in the end zone, you celebrate with the team and you can see how happy we are.
Q: You were also pretty close on a couple others [returns].
A: All season I’ve been close and when I got close on the first one I was like, ‘here we go again.’
Q: What takes more skill: Victor Cruz’s salsa or doing the back flip?
A: With his salsa, you’ve got to have coordination. Not that many people can dance, and not that many people can flip. I think they both have their own little spice.
Q: When did you know you had the touchdown return? Was there a point on the field where you said, "this is it?"
A: When the kicker turned around the second time.
Q: Some of your blockers said that they had seen the scores in the Cowboys and Redskins games right after the pick-6; did you happen to see that as well?
A: No, I didn’t, but we’ve been looking at the season, especially these last past weeks and especially this week, we took the approach of a four-game season. So regardless of what teams do around us in our division, we want to have full control of our own destiny. We prepare each week to win every game, so we can control.
Q: What does it feel like when you get into the open space?
A: When holes open up like that, I just thank God for giving me the speed to take advantage. You hate to be one of those guys that can just look at the hole and say, ‘Man, I could have taken that hole if I was a little bit faster.’ At that point, I just use my God-given ability.
Q: For all the talk about this team – we’ve been here before, we’ve been through this – you’re a guy who wasn’t here last year. At any point in the last couple weeks when you see the highs and the lows do you take a step back? Are you surprised at the way this team plays when it’s under pressure?
A: I wasn’t here last year, I watched them win the Super Bowl on TV. Then I got drafted to them and I said I want to win a Super Bowl. I knew coming to this organization I would definitely have the chance and the opportunity. With some of those games it hurts a little bit, but we know there’s more games, and now it’s narrowing down to the end of the season so we can’t have any more of those errors. We want to definitely control the table.
S Stevie Brown
Q: Jason Pierre-Paul and Antrel Rolle kind of challenged the defense a little bit this week. Do you guys feel like you played the way that you wanted to?
A: In some aspects, we definitely played tougher. But, you know, we still have some things to clean up.
Q: The turnovers seemed to be as timely as they’ve always been.
A: Definitely, definitely. A long as we can get them off the field, keep them from scoring and get the ball back to the offense, it always works in our favor.
Q: That first turnover seemed to be kind of big to get the fumble out and turn the field around. You didn’t score on it, but how key was that to set the tone?
A: It was key, because they had made a few plays. Then, there was the big catch that he (Marques Colston) caught. Will (Hill) came through and hit him. The ball came out, so it was definitely big for us.
RE: The strong play of the Giants special teams:
A: Yeah, definitely. They definitely stepped up and they played well. Coach Coughlin challenged us on the kickoff return team for a couple of weeks now. He said, ‘You guys got the guys in this room. We know you guys can score.’ We went out and executed.
Q: Is this the aggressive tone that you feel the defense needs to set every week? That aggressive, ball-hawking style?
A: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We need to come out there and make sure we’re always physical. And make sure that we’re always trying to go out there and get the ball, create turnovers and things like that. So, it was definitely a start.
Q: They hit a couple of big plays, but by and large, you guys knocked down some of those long passes. Was that a focus on limiting Drew Brees when he threw down the field?
A: Yeah, definitely. There are so many options and so many weapons, they’re a very efficient offense. They’re able to make a lot of big plays. We were trying to eliminate as many big plays as we could.
Q: You set the Giants single-season record for interception return yards.
A: I mean, that’s what I was told. I mean, it’s a nice accomplishment. It doesn’t really mean too much.
Q: Did anything Antrel said this week fire you up at all?
A: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. You definitely want to go out there and play hard after someone makes a comment like that. Everyone looks at ‘Trel as a leader and he’s played great for us this year. When someone challenges you like that, you want to rise up.
Q: What did you guys do against (Jimmy) Graham? He had five catches for 56 yards, but a few of those catches came after the game was decided. Was there anything specific you guys did against him?
A: There’s nothing too specific. We were just cautious of where he was at on the field. We knew he was one of Brees’ favorite targets. So, we wanted to take him away.
Q: Is there a buzz after the way the Cowboys and the Redskins games ended? Did guys know what was going on?
A: I wouldn’t know. Everybody knew what happened. I mean, you see it across the scoreboard at the game and everything like that. We weren’t too worried about it. We’re in first place right now. If we don’t lose, we go to the playoffs. That’s our focus.
Q: Do you guys play with that dog mentality that Antrel said you guys needed?
A: I think we did. I definitely think we did.
A: When we came out there on those first couple of possessions, we were able to make big hits to knock the ball loose. People were out there trying to make tackles and I think everybody was playing hard. Everybody was trying to do what they could to better the team.
Q: Could you sense that there was something a little different about today?
A: We had a great week of practice. A great week of preparation and everything like that. So, we just tried to carry it over into the game.
Q: Turnovers were a big part of this game.
A: Definitely, definitely. That’s something we talk about on a weekly basis. We’re always trying to win that turnover battle. If you win the turnover battle, it puts you in a better position to win.
V-Roll Roll Call
Video: Joe Vitt, Drew Brees Talk About Giants Game | neworleanssaints.com
Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt and QB Drew Brees recap Sunday's game against the New York Giants.