COUGHLIN: Thatís as disappointing a loss as weíve had around here in a long time. I think. Not to be overly reactionary or emotional, but to play a very good football team like that, and to have two illegal procedure penalties take us out of field goal range in the first half and have a third down where we are offside creating a 4th-and-3 where they have to kick a field goal, and covering kicks and punts the way we did was terrible, was awful. Offensively, again, for a couple games in a row we didnít play well. We didnít appear to be very aggressive. We certainly didnít have any first downs. Iím sure our time of possession wasÖTheyíve been averaging 35 minutes time of possession coming in and Iím sure they got the same amount today. We didnít tackle well, we didnít stop the run well. They surprised me with some of the runs they called in situations you would expect them to be aggressive and throw. We didnít make them pay obviously with that offside. We wanted emotionally so badly to win the game for obvious reasons, for all our neighbors who are struggling and who need some type of inspiration. Of course, we didnít provide it for them. We didnít play well and we are going to have to get this straightened around, some way, some form here, quickly obviously. That was not the kind of game we had planned to play.
Q: Were they more physical than you in the second half?
A: I donít know what it was. I wouldnít say that. We didnít get anything done. Field position wasnít great, but still, make your own, create your own.
Q: What do you see in the passing game that has made it go so south?
A: Yup, it has. Well, I donít really know what to tell you there until I look at the tape. Obviously, there are circumstances where we were very much on the same page, very confident. And thatís not the case right now for whatever reason. Last week was not a good game for Victor (Cruz) and we didnít get ourselves open. We put a lot of attention toward that today and we still didnít get a whole lot of daylight. We will have to look at that.
Q: Did you see the fake field goal coming and did you think you would have more excitement following it?
A: I thought we had great energy. I thought we were as excited as could be coming off the sidelines greeting our players. We just didnít do anything with ball again. We ran the ball for one yard. We tried to throw a go route. We didnít do much with that. We came back with an obvious third down. Everybody in the world knew what was coming. We got a little bit of pressure, but it wasnít anything we shouldnít have been able to handle, but we didnít. We didnít, we got pressure and we completed it for a three- or four-yard gain.
Q: Do you believe that the team was distracted by the events of the week? You seem to understand how much emotion there was.
A: No. We did and we talked about. We tried to talk about it all week long. We tried to make sure everybody understood that. But we also talked about, when we got to work Wednesday afternoon, it was time to go to work. Has everyone in this part of the world been affected by this tragic storm? Yes. Yes, we have. But is that an excuse? No. We are professional football players. The game will go on. We anticipated that, we never thought about it any other way. We prepared ourselves accordingly. We worked hard to get everyone ready. I thought we had pretty good practices on Thursday and Friday. I thought we were excited about playing. I thought it was a good meeting last night, I thought their attention was outstanding. We came to the park today and we didnít play as well as we wanted to play.
Q: This was the second straight game you had a lead and let a team come back.
A: We won the last one, okay? We won the last one. However you get them, you get them. The same thing today, we didnít do anything offensively. We picked up a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown. And then when we were right there, we werenít able to do anything. We were right there. I was very disappointed and we didnít pull a lot of punches telling the players what we felt. Weíve lost games around here where weíve played really well and physically battled away and just got beat, but that wasnít one of them. And Iím not trying to take anything away from the Steelers.
Q: Can you explain the lack of a run defense?
A: No. Until I look at the tape, no. And it was not a complicated affair. The ball was just going straight up in there.
Q: Any sense as to how Herzlich fared?
A: Not really.
Q: Did you think Diehl was physically ready to play?
A: Thatís so far from anything to do with anything that happened out there on the field. Yes, he was ready to go. He had, what, three weeks of playing the XO tight end so we could watch how he was pushing and how strong he was.
Q: What are you seeing in Eliís play right now?
A: Iím sure he would come and tell you he didnít play as well as he would have liked to play and thatís what we all feel. Weíve got to get him back on track. He is our guy and we have to get him back playing the way he was a couple of weeks ago. And we have to do it in a hurry. Itís just not Eli now. Weíre struggling to get ourselves in position so itís an automatic for the quarterback.
Q: How did they get so open in the pass game?
A: Well, I think the last one which cost us really dearly, because I had to take my last timeout after a first down. That was a pretty good move by a receiver to challenge a defender inside him and then slide outside and the ball was just thrown. The accuracy was good. The slant that they hit, my God, we had been defending it all day and doing a good job and all of a sudden a very speedy receiver comes out the other side. You have to give some credit to the opposition, who has a good football team.
Q: Are you concerned about an overall second-half swoon or just this one game?
A: I was asked that a couple of times last week and I am not a counter of where our record was then and when we had some struggles. Iím just looking at our team right now and what we can do to snap out of this and play better. There were times tonight when I thought our defense was playing outstanding, that they were the only thing we had keeping us competitively in the game. We had great stops after returns that were not enough. Not enough. And certainly that was obvious.
Q: Did you feel the emotion after the pregame ceremony with the first responders and military?
A: Definitely. In anticipation of us winning, I wanted everyone to realize that what we were trying to do, was to give them a few hours of enjoyment in a very, very difficult time. To let them know that we understood the mass difficulties that are facing our neighbors and that many, many people are fighting to survive, fighting to get their homes back, to get their families reunited and all those kinds of things in the aftermath of a tragic, tragic storm. That was the reason we did that. I hope the message came through we were trying, but we didnít accomplish what we set out to do.
Q: When you see Eli struggle like that, what kind of changes do you think you should make?
A: Well, Iíll have to evaluate that by looking at the tape. Iím not going to stand here and give you a litany of that type of stuff right. We are not going to stop doing what we do. So weíve got to just get going. People have got to play the way they are capable of playing. Look at where our big play production has been. Two weeks ago we were the number one big play team in the league. I mean it doesnít make any sense."