Instead of folding up their tent as the year wound down, the Giants retrained their minds to focus on finishing, something they talked about doing all year long.
"We only had three penalties and we did not have a turnover, those were the things that were most impressive to me as I looked at the tape and I studied the statistics from yesterday’s game," Tom Coughlin said in his presser Monday.
The Giants have gotten back to playing the game their way: quick, smart and physical. Coughlin has his fingers crossed that his team continues along that path. He was asked if the team has established its identity in terms of physical play:
"I hope so, I hope that we have and I think that the resurgence with that part of our game for the last couple weeks has really put the smile on their faces. There is confidence in the three units and all three units need to play together and I think we are starting to see that take place."
Coughlin does not have to remind his team about what is at stake going forward. Some of his players have been to the top of the mountain. Others await their chance. They all seem to want it this time around.
"People understand and know what the consequences are of their play. The motivation is incredible." Coughlin stated. "It’s a great time of the year. We’ve come down the stretch. We’ve had a million questions asked about our ability to finish, so that’s always been in the back of our mind. We’ve talked about it openly. It was our goal at the very beginning of the year and the guys have bought into that, they see it. We have some people here that know how to win, that have done it in a very, very wonderful place not too long ago, that can share with a lot of others about what it takes at this time of the year to put yourself in that position or at least to get into the tournament. That’s been the main stick."
This week the Blue will set their sites on the Atlanta Falcons, a team very much like them in terms of performance. The Falcons beat some good teams and lost to some bad ones (sound familiar?), but they finished the season by winning three of their final four games.
Coughlin is taking no chances. The Giants have not played the Falcons since 2009, and much has changed since then. (For the record the Coughlin Giants are 3-1 against Atlanta and have won three straight).
"We are in the playoffs and you really have a good handle on what the opponent is seeing in your play. In fact, for example our first week in the playoffs with Atlanta, we really need to do a good job of studying them because we have not played them in a while and we need to do a really good job in a short amount of time of being informed about this outstanding Atlanta Falcon team."
quotes courtesy Giants Communications Dept