"If that weren't a New York Jets win right there. We looked ugly there for a while, we took their best shots and we were hanging in there. We say that fourth quarter is like championship rounds. Our guys really stood up. We need that first down by our offense. Great job, man. We came down to it. That's a heck of a football team over there. We knew it was going to be an all day event, that's for sure. We're just fortunate to come out on top and we'll see what happens in the match up that probably nobody wanted, but too bad. Here we come."
Can you talk a little bit about your defensive game plan to shut down the Chargers' high-powered offense?
"Just play like Jets. That's a heck of an offense over there. It was tough sledding, there's no question. I apologize to our fans for going too soft at the end of the game there, but shoot, we were trying to play to that clock a little bit and allowing them to go down there. But they made the plays on us. That's a type of game where you really have to hold your breath. It's one of those things where they have so many weapons over there and our guys did a tremendous job. We knew it was going to be a great challenge and, again, our guys stood up and were up to the task."
Are you still surprised to be here one step away from the Super Bowl?
"No. Not really. We believed the whole time, the whole year, when probably it wasn't the popular choice, the popular opinion. But here we are. We don't have to apologize to anybody. It's just old-fashioned ground and pound football and throw completions and play great defense and here we are."
What were your adjustments that were made to take away the deep pass?
"We made a couple of adjustments. We swapped out some personnel and changed a couple of blitzes and things like that. It's such a great football team over there and Norv Turner does a heck of a job. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and that is one heck of a football team there. Some of the adjustments we made, Mike Pettine and Dennis Thurman and Bob Sutton and all the coaches over there did a great job, came together and made a couple of adjustments that worked for us."
What did you think of the onside kick?
"I'm happy that we have Kerry Rhodes on our side."
What do you think the Colts are thinking right now?
"I don't know. They just know that we're going to come in there. It's a football team and we expect to win. They know we're a good team and all that kind of stuff. Do we know they're a great team? Of course. There's no question. I don't know if Santa Clause is going to be that good to me again. I will say it, I'd like to see Peyton Manning not play this week."
What does it say about the state of this team when Nate Kaeding misses three field goals, the most accurate kicker in football?
"It's the playoffs. Anything can happen."
What was the turning point in the game for you?
"Right after we made that first down there with 30 seconds left. That was the only time I felt comfortable."
What was the conversation like with Brian Shottenheimer and Mark Sanchez before the last drive?
"It was just basically, ‘hey, let's be true to ourselves.' They know what we're going to run, but lets put T.J. (Thomas Jones) back there and do our thing that we've done all year and that's run that power. We knew they'd expect it but I also felt great with T.J. running the football behind (Alan) Faneca pulling and it was just a well-executed play. Our guys believe in that philosophy and no way we weren't going to run our bread and butter there."
Was there a different strategy used during the game with Darrelle Revis?
"I never felt that they had a go-to receiver. They've got both who are very talented guys and things like that. We never really thought there was that big of a difference. We still gave him the tough down every time. We were playing a lot of man-coverage on his side regardless of who the receiver was. And on the other side we were running some loaded zones and mixes and things like that. He still had the tough down."
Did you feel anything go out when Kerry Rhodes hit Philip Rivers?
"Sometimes when you hit the quarterback the whole team feels it."
When you were only down 7-0 at halftime, did you feel like you were in good shape?
"Yeah I did because I think that they had clearly outplayed us in the first half. Again, that's a great football team, but this was the old 15-round fight. That's exactly what this game was. We knew it was going to be tough. I felt great coming out of halftime. We felt that if we just stuck to our plan that we'd be just fine."
What did you do with Darren Sproles?
"We did some different things on Sproles. We go with what we call one-and-a-half; have one guy on him and a half a guy spying him. That's basically what happened."
What do you take from this game to Indianapolis?
"I think it was a heck of a game for a half and a little bit of change. We know that they're extremely talented. There's no question about it. It's going to take our best effort and we'll see if that's good enough."
Do you like the fact that you get the Colts this week?
"To be honest with you, I wanted to play the Ravens because it would have been at home and I know a lot of guys over there."
This is the second straight year you've been to the championship game with a rookie quarterback. Do you feel better this year than last year with the Ravens going against the Steelers?
"I feel equally as good in both situations. We felt we had a lot of confidence going into that game last year with the Ravens, but we got outplayed by the Steelers. This time we're going into Indy. We know they're an unbelievable football team and we'll see. We're going to play our best and they're going to play their best and we'll see what happens."
What did you think of Mark Sanchez today?
"I thought he had a heck of a game. You judge quarterbacks on wins and losses most of the time. For him, we know he's a rookie quarterback and all of that, but we look at him now as he's not a rookie anymore. This is postseason action and he's just our quarterback. He made some big-time throws in there. I think we moved the ball well, especially in that second half."
Talk about Shonn Green and the running game today.
"That's a big rascal right there. Once he starts getting to that second level, it's a long day. He just kept pounding it in there and the same thing with T.J. (Thomas Jones). We kind of fed that hot hand there with Shonn and he was able to bust a long one. That just shows the confidence we have with both backs that with the game on the line, we went with Thomas Jones."
Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez
QB Mark Sanchez
"It means the world to our team. It wasn't about me coming to San Diego; it was about the Jets coming to San Diego. It was our offensive line just grinding it out. Running back Shonn Greene stepping out and running back Thomas Jones getting that crucial first down at the end. The defense … I mean we leaned on them heavy all year and they didn't disappoint. We made some amazing plays. Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes making some big hits. Bryan Thomas and all these guys. An unbelievable effort by our team. Great game plan and hats off to San Diego for their best efforts. It was a great way to win for us."
Did they give you the game ball?
"I just grabbed it after. I didn't really ask too many questions."
Is it hard to believe you're one win away from the Super Bowl in your rookie year?
"No. We don't think about it like that. We just take in each moment and prepare like crazy and that's what we've done well these past few games; really prepare and study that game plan, believe in it, trust in it. Once you get on the field we just let our preparation set us free and go for it."
Talk about your emotions with the interception and then the touchdown pass.
"That one looked like it was going to be costly for us because you turn the ball over to a team like that, same way with Indianapolis, turn the ball over against Indy, those guys can get on and score in a heartbeat. You never want to let one get away like that. It was a poor decision and it should have been picked by the first guy. It was just bad all the way around. But in games like this you got to level yourself. You got to understand there are going to be mistakes. You never want to make mistakes, but they will happen. We need to bounce back and all the guys on offense just told me to keep playing and to not even sweat it."
Describe your touchdown pass.
"We come back, we're in our third down situation on the ground and you want it to be a situation where if the ball does get pushed in the end you've got to make sure it's our guy or nobody. The route we had, Dustin Keller just improvised a little bit and I felt exactly what he was doing. We were just on the same page. It makes a heck of a catch because I put it real low and hot. That ball was coming. So it was great on Dustin's part to improvise and make a play."
Was he the guy you were looking for? (Jets Tight End Dustin Keller)
"There were two or three guys I was trying to find. They played it well. Hats off to them, they played really well. You can't cover instincts like that. You can't cover a guy with great hands like that and a playmaker who knows when he needs to get the ball."
On playing Peyton Manning:
"It's another big time matchup for us and once you make it this far you play with great quarterbacks. Great quarterbacks have led their teams this far so it's going to be huge for us playing against Carson and Philip Rivers and now Peyton Manning again. Our defense doesn't take it lightly, they are real sharp and very accurate and we can obviously change the course of the game so it's going to be a great challenge."
On his personal challenge:
"I don't think of it as a one-on-one match. I'm playing against Colts defense. I'm not playing with Peyton Manning; our defense is. I'm not comparing stats in the game. That's not what I'm all about. That's not what this team is about. We want to win the game. That's the most important stat."
Is it hard to believe you're one step from the Super Bowl?
"You know, I try not to think about it like that. Just roll; just keep going and keep playing. Don't change a thing. I'm definitely not shaving. I'll do the same stuff and go to the same places to eat and study like crazy."
How much has Jets Coach Rex Ryan helped you maintain that mentality and composure?
"He doesn't hide anything from me. He lets you know these are big-time games and that we're going to need to step up and play well we're going to need you to make the right decisions. I think if he were to hide it or sugar-coat it at all, maybe it would just distract my focus or make me think the game is going to be too easy. He lets you know it's going to be hard. It's going to be difficult. Just rely on the guys around you. You don't have to do it yourself. You don't have to make anything up. Just trust in what you got."
On emotions after Jets running back Shonn Greene's run:
"We were waiting for a run. There were a couple of holes where we were a shoestring tackle away; an arm-lunge grab and a tackle away from breaking one like that and we could just kind of feel it. Shonn did it right there. And it was great, I mean great push up front. And that's our kind of game. Running it like that. Knowing we were going to get the first down on fourth and one. That was everybody up front. Our running game."
On his journey:
"It was special, I know that. I'm counting my blessings and am so thankful for the guys around me and being drafted by the Jets. Them trading up seems like a lifetime ago that I was here last year for this game, watching this game against Manning and Philip Rivers. I saw the Chargers win in overtime. I was sitting way at the top, right near the score board. It's a really special feeling. To be here now, to win this game is an amazing ride you can't do it alone. It's a strong family and a great organization."
What was the huddle conversation during the time out prior to Jets Running Back Thomas Jones' run?
"I mean we knew what the play was, we had no doubt."
What was the play?
"That's our play. That's all you need to know. We knew exactly what to call. (Offensive Coordinator Brian) Schottenheimer mentioned it early. Earlier in the week he said that if we ever get in a situation where we need to play we know what to call."
On his third down pass to Wide Receiver Jericho Cotchery:
"That was unbelievable adjustment by him because the ball was definitely coming behind him. He makes an awesome play."
New York Jets running back Shonn Greene
How does it feel to be one win from going to the Super Bowl?
"It's a great feeling. Our team has been through so much this season. We stuck together. Nobody believed in us. But we got the job done."
On his run into the end zone:
"The linebackers played it well. I just went through the hole. Once I got through the secondary and the safety was there, I just broke the tackle and just went to the end zone."
On back-to-back 100 yard rushing games for a rookie in the playoffs, there is a lot to be proud of:
"It was a team effort though. We all believe in each other and we all work hard. Special teams, offense, defense. The coaching staff does a good job of setting us up to win."
How cool is it to be a part of this?
"It's very cool. It's exciting. Like I said, as much as this team has been through throughout the season, we deserve it."
New York Jets right tackle Damien Woody
On being more physical:
"Those guys play tough, I can tell you that right now. We knew it was going to be an uphill battle in the run game, but it's like anything. We're committed to the run game so we're going to run the ball in the first quarter and the fourth quarter all the way through. And it's not about how you start it's about how you finish. And we just kept pounding and at some point something is going to break. That's what we always hope on the sideline."
Was your relentless running game just wearing them down?
"I got to give those guys a lot of credit. Those guys were playing the run tough. They were really playing the run tough. Like I said we're persistent in the run game. We're going to keep running the ball from the beginning of the game to the end. And it's wearing on people. There's only so much you can take in the running game."
New York Jets safety Kerry Rhodes
On the defense in the third quarter:
"Since the beginning of the game we played more zone and they started getting more open routes and started getting completions. We don't do that. So we got back to what we did in the second quarter. From the second quarter on, we started playing more man. And we played man on man."
How much are you frustrated by that and what impact does that have?
"When you play man to man and you get up in their face that takes away from their timing. In zone, they are running around and getting free. And Gates made some catches. But after they started making catches, coach put me on the man on man, and he probably only had one catch after. After that we played well."
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis
How did you catch that ball (off of Chargers Vincent Jackson)?
"Oh man it was crazy. I saw the ball thrown up and I tried to make a play. And I saw Vincent try to cut in front of me to make the play. And I grabbed his hand a little bit so he couldn't catch it. And as I'm going down I see the ball hit his foot and then it was in arms reach. And I decided to grab it."
How does your team go the AFC championship game?
"You just have to fight adversity. We have a lot of doubters and a lot of people say ‘the same old Jets'. And I think we are getting out of that hole right now by just being in the playoffs this year. And we want to build off this. That's all we want to do. And just try to be a playoff contending team every year."
What changed from the first half?
"We made a bunch of adjustments at halftime. We got a little more aggressive by playing a little more man coverage. First half we had a game plan on them to play a little zone and they tore us apart a little bit. Second half I said ‘we need to play some man. We need to play some man coverage.' We told coach and we started playing some cover one and cover zero."