Q: Even when you've
got everything, the coaches, the heart, the spirit, sometimes you just need
that one magic moment to get it going. Did that happen on Monday night?
Definitely. We weren't getting the breaks and then it seemed like that one play. Getting two touchdowns in, what, a couple of minutes? I know that Parcells is kicking himself right now because he felt that, coming into the game he just had to score 13 or 14 points to win the game. For our offense to come up with those two touchdowns was, I'm sure, just mind boggling.
Q: Despite the magic
moments, you still needed a stand there after that kickoff return. How critical
was it that you guys didn't get caught up in the celebration and focused on the
job at hand?
Right after that happened, we looked up at the clock and realized that there was still plenty of time. Maybe they scored too fast. I was in the celebration with a few other guys, but we realized that we had to get back on the field. We knew what happened last year. With 37 seconds, we're up and then they throw that pass from what, 40 yards (it was 36). We were definitely not forgetting that moment, thinking about the seriousness of what could happen. Special teams play great all year and then they come up with that (the kickoff return). You're thinking, oh, no not this!
On the defensive
From the perspective of guys studying film, our DB's knew exactly what they were going to run. If Walt (Harris) doesn't tackle that guy (on fourth down), who knows what would have happened? And what if Drew (Bledsoe) completes that pass to Keyshawn instead of putting it on the ground? There were moments when they had some shots, they didn't take advantage of them, and it came out in our favor.
Q: How's it going
with Harris and Lamar Marshall in there (at CB and MLB) instead of Fred Smoot
and Antonio Pierce? It doesn't look like the defense has missed a beat.
It's our training camp and the way we prepare during the offseason. I can guarantee you that there weren't too many teams who were out there doing regular-season workouts. I mean, we were going through plays. You get some guys who get a little frustrated. They're talking on the phone to some of their buddies and saying that we're out here on the field and you guys come in for an hour and a half, lift weights, and go home. We're out here for 4-5 hours and this kind of stuff pays off. (Harris and Marshall) contributed huge to the success of our defense last year. Just like when Michael Barrow got hurt last season, who's going to step in? That's been the kind of character we've had on that defense. If someone goes down, somebody else comes in and does a great job for us.
Lamar has done an excellent job, changing positions from outside to middle linebacker. People say he's not big enough but he's done an excellent job handling the pressure from the media and even from us. We're telling him that all eyes are on him, he has to be the general out there and take us to the promised land.
Walt has gone to the next level. He's an older guy who had some nicks and bruises last year and came on strong at the end of the year. He's a student of the game. He studies game film, he knows the opponent. That (fourth-down) play, which we had talked about in meetings, was a direct effect of him studying film. If he hadn't studied the film and had a hint of what was going to be run and get a break on the ball, that easily would have been a first down if he doesn't break the way he does.
Q: Was last year's
No, everybody knew it. It didn't need to be said. You don't want to bring that up because you're afraid it might haunt you or something. But everybody knew it. That's why guys weren't overly excited on defense. The attitude was, "Let's finish this thing!"