From 1990 to 2006, not one of the 17 No. 1 seeds in the NFC playoffs lost their first postseason game. Green Bay became the fourth team in the last five years to accomplish the dubious feat, as the top-seeded Packers were upended at home by the surging New York Giants, 37-20. The Packers looked out of sync from the start of contest and made uncharacteristic mistakes throughout the game. Aaron Rodgers missed a few wide opens throws; there were three fumbles and nine dropped passes; the defense gave up two huge plays at the end of the first half that led to a hail mary touchdown catch for the Giants; even the onside kick call by Mike McCarthy in the first half was a head-scratcher from any football fan who has seen the Packers dominate all season. Ryan Grant was one of three players who coughed up the football in the NFC Divisional Round loss to the Giants. He discusses the shocking reality that is the 15-1 Packers sitting at home right now after dominating the regular season. Ryan Grant on 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee with The Big Show to discuss the Green Bay Packers lacking focus in the loss to the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers just not being able to get back into the game against the Giants after falling behind early, being shocked he fumbled against the Giants, wanting to apologize for his costly mistake, if the Packers offense felt pressure to score 40 points because the defense couldn’t stop anyone and his future with the Green Bay Packers.
How much of this loss is lack of focus by the players?
“I don’t know because going into the week and going into the game and even during the game guys were focused. I really think guys were prepared. I think the mentality was in the right place. I think guys wanted it. I guess you can’t…it was focus with certain things. It’s one of those…meeting with coach today and you look back and say: ‘What could we have done differently?’ It’s just unfortunate because we didn’t play. We didn’t get it done. Coach said the only thing we had to do was go out there and play basic Packers football. Nothing more and nothing less. We didn’t do that. It’s just hard. We didn’t step up. We didn’t put out our best showing and not to say there wasn’t effort. Not to say there wasn’t full effort across the board. We just didn’t get it done.”
Why couldn’t you guys make corrections on the sidelines and get back into the game?
“The whole game we felt like we were in a good position. I honestly don’t know what the reaction has been towards the defense. The defense made plays and put is in a position to come back and really gave us those opportunities to make those plays. I kept saying let’s go guys they are giving us our shot. We just didn’t get it done whether it was a blocked field goal or a turnover or whatever it may be. They were giving us a shot to try to get into a groove. We didn’t take care of it. I think like I said because of that we didn’t get in a groove on third downs and different downs. I think the line did a really good job against that front four. As a backfield we gave up two sacks, which is uncharacteristic. We don’t do that. We had guys out of position. It’s about as frustrating and hard. The frustration from the fans? It’s for a good reason. They’re passionate. The good thing we always talk about our fans is how much they love us and how supportive they are and how much they want this for us and they are in it with us. That’s going to make it that much harder when things don’t go the way we want them and the way they want because the expectations are so high. We are not surprised the fans are so passionate. It’s just really frustrating and individually it’s going to be frustrating for us and people including myself when you don’t have the performance even if you feel pretty good and then one thing happens. I didn’t think I had a bad game until that ball dropped of course because of the timing. I’m very big on ball security. It’s just hard, so we understand where the fans are coming from because trust me they are not taking it harder than we are, but at the same time we did it and our expectations across the board and the standards we have set have been winning. We’ve given them that expectation and that’s the expectation we want, so anything less and when we don’t play to our standards they should be upset along with us.”
Could you believe what was transpiring when you fumbled? You stood there in shock almost?
“Yeah it definitely didn’t feel…I wasn’t…it didn’t feel real with what happened because literally when I decided to stay in bounds as oppose to going out of bounds the first thing went through my mind was ball security. I put two hands on the ball and you can see it on the film and when I broke the first tackle I think as I was going to the ground it was just the way the ball was and it just kind of popped out. I only had one hand on it. When it popped out and when I looked and the guy picked it up I’m thinking really quickly in my head: Did he blow the whistle? Then all of a sudden I was like…excuse me of course I had some foul language and I was thinking in my head: He didn’t blow it. I just froze. It was terrible. I apologize just across the board because it’s hard man. In those type of situations that is the worst thing that could happen to you. It’s not the worst thing that is going to happen to me in my life, but in this game of football it is pretty bad now. It doesn’t make you feel any better or any less terrible.”
Did you feel the offense had to score 35-40 points to win each game because the defense can’t stop anybody?
“No. We expect to score 35 points really and I know that whole heartily everybody on that offense expects to score. Any situation in every game is different mentality of we are going to have to do this or guys we are going to have to score because this is going to be a shootout or let’s just stay on track guys. Let’s not push it or anything or force it, but I think we expect to score. We expect to go out there and execute whether it be on big plays or whether it be on long drives. It doesn’t make a difference because we know that our expectation is to protect Aaron Rodgers and to protect the ball of course and finish drives. I don’t see it as – there was no point in time – I think in the third quarter we said ‘Okay guys we are going to have score. We gotta score points. Let’s put this one in the end zone.’ We just never got to where we wanted to go and it’s just unfortunate. We didn’t play our game. We didn’t play our ball. Like I said I don’t even remember the last time since I have been here where we had game where there was 9 drops and 3 turnovers.”
What do you think about your future with the Green Bay Packers?
“Of course I would love to come back and be apart of what we have because I do think we have something special here first and foremost, but I do understand the business aspect of the game. I think the Packers will be fine and do great because they have structure for it with Mike McCarthy, the organization and the community. Everybody has the right mentality I believe. The business end is the business end. This is the first for me. I have never been a free agent. I don’t know how it goes. I’ll just be waiting and just looking for a job. This is it like I said I appreciate everything that Green Bay and the Wisconsin community in general has done for me because it’s been an awesome ride and if the ride is changed then we move forward because I know I have so much love for this game and I am still going to be playing. I know how it goes. It is part of the game and everybody goes through it. I’m okay with everything.”