Jacquian Williams made the play that led to the turnover, that led to the field goal, that led to the Super Bowl.
The second-year linebacker says “big whoop.”
Asked what he remembers about forcing Kyle Williams’ fumble on a punt return that gave the ball back to the Giants on San Francisco’s 24-yard line in overtime, this was his response:
“That it happened last year,” he said today as his Giants prepare to face the 49ers for the first time since the NFC Championship. “I have put that away. It’s a new year, a new opportunity. They have a lot of the same players, but it’s a new team – for both of us. So it gives us a chance to go out and do something new.”
With some prying, he opened up. But not much.
“It was something that turned the game around,” he continued. “It was a big opportunity. Special teams stepped up. It was time special teams stepped up. It was a big play.”
He did agree, though, with his teammates that it was one of the most physically demanding games they have ever played. And he would do it all again if it meant making it to Indianapolis.
“It was a physical game,” he said. “But just to come out and help my team get to the Super Bowl, that [pain] didn’t exist.”
Tags: Jacquian Williams
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A common saying in football circles is if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.
That’s not the case in San Francisco.
Let there be no confusion: Alex Smith is and will be the go-to man under center. Just last week he led the 49ers offense to a franchise-record 621 yards against the Buffalo Bills, improving his passer rating to 108.7. But along the road to their 4-1 start, there has been a growing package for backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This is becoming known as the “Wild Kap.”
The 49ers have schemed their 2011 second-round draft pick out of Nevada-Reno into the offense this season, primarily coming in the form of the triple option. From there, Kaepernick has rushed nine times in the past two games, finding the end zone in both. This package was not in place the last time the Giants faced them and is part of an overall effort to improve the offense from a year ago.
“I think they’ve added some – ‘trick’ is not the right word – some scheming problems to complement what they did last year,” Justin Tuck said. “They have some things in there that look exactly one way and it’s a complete opposite from what that play was supposed to look like. So I think their coaching staff did a great job of putting in a scheme that can confuse defenses at times, but the biggest thing is just playing more physical. That’s what they respect. That’s what they know. The teams that have had success with them have done that.”
Although he did not play in the second and third games of the season (which included their only loss to Minnesota in Week 3), Kaepernick has rushed 10 times for 106 yards in 2012 and has completed one of two passes for seven yards.
It’s just another wrinkle for the Giants to study when preparing for the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL, which averages 195.8 yards per game and has outscored its last two opponents, 79-3.
“He just adds a different aspect, kind of like when we played Carolina,” Michael Boley said in reference to Cam Newton, whom the Giants held to six yards on six rushing attempts in a Week 3 victory. “He turns into a running back, and it gives them that read zone option. It gives them the ability to do that. And they had some success with that the last couple weeks.”
Tags: Justin Tuck, Michael Boley
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WR Victor Cruz
On Eli’s toughness in the NFC Championship game last year…
“It was inspirational for me, seeing him pick himself up off the ground time and time again and just being strong and going through the game and understanding that it’s going to be a knockdown fight and that we just have to keep pushing and keep going.”
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
On facing the 49ers again….
“You know, they’re motivated to beat us. I know, they’ve got a chip on their shoulders…after all we did beat them in the conference championship game and we’re going to go back there and they’re going to give us their all and we’re going to get ready for it and it’s going to be a fight. [They’re] probably the toughest team we’re going to play this year. It’s going to be a good game.”
Tackle Will Beatty
On being overlooked….
“It happens a lot with us, you see we have injuries, Giants are up and down and it’s like no one really sees it and then we go out there and it’s like we, we know what we got in this locker room and we’re just going out there and playing for each other.”
WR Domenik Hixon
On returning to San Francisco…
“It’s going to be a physical, four quarter game. There’s no doubt about it and we’re coming in with that mindset, that it’s going to be physical for four quarters.”
Tags: Domenik Hixon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty
Posted in Inside the Locker Room | 1 Comment »
While last year was the first time Antrel Rolle faced the 49ers in a Giants uniform, the safety knew plenty about the team by the Bay. Rolle saw them twice a year in his five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before leaving the NFC West to come to the Giants in 2010.
And based off his current team’s two bouts with the 49ers last season, Rolle has seen firsthand the improvements made under second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“As we know, we’re definitely going to expect a game,” Rolle said Tuesday on WFAN. “I think those guys are playing great football on both sides of the ball – offensively and defensively. And they’re getting better week in and week out. They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder. Under Jim Harbaugh, I think he has that team with a different mentality. He has that team with a different mentality, and they go out there and they play very, very technique-sound football and it wins games for them.”
Bested in their regular season matchup, Rolle and the Giants evened the score against the 49ers in an NFC Championship for the ages. Rolle was asked what he remembers from the 20-17 overtime win in Candlestick Park last January.
“Just saying to myself ‘Thank God it’s over,’” he recalled. “That was one of the hardest fought games I have probably been in, in my career. It just seemed like it was a defensive war and neither defense was going to back down. It just came down to crucial turnovers, and thank God for our special teams that were able to get that because that defense of theirs wasn’t going to back down anytime soon. And we knew we weren’t going to back down no matter how many overtimes that we were going to go into.”
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Tags: Antrel Rolle
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