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Chargers Postgame Quotes - 1/20/2008

San Diego Chargers players comment on their 21-12 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2008.

Luis Castillo, Defensive End*(On the game and Philip Rivers)
*You look at this year and the things we fought back from and it took some courage to get to this point. It took a lot of work, a lot of unity and a lot of belief in each other. You look at the way this team has fought back and it was a great run. Unfortunately, we just couldn't finish. I will say this though, Philip Rivers, is the most courageous teammate I ever had and the most courageous man I have ever seen. For him to go out there and play today, nobody will ever comprehend what that means. I never doubted for one second, after seeing him on Monday and the things he went through, I never doubted for one second that Philip Rivers wouldn't be on that field.

*(On the team's outlook)
*You look at the courage of this team, the unity, the camaraderie, and you look at the fact it is a young group of guys and we've got some talented guys on this team. We had some guys step up and have amazing seasons, guys like Vincent Jackson and (Antonio) Cromartie. Some of these guys really developed and really showed what they can do like Jeromey Clary and Kris Dielman, again another great year. Shaun Phillips should have gone to the Pro Bowl. You look around this team and there is some talent. We know we are a great team and will do some great things in the future.

Marlon McCree, Free Safety
(On the game)
*As bad as we played in the first half, the score was still only 14-9. I think they realized they were in for a ballgame. They got us in the end. Rivers (Philip) and LT (LaDainian Tomilinson) are kind of nicked up, and who knows what would happen if those guys are playing healthy and we went with our full arsenal. We've got a bright future ahead of us. We will see what happens next year. I think Philip (Rivers) is an outstanding player. I think he hung in there and was playing hurt and he is a great quarterback.

*(On the Patriots' offense)
*We have got to hold a good team like that to field goals. We were disappointed, that although we gave a good performance we gave up some touchdowns when we felt like we should have had them settle for three field goals. They are a good team and they are 18-0 for a reason.

Vincent Jackson, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
*I think we left a lot of plays out there on the field. Our defense did a great job of giving us the ball and getting us great field position and they got some stops. Their team tried to put up a lot of points and our defense did a really good job today. We just didn't finish our drives.

*(On the game plan and Philip Rivers)
*It was tough. We thought we had a better game plan coming in and thought we could take advantage of some mismatches and some holes in there. We just weren't able to pull them off. We didn't give up any big plays and they just continued to get first downs and we continued to not get first downs. There is a lot of guys who have been playing nicked up all year, but everyone knows that Philip's (Rivers) knees are in pretty bad shape. He gave a really gutsy performance. They just out-executed us today.

Clinton Hart, Strong Safety
(On the scoring chances)
*You have to put up points. We knew they were going to put up at least 21 points. We tried to hold them out as much as we could, but they have a great offense, and a great leader in Tom Brady. They did a great job moving the ball up and down, using up the clock.

*(On the loss)
*We played well, but we have to put it behind us and get ready for next season.

Matt Wilhelm, Linebacker
(On the game)
*Hopefully they think we gave them our best effort, with the missed opportunities both offensively and defensively. It was there for the taking, and I think we just overlooked some opportunities and let it get away.

*(On the run defense)
*It was tough, he (Maroney) is a great runner, and they have a very solid line. They were determined to run time off the clock.

*(On Philip Rivers performance)
*I think he is kind of a gutsy guy, if the reports are true that he has a [knee injury].
The question has to be asked, how many guys in here would actually go out there and play. He understood the repercussions of it but he also understood that if we pulled this out that he was a hero for years and years.

Shawne Merriman, Linebacker
(On the great effort)
*We went out and gave everything we got. We put everything on the line and we fell short.

*(On the difference from last year's game)
*You still lose, no matter what position you are put in. We still did not get it done. You have to give them credit; they went out there and got everything that they had to do to win.

*(On the cold weather)
*It was cold out there, but we knew that before we went out there. We had to play through it, and I think we handled it well.

Nick Hardwick, Center
(On Philip Rivers)
*Gutsy performance, toughest guy on the whole field today. He came out there and had a heck of a gutsy performance. He is a competitor; no one was going to keep him off the field. The doctors, trainers no one could keep him off the field. He willed himself to play this game and it was pretty amazing.

*(On the team)
*We have a lot of guts and a lot of character. Guys pushed through the bad times and we are a young team. We have a lot of up side on us.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back
(On the loss)
*We were sticking with what we had staying with it.

*(On moving the ball)
*We were moving the ball pretty well; we just could not put it in, and it caught up to us.

*(On the difference in the game)
*There was one where it was third-and-one and they made a nice call, Junior Seau ran through and made a nice play.

*(On his injury)
*I just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully with rest, it's not torn or anything, but it is an MCL and hopefully with rest I'll be fine.

Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback
(On getting three interceptions as a team)
*We liked our chances a lot. If we could cause turnovers the way we did the whole year and make big plays and that's what we tried to do. We just needed a few more turnovers.

*(On the play of Kevin Faulk)
*We knew what kind of player he was and that he was a big part of their offense. We knew exactly what they tried to do, get him to the outside and try to create mismatches with him. They used him the right way and got him the ball.

*(On the interception)
*It was man on man defense and once I got my man wrapped up on a crossing route, I just dropped off in to a zone and just read him. Once I got the ball, I just tried to create a play. I thought I could get out there and I thought I had an opportunity to take it all the way.

Michael Turner, Running Back
(On moving the ball offensively)
*Yeah, we were moving the ball but we just weren't scoring touchdowns. You just have to keep fighting though. This is the AFC Championship and you're not thinking about coming off the field with your head down.

*(On Junior Seau and Patriots defense)
*Their defense stepped up and they made a couple of good plays. He's been around for a long time and I guess he watched taped on us and saw that when we were in a certain formation that we would run that play and he made a good jump on it and made a good play.

*(On mood in the locker room)
*It's tough. The guys laid it out on the line today and we gave it our all, we just couldn't finish.

Drayton Florence, Cornerback
(On taking any consolation in making Tom Brady look human)
*We study film and we know what they are going to do before they do it and that's how we get our hands on the ball. We got three interceptions today, but it wasn't enough. We gave it all we got, but time ran out a little too early on us.

*(On the Patriots ability to break tackles during the second half)
*I don't know our third down percentage, but I think we did pretty good; they just made more plays than we did. We didn't make the plays when they counted.

*(On the interception)
*It was man to man coverage and I had my man under control. When I looked back at the quarterback I saw the ball right in front of me. I just tried to make a play. We thrive on getting interceptions and the defensive backs did a great job today containing a passing game that usually has been off the charts. We just didn't capitalize on the turnovers like we should have.

Quentin Jammer, Cornerback
(On the interception)
*It didn't matter, we still lost.

*(On shutting down the passing game)
*It's a great secondary and that's what great secondaries do, shut down good receivers and that's what we did.

Igor Olshansky, Defensive End*(On the reaction of the fans and Patriot players to his comments last week)
*It was nothing I couldn't handle. The left guard a little bit (said things) but it was all friendly. Why would I have regrets? I didn't say anything disrespectful. Two great football teams played today and we laid everything on the line. I'm sure the fans enjoyed the competition today it was a great effort on both parts. We are a great team. People say (the Patriots) are one of the greatest teams ever and we gave them everything we had.

Chris Chambers, Wide Receiver
(On the Charger offense)
*We had to make plays and we didn't. We had the opportunity. We had third and one, we had opportunities in the red zone. We didn't capitalize on them. When you play a team like that you can't have turnovers or mistakes they will hurt you in the end. They (the Patriots) showed a lot of poise and they are very respectful of who they play. They take it one game at a time and one team at a time. The best team I've ever seen in my career.

*(On Rivers)
*I didn't think he would make the whole game. He has showed tremendous toughness the whole year. Hats off to him. I can't wait to play a full season when he is healthy and see what he can really do.

*(On the red zone)
*It is execution. We made a couple mistakes. The play Junior ran in free…it happened. In the back of the endzone I couldn't grab it. We have the guys to do it but we just didn't get it done. They did a great job, that was the difference in the game, we weren't able to put the ball in the endzone. They are going to the Super Bowl.

Marcus McNeil, Tackle
(On the offense)
*We needed to put up points. You aren't going to beat the Patriots kicking field goals. We left our defense hanging.

*(On LT)
*It is tough. If LT could go he would go. This is the biggest game of our season. There is not a second guess in my mind that if he could have went he would of. It is just unfortunate that we didn't have him and we would have loved to have him.

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