**Q: How badly does this loss hurt?
SM:** Well anytime you go to the Playoffs and you have one destination on your mind and that's to go back to the Super Bowl, all of them hurt. Anytime you play in the playoffs. But give them credit, they have a great team. It was a hard fought physical battle, for four quarters. We just came up short.
**Q: Did they bring more blitzes on that last drive than they had all game?
SM:** No. They had run blitzes throughout the whole ball game. Every time they were just brining out one more than we could block. And we were managing to have short passes where the blitz didn't get to us. When you are down…when you have got 12 and seven and 13 to go, you can't use those short routes. They sit on them in the last drive and we had to try to give up a hook shot on the last one because we knew they were going to try to blitz us. The short routes weren't going to do us any good. The two times they got to us, we had some deep balls, but that's how to play the game. They adjusted from the first half. It's all about being a professional.
**Q: Can you talk about the last play? Did you think Drew [Bennett] had it?
SM:** Well, I couldn't see it at that time. [laughter] My back was on the ground, but people say he had it. The defensive guy made a great play, scraping it. In the end they made one more play than we did.
**Q: Talk about the grounding penalty? Did you just misfire? What happened?
SM:** Like you said, it was during the blitzes, I was drifting to my left to get away from the blitz. The ball did sail on me, but at the same time as it got there hopefully I didn't get intentional grounding. But they saw otherwise. I was drifting to my left and trying to throw the ball. If you notice a couple plays before that, I drifted and threw it to Drew [Bennett], It's just something that happened. Not intentionally, but it happens. We kind of bounced back from that and still had a chance to make a play to keep the chains moving. That's the difference in the ball game.
**Q: What did you say to Drew [Bennett] on the sideline at the end?
SM:** Drew has been a great guy for me the last two or three years to where one play does not make me think less of Drew. Drew is a great player and this is a team sport. Everybody out there tonight made some kind of mistake. I told him, 'You still are one of the great receivers in this receiving corp. To go out there and be down on yourself is the wrong approach to doing it. You made some plays.' He made some great plays this year. That one should not overshadow all he has done for us this year.
**Q: What is the feeling? You went into this game expecting to win?
SM:** You expect to win all of them.
**Q: Okay, but it didn't happen. So what is the feeling you have now? Emptiness? Extreme disappointment?
SM:** I'll let you answer that one. Okay? But overall, any loss hurts especially in the playoffs. You want to go in to the playoffs and expect to win. And they expect to win. If the shoe is on the other foot, they would be feeling sad. It's a sad situation. Nobody wants to go into the playoffs and lose. Everybody wants to go to the Super Bowl, but everybody cannot go. Today we were stopped short. There is no easy way of saying it. Frustrated, yes. Angry, yes. Mad, yes. Because when you have one destination starting in training camp in July, and that is to get to the Super Bowl, anytime you are stopped your feelings are sometimes hurt.
**Q: You and Eddie [George] have been together for so long. Do you think tonight you may have played together for the last time?
SM:** I don't think that way. I always think positive. That part of our relationship hasn't even crossed each other's mind. We want to go out and enjoy these days we have off now. We have been together a long time. That's just like a guy asked me about Frank [Wycheck]. To see Frank without me…I can't even picture that. To see myself with Eddie, I can't picture that either. But this is a business and that is the sad part about this profession. Being together with teammates for so long and then all of a sudden you have salary caps and the free agents market. You hate to see it come, but everybody has their days. Hopefully it doesn't come and we can continue to build this team up to where we can get over this hump. I told the guys I am tired of coming up short for the last four out of six years…four out of five years, but we just have to find a way to get over that hump. To get that we have to better this team. Every year, changes are going to be made. Who knows who will be on the 53-man roster next year, but hopefully it will be some of the same guys who dedicate themselves to this organization.
**Q: Can you talk about the interception? After that you had 12 out of 13, did that settle you down in a way?
SM:** Well, the interception…when you are trying to push the ball down the field, we felt like we had a great match up with [Rodney] Harrison on Shad [Meier]. I think if you look at it, pass interference could have been called on that exact play, but it wasn't and he made a great catch. When you have a match up like that, that is a match up you want to go at. Shad just got bumped and fell down and he made a great play. Interceptions come. If you are a competitor, you are going to throw interceptions and you are going to make mistakes. The thing about it is how you overcome those mistakes. We saw it done as a team and made some great decisions offensively. Coach [Fisher] put us in some great plays to make plays and we did.
**Q: What was it like playing in that kind of weather? Handling the ball? Handling your aches and pains?
SM:** The weather wasn't a factor for us, me gripping the ball, controlling the ball. It wasn't slippery at all. I felt going into this game, the cold was not going to be a factor for me. As long as I kept my fingers warm, it wasn't going to be a problem and it wasn't a problem. I think I had a lot of accuracy on the ball tonight in the cold weather. Both teams played in the same degree weather. It is no excuse of was the weather a factor. It wasn't a factor.