EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell hesitated a little longer than one might have expected when asked about getting over the New York Giants’ fourth-quarter debacle against the Philadelphia Eagles.
After roughly 10 seconds, he admitted the shock of blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead in the NFC East showdown didn’t end until late Monday or early Tuesday. In some ways, he will never forget the feeling.
That’s the past, though. The present for Fewell and his defense is to rebound against the Packers (8-6) in Green Bay on Sunday and clinch a playoff spot.
The Giants (9-5) will get back to the postseason with a win.
“We’re in a situation that we obviously have to move forward and step forward and put what happened behind us,” Fewell said Thursday after practice.
The Giants were on the verge of taking command of the NFC East last Sunday, with a 31-10 lead with roughly eight minutes to play.
Until that point, the defense had punished Michael Vick and forced three turnovers.
The Eagles seemed dead, until Vick engineered a resurrection. They scored 21 points over the next seven minutes, and DeSean Jackson capped the comeback with an amazing 65-yard punt return on the final play of the game.
“We told the players once we watched the film, we had to put it behind us,” Fewell said. “I tried to do that and I had to get my mind into Green Bay and made sure I understood the Packers and what they were doing and how they were doing it and that type of thing. Once we watched the film, I tried my best to put it behind me.”
Fewell admitted it was hard to do. He had never had his defenses blow a 21-point fourth-quarter lead.
“George Allen used to say: ‘Every time you lose a little piece of you dies,’ and so I think it is very true in that sense,” Fewell said. “I’m still breathing. I’m still here, and we’re ready to pump it up and go. We got to go get a win.”
After watching practice Wednesday, Fewell believes his defense is ready to go. The intensity and focus were all there. But getting ready for the Packers won’t be easy. Aaron Rodgers will be back at quarterback after missing last weekend’s game against New England with a concussion.
Fewell said the multiple formations that Green Bay uses forces the players to spend more time watching videotapes.
“They have organized chaos with their offensive personnel sets,” Fewell said. “You have to be on top of your game and you have to have a plan and be ready for that organized chaos because you have to have organized chaos to match it.”
Defensive end Justin Tuck insisted there has been no lingering effect for the defense.
“We let the team down,” he said. “Everybody wanted to blame the punter, but we had a 31-10 lead with eight minutes to go. You give me that situation, and 99 out of 100 times we’re going to win that game. It didn’t happen. We’re moving on.”
Veteran safety Deon Grant feigned ignorance when asked about last week.
“That’s the mentality you have to have,” he said. “Let last week be. Win or loss, let it be. We’re just looking to go into Green Bay and winning and getting in.”
The Giants have been in this scenario before. In 2007, they lost at home game to Washington with three weeks left in the season and then went to Buffalo and clinched a playoff berth on the road, a win that help propel them to a Super Bowl championship.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield said this is an all-or-nothing game. While the Giants can lose and still get into the playoffs with a little help from Green Bay on the final weekend of the season, no one wants it to come to that.
“If we don’t win this week, it’s going to be very far-fetched scenario where we can get in,” he said. “We’re not going to rely on that. We are going to try to control our own destiny and we want to have momentum going into the postseason. We don’t want to back in. We want to sprint in with our heads high. If we play our best football we feel we can do that.”
NOTES: OT David Diehl practiced Thursday after missing the day before with an illness. … PR Will Blackmon has a knee injury and did not practice. Aaron Ross, Corey Webster or Darius Reynaud will likely handle punts in Green Bay.