New York Giants left guard Justin Pugh has heard the stat countless times since his team’s 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday.
Only five out of 168 teams since 1980 have rallied to make the postseason after starting 0-3. Sitting in the visitor’s locker room at Lincoln Financial Field, the Giants realized they would be facing the insurmountable.
“We have gotten closer, we have gotten tighter since then,” Pugh said Tuesday at an event in the East Village promoting Conair Man. “When adversity hits, everyone is trying to split you. So if anything, you gotta stick together, become more of a unit and really dig down deep because we are going to find out what we are made of now.”
The Giants are hoping their fourth quarter against the Eagles is a sign of things to come when they travel to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. They put up all 24 of their points in the final frame in Philly, but it ended up being too little, too late.
“We were down in the red zone five separate times,” the fifth-year veteran said. “Getting down there and executing at the highest level is what we need to do, and if we would have finished and got a couple of field goals earlier, it would have been a totally different game.”
Maybe the offense has turned around for the better, and maybe Pugh’s offensive line has along with it. Eli Manning was not sacked for the first time since Big Blue’s last visit to Philadelphia in December.
Yet, there is still a lot of work to be done for the unit protecting the veteran quarterback. The 27-year-old Pugh agrees.
“Everyone knows there is five of us on the field,” he said. “If one of the five messes up, it reflects badly on everybody. “
The “one” often has been left tackle Ereck Flowers. But even though a Flowers mistake could negatively affect him, Pugh does not take kindly to the critics.
“These guys are my brothers,” he said. “If someone was picking on your little brother, you would help them out. If someone picks on one of my guys, it’s like picking on a brother.”