As always, here are Donovan McNabb's thoughts from his post-game press conference. In the interest of getting this up ASAP, these are not exact quotes.
Where does this NFC championship appearance rank?
McNabb says the three NFC championships in a row are below the one where they went to the Super Bowl. It's hard to say where this one ranks. The team has shown it's strong mentally and physically of being able to get the job done when their backs are against the wall, and being able to trust each other that everyone will do their job. Defensively, they did an excellent job. Jim Johnson had great blitzes and a great scheme to apply pressure to Eli [Manning] and stop them from running. That made the offense's job easier. Next week, they have a team that doesn't have a problem scoring points so they'll need to dig deep and score touchdowns.
How did he have trust in Kevin Curtis after his big drop?
McNabb says in the early part of the year he tried to show them he had trust in them by trying to throw them the ball even when coverage was tight and going back to them even when they dropped balls. You don't want anyone to lose their confidence in a game where you need them. Kevin plays a major part in the offense. So does DeSean and the rest of the receiving corps. Curtis was able to pick up big first downs in a lot of situations. He came back and said he was sorry and McNabb told him to let it go and let's move on. And he stepped up and showed the type of player he is. You have to have a short-term memory.
How was he able to buy time during the two-minute drill at the end of the first half?
McNabb says he knew it's something he'd have to do, use his legs a little bit. The line did an excellent job of allowing him to step up in the pocket where he was able to buy time and hit Jason [Avant] and the other time, hitting Buck. Buck did a good job of peeling away from the linebacker because he was covered in the flat, able to pick up big yardage. They should have scored a touchdown but ended up with a field goal. Guys in the locker room have showed they can make plays.
Was the Buckhalter play similar to the one against the Cowboys?
McNabb says it's just a feel. It's the experience factor of playing with each other. Other guys have the same feeling knowing if they see him scrambling to find an open area.
What role does the win earlier this season against the Cardinals have?
McNabb says they have a feel of what the Cardinals like to do on the defensive side. They like to blitz and will probably blitz more than they did last time. Watching them in the playoffs, they have continued to gel. Everyone said they couldn't win on the east coast but they won by a lot. They didn't have Anquan Boldin. Larry Fitzgerald stepped up. They get pressure from Bertrand Berry and Adrian Wilson, and the rest of those guys who are playing at a high level.
What does this mean for the team's veterans?
McNabb says they get another week of work. It's an exciting time for him. Ten years for McNabb, 13 for Dawk, 13 for Runyan, 11 for Tra. This is something which is storybook. They've been to now five NFC championships in 10 years for McNabb. That just kind of shows the trust and the coaching they have in Andy. Everyone believes in one another. Given the opportunity, they can take advantage of it. You see Dawk playing at a high level, Tra doing a good job, Runyan doing a good job, Akers has been here nine years or so. In order for them to get where they want to go, they have to play at a high level.
What did he say on the phone?
McNabb knew Les Bowen was going to ask him that. He didn't say anything. He's been having a great time in this run. It was something as a veteran he shouldn't have done. He got caught up in the moment. They were talking on the sidline and just having fun. But you know what, it just is something he can't do and he apologizes to the team and the coaches and it's over.
Is he back to being the QB he used to be?
McNabb says he's not playing any differently. Offensively they've been doing a little more, establishing the run, getting the ball in the hands of the other guys. Their defense is playing better. There are ways of looking at it and saying that McNabb is playing different but he's not playing that much different. As a team, everybody has elevated their game to play better which has led to them being successful in these last seven or eight games.
McNabb has said the team is having fun. When did he think people started having fun again?
McNabb says people won't believe him but it was after the Baltimore game. They all talked as a team, after the Cincinnati game, guys were pressing too much and that includes himself. Obviously with the birth of the twins there was a lot on his mind and things of that nature. It may have affected the way he thought or played but he felt like as a team they needed to get back to flying around making plays, congratulating each other, giving guys opportunities to make plays and score touchdowns and you saw that in the Arizona game. They continued to feed off of that. No matter what play was called, it would be a big play for them. They're a much better team when they're loose. That was something they had to get back to.
What does he remember from playing in the NFC championship?
McNabb says he remembers at the end of the game, the kneel down against Atlanta. Hopefully they get one of those next week. Those are the things you remember. It's not the touchdowns, interceptions, exciting plays you make. It's at the end of the game, taking a knee and knowing you won it.
How has the protection been?
McNabb says the line, the running backs, the tight ends have been doing a great job in protection which gives him an opportunity as a quarterback to sit back and get it to the guys. He tries to get the ball out early so he's not holding it by any means and give them an opportunity to make plays. There were a couple mishaps, the interception where he got pressured and the tipped ball, but he was just going through his reads and being able to react.