Rodney Harrison is best known to New York Giants fans as the player who couldn’t pry the ball away from David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII. Ten years later, he is the analyst who said the Giants “flat-out quit” in the team’s 51-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
On the set of NBC’s Football Night in America, Harrison questioned the Giants’ effort on the game’s most memorable play: a 52-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods on third-and-33 in which Woods jogged into the end zone untouched. Harrison singled out one player in particular.
“This is unbelievable,” Harrison said. “They’re playing a prevent (defense) and all they have to do is just tackle this guy. Look at Eli Apple. He wants no part of it. He flat out quit.”
Apple, who lists Harrison is one of his favorite safeties of all-time, responded to the criticism Wednesday.
“Nah, I don’t think we quit out there,” Apple said. “You never want to think that. So, nah, we didn’t quit. We just lost really badly.”
The loss was the third-worst home loss in franchise history. The 51 points surrendered to the Rams were the most given up in a home game since the Cleveland Browns blasted the Giants in a 52-20 rout on Dec. 12, 1964.
Apple said he wasn’t worried about Harrison calling him out on national television.
“I don’t really listen to all that stuff,” Apple said. “I’m my harshest critic. So, I worry about the stuff I say to myself to try to get myself better and the people in here who have my back. That is the only thing I care about.”
Apple does agree he could have done a better job on the play.
“I could’ve easily came up and made a better play on it instead of thinking too much,” Apple said.
Linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas didn’t play against the Rams with an injured neck. He agreed the loss was putrid but didn’t agree with Harrison’s assessment that the Giants quit.
“Honestly, it was terrible. It was a terrible performance,” Casillas said. “And I hate to say that because I wasn’t out there. The guys know. The guys that played, they know. To allow 51 points to anyone? Of course, they’re the highest scoring team in the NFL. But they only average 30. They don’t average 45-50 points. So, we gave up 20 more than they average.”
The Giants are 1-7, regardless of the effort actual or perceived. The psychological toll of losing eventually wears on a team and its players.
“Losing is just bad,” Apple said. “The feeling you get from it. All the hard work you put into it and you go out and get blown out the way we did, it definitely hurts.”