Giants safety Antrel Rolle kept his eyes on the backfield -- and it cost him.
Matched up in slot coverage against 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Rolle got barbecued for a 73-yard touchdown that put San Francisco ahead 7-0 in the first quarter of Sunday afternoon’s NFC Championship game.
“I kind of lost sight of the receiver,” Rolle told WFAN Tuesday. “He kind of got in my blindside and that play happened. Which is something that’s very unlikely of myself. I'm a guy that, I hate giving up big plays, I absolutely hate it. It still kind of burns me to this day.
“But throughout this season, like I said, we’ve faced a lot of adversity, we've had a whole lot of ups and downs, especially myself included. And I always tell guys, ‘Have that FIDO mentality.’ And what I mean by that FIDO is: Forget it and drive on.”
“And honestly, I just spoke to myself because I know how I am. I'm very, very hard on myself no matter what the situation is, but I also said to myself: ‘I can’t dwell on this one play.’ I have to understand it, I have to learn from it, I have to get better from it right now and make sure I go out there and continue to be the best player I can be for this team because they're going to need me.”
They sure will. After all, it’s going to be up to Rolle and others to contain superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski, who set an NFL record for a tight end by catching 17 touchdown passes, in the Super Bowl -- assuming he can play. Gronkowski suffered an ankle injury in the AFC Championship game.
“Let me tell you something, I don’t back down from anybody. When that play happened on me Sunday, I still didn’t back down from it,” Rolle said. “I'm like, ‘Coach, let me at him.' I don't back down from anyone man. No one will ever, ever take my heart away in a football game. And that's the way I play, that's my mentality, that's the way I was raised, and that's the way I'm going to play in the game on Sunday. This matchup is not about me and anyone else.This matchup is about the New York Giants, as a team, and the New England Patriots as a team. Whatever my assignment is that day I'll take it on full-speed.”
Rolle hopes he got all of his mistakes out of the way last Sunday.
“It’s unfortunate that sometimes you have to go through things like that in order to become a better player. And I think me going through that in that game made me a better player for that game,” Rolle said. “As crazy as it sounds, but it is true. I think I needed something to wake me up a little bit, and not saying that I was flat, but I don't think I was as crisp as I needed to be, because if I would have been, that play would never have happened.”
Rolle lost the 2008 Super Bowl with the Cardinals. He doesn’t want to come up short again.
“There’s not too many more feelings that can feel worse that,” Rolle said. “I don’t wanna feel that again. It’s tough.”