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Postgame Quotes (12/01): Coughlin, Manning

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Quotes from inside the locker room after the Giants Week 13 win



Coach Tom Coughlin

“We knew it would be a battle right to the end, but I am most proud of the way we hung in there. All three sides of the ball contributed very well, and when we had the turnover our defense held them to a field goal. We took the ball down the field and scored when we needed to do that. We got the margin up to a touchdown which really put the pressure on them to go the length of the field. I thought there were a number of outstanding plays.

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[Defensive end Justin] Tuck with four sacks, and I think [linebacker Jon] Beason had 17 tackles. We had the special teams blocked punt, that was outstanding. There were a lot of outstanding contributors tonight, and it was a beautiful night for football. I am just glad we could hang in there and get the win.”

On the fumble recovery by safety Will Hill:
“That was some play. I was just kidding with him that he had it all the way, but he knew what he wanted. The ball was hanging out there after the short gain which would have given them the first down. He ripped the ball out, did a great job of seeing the opportunity, and then he pushed himself down the field five or six yards. That was an outstanding play and the kind of play you need to have to win.”

On if he was worried when the team was down two touchdowns:
“It was too early. Certainly they had two scores right away, and we knew they would play the no-huddle offense, it was just a matter of when they would play it. They started the game in it, and it did have us running around a little bit but one of the reasons was when they substitute we are supposed to be allowed to substitute. It wasn’t really happening right away, but eventually it did. We settled down a little bit, and were able to do some things that controlled the consistency of their offense. The beginning of the game, their offense was quite outstanding. They kept making first downs, and the yardage on the run game was five or six yards per run. We did settle down, and played much better after that.”

On the importance of the contributions from the younger players who have stepped up:
“Well, going forward it’s essential. We have been counting on, for example, [cornerback Jayron] Hosley for quite some time. He got to play in that. He got his feet wet. He did some good things. You know [defensive end] Damontre [Moore], we got him in there on third down. He rushed the passer for us as well and he’s really been outstanding in the punt blocking area.”

On defensive end Justin Tuck being criticized at the beginning of the season:
“I didn’t see that all year long. I don’t know who was writing that. I thought he practiced well in the preseason. I thought he practiced and played well. He didn’t have the numbers. He’s the guy that when we refer to the number of sacks that we’ve missed where the quarterback has escaped on us, Justin has been a guy in that circumstance as well, but you just keep coming. That’s the whole thing about playing hard and knowing what you’re in for and you just keep coming. Early on, we didn’t have much pressure on the quarterback. He stood back there and did what he wanted to do and then we eventually started to get some pressure. When that pressure came, the quarterback tried to pull it down and run, Justin was there.”

On the key to containing Redskins running back Alfred Morris:
“Well, our run defense has been good. We’ve done a nice job with that. All the really outstanding runners if you look at that we’ve played this year, we’ve really done an outstanding job of not stopping, but controlling those people. So, this was just a byproduct of that. You know, we allowed the quarterback to have some yards in the second half. We knew the quarterback was going to keep the ball, but we were more concerned with the run to be honest with you – both runners. When he started making some yards, we had to make some adjustments.”

On what caused the turnaround at 14-0:
“Well, if you look at the first two series offensively, we had a sack, which we made at second-and-17 and we started out on the minus-one-yard line. So, I think after that, we were able to move the ball. Then, that last series where we brought down under two minutes, we did leave quite a bit of time on the clock, but we were able to bring it down in two minute and score.”

On if he’s happy about how the team is playing after the tough start to the season:
“I don’t know if that’s the right word. I’m happy to win, that’s for sure, and the guys come out to fight and they knew what they were in for – backs against the wall. We played hard last week and didn’t get a win, so they truly did show what they’re made of.”


QB Eli Manning

On the start of the game:
“We got off to a rough start and they did good job of scoring on offense, then the first play they got a sack. We finally got the running game going and had a big third-and-one conversion – [running back] Peyton Hillis – and then he got another run. Then [running back] Andre Brown getting a long run for the touchdown to get within seven and then before halftime scoring again on another two-minute drive. Obviously, it was a rough start but I think we responded well. The defense was playing outstanding from the second quarter on, and offensively we started making a few plays.”

On the Giants being able to come back after adversity:
“I think we’ve won five of the last six games. We obviously had a tough loss last week, and we’re right there in there. There’s no quit on this team. We’re going to keep giving it our best shot and enjoy preparing and getting better, enjoying the games and try going out there and win and have something to smile about.”

On Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III starting the game so well:
“They were clicking, and he was running around making throws and their offense was in great sync. Our defense was eventually able to get some stops and a turnover there at the end, finally able to get them off the field some. We didn’t have the ball very much in the first half, seems like it was a very quick first half, they were running the ball and they were controlling the clock quite a bit.”

On Giants defensive end Justin Tuck:
“That was fun. That was fun to see Justin get four sacks or so, and getting back there and causing some issues. And getting some sacks on first and second down, get them into some thirds-and-longs and some big plays. It was fun to see our defense rally and play really well in the second half.”

On the Giants’ first scoring drive:
“Yeah, we had a third-and-one and [running back] Peyton Hillis had a long run about 20 yards. I came back on the next play with another run to him, a little counter, got about 15 yards or so. Then Andre Brown had that 30-yard run. Got the running game going and responded really quickly and they took a 14-0 lead. That was a great way to change the momentum and show that we can hit some big plays and get back in the game and give our defense a little break. Big drive there in the second quarter to cut the game within seven after offensively we really had not done nothing to give us any spark.”

On if there were differences between the initial scoring drive and the previous drives:
“No, I don’t think so. Honestly, we had the third-and-one and bust a couple of big runs. I don’t think there were any changes. Just a couple plays where I executed very well and we took advantage of some of the right calls that we had. Locked it up correctly.”

On his interception:
“I knew I had a guy open. I really didn’t get to step into my throw. I got some pressure, had to throw off-balance and sailed on me a little bit. I was upset about that one. But [the] defense did a great job holding them to just a field goal. Then special teams got the blocked punt and we had good field position and took advantage of it, hit a couple of big plays and got the touchdown. ”

On the third-and-short play:
“Yeah, fourth quarter and it was three minutes left or so. It was third-and-two and they got pretty good pressure again. Try to buy some time and I felt a guy by my ankle. I saw [tight end] Brandon Myers sort of on the backside. Could be a dangerous throw, I just knew I had to make sure I got it in front and don’t miss that one behind where a guy could undercut it. And it felt good. Saw where I had to put it to make the throw. It was a pretty big third down conversion. And made them use all their timeouts on next series.”


DE Justin Tuck

On referring to himself as “Mr. Almost” this season:
“It was fun to be out there with the guys today and get a win. Our secondary did a really great job with making smart coverages and giving quarterback Robert Griffin III some different looks when he had to hold the ball in situations.”

On the score being 14-0 early:
“Honestly, at 7-0, we weathered the storm. We kind of knew that they were going to come out and try to hurt us. That offense is tough when you have time to decipher before the snap. But when they are going like that it is almost impossible. But fortunately for us, we kind of weathered that storm. Then, when we were 14-0, we needed to do something drastic to stop this leading game. Luckily for us, our offense went out and got some points and that got us off the field for a little bit. We got our wind back and we were able to make the adjustments needed to get over hard times from there forth.”

On if he felt that he had to be the man tonight:
“I always feel that way, honestly, but tonight especially – with the guys that we are missing right now, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul… I think the unsung hero tonight is defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka.  He played special teams and I think he played every snap of defense tonight because we are short numbered. You could tell that the guys wanted to win the game tonight. We just played as a team tonight.”

On winning five out of their last six games:
“We played decent. We can get better. We will watch the film and see what mistakes we can correct and that’s how we will approach it. It’s never as good as you think it is and it’s never as bad as you think it is. You always have to have the mindset to come in and get better and that’s what we have to do. We have a tough run here with four games that we pretty much need to win. We have to keep doing what we are doing and improving.”

On taking criticism:
“Hopefully after tonight, they see that I can play the game at a high level. Like I always tell you all, I do not care what other people say. As long as those people understand that I pour my heart and soul in this team every week, the most important thing is going out there and getting wins.”

On getting four sacks in this game:
“Somebody asked me on the sideline that question of, ‘Do I feel good when there was three minutes left? I said, ‘Ask me in three minutes.’ It’s a big feat obviously, but the most important is that we have to win. If I would have been standing there with four sacks and a loss, I would not have given two cents about four sacks. But, we got a win and I played pretty good tonight. It is a good feeling.”

On how much his future has been on his mind this year:
“Not much. Beginning of the year, I told my agent I really didn’t want to talk about contracts. One thing I can control is how I play. I can’t control anything other than that, so for me, everyone knows I’m a New York Giant through and through. When people ask me if I want to be back next year, that’s a stupid question. Obviously, I do, but we allow it to work its course and see what happens. For me, my focus is on winning football games, and until I retire, that’s going to be my focus.”

On how he thought Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III looked tonight:
“I thought he looked great. I can see why people were saying he wasn’t ‘Griffinable,’ because he looked a little banged last week, but he looked fresh tonight. He hurt us with some runs early. He outran me on a few plays, but I thought he looked good until we were able to make some adjustments. Because he hurt us with the pass a lot tonight, too, it was fortunate for us that we were able to make some adjustments. Hats off to Coach Fewell and that staff to get us in some different play calls – some things we hadn’t even practiced before, but he knew that it was going to give him a different look. I thought he looked pretty decent.”

On the questionable first-down call on the Redskins’ final possession:
“I saw that and said, ‘No, that’s not a first down,’ but they picked the first down when they moved the sticks, so I knew it wasn’t a first down. I was trying to signal to [Giants Head]  Coach Tom [Coughlin] that you might want to challenge that, but the play’s going fast and you kind of chalk it up. Lucky for us, they corrected their mistake. It wasn’t a first down.”

On if anything had to be said at 14-0:
“Weather the storm. Weather the storm. I think for us, we’ve been in these situations so many times but it seems like we never get too high with the highs, or too low with the lows. We understand that it’s a long football game. We’ve got [quarterback] Eli Manning and that offense, they can make up points in a hurry. So for us we know on defense we had to get some stops we couldn’t allow it to get to 21-17, nothing, and you know, just go out there and regardless, don’t look at the scoreboard just stop them in the play and get our offense the ball back.”

On if he thinks the team can come back to win the division:
“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think. I definitely do. Obviously, Philly and Dallas are playing pretty good right now, but you never know what’s going to happen. You really don’t, so you’ve got to put the blinders on, go win four in a row, five in a row and see where we end up. That’s the focus, one game at the time, we can’t do anything about Philly and Dallas. All we can do about it is [face] who’s on our schedule and focus on that.”


RB Andre Brown

On the team’s outlook on the game being down 14-0 in the first half:
“There’s a lot of game left. We can’t get discouraged being down 14 points. We came out fighting, the defense got a stop, we finally got on the board, and that was that.”

On the timing of this win in the NFC East playoff race:
“As far as that, it is what it is. You can’t go back and look at the past and say, ‘We wish we could have did this and could have did that,’ but we put ourselves in a situation where we’re at it now, and we just have to go out there and continue to win football games and hope for a miracle.”

On his apparent injury early in the game:
“I’m fine. I just wanted to give [running back] Peyton [Hillis] a couple of carries.”

On the team’s ability to rally to victory after being down 14-0:
“Winning cures everything, especially looking back at last week and how everybody felt around the locker room. To go out there and get a win like this – being down 14 points, coming back, fighting back and getting a good win out here against a good team – we appreciate it. I love my team and I love the way we fought today.”


S Will Hill

On the timing of every player on the Giants’ defense stepping up and making plays:
“We all just hold each other accountable. During the course of this game, [defensive end Justin Tuck] kept saying, ‘We need a turnover – we need to make a turnover. Who’s it going to be? I know it’s going to be somebody.’ Fortunately, it was me today. So each week, each day, we always try to come up with turnovers whether it’s practice or game day. We work at it – work at it hard – and it pays off.”

On slowing down Redskins running back Alfred Morris:
“Play aggressive style football. All week, our coaches were saying ‘Look, this is the best run play in the NFL: the press play. So we have to stay in our gaps, because they like to cut the ball back.’ Everybody stayed in their gaps, and shut them down.”

On Giants defensive end Justin Tuck’s four sacks and how they helped the secondary:
“That was great. With good coverage comes good pressure, and it works hand in hand. When they’re getting sacks, we’re getting off the field quick, we’re well–rested, and our offense gets on and produces.”

On the defensive turnaround in the second half:
“We had to calm down. We were all out there frantic on the first drive. They were running no huddle, and we were slow getting the calls in. But we just sat down, went to the bench, talked it over, calmed each other down, and just went out there and played ball.”


WR Hakeem Nicks

On how the offense was able to battle back and find success:
“Well, you know one thing about this group – we’re a fighting group. We’re going to fight ‘til the end. We’re going to play four quarters. The good thing about it is now when things aren’t going our way early, we know to stay the course and we’ll come out on top eventually and that’s what showed today.”

On the Giants’ resiliency as a team over the years and how that helps now:
“Well, like I said, we’ve got a group of guys that just believe. We know as long as we fight all the way through the fourth quarter and we’re still in that ball game, we feel like we’ll pull it out. We’re in the situation where we’ve got to win all five [remaining games], we’ve got to win five, but we know that. [We have] a bunch of veteran guys on this team and we know what we’re capable of doing. We’ve just got to win these last five and take it one game at a time. I think we can do it.”

On how the Redskins’ focus on stopping the run opened up their passing game:
“Yeah, we just took advantage of it. The running game has been going well over the last couple of weeks, so we had to do our job as receivers in the blocking game and then it just opened up for us when we started throwing the ball.”

On how he felt coming off sitting out last week:
“I felt good. I felt real good. I just tried to take advantage of every opportunity that I could.”


WR Victor Cruz

On the key to turning around the offensive output after early struggles:
“Just staying the course. I think once [running back] Peyton Hillis got that big run play, I think that kind of turned us on and we understood exactly where we could beat this team and we just stayed the course. This offense, this defense has played tremendous all year long and we just want to continue to do that.”

On how they have stayed positive after starting 0-6:
“Just our coaching staff. I can’t say it enough, [Head] Coach [Tom] Coughlin and our coaching staff has done a good job of keeping us level-headed. Every time we’re in that meeting room, we’re understanding exactly where we need to be. He’s keeping us positive, saying things in there that are positive to keep us level-headed and not looking to next year saying this season is a wash. He’s making sure we’re focused on our task each and every week, and the coaching staff has done a good job of that.”

On if they were concerned after falling behind 14-0:
“No. We understand that we’ve been in positions like this before. We’ve battled back from deficits like this before and we understand that it’s a long game and it’s going to take every possession. We have to make good of every possession, especially against a team like the Redskins that hold the ball well and run the ball well and that eats up so much clock. You have to make every possession count and I think we did that today.”

On if a divisional game like this will always be tough fought whatever the team’s records are:
“Absolutely. It’s going to come down to the very end. It’s going to come down to that last play and it’s going to come down to whoever wants it more. I think, in this division, it’s definitely indicative of the types of players that are playing in it and how difficult it is week in and week out to play in the division.”


DE Mathias Kiwanuka

On stopping Redskins running back Alfred Morris:
“I mean, that was obviously something that we wanted to focus on coming in here. He is one of the keys to their offense. When he gets rolling downhill, it sets up a lot of things for their offense, so we changed some things up with our defense – the way that us as defensive ends were going to play that option that they have. So I thought it was effective and the guys behind us did a good job of playing the play-action when they did have it. It made things a lot easier for us up front.”

On if they made an adjustment to slow down Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III after his hot start:
“We knew that this team, this offense, this coach, they have a lot of things at their disposal. We knew that they were going to come out and give us something that we haven’t seen before. We knew it was going to be up-tempo, we had to weather the storm. I think we would have liked to get off the field with just a field goal, but the fact that they got up on us, it wasn’t going to make us sit back or anything. We were going to make the adjustments. Give the credit to the coaches; they came to the sidelines, figured out what they were doing, sent us back in the game with different calls and we got it done.”