The dazzling touchdown was Hixon’s first since Week 2 of 2011, when he tipped, bobbled, and secured the football in the same end zone of MetLife Stadium against the Rams on Monday Night Football. That was also the play on which he which he suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
After rehabbing back to make the start of 2012, Hixon had 26 catches for 390 yards before Sunday, but no touchdowns. That changed in the Week 14 victory, and it may have been the result of a few extra practice sessions.
“As receivers, we try to get better at something every week,” Hixon said. “So this week after practice, we were working on over-the-shoulder catches, trying to keep the defender away, and it came in the game. I just went up and tried to make a play.”
Returning from a two-week absence due to an ankle injury, Hixon finished the game with three catches for 30 yards. He was one of four different receivers to catch a touchdown from Manning, who was playing against former Giants (2007-09) and current Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“That just came to be during the course of the game,” Hixon said of spreading the ball around. “We just try to go out there and compete every play. We knew we were going to get some press coverage with coach Spags being here. We knew as receivers what we were going to get.”
Hixon also saw time as the team’s punt returner, taking over the role rookie
“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Hixon said of the coaches’ decision. “I told them whatever they need me to do for special teams, anything – receiver – I’m willing to do it, and my number was called this week. So I just tried to prepare myself the best I could.
“They got me some more reps throughout the week and even doing some special teams stuff. So I got my wind back pretty fast, and I’m thankful for that. I just had fun out here.”