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Eli Manning reflects on 2011 win in Dallas, NFC East race


Among his many accomplishments, Eli Manning boasts one of the most impactful fourth-quarter comebacks in Giants history. En route to Super Bowl XLVI, Manning led his team out of a 14-point deficit with less than six minutes remaining in the game. The Week 14 win in Dallas snapped a four-game losing streak and reignited competition within the NFC East. Ahead of this year's Thanksgiving matchup in Dallas, Manning joined Bob Papa on "Papa's Perspective" to offer a deeper look into the pivotal win and the mindset through which his team prevailed.

With 5:41 to go in the fourth quarter, Manning admitted that the less-than-ideal scenario never rattled his resilient team. Down two scores, the group strung together back-to-back touchdown drives and took the lead with a successful two-point conversion attempt.

The situation ultimately commanded the precision synonymous with a two-minute drill, and Manning recalled how speed and aggressiveness emerged as crucial components. He detailed the team's uncanny familiarity with the situation.

"Really the only time we would go live against our starting defense [in practice] was in a two-minute drill," Manning said. "In two-minutes, you're not always trying to call the perfect plays. You want plays that are good against a lot of different coverages."

The coveted chunk plays came as a result of Dallas' conservative approach on defense, Manning said. In taking away the "short stuff," Dallas inadvertently gave Manning opportunities to connect with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to bring the Giants into the red zone – an area where big-bodied tight end Jake Ballard was notably productive that season. Ballard delivered with an eight-yard reception in the end zone.

On Dallas' ensuing possession, Manning admitted that something was different: "All of a sudden, they're the ones trying not to lose the game. And that can affect a team."

A three-and-out situation, complete with a bad punt, put the Giants in favorable field position with 2:27 remaining.

Aided by Dallas penalties and a supporting cast of dominant receivers, the Giants once again marched down the field and into the end zone. Defense took away the sideline, but New York prevailed.

"That's how you know when your offense is clicking when just because the defense takes away one person, it doesn't affect your offense," he said.

Ironically, the two-point conversion that sealed the win was similar in scheme to the same play that captured the first win of Manning's career at home, also against Dallas.

Manning held his breath on Dallas' final possession as Dan Bailey attempted a field goal to tie the game with six seconds remaining.

"All of a sudden you hear a silence," Manning said.

Jason Pierre-Paul had blocked the kick, sending New York's sideline into a frenzy.  

Given this season's competitive NFC East, Thursday's matchup in Dallas will bear similar weight.

"It's obviously a big game, and I expect both teams to come out fired up," Manning said. "It should be a great one."

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