COACH TOM COUGHLIN
COUGHLIN: I congratulated our guys on the win, and of course coming out in the second half and playing the way they did. The first half was very disappointing. A lesser group of men would have had trouble. And even coming out in the second half we didn't start out very well. But we hung in there and we kept playing. We obviously went back and forth there, their quarterback hit a couple of big plays late. Our quarterback hit some big plays. So it was right down to the wire. Thank goodness, we are so happy to be 1-1 at this juncture. There is plenty of stuff to correct and we'll work to get that corrected. But it's a lot better correcting it when you win.
Q: Can you talk about Eli in the first half vs. the second half?
A: Well he hung in there. That's the best example I can tell you as he does. He made a couple of bad plays and yet didn't get discouraged. We got them together when we first came in at the half and talked about the character of our team would show up in the second half, how we needed to play, what we needed to do to get back in this thing. We were just down two scores but we just weren't playing very well. We just kept hanging in and believing.
Q: How did the injuries affect you?
A: We are in a goal line situation and you usually don't think that is a danger situation and we have David Diehl, he's been like an iron man around here and he gets hurt, and I didn't even know the circumstance around Bradshaw's injury, but the next thing you know he is out, and Hixon was out, and you give Sean Locklear…you've got to give people credit. He starts out playing on the left side, he's asked to go over on the right side, so some people really did step forward and play really well given the circumstances and give us a chance to win and that's exactly what they did.
QB ELI MANNINGA: Stopped throwing interceptions. They did a good job and they had some good things in the first half and then we made some adjustments and started to see what they were doing, started making better decisions and throwing the ball more accurately. So just a couple bad decisions on my part that led to the interceptions and learning we can't put our defense in those types of situations. Our defense is just too good to give up points and throw interceptions for touchdowns. But second half I thought our guys fought, we were confident we could get going – we were very much still in the game; just had to go down and score a couple touchdowns. We had to keep settling for field goals, which is a little frustrating, but finally got within eight, so now we're one touchdown and a two-point conversion away, and guys stepped up and made some big plays.A: I looked at Ahmad and it looked like he may have opened up late when I saw the pictures. I started looking at him at first, then I saw a linebacker, it looked like he ran past the linebacker, then I came back to Beatty which is obviously not the guy that you want to be catching a whole lot of passes, but I gave him a shot and obviously didn't quite connect on it.
Q: The connection with Victor that led to tying the game, can you talk about it?
A: It was a great decision by him. We had been running a similar play all day and we said on the sidelines that next time they did that you could run right by the guy and get to the sideline, and that's exactly what he did. He saw the safety coming down to guard him and he ran right by him, widened, and outran everybody. Just a big time play by him in a crucial situation when we needed a play and needed a touchdown and he gave it to us.
Q: How key is it to have Hakeem perform the way he did today?
A: Yea, it was great to have all our weapons. Victor and Hakeem – both of them stepped up and made some big time catches, some third down conversions, just hanging in there tough; run after catch. I thought both those guys really played outstanding and played tough and took a lot of catches and took some hits, but kept fighting back and wanted to be in there and it's a great one-two punch.
Q: What was going through your mind after the third interception?
A: Same thing. Obviously you go into halftime saying "I've got to make better decisions," and I kind of started to see some things they were doing, started to make some adjustments and said we're going to be okay and here's how we're going to attack it and we had some good drives, we were moving the ball well at times, we just kept settling for field goals, had some missed opportunities down in the red zone, and so we just knew we could get back in the game; we were right there within the reach and the guys fought and believed and we got the ball and the defense kept getting us stops and did a good job and we got the ball to go down there and got some good drives and kept staying in the game – not making mistakes; kicking the field goals but making little steps and we got within eight with time. Defense got us an interception so we knew we were right there in the mix.
Q: Were they bad reads, bad passes, just mistakes?
A: Yea, just bad decisions. A lot of times a decision made with a bad pass and it leads to a bad result. Those were some of the things that kind of occurred.
Q: You reaction when you were tackled at the end of the game on the kneel-down?
A: That was a first. Obviously I think it's a little bit of a cheap shot. We're taking a knee, we're in a friendly way and they're firing off and that's a way to get someone hurt.
Q: Can you talk about playing the second half like backyard football – is it fun for you to be in a game like that?
A: It's fun. As a quarterback you like to throw it. You like to be in that mix and spread them out and see what they're doing; have some runs, have some throws, and mix things up and obviously it's fun when guys are getting open and guys are making plays and you're seeing things – you get to fight back and especially the first half, you're frustrated and you're angry and then you get the excitement of coming back and see it happening. See the rally happening, see your defense get fired up and our offense thought their defense was getting tired there. We thought we'd be able to sit back there for a little and make some decisions, so it's not the situation you always want to be in, but it can be fun.
Q: I know it's early in the season, but can you talk about the importance of at least getting evened out at 1-1?
A: No one wants to start 0-2. We've obviously done it before and made a run and got into the playoffs and stuff, but it's a big win and especially after the first half and playing poorly, and last week not playing well; to get back to that level of playing good football and that 2nd half was really good. No punts, no turnovers; we can do some things better obviously but some big time plays and stepping up when we needed it – that was fun to have.
TE MARTELLUS BENNETT
Q: Do you think their confidence in you has grown?
A: Yeah. I think they have a tremendous confidence in me and they know I can play and they know I can make those plays. It was good work for me to be able to show the type of player I am. I don't really get down. It's kind of hard. You feel like you're letting the team down, but you've got to keep playing. I feel like I was blocking well early. I was doing some things early. I just was one step away from making a couple great plays that I wasn't capable of making.
Q: Do you kind of feel like you made a statement to the people who wrote you off?A: I think people probably never really think much of me, but it's not the battle I'm fighting right now. As long as these guys in this locker room and this organization think a lot of me as a football player, that's all that really matters.
Q: What's the emotion out there?
A: Every game in the NFL is hard. Anybody you play, nobody is going to lay down and just let you just maul them and win the game, so it's just one of those things where we understand that they're going to make some plays. Those guys over there get paid a lot of money to make plays, so they're going to make some plays and we got guys on our team that are going to make plays and at the end, it's who makes the most plays. It's what it always comes down to.Q: What did you think of Nicks out there?
A: Nicks is a tough guy. He's very, very tough. He just kind of picked everybody else up. You're like the king is out there out there playing through all this pain. We've got to make a play for him. He's doing big things for us, so I'm very proud of him and his effort tonight and he's a hell of a player and I wouldn't rather play with two other receivers between Cruz and Vic is like video games. He's like a video game out there today.
WR VICTOR CRUZ
Q: How did it feel to have a great game coming off of last week and coming off of what you've been through?
A: It felt good. It felt good to be back out there making some plays, converting some third downs, and moving the chains for my team.
Q: What was going through your mind as you did the salsa dance?
A: First, it was make to sure I'm doing this right so my grandmother is proud. Secondly, it was an honor to be there as a representation of her. I felt like she was with me. Right as I was done, I kind of looked up and held my hands up to her letting her know that one was for her. It was a great feeling. I was glad more so that we got the win, but I was glad I was able to do the salsa for her.
Q: Was it difficult to play under these circumstances?
A: Not really. Once you step on the field, you know it's time to take care of business. It's always there in the back of your mind. You're thinking about it. You understand that it's something that's going to be on your mind throughout the game. But, you try to block it out. You try to take care of your business and understand what your team needs you to do to perform. You just play through it.
Q: How fun is it to play in a second half like this?
A: For me, it's fun. It's pressure, obviously, because we're down and we need to win and we need to score. For me, I know we're going to throw it a bunch and we're going to have to convert some big plays. I was just happy to make some of those plays for my team, really stretch the field, and just get open for Eli.
Q: Knowing how Hakeem's foot is, how proud of him were you?
A: I'm proud of him. That's a guy that's been through injuries. Not just one, but a few things throughout his career. For him to come out like that and play through a foot that was bothering him fresh off of surgery… I'm just inspired by his play. It inspires me to go out there and play even better and more inspired football because that guy, right there, he's definitely battling through some things and still fighting for it.
Q: Aside from catching the ball today, what was different today from the Dallas game?
A: We had to fight. We were down a ton. We just had to fight every down. Every possession was crucial. Every time we had the football, we had to make sure we took care of it. This week there was a lot of pressure. Last week it was a matter of it being a big game, a pressure game. First out the gate, we came out a little rusty. This one, we knew we had to win it and we had to play our best. We did that today.
Q: Did you feel more focused?
A: Yeah, I felt focused. I spent a lot more time, more than I usually do, in meeting rooms and watching films at home, just making sure that I knew everything that was going to come at me during this game. I felt like I conquered that. I felt like nothing was a surprise for me. I responded well.
DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: How would you characterize the game today?
A: I was hoping you were going to help me with that. I don't have the vocabulary, I don't have any adjectives for today. All that matters is we got a win and we'll try to look at the positives and build on that.
Q: What was said at halftime or was there nothing to be said?
A: I think it was just guys reiterating the fact that we had been there before. We've been in dog fights like this and we got that first half out of the way so just go out there and just continue to do good things – not turn the football over, get some turnovers, I don't think we had a turnover in the second half for our offense. We came right off the bat with the Corey Webster interception and I think that was a good turning point for us. That's all that was said at halftime – it was no Hall of Fame speech or anything like that. We just came in, got the corrections and stayed positive.
Q: Did Kenny Phillips' hit kind of give you guys a jolt out there?
A: Of course, it definitely did. There were a lot of plays that gave us jolts, but I think the way he came down and made that hit got the crowd excited, it got the electricity in the stadium back, and I think we fed off that and obviously more plays occurred after that but I think that was the initial one.
Q: You guys were very upset with the pass rush last week. How would you say you feel today?
A: I think our reputation is kind of hurting us. They're camping out and double-teaming and tripping and that's a respect factor – you look at it and say that's because we've got a good pass rush. It's affecting our offense in different ways and we've just got to continue to not press and stay within the defense and our numbers will get there. We'll start getting pressures, but I think one thing we did upfront that I was encouraged by was play physical. We stopped that run and we put a lot of pressure on Freeman to beat us and he made some plays out there but it wasn't enough so we'll take it.
Q: I'm sure you weren't surprised with Eli's performance in the second half.
A: No. We've seen it before. This team doesn't panic being down; it doesn't really rattle us much. What we were concerned with was just our play. We weren't playing well enough to win that football game in the first half so it was no panic throughout and especially to not have any disbelief in the capabilities of our team. He's going to stay in there and throw that ball. The good thing about him is that he has a short memory. He had three interceptions but he went out there in the second half like he had a perfect quarterback rating and kept firing and made some huge plays for us to get us back in the game which in turned helped us win it.
Q: Last play of the game, they tackled Eli as he took a knee. As a defensive player, is there some kind of protocol in that situation?
A: Well, it won't be forgotten, I'll just say that.
Q: Can you talk about the hectic pace of that second half and what it's like to play in a game like that?
A: It's exciting. I told some of the rookies, I know you've played in some big games in college but this is football. This is what you live for, to play in exciting games like this and obviously we would have liked to play better, but if I was a fan at the game and I didn't root for the Giants or the Bucs I would've enjoyed the atmosphere in the stadium today.
WR HAKEEM NICKS
Q: How's the foot feeling right now?
A: You know it's good. It's pretty much what I expected after a long game, a big game like this.
Q: You feel like you are back to your old self after a game like that?
A: You've just got to keep believing. It was just a different game plan approach. Lots of single coverage, lot of man-to-man coverage. I was just able to defeat that.
Q: Is this just something you are going to have to deal with all season?
A: We'll see. I figured after a couple of games, breaking it in, I'd get used to it. Just got to get back to work it in. After talking to a few guys who had the same injury, after a couple of
games they got back to trusting it. That's the thing, just got to get back to trusting it and getting full confidence in it and then you'll be good to go.
Q: What happened on the play where you went down?
A: I just knew I had to shake it off. It was clutch time in the game situation. I knew I wasn't going to sit out, I knew I had to come through for my team and I had to contribute the best way possible.
Q: How do you explain with the limited practice time you came out today and played so well.
A: You know, my fourth season, I kind of know Eli, he kind of knows me. We're just on the same page. Getting single coverage doesn't come often for us, they matched us up single coverage a lot and me and Eli just kind of took advantage.
Q: What does this win say about your team?
A: It showed our determination. We knew we were capable of doing it as a team. We never doubted ourselves. Not one time did the team get down on ourselves. Everybody was always saying we were going to come back, we got it. And we knew what were capable of doing. Coach Coughlin mentioned at halftime it was a new game and coming out the second half and that's how we approached it.
Q: What kind of confidence do you have in Eli?
A: It's just a confidence level you've got to have. Eli's an elite quarterback, one of the top quarterbacks in the game so it's a confidence level we have knowing we can get the job done at anytime with Eli back there.
Q: What did Coach say to you in locker room?
A: The game ball is for my grandmother. The coach was just telling me great effort, great game and we'll continue to build on that, stuff like that.
Q: It seemed like pitch and catch the whole time.
A: Like I said, it was a lot of one-on-one coverage and I was able to take advantage of it. I had to dig deep, dig deep and gut it out. There were a lot of situations where the o-line did a great job of protecting Eli, Cruz did a great job doing what he does on the opposite side and we were just feeding off each other, making plays.
RB ANDRE BROWN
Q: How does it feel to finally get a chance and prove yourself?
A: It feels awesome man, especially my situation. You know my story. Went active, inactive, cut 18 million times and finally get an opportunity like this. I'm playing this role like I'm chill right now. I'm just excited man. I can't wait to go home and watch the game. I haven't even looked at my phone yet. My mom probably left 18 messages, so I'm just really looking forward to going and looking at the tape, looking at what I can improve and getting ready for Thursday. I'm happy. I'm very happy.
Q: How does it feel to be the center of attention?
A: It was an opportunity. I just took advantage of it. Really to go out there and show everybody what I had and it was a heck of a game. It was a team effort. Everybody came out there and played – Victor, Eli, Hakeem. I just went out there and I put it all out on the line and it was a good win.
Q: What were you thinking when you heard what the two-point conversion call was?
A: Get it in. Basically go in and score so we can tie this thing up and have at least a shot to come back in the fourth quarter and to win.
Q: Did you go down on your own before you scored?A: I heard Eli say, 'GET DOWN!' And I was like, 'Alright, I got to get down.' And then he was like, 'You can go in and score on the next play.' At least I got a touchdown out of this.
Q: Was it hard to give up your first NFL touchdown.
A: Yea. It was hard, but considering the situation, we were going in for the game winning drive. I felt like it was only right, but it came through and I ended up getting the touchdown that I wanted.