NEW YORK GIANTS HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN
Opening Statement: "I thought our defense played really well tonight. They did an outstanding job, particularly in the first half, bailing us out with the two turnovers, which is the absolute way that we did not want to start the game. We're pleased with the win. I was proud of the way our guy's handled the inconvenience, if you will – the changes that were made in the start time and the location of the game, etc. I thought we did a good job with that. I thought that in the beginning, our offense wasn't sharp and we didn't do a very good job on special teams; our coverage teams didn't do a good job tonight, but we did win the game and that's what we came here to do and under any circumstances leaving with a win is a huge plus for us. We're 9-4. We have kept pace, so we're excited about that."
On the job his running game has done: "It's a good thing we did have the run. We've had the run the last couple of weeks in terms of lots of numbers; both backs sharing in the load and both doing an outstanding job, both having long runs tonight. You saw the game, you saw the fronts, and a lot of times there were eight, sometimes nine down there and we were still able to run the ball, not with a lot of consistency, but we did break through and we were able to mount the yardage. As I said, I'm glad that we did do that. We had the two-minute drive before the half for the score, which was huge, which gave us an opportunity to work on that phase as well, so we did have some contributions that way. The rush game has been outstanding."
On having WR Hakeem Nicks back: "As I said, everyone was excited about having our guy's back and I was too, no doubt, but it's not just having them back, it's where do you pick up? Do you pick up where you left off or do you have to work to get to that and I think the obvious is there: we have to work to get to where we were prior to losing Steve (Smith) and prior to losing Hakeem anyway. We do have some work to do and it's a short week."
On how daunting this trip has been: "I don't know if that's the word. We handled it well. As I told the guys Saturday night – we had a warm bed and 4 hours before that we didn't know if we even had a bed, so that had to be looked at as a plus. The fact that we received the accommodations that we had, you can't say enough about the people at the Marriot in Kansas City and the people at the Westin here in Detroit, Tom Lewand and the Lions and how they put this together – they all should receive a very strong pat-on-the-back for the yeoman-like work that they did in a short amount of time. And our people in being able to book us in, for example, into the Westin, which is the Lion's hotel and obviously the meeting rooms are outstanding and so-on and so-forth. All of that worked very, very well.
"For as much of a trip in which I must have changed the itinerary five times because I'd go from one thing to the next, then find something out. For example, Saturday morning we were scheduled to leave there very early in the morning. We found out the game was not going to be played. Therefore we changed that itinerary and then it was after 11 o'clock before we knew what was really going on. I like to, as most people do – I'm not saying there's anything different about our approach – but knowing how you're going to operate, what your schedule is exactly, communicating with everyone is the way to go in our business because we have a lot of people that travel with us. For people to stay sharp, stay tuned in to know the changes and still to be able to adjust and have our meetings and get back on schedule last night was a big plus."
On whether he learned anything about his team: "I think they handled this in a very professional manner. There wasn't any complaining. No nothing. We didn't have any frustration. There was no anger expressed at any time. The guys handled it well. At certain points when you click into the coaching aspect of it, I wondered if we were too even-keeled in our acceptance of it, but I'll find something to worry about – don't worry."
On it being a neutral field: "You know what surprised me, I had told our team that the crowd certainly wasn't going to be in favor of a divisional opponent and we would be able to hear well and there were times when the people that traveled down from Minnesota and all their cousins seemed to make a lot of noise. Then you could hear that bullhorn – maybe someone could slide over and turn that off."
On the injuries: "I don't know much about it. We did have some. I think they said that Manningham's was a hip flexor. It's a short week, so we've got to get some people back fast if we indeed do have some. I'll need to find that out when I go back. I'm not sure about any of that."
On if he knows anything about WR Steve Smith: "No I don't. I saw the play. He stayed on the field but then came off. I'm hoping that's not a setback."
On Bradshaw having his wrist wrapped: "He's handled that well. He's done well with that."
NEW YORK GIANTS QB ELI MANNING
On if he was pleased that the team was a solid unit, despite all of the distractions: "Yeah, it wasn't as sharp as it could be, but not a whole lot of mental mistakes. Minnesota's a very good team, good defense; their front four and linebackers are just about as good as they get in this League. We had a big challenge on that aspect, but I thought we ran the ball, had a bunch of big plays, had a couple of chances, missed the one 'go' route, but did some good things and after some early turnovers kind of settled down. (Our) defense was playing outstanding and we just played kind of smart and didn't give them any more chances and just found a way to win the game."
On how much it felt like a road game, atmosphere-wise: "We tried to go with a regular cadence, but we were having a little bit of trouble with the o-line here, so we had to go back to a silent count. So from that aspect that would probably be the biggest advantage of playing here is that we thought we could use a regular cadence, but we had to go to silent cadence. It was a great effort by Detroit and all the fans coming out here and giving us a good crowd. Hopefully we gave them a pretty good game."
On if he sensed the crowd was neutral and how that was: "Early on you're kind of curious how the crowd will be. I thought it was a great turnout and you saw a few empty seats, but I thought it was a really good turnout for the circumstances, kind of last call for having a game here. But, I thought we handled it well and by the time things started rolling you're focused on the game and what's going on. We did have to try to communicate a little bit and talk to the offensive line on whether they could hear me, especially if I was in shotgun on a regular cadence we had to go into a silent, so they were having a little bit of trouble hearing. We had a false start there in on one of our drives in shotgun, so from there on we went into the silent count."
On the travel adventure they had the last couple of days: "We knew we were going to play the game sometime, it was just a matter of when. A lot of sitting around, a lot of sitting in airports or on airplanes or in hotels, so just a long wait. This morning we had a little walk-through, and I think that was our little cheer drill still in our dress clothes and everything, but I thought that was kind of a sign that said,
'Hey the game's coming now and you kind of get little reminders on what Minnesota does and got through some of the mental parts – mental lapses of not having practice for three days. Usually we even have our walk-through on Saturday; we have a little something on Saturday. Our last practice was on Friday afternoon, so it's been a long time since we've done anything football related. But, I thought we did a good job mentally, kind of handling some things. We didn't make too many mistakes in that aspect, but not as sharp as we could have been, but still did enough good things to win."
NEW YORK GIANTS RB BRANDON JACOBS
On his 73-yard run and how it seemed to ignite things: "We called the play, and I had a good pre-snap read on the whole thing because the linebacker was down, he was tied up in there, so I knew he wasn't really going to be able to get out to chase me down outside so when I came downhill I got towards the line of scrimmage and pressed the line, went outside and off and running."
On the running game today: "We know we're a good running team, and we know we can throw the ball as well. We have electrifying receivers that can make plays on the ball and we have a good quarterback that can get it to them. Ahmad (Bradshaw) and I just go out and do what we have to do help the team win no matter what it is – pass blocking, catching the ball, running it, whatever it is. We love to run the ball, and I think that's what our offense is made of. We have a line that wants to run the ball, and that's what we do best. When we get that going, it's going to be awfully hard to beat us."
On what he said after Ahmad's 48-yard run: "I was excited. Can't really say what I said to him, but I was really excited and I was happy for him and he had the opportunity to feel the wind a little bit. That's what's important for a back, if you can get yourself a good run like that to be able to feel the wind, hit your face while you go, there's nothing like that. His finishing the touchdown, I was a little jealous about that one, but I'm glad he got it and we just keep going."
On the atmosphere at Ford Field: "It felt good. It was a little weird at first looking up there and seeing all the different team jerseys. It was a good thing. People had the chance to come out to the game for free, and I'm very familiar with the city of Detroit. You need things like that to happen around here, to keep things on the up-and-up, so I'm glad a lot of people had the opportunity to come out to the football game."
NEW YORK GIANTS DE JUSTIN TUCK
On the key to stopping (Adrian) Peterson today: "Just making sure that he didn't have any cut-back lanes. He had been very successful at kind of pressing it to one side and coming back to the back-side seam and we made it a tremendous emphasis in practice for us. We followed him doing it a lot on film. Teams that played him well played side. His speed, his athleticism, he does a great job of cutting it back and outrunning the coverage and outrunning the defense. Today we just made sure he had no cutback lanes. We played physical upfront, the linebackers filled holes and our secondary tackled well when he tried to bounce outside. We just played an all-around great game against him."
On his reaction when (Brett) Favre's streak came to an end: "I was surprised. It seemed like all the time he had some bumps and bruises or something wrong, but he finds a way to speed up the healing process and get out on the football field. But, like you said, we did prepare for both (quarterbacks). We kind of prepared for Tarvaris (Jackson) a little bit more just because we kind of figure with that injury (Favre) had, even if he started, if you get a couple of hits on him he might not stay in the football game. Yeah, I'm kind of upset that he had to end against us. I wanted the opportunity to hit him one more time."
On if he thought this trip showed mental toughness: "Yeah. The word of the day is resiliency. Regardless of where we play, who we play, what time we play doesn't matter. We've flown all over the Midwest this week. I'm all for stopping in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, makes some more stops on this Midwest tour. It would've been easy for us to kind of come in here and been distracted and kind of not been focused with the task at hand. But, we did a good job and it just shows the mental toughness that this football team has and it's going to be tested next week too."