Quarterback Eli Manning
Q: Talk about that last drive, especially after the disputed timeout?
A: The last drive had some new faces out there in receiver going in, but hit Shane Vereen on a couple early ones on the scramble and then had a big screen to Shane. Yeah the timeout, we have a signal that kind of looks like a timeout, I guess, so we may have to—never had an issue with it before, but Walt Coleman kind of saw from behind that maybe I was giving the timeout signal. It ended up not hurting us too bad but a couple big plays, guys stepped up, Shane a number of catches, Odell getting the interference coming back at the end and then Larry for the touchdown. Just a play we worked a lot on and I tell him I'm going to throw you open if your guy's back is turned to me and sure enough, made a good catch.
Q: Did you know that Odell might be coming back at the end of the game?
A: No. I figured if he wasn't going to start that drive that he probably wouldn't have come back at the end but obviously we got down there close, he came in and had a great opportunity to get him the touchdown, the guy held him and
he was going to beat him and the guy held him, smart move. He knew he was going to get beat and gave us great field position, gave the guys a little closer where we can get the ball in the end zone next play.
Q: Eli, what happened with the pick in the first half and how much do you feel like that gave them a little fuel?
A: Yeah, just a bad throw. I got rushed out of the pocket a little bit and I thought I could still get out there, hadn't really had a double move on the outside and Odell must've been a little quicker than I thought so I was a little late probably on the throw trying to get it in there before it went out of bounds and just underthrew it. It was a bad decision, got to throw it away a lot quicker.
Q: You come out for the start of the last drive, you'br got 80 some odd yards to go, Odell and Randle are not in the game, Cruz is not in uniform, you're looking in a huddle of all new guys, what was going through your mind?
A: Well just trying to make sure everybody knew what their assignments were and had some guys there that I knew they probably would play a lot of man, so we had some opportunities to hit Shane on some things, hit maybe the tight ends on some [things] and maybe get some outs. Yeah it felt good. We've been throwing the ball well, we'd been protecting well, probably had some opportunities to hit some big plays and we did.
Q: Eli, I think you've had 27 fourth quarter comebacks in your career in the regular season, is this about as satisfying from those that you can remember?
A: Well, there were a couple in the Super Bowl, obviously (laughs). This one was special just because we hadn't been as good in the two-minute drives as we once were and we should, come in there and had great confidence and we would ride down and win a lot of games that way. We had one early versus Atlanta, we didn't make the plays, had a couple games we had leads in the fourth quarter and we lost it and it was a big confidence for this offense, for this team that we can win that way. Hey, we can get the ball back, we can drive right down. I've got the confident we could do it but sometimes you need that reinforcement, you need to do it, you need to have that success and get that attitude, get that feeling. It's big for this team. It was a big win today. It was special.
Q: Eli, you've never had a player like Shane on your team before. How much has he helped you?
A: Yeah, Shane's great out of the backfield. Catching balls and moving around. They tried to have a linebacker on him a few times and couldn't stop him; they put a DB on him and he was still making some big plays. Outstanding job making some big time plays for us. We needed it.
Q: Given the circumstances with the receivers off the field, have you ever played a better regular season game than this?
A: I don't know. It felt like we were in a good rhythm all day, the ball was coming out quick, we were seeing things well and guys were making some plays for us, so it was fun. It was one of those days where you just felt good throwing it, things were happening well, we were seeing things, we were picking things up and Coach McAdoo called a great game --- it was aggressive, we were going after it, we were pushing the ball down the field, we were getting completions and the offensive line did a great job protecting, so I thought it was a great offensive effort and I thought we had great rhythm all game.
Q: It would have been an incredible waste, wouldn't it have been? Like a pitcher having his best stuff and not winning.
A: It would have, but hey, you've got to --- especially when you have those two-minute drives also. We had the opportunity and that is what they expect from me, what my teammates expect and coaches and fans and myself, and it is good that we could come out there and do our job in the end and finish the game strong and get the win.
Q: How much did Odell coming back on the field just help with the confidence and excitement?
A: Well, I don't know if he made a --- I mean I guess he was on there for two plays. Obviously we came back and went to him right away and got the penalty that moved us --- I guess it gave us 15 yards or so and then it is just helpful having that opportunity. It is no touchdown but it is still a huge play getting that penalty and getting us close to take some legitimate shots at the end zone.
Q: You had a player who had some trouble in the first half --- Dwayne Harris -- but he came back and contributed. What kind of confidence do you feel with him?
A: I feel confident with Dwayne. He is doing some good things, making some plays for us. He is getting more comfortable moving around different spots --- he made some nice catches so he is going to have to play well for us. We're just going to keep working him and keep getting him reps and opportunities to work in practice but I am excited about him and he made some great plays for us, had a lot of catches and I think he can do some good things when you get the ball in his hands. He can do some run after the catch and kind of use those punt return skills that he has.
Q: You also lost Justin Pugh on that last drive, is that something you notice as a quarterback?
A: I saw him coming out after the screen but John Jerry came in --- John has played well for us, knows what he is doing and we just went right about our business.
Q: From being in last place at 0-2, three weeks later you are alone in first place at 3-2; what kind of a turnaround has this been for this team?
A: I am proud of the way that we fought. I am proud of the way that we didn't get down, didn't get frustrated and we wanted to change it. We were committed to fixing it, we knew what we had to do --- we were playing well, we were doing good things, we were getting games in the fourth quarter, we had to play better in the fourth quarter. We had to play our best football at those times and these last three weeks we have been able to do that. We have been able to finish games and that is what you have to do in this league --- you have to be able to finish games and play your best football at the end.
Q: On a lighter note, in that last drive you tried to run out of bounds on the scramble, did you think you were going to get there?
A: Yeah, I thought, I thought wrong. I took a nice shot on that one. I was thinking of sliding and I thought maybe I could get out of bounds and I got stuck between a bad spot, luckily it was a defensive back and not a linebacker but a nice little shot to the chest, but hey, [I] popped up and got a completion the next play and went on our way.
Q: The range of emotions on the interception that came off the board on the overturn, how quickly did you know it bounced on the last drive?
A: As soon as I saw the replay --- obviously very fortunate there to get another opportunity.
Giants TE Larry Donnell
Larry Donnell: The whole week in practice we saw the two high look. We saw the down the field open. And we saw the look in the game. Then Eli put it up and I got it.
Q: You were holding that ball pretty tight on that play.
A: Once I had it, I had to hold that thing. You know, the game was on the line and I had to make a play.
Q: You had to go high and over the linebacker also, right?
A: Yeah, it was too high. Man to man. Eli put it up there and that's where I feel comfortable. And we won the game.
**Q: How did it feel to catch the game-winning touchdown? Just because of Daniel Fells and everything you guys have gone through?
A: Yeah, it definitely felt great for Daniel. But just in general, it was good to win the football game and get another victory.
Q: When Odell came back in, did you see them change up their coverage any to account for him, to free things up for you?
A: You'd have to, once he comes back on the field. But I'm glad it worked out in my favor and we got the win.
Q: Was there any doubting the way this game went?
A: No doubt. It's a football game. You have to play four quarters. Nobody said it would be easy. It's a 60-minute game. We fought and we won.
Q: At the start of that last drive you're missing Odell, you're missing Rueben at one point, obviously Cruz isn't there. Is there any point where you looked around and realized you're missing the top three receivers?
A: No, with the amount of time on the clock, I'm just thinking about my job, the ways I can help the team. They were not there but we have other good guys, great guys, great players. They came in and did a great job.
Q: You guys really controlled the first half…
A: It happens, it's part of the game. We fell behind but we bounced back and got the victory.
Q: Any other game winning touchdowns in your high school or college career?
A: I was the quarterback in high school, so I threw a few, never caught any. In college I switched over to tight end and caught a few.
Q: You guys dedicated this game to Daniel (Fells)?
A: Oh yeah, that's important. Definitely, and we won, so it just feels good.
Q: Given the way the season started, 0-2, and now you guys are atop the division, does that feel sweet right now?
A: Yeah, we've got to keep grinding. Feels good to win, it always does.
Coach Tom Coughlin**
Coach Tom Coughlin: We dedicated the game to Daniel Fells and his family, and thank God we were able to give him the game ball. That was some football game tonight and to have a guy from his (position) room go up there and make that catch at the end of the game was just incredible. But, you know, we had a little trouble stopping them tonight, no doubt. We played hard. We didn't get a whole lot done at times. Obviously the play before the half didn't help any—we drove the length of the field and then didn't come away with any points. But I would do that again—11 seconds on the clock—I would do it again. You know, you throw it in the end zone; you throw it away. But I'm happy for our guys. You know, we finish a game the way that we had to finish it in order to win and we spread the ball around. Obviously Shane [Vereen] had the big play down the middle of the field towards the end of the game there. We fought our way back from some penalties which could have been devastating, but it was a hard fought battle. We have to give credit to San Francisco for coming in here off of three losses and playing like this. We knew it would a dangerous, dangerous team with nothing to lose and everything to gain and they played like it. Their quarterback [Colin] Kaepernick did an outstanding job, I thought, tonight as well. Their running game hurt us—we had a lot of difficulty stopping the run. But in the long run, we amassed a lot of yards and put some points on the board, got a little better than what we're shooting for from a role standpoint. But to win, and to comeback and win like that, that's very exciting.
Q: Tom, what happened with Odell [Beckham Jr.]? He was out and then he was back in.
A: Yeah, he got a little, felt a little tug in the hamstring, so they held him out and then I guess they decided he could go at the end of the game.
Q: Did he or was he trying to lobby to get back on the field?
A: Oh, yeah.
**Q: When you're kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, do you think it is going to come back to haunt you?
A: No. Well, you do. But you know what, you gotta take the points. What are you gonna do? You're not going to come away empty-handed. I thought that was the one play that I did go by the book, it's fourth and two. Didn't expect them to run down the field and score a touchdown. But that was the play and I'd do that again, too. You come away with no points at all, what's to say they won't do the exact same thing. Now the point distribution is against you. So there isn't any question, you're always thinking 'why isn't this a touchdown' 'why didn't we score a touchdown'? We took the points when we did. Thank God we did it.
Q: Did you feel like you kept them in the game in the first half?
A: I don't know if I felt that way. They did a quite of bit of work on the road. They kicked a couple field goals. They had driven the ball down the field, too. I anticipated a hard fought game. Everyone wanted to talk about the three losses in a row. I wanted to talk about Green Bay. They held Green Bay to 17 points and they had the ball inside the 10 twice and they didn't score at all.
Q: Were you reluctant at all to put Odell [Beckham] back in?
A: Sure, I was. We were trying to win a game. He wanted to go. The medical people said let him go. I let him go. We'll see what he is like tomorrow.
Q: Did he injure that during his touchdown celebration?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: You were moving the ball without him but did him going back in the game have an effect that you could tell?
A: Well, I think they would've played it the way they played it. They got it back with two deep and weren't going to give us anything down the field, anything quick. When Shane caught that ball, the Red Sea parted.
Q: What does this win say to the resilience of your team?
A: We're tough-minded. They define themselves as a scrappy bunch, and they are that.
Q: When Eli got down the field in scoring range, your top two receivers weren't on the field.
A: The other guys made plays and I'm happy about that. I was glad to see that. I told them in the locker room that it took every guy in order to secure the win. People were playing and getting pushed into roles that they hadn't been in before. I think that's a real sign of a team.
Q: Did Eli signal for a timeout at the end there?
A: Yes he did. I wouldn't have called it there, but that having been said it all worked out.
Q: Eli had career highs in attempts and completions. What does that say to his game? Where do you rank this performance by him?
A: Comebacks are high, no doubt. About as high as you can rank it. To be down and be able to do that in a matter of time, as you said, a lot of guys on the field hadn't been there before. But it says a lot. It says a lot about a bunch of guys on the team hanging in there. Their rush at the end of the game was ferocious up the field. They didn't worry about anything else. That put a lot of strain on us with the play to Myles [White] down the field. We thought we got a catch right away, but who knows.
Q: Did the discussion about putting Odell in happen as the interception was being reviewed or before the drive?
A: No…people started to and I grabbed him to make sure. He wanted to go in and win. That's when they said he could go.
Q: You obviously needed a lot from Eli from this game, how much did you sort of need him to carry you because of the situation being down receivers and everything?
A: He is our guy. He is our guy. He understands that completely. His focus and his work ethic is second to none.
Q: Do you have to say anything to him or does he know it?
A: He knows it.
Q: How valuable is Shane Vereen?
A: He is amazing. In the short time he has been here, he has made a huge difference. He is a scrappy guy, too. I like him.
Q: What is the latest on Daniel Fells?
A: Fells has had two very good days in a row. We walked into his hospital room Saturday morning at about 7:30, Ed Triggs and I. He was sitting up, his wife was sitting up and they both had a smile on their face. He had really had his first night of sleep for the whole week that night. Then he put two together and his MRI came back without any issues. Thank God and hopefully he will just continue in that direction and have this cleared up so he can go home and see his kids.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.**
A: …the offense understands that it's that time and that you have to step up. We have to do our job. It was great to see the final production of it all, to watch these young guys – Myles [White] and Geremy [Davis] – get in and just keep doing everything that we've been doing…keep moving the ball. It was definitely a great win and I was a little overwhelmed at the end.
**Q: How did you talk your way back into the game after tweaking your hamstring?
A: You gotta go. There's nothing more to it. Like I said multiple times before, this is what I love, this is my passion, this is everything. There's no way in a moment like that that you can't step up. I felt as if I let the team down by being out for a while and you just gotta put it all together, man. God gave me the strength, it's just truly amazing. That's a whole other story, but really all the glory goes to Him.
Q: You've had hamstring injuries before. What does this one feel like right now?
A: You're never happy when you do something like this, but I'm happy it is what it is. It won't be long at all. I've just got to get in, do a little strengthening, rehab the next couple of days. I know we have some days to relax and rehab so I'll be on it pretty heavy starting tonight, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday leading up to next week.
Q: Is there a chance you tweaked it dancing?
A: Ha, no. It was probably five or six plays before the touchdown going down to that end. I just felt something, like a little bite. You know what it is when you've had something like that and you know the issues that it could cause. There's just something about being out here on the field with these guys and I'm just happy to be able to come back in the game and do something to help the team.
Q: You were emotional out there during the interview and coming into the locker room. What brought you to that point?
A: It's just one of those things. It seems like we're always counted out. Things don't always go our way. In the past we've made these mistakes. They say history is doomed to repeat itself and it was just great to see this team and the fans just light the stadium up. [The fans] lit the stadium up and they gave us the energy we needed to be able to go down there and score the winning touchdown.
Q: You were talking and talking with the training staff. At what point did you start to win that conversation to go back into the game?
A: It was on the last drive. Like I said, I love doing this. I love football. There's no way you can't be a part of moments like that. That's what you play for. 27-23, you're down and have to go score the game winning drive. To watch that ball go up and see Larry [Donnell] go up and just know that he's going to catch it and literally watch the ball all the way down into his hands and just see him holding onto it. Just like this… It was great to just be able to just get the win.
Q: That was the back of the football too…
A: It was everything. It didn't matter. He grabbed it, he scored, and we won. It was a great feeling.
Q: You also know how long a hamstring [injury] can keep you out. Were you worried at all?
A: I'm not worried. I'm very happy that we won. That's the main thing, that the Giants won. There's no other issues with anything else but that.
Q: I mean, were you thinking about that when you were lobbying to go back into the game?
A: It is something that when you've had that injury and you know what it feels like, you're going to be smart about it and do the best that you can with it. Like I said, it was great for us to be able to pull off the win.
RB Shane Vereen**
Q: Can you explain the confidence in that last drive knowing that you guys got close and had to settle for the field goal?
A: You know, the good thing about this team is that when we were in the huddle, we have a great quarterback, a great leader in Eli. He was calm, he was collected. He let us know what we needed to do, what we needed to get to. You can follow easily behind a leader like that.
**Q: He did a lot of that without Odell Beckham not the field, or Rueben Randle on the field. What does that say about your quarterback?
A: It says that, you know, we've got a better quarterback than a lot of people think but we love him, we trust him, we follow him, he's our leader. We shouldn't expect anything less.
Q: What's it say when you started that last drive without Odell, without Rueben…what's it say about this team in that circumstance?
A: We've got a lot of fight. We've got a lot of guys that are willing to put in the effort, put in the time, put their bodies on the line for this team and it's great to see that. It really is. It's comforting and you can build off that.
Q: You said a couple of weeks ago that you guys really needed to learn how to win. Does a game like this really help that?
A: Absolutely. Absolutely. A game like this, I think, is huge. Momentum wise, however, you know, it's only Week 5. We've still have eleven games to go. We've got a long way to go. We've got to get a lot better on offense. Good thing we got this win. Let's move forward to next week.
Q: Did you know that ball was going to be coming your way quite a bit on that last drive?
A: Kind of. Not really. It depended on the defense that they were playing, whether or not I expected it. I figured if I was going to be in sync with them, I had a better chance of getting the ball through more of a zone look. I was just trying to move the chains.