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QB Eli Manning on win over Dallas


Q: Your thoughts on Cruz's salsa dance?A: I love it. I love it.  If that means he's scoring touchdowns, then that's a good thing for the Giants.  I don't mind touchdown dances and he does it at the right times – on big plays and so hopefully we get a few more in the playoffs.

Q: Tell me what you saw on that 44-yard pass to him on 3rd down.A: It was just a third down.  We hadn't been real good on third downs in the third and fourth quarters so it was a big play of the game right there.  I was really thinking of going to Manningham on the right sideline, but got some pressure upfront and couldn't make the throw so I wheeled around and saw him down the middle of the field and knew the safety wouldn't be a problem.  I underthrew it a little bit; I wish I would've gotten more out there, but the corner, with the back to me there's a good chance you're going to get pass interference or reason to come down with the catch.  I didn't think it was a risky throw to be intercepted, and Victor does a great job of going up there and being strong and making the play.  So it was a huge play at that point in the game.

Q: Without one to single out, where would you be without Victor's emergence?A: You know, it's tough to say.  He has come up big and filling that role, whether playing the outside receiver really in that spot position.  Last year, when we lost Steve Smith to injury, we really struggled not having to work the middle of the field who has a feel for his surroundings – when to stop; and we've put a lot on him but he has done a great job doing that all season.  He had another big one across the middle – big play – late in the fourth quarter, to get us down in field goal range, so he has been a great emergence and a surprise guy.  You know, I didn't know a whole lot about him, didn't get to play at all last year, so I'm really happy for him and the way he's worked and has kept a level head and come in and made plays for us.

Q: A lot of players can run and jump – what distinguishes him?A: I think for Victor it's just that he has a football sense – understanding when he's open, when to sit in windows, when to break into the next window; we give him a lot of leeway on getting open and he's earned the right to have those options to what he can do because he senses what the coverage is, where the defenders are, and he just does a great job at getting open.

Q: Eli, what do you know about the team that you didn't know three weeks ago?

A: I knew we were going to fight and keep playing until the very end.  We've been pretty good about handling ups and downs and it was going to come down to the finish.  Something Coach Coughlin has stressed all year and has kind of been one of our mottos or one of the things that he's talked about throughout the year is finishing the fourth quarter – finishing games and ending games and taking advantage of finishing the season strong.  We got off to another strong start of the season, kind of late half we didn't play as well as we needed to.  We had some tough games, but we needed to win two games to make it into the playoffs – beat the Jets, beat the Cowboys.  We were able to do that and play big in the fourth quarter of both of those games to seal the win.

Q: How is it going into the playoffs and winning the division after the ups and downs?A: We have been through a lot, definitely some ups and downs, but to keep our poise, to keep our confidence, the guys that stick together, not to turn on each other or have doubts, our coaches being confident in us, and we came together and knew what we had to do to win the NFC East and we got it accomplished.

Q: How does the way the team has come together late compare to 2007?A: I think we're just going to try not to compare right now.  We have a lot of guys on this team who weren't here in '07 and don't know so this is a whole new year and a whole new situation and we have to enjoy this, enjoy this victory tonight, but come tomorrow, we'll look at some things and start to make some corrections, but we'll get ready for Atlanta and start preparing for them and see if we can make a run through the playoffs.

Q: How good do you feel about your chances?A: I feel like we're doing some good things.  I feel like our defense is playing outstanding, I feel like our offense, we've got guys back healthy – our two running backs are running well, three receivers, Travis Beckum getting in the mix, hopefully get Jake Ballard back, but I feel like guys have a good feel for what's going on.  The offensive line is playing well, so we're playing smart football, we're not making many mistakes, and we're going to put ourselves in situations and we have the big play potential with our players.  We're capable of making the big plays and trying to be consistent all the way through and we're doing a better job of doing that.

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