David Wilson's phone was buzzing for hours last night.
"I still haven't gotten to all the text messages," he said today. "I got the same amount of texts and calls I did on draft day. A lot of people were happy for me and I appreciate their support. I got about 120 texts and voice messages; I heard from people I forgot that I even have their number. And a couple of unknown numbers. But most of them said something in the text to let me know who they were."
Everybody knows who Wilson is now. He rewrote portions of both the Giants and the NFL record book with his electrifying performance yesterday in a 52-27 rout of the New Orleans Saints.
Wilson set a franchise record with 327 all-purpose yards. He returned four kickoffs for 227 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown, and rushed for 100 yards and two scores, the second a 52-yarder. He became the first player in NFL history with at least 200 kickoff return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game.
The NFL today added another gold star to Wilson's performance when it announced that he became the fourth player in league history with two rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game. The others were Washington's Andy Farkas in 1939, Philadelphia's Steve Van Buren in 1945 and Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew in 2006.
"It was a lot of fun yesterday out there," Wilson said. "Everything was going right and we won the game, a game we definitely needed to win. Everyone was fired up and ready to go. Everybody says we play better with our backs against the wall, and up to this point, I definitely agree."
The stat Wilson seemed most impressed with was his 56.8-yards kickoff return average, the highest total ever by a Giant with at least three returns in a game. The previous record of 51.8 yards was set by Joe Scott on four returns vs. the Rams on Nov. 14, 1948. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in that game Scott was the last Giant before Wilson to have a kickoff return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the same game.
"I was just out there playing the game," Wilson said. "I knew I was having a good game and making big plays. Then I started hearing about all these records. I was definitely unaware of that. I heard I broke a record from 1948 – I know the Super Bowl wasn't even being played then. I doubt they had facemasks. For a record to be that old and be one of the guys to come along and pick it up, that's amazing."
Wilson has been the Giants' primary kickoff returner all season. But he had only 28 rushing attempts in the first 11 games. Against New Orleans, he had 13 and averaged 7.7 yards a carry. His 52-yard touchdown was the Giants' longest run from scrimmage this season.
"He's been growing and building toward this opportunity," coach Tom Coughlin said. "If you watched last night and looked real close, he did a nice job picking up a weak side safety blitz. So he did prove again that he understood the particular protection we were in and how he was to react with his responsibility and did it well and so he's gained some valuable experience in the time that he has played and, of course, he gained valuable experience last night as well.
"The timing is great for David to come to the front and he'll hopefully provide us with that spark we need right now to go along with the rest of our players to give us an added playmaker that people are going to have to flat-out defend."
*The Giants are 8-5 and remain one game ahead of Dallas and Washington in the NFC East race. They play their next two games at Atlanta and Baltimore, which are a combined 11-1 at home and 20-6 overall. But if the Giants win their three remaining games, nobody can catch them.
"It's a much better feeling to know that if we take care of all the business we don't have to look over our shoulders or worry," defensive tackle Chris Canty said. "We'll be where we wanted to be when we started this season, where we set out to be. So we just have to take it one game at a time understanding that we have a three-game season left and the only game that we can do something about it is this coming Sunday in Atlanta."
*Although it was not as spectacular as the kickoff return game, Coughlin was pleased with Domenik Hixon's two punt returns for 19 yards.
"We had a 9.5 yard average on our punt returns with Domenik Hixon and that was a plus and that helped," Coughlin said.
So will Hixon keep that job down the stretch?
"We have to have more than one person ready for that job, but we did like what Domenik did last night," Coughlin said. "He's been in that role before. He's played very well for us in that role. He gave us a 9.5 average last night, so I'm inclined to think that we would continue, but you have to have more than one person ready."
Rookie Rueben Randle has been the punt returner for most of the season. He averaged 7.2 yards on 15 returns.
*Coughlin said running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who sat out part of the game yesterday with a sore knee, was getting "all the tests" to determine the extent of the injury.
"He's being examined even as we speak and we'll know more about that when these medical examinations are completed," Coughlin said. "Anytime you are talking about a knee and you are going through a series of tests, you're better off to wait and see what the results are. I wouldn't speculate on anything right now."
Hakeem Nicks, who has battled a knee injury for most of the season, caught four passes for 67 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown. So Coughlin was asked if Nicks is feeling "all right."
"I don't know what 'all right' means," Coughlin said. "He's sore. He's still… the issues with the knee and so on and so forth. So he's going to continue in the same capacity that he's been in. I wish that he would have an opportunity to play no longer having any issues, but that's not going to be the case this year. So I think he's continuously monitored throughout the course of the season pretty much on a weekly basis. So there's nothing unusual about that and hopefully… I thought he had some plays in the game last night that showed real quickness very similar to what we're used to. Now it's not there all the time and so he does have these issues that are going to be with him throughout the course of the year."
*Victor Cruz had his shoulder examined after the game. "I think he'll be fine," Coughlin said.
*Cornerback Prince Amukamara strained his hamstring. "We're going to have to see where he's at," Coughlin said. "He's been treated and he will continue to be treated and we'll just have to see the severity of it as we go along this week."
*The starting time for the Giants' game in Baltimore on December 23 has been moved to 4:25 p.m. under the NFL's flex scheduling.
The Giants-Ravens game has been scheduled to start at 1 p.m. But the NFL today changed the kickoff times of three games to be played that Sunday.
The Jets-Chargers game in MetLife Stadium, which was to have been the prime time game on NBC, was moved to a 1 p.m. (eastern) start. The San Francisco 49ers game at Seattle, which was to have been a late-afternoon contest, will now be the night game, with an 8:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Giants, who defeated New Orleans yesterday, 52-27, will return to action Sunday in Atlanta at 1 p.m.