Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Coach Tom Coughlin: That was a very good offense, defense and special teams win. The contributions from all three were superior. To get the kickoff return at that point and time was really exciting and, of course, Dwayne's been waiting for that for the previous six games as well and he reminded me of that. We played hard, we knew we had to stop the run, we take everything we had that they would commit and do that. They mixed it up enough, obviously, to throw the ball down the field with the three picks, probably should have had five, to be honest with you. We dropped a couple that could've helped as well. We did not have any turnovers on the offensive side of the ball, we did rush the ball well ourselves, we didn't have the production in the last game that we've been having. We hit the long ball to Rueben down the sideline, almost hit the post ball, which was great, Odell chipped in with some key first downs there and Darkwa ran the ball for us tonight and he certainly did look good out there. His touchdown run when he cut back behind the slanting defensive line was really quite an outstanding play. We played hard, we wanted it bad, we talked about it all week, we knew what it was going to be like to play this team twice in the first half of the season, the team that tonight they were going into the game 2-0 in the division, we were 1-2 and now we're 2-2, so it balances this thing back up a little bit for us.
** Q: Can you talk about why Darkwa got carries tonight?
A: Yeah, we planned on it. We planned on having an opportunity with him as well and he did come through for us.
Q: First couple of games when you lost, you were not making the plays in the fourth quarter when you needed to. You made a lot of plays this time in the fourth quarter, was it good to see that?
A: Defensively, yeah, it was great to see it happen. Particularly the interception at the one-yard line in which we took it all the way down; we should've scored a touchdown, but at least we came away with points.
Q: When DRC is getting his interception do you try to get him to run faster instead of celebrating?
A: I try to get him not to hold the ball up in the air when the guy, 83, is running right behind him. I just mentioned it to him in there and he agreed.
Q: What does this say about your team?
A: They're fighters, they're scrappy. They're scrappy. We're gritty and scrappy, that's what we describe ourselves as, and they are. They battle and they fight and can't say enough about that aspect.
Q: What about the win in the context of bouncing back after what you said was a poor game in Philadelphia?
A: Well, from our offense. I didn't think special teams or defense necessarilym but the penalties killed us and there were three penalties tonight on that one drive that they scored on. You just get Helter Skelter, whatever and two pass interference, whatever they called it, those two calls and then that one down in the end zone. The running back is going full speed, I don't see how that gets called.
Q: Was Damontre Moore being inactive a direct result of…
A: That's between me and him.
Q: You said that you were confident that the game in Philly was going to define this team's season, what inspired that?
A: Well, I just think that I hadn't—I was disappointed in the game, I thought we played a little bit out of character, something I hadn't seen before. I knew we could get back on track and I felt we could and I thought that once the offensive team looked at the tape, they would agree and they did. They came out and fought, it wasn't pretty and I mean this is an outstanding defensive front, tonight they made their plays. Eli did a couple really good things that will never show up in the stats, I mean he didn't try to force anything when he didn't have any place to go with the ball, went down with it and I thought that was—he's learned from the areas of a week ago and that was good.
Q: Your team this week said they felt like they owed Dallas and they said they absolutely had to beat them. What do you think winning this game can do?
A: Well, it keeps us relevant. It keeps us in the hunt. We've split with Dallas now. We've lost to Philly, we've beaten Washington, so in the division, that's the most direct route to where we want to go.
Q: Emotionally though?
A: Well, it's a happy group tonight. The exhilaration of victory, especially when most people tell you you can't, that's a great thing.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Eli, what was the difference as far as your offense is concerned? Today you guys were a lot more efficient than you were against the Eagles?
A: Well, we didn't turn the ball over. I think that's the most important thing; protected the football. You know, offensively, I thought we ran the ball well, started off getting positive yardage, built a couple big ones at the end. Orleans [Darkwa] came in and had a couple great runs for us. I thought he hit a couple big plays down the field. Hit one to Rueben [Randle] down the right sideline, we're backed up on our own five-yard line or so. Hit Dwayne [Harris] on one right before the two minute. Had a couple of other opportunities. So, we hit some big plays—we've still got to be a bit more efficient offensively, didn't score enough points. We gotta do better down in the red zone, getting touchdowns in those scenarios. Third down—I don't think we were very good. We had made plenty to do and had fifty plays [...]. In the second half didn't have the ball very much at all, but some of that's when you have kickoff returns and you have turnovers and you have interceptions and touchdowns, sometimes you don't get the ball that often, but we'll take those points any day of the week.
** Q: Eli, talk about what [Orleans] Darkwa added to your offense and particularly about his running
style that helped your offense today. **
A: Well, Orleans just seemed, you know he broke some tackles, I thought, he's a downhill kind of one cut runner and he ran well in preseason for us. Last year when he had to play for us he ran well, so it was good to get him in the action and make some plays and had some great runs and that was a big drive for us going down there getting the touchdown.
Q: Eli, can you talk about [Dwayne] Harris' play—both on offense and then on special teams?
A: Yeah, obviously Dwayne had a nice little slant route before the two minute, in the two minute drive that got us down into field goal position for about a 40-yard gain or so. So that was a great play. Then obviously the special teams kickoff return for a touchdown—that was huge. Dallas comes and ties the game up and then has a little momentum going and then he takes it, I don't know what it was, ninety-nine yards, for a touchdown and ends up being the game winning score right there, so huge play in the game and so he's doing a good job. I think obviously we brought him here to be a special teams guy and he's had to play a bit more receiver than he anticipated, but he's getting better each and every week and making some big plays in the receiving game and he's got some ways of getting the ball. He is a playmaker once he has the ball in his hands.
Q: How do you like Larry Donnell? When you first started the game, you got to him the first 3 or 4 passes, was that a strategic move or just to help him out…?
A: Just depends on what the defense is doing. We may try to put guys in certain positions and give them the ball, but for me, I make out the coverages and you never know where it is going to go. He made a couple nice plays for us and some conversions. He is a weapon for us and had a good game.
** Q: What did you get out of your defense and special teams today?
A: Definitely, the defense played outstanding. They got a lot of turnovers. Today they got three turnovers, which is big. We had a special teams turnover and a special teams touchdown. With those situations, we've got to pull our weight a little bit more and score some more points. We had a good game plan. We started with the football and didn't turn it over and made some plays when needed.
Q: Your offensive line pretty much held up against the likes of Greg Hardy …
A: Yeah, the offensive line did a good job. Had a good front and did a good job giving pressure and ran the ball. Coach Coughlin challenged us earlier in the week for the offensive line to run the ball better and I thought we did that. They had some nice runs. That was good to see.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Rueben Randle?
A: Rueben did a good job. He had a great catch on the right sideline. We were backed up on our third down, we were on our own five-yard line so it was a big third down conversion, and a change in the field position right there. Then the next play, handed the ball to Shane [Vereen] and he goes about 40 yards also. Two big plays right there. Rueben had a couple of other nice third down conversions, had a slant for a big play and earlier on the inside and got a pass interference on the third down. I thought Rueben played well, made some big plays for us and will have to continue to do that.
Q: …Dwayne Harris for you and taking him off their roster, how much has that worked?
A: Well, tonight's the night when that works obviously. You know what, he's played well from the receiver standpoint. Look at the guy that came shooting out of there on the drive that ended up with the touchdown, it was Harris. He's made strong contributions offensively and, of course, punt return, kickoff return, we haven't had much before tonight, and tonight's kickoff return was outstanding.
Q: How much more confidence do you have in your special teams?
A: Probably a lot more because there are more outstanding players that are here knowing for a while they're going to contribute to special teams.
Q: When you guys got the ball back, you were just adamant you were going to make them use their timeouts and run, run, run…
A: It's a situation where I preach a lot about that. You do have to, as I've said before, if you're gonna keep it, most likely you do have to throw the ball. It was third and five tonight, we thought we had a real good run on… it's the run that busted out of there down in Dallas for 20 yards there at the end of the game and it just didn't happen for us. Protection on the punt was outstanding, the punt was great, there was some wind involved in that punt as well, which was a nice thing to see. How about Myles [White] coming up with that ball?
Q: You run three times there, you were essentially handing it off to your defense?
A: They're on their own 30 with no timeouts. That would have been 70 yards to go. No guarantees, but better than making a mistake with the ball.
Wide Receiver Dwayne Harris**
Q: Coach Coughlin said you'd been telling him this kind of return was coming.
A: Oh yeah, we've been overdue for a long time, always one block away, one man away. Tonight it was blocked perfectly, anybody could have run through the hole that was made. It was a good return by everybody, and it was good blocking upfront. It was just blocked perfectly.
** Q: To do it against them, what does that mean?
A: It felt great, especially my first kickoff return in the NFL. It felt great to do it against my old teammates.
Q: When you consider the significance, they had just tied the game, to get the momentum back. How big was that?
A: That was big, especially when they just had went down and scored. So to come back with the momentum change like that, big return, it felt great, especially how it came.
Q: Is that call any particular play or just a return?
A: Just a middle return. It wasn't really any particular play. We've worked on it time and time again. We had run a couple outside returns and we just thought we'd just get good field position and go up the middle.
Q: What can you say about the job your guys did creating all that space for you on that return?
A: Great job. Always give the praise to those guys upfront because they do a great job blocking for me. Every time I'm back there, they always tell me we're going to get one.
Q: Did you expect to be going back to Dallas? How did it work that you ended up here, just a money thing?
A: The Giants told me they'd give a chance to play receiver and they kept their word. That was the main reason I came here. Cowboys didn't really want me to be nothing but a blocking receiver, so I came here. I wasn't getting really a lot of opportunities in the offense there. Jerry (Reese) and Coach Coughlin said they were going to let me get some receiver reps so that was my main reason to come here.
Q: Did you run a middle return as opposed to one on the outside? Is that a return where you're trying to get more field position than break one?
A: A middle return is just a middle return. We're blocking to kick the guys outside. It's just a return like any other return, we're trying to get good field position on a return.
Q: The play over the middle when Rolando McClain was covering you. Were you the primary receiver on that?
A: It was a slant route, I'm the first read on that, then he was going outside. Eli made a great throw, throwing it right behind Rolando McClain's head. Just after that, it was a lot of open field. I just had to run.
Q: On the kickoff return, is there a point after the 20-yard line when you know, "I'm going all the way."
A: When you get past the kicker. Once you get past the kicker, shouldn't be anyone else who touches you. That should be an automatic six points.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Q: What was the book on Matt Cassel going into this game?
A: He hasn't played a lot of games, so the main thing coach wanted to do was get out and pressure him and just see as much as you can.
** Q: You almost had an interception earlier, was it a similar play when you got the pick-six?
A: Yes, sir. It was an out-breaking route and I knew they were coming there because it was open a little bit. I said to myself, "If they do it, just take a chance and go."
Q: On the second one, did you bait him a little bit?
A: Yes sir, yes sir. I know their route combinations a little bit and once I saw Witten go in, I knew the one behind me was coming in. So I just took off and I knew I had Landon over the top so I just played the defense that was called.
Q: You were trying to score on that one, too, weren't you?
A: Yes sir, it's been a while, so I was trying to get in the end zone.
** Q: When the ball is in the air, did you know you had it and that's where he was going with it?
A: Yes, sir. Which one?
Q: The touchdown.
A: Oh yeah. Once I saw the release of it, it was outside and I had outside leverage. I didn't know if it was going for six, but I knew I was going to have a chance to get it.
Q: On the first one you almost had, what happened to your hand on that play?
A: Coming in with a bruise, the bone right here. So it kind of hit it and it kind of got away from me.
Q: Didn't feel it on the other two, though, did you?
A: No, sir, I put a cast on it.
Q: What'd the coach say to you when you ran back the first one?
A: I can't be holding the ball like that and don't celebrate, get in the end zone first. He gave it to me a little bit.
Q: You guys felt like you owed the Cowboys from Week One. To win this one means what?
A: It means a lot. The first time we played, we go out and we should have won. You have a chance at the end and it's the same thing, but they made a mistake and we were there to recover and finish the game. It's definitely a game it took all three phases from the offense, defense, and special teams.
Q: Did you come in here with Cassel at quarterback intent on changing the game and then you end up with two interceptions, including the pick-six?
A: We were definitely trying to make him throw the ball because he hadn't played quarterback in a while. We knew they were going to establish a run, so we were trying to stop the run, stack the box, and have him beat us with his arm.
Q: For those of us who will never do it, what is it like to intercept a ball and high step 40 yards with a hand in the air and ball in the air?
A: It's always a good feeling. It's just the emotions get the best of you. You can't do it all the time. You definitely know Coach is going to be right there waiting to get you, so I have to think twice about that.
RB Orleans Darkwa
Q: Is there anything you thought you could do better?
A: Always. I'm going to check the film out tonight, tomorrow as well, and see what I can do better. Obviously, it's not a perfect game on my end. There's meat on the bone, so just gotta make sure I can make the best of it.
** Q: Can you talk about the kickoff return with Dwayne. At that point, the feeling after them tying the
game. What are you guys thinking? Are you saying anything to each other? **
A: We practiced it during this week. We felt confident. With Dwayne back there, he's a playmaker. He's got a good chance of taking it to the house. As soon as coach Quinn called that, we started smiling from ear to ear because we felt confident about that return.
Q: So it's a different scheme that you guys had been working on?
A: We've worked on it pretty much all year. We never ran it much but we finally called it this week. We made the best of it.
Q: What did it call for?
A: A middle return. I'm not going to give you all the schemes but it was a middle return. But as long as you can block for Dwayne, he's going to take it to the house.