Mario Manningham was excited to showcase the Giants receiving corps during the Wild Card Weekend not only because it was their first playoff game together, but because they were finally all healthy again at the same time.
Manningham failed to record a catch in the regular season finale against Dallas and missed the week before with a knee injury against the Jets. But the fourth-year receiver made his name heard once again, hauling in four passes for 68 yards against the Falcons, including a 27-yard touchdown from with 10:04 to go in the game.
Manningham said he may have benefited from all the attention Victor Cruz has been getting. However, he insisted that when all three of them – him, Hakeem Nicks, and Cruz – are out there, they're a hard triumvirate to stop.
He will now turn his sights on Green Bay for the first time this season as he missed the first meeting with the Packers with a similar knee injury.
"We won, let's keep going," Manningham said. "Let's enjoy this one and keep going. This is our first playoff as a receiving corps. So let's keep going."
While Nicks stole the show with two touchdowns, one of which went for 72 yards, Manningham had his own crowd pleaser aside from the touchdown. On third-and-six at the Giants 48, Manning hit him on the sideline for 13 yards as the receiver fell out of bounds, keeping his feet just inside the sideline.
"How about Mario," Coughlin said. "Mario had a big day and he played well. He really worked the sideline and he caught that really nice over the top pass from Eli. I thought he played well today as well."
Tight end Jake Ballard, nursing his own knee injury, also returned for the first time since Week 15 against Washington. He caught two passes for 16 yards.
"I felt alright," Ballard said after the game. "Not 100 percent, but better than I did last week or anything. So it was just kind of a confidence booster."
Fully healthy or not, Manning appreciated everyone back on the field.
"It is great when you have all of your weapons in place," he said. "That is when we are at our best, when we have Hakeem and Victor and Mario and Jake Ballard kind of as our main four receivers and then with Ahmad (Bradshaw) and Brandon (Jacobs) back in the backfield. Those guys are tough, they have great desire, and are playing great football. Hopefully we can keep those guys in the mix. Our offensive line has been playing well so that is what we need to do next week."
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