While a cynic would say it was Eli Manning’s uneven play that got the Giants into their late-game bind in the first place, it still should be noted that when Big Blue needed him the most, he came through — as he’s done so many times before.
“Does he ever cease to amaze me? No, I guess,” head coach Tom Coughlin said of his quarterback. “That one interception put a lump in my throat but then he came right back and made the play at the end with Victor. … He just keeps hanging in there and banging away. When his back is up against the wall is when he does his best work.”
Manning helped his team avert a near-collapse to the burgeoning Redskins when he connected with wideout Victor Cruz for a game-winning 77-yard touchdown with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game. The play capped a two-play, 19-second drive and countered what was almost rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s shining moment when he led the Redskins on an improbable scoring drive himself, with 1:38 remaining in the game.
“With our offense and with Eli at the helm, we’re never really too worried,” Cruz said. “We know that no matter what situation we’re in, no matter how many points we need ... we have the confidence that we can do it. We can get ourselves in the right position for a touchdown. We just have a lot of confidence in each other and in Eli and I think it shows on the field.”
As always, Manning wanted no part in puffing out his chest following another dramatic comeback.
“I made a lot of mistakes today, and obviously that’s something I have to fix and make sure I’m not putting us in bad situations,” Manning said, noting the interception he threw in the flat to linebacker Rob Jackson midway in the fourth quarter. “I hate turning the ball over in the fourth quarter with the interception and missing Hakeem on the right sideline.”
Nicks, on the other hand, was more than happy to speak about his star quarterback.
“I never doubt us. Never doubt our talent. And never doubt him [Manning],” Nicks said when asked his thoughts immediately after Griffin hooked up with Moss for the go-ahead touchdown. “We’ve got playmakers all over the field. … Somebody is bound to make a play. That’s what we believe as an offense and it’s because of Eli.”
Big Blue notes
»Not everything went well for the Giants, as their run defense was gashed by a pair of rookie rushers. Tailback Alfred Morris had 120 yards on the ground, while Griffin added 89.
» Big Blue’s pass rush had better success, however, as they got to Griffin three times — one apiece by their “Big 3” of pass rushers — Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. Pierre-Paul’s sack caused Griffin to fumble.
»The Giants forced three fumbles and a different players recovered all three (linebacker Michael Boley, cornerback Jayron Hosley and defensive tackle Linval Joseph).