So much for all that wondering about whether or not Justin Tuck can step up and be a vocal leader for the New York Giants. Maybe he had not really embraced that responsibility before Sunday, but he certainly has now.
Several Giants players referenced the team's veteran leadership during a halftime that saw the Giants trailing, 17-6. Others, like Barry Cofield, were more direct.
"I give Justin Tuck a lot of credit, he gave a halftime speech for the ages. I was teary-eyed running back on the field. I was just ready to get back out there," Cofield said. "I can't repeat it, but a lot of it was about we have to protect our house. You don't let a team come in here and run the ball like that."
Brandon Jacobs said the Giants offense heard Tuck, too.
"We just looked in each other's eyes. The guys know what it is. The guys know we need this win. The guys know they're capable of coming out and playing as good as anybody in the National Football League. That's what happened. The light switch came on," Jacobs said. "Tuck gave a nice little speech to the defense and the offense heard it. It got everybody pumped up and ready to play football. We all came out there. The defense was making plays and the offense came out there and moved people off the ball and we did our best to get in the hole."
Here is Tuck talking about what went on at halftime.
"I just talked about how you allow somebody to come into your house and take over. At that point, they were doing whatever they wanted to do on offense. We just talked about doing our thing. Regardless of what they called, regardless of what defense we were on, we couldn't allow ourselves to be not on the same page, communication breakdowns, you know guys doing their own things, and I just challenged each of them. I told them that I was playing like crap, I told them that we were playing like crap and that in the second half we need to pick it up. Just try to create a spark and it worked."
Here is a little more from Tuck.
"Our defense, the one thing you don't want to have your quarterback tell you is that they're tougher; they are being more physical than you. So, we just challenged each other. The second half, we picked our energy up. We played with passion and we were able to get the stops."
As Giants fans, we should all know by now this team will never make it easy, they will never be pretty. But, resilience and leadership can go a long way. I think we know now that the Giants have both of those things.
-- Tom Coughlin transcript
-- Brandon Jacobs transcript
-- Eli Manning transcript
-- Other player quotes