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Eli Manning, 10.22.12

Q: Talk about the passion Ahmad was showing yesterday.
A: Ahmad plays hard and he loves the game of football. He has great confidence in himself. He wants to win everyday and obviously he feels, in certain situations in third down, that he can go get the first down and he was fired up and he gets our team fired up. So you appreciate his passion and his dedication to give it all every game.

Q: Can that be negative for the harmony of the team?
A: There's certain situations where players get fired up and we had an opportunity to end the game and get a first down and I gave the ball back to Washington. Offensively, we didn't do our job that second to last possession when I missed Hakeem on the sideline and didn't get a first down. We were disappointed and I felt we didn't do our job there, so obviously we were able to keep our cool and come back and make the plays that we needed to win.

Q: Are you happy he didn't smack you on the helmet like he did to Victor?
A: Yeah, but Ahmad gives it all and he does a great job in running hard and I think he thought he had a shot to break even a bigger run on that play, so he's trying to make sure those guys know that he tries to do everything to protect and give them opportunities to make plays. He wants the same in return.

Q: Did you talk to him at any point on the sideline?
A: No. I didn't say anything.

Q: On the winning touchdown, was it an adjustment where Victor noticed the safety was flat footed and you had to read that as well?
A: Yeah. He has some options that he can run on that route, but based on that coverage, that was a very obvious... with that safety low and outside that he was going to run through and just run a seam and he read it correctly and we've done that a few times in the past, so it wasn't something that we were unprepared for or that doesn't happen very often. He does a good job of making that read and he read it perfectly and hit the big play.

Q: Does that happen during the play?
A: It happened during the play. As he's running up, he sees that safety really low and outside of him, he's going to run through.

Q: When you let the ball go, you weren't at the point where you had seen his decision to continue the route?
A: No, I knew he was going to run through. We've been running that play a long time, we've had great success on it, so I knew he was going to run through. It's one of those things where you have to hold it an extra second sometimes just to make sure he's doing exactly what you think, but he didn't give any indication he was doing something else. It was full speed the whole way and I let it go and took a hit and heard the crowd cheering, so I figured that was a good sign.

Q: You didn't see the catch or the run?
A: I saw it last night with him making the catch on highlights. It was a great job by him catching it. I threw a good ball and was able to keep him in stride, which is important that it made sure that he was going to be able to score and not have to slow down. Obviously, you take a 40-yard gain or whatever it's going to be, but a touchdown is a big play at that moment.

Q: How much tougher is this division than you even thought it was going to be?
A: It's always going to be tough and there are great teams and guys that you go against a bunch and so there's not a whole lot of fooling the other team. It's about execution and about everybody making the right plays and knowing it's going to be tough sometimes and they have good players, but we're just going to have to make more plays than the opposing team and we were able to do that yesterday.

Q: How significant is this opportunity to go to Dallas and separate yourselves in the division?
A: Obviously, yesterday was a big win. We needed a win in the division. It was important and obviously we have another opportunity and Dallas is playing good football and they have played tight games. Their defense is always good. Their offense always has the ability to score a lot of points, so we have to play better offensively. We've got to do some things and we're close. We're making a lot of good plays and there really are a lot of big plays and outstanding individual efforts, but we've got to be a little bit more sound. We've got to make some plays that we are missing by a little bit and just avoid some of the mistakes.

Q: Is there something about you seizing the moment in a big situation in the fourth quarter or do you just take it all in stride?
A: I was disappointed... I missed the one to Hakeem on the sideline. That was our opportunity. That was our opportunity right there that we could have won the game. We could have finished it. We could have kept the ball in our hands and not given the ball back to Washington because they were moving the ball well. Their defense did a great job of getting some turnovers, but they were moving the ball well. We didn't want to give them a shot, so we thought we missed an opportunity there. Thankfully, we got another opportunity with enough time on the clock to go win the game and we stepped up in that situation and it made up for the missed opportunity.

Q: It seemed like you and Victor weren't on the same page for most of the game. Is that something you talked through the course of the game?
A: I just missed him. I missed him down in the red zone on one. It was just a bad throw. I tried to look at it to see if my feet weren't set. I think I just threw a bad pass and you hate to throw a bad pass in that situation when you've got a touchdown. That's on me, but besides that, he played well. He did some really good things and there were a couple of plays that I left out on the field that I didn't make that I need to make.

Q: Is that something you expect from every wide receiver to make that read that Victor made?
A: That's something you expect. That's why you practice. That's a part of the route. It's not an adjustment. It's not him doing his thing. That's the route and that's what the route called for and so you expect those guys to do those things and he does it correctly most times.

Q: Victor was saying that he could go for the first down or go long. If he was going for the first down, is it a hitch route?
A: I can't reveal all our secrets for that, but it's neither of those two. I'll say that.

Q: Is there a reason why with under two minutes to go that you always seem to find the magic?
A: It's something we practice a lot and we practice the two-minute and you get excited for those moments that , ‘Hey, we've got an opportunity to go win a game right here.' You hope that people rise to that occasion, they rise to that challenge and we do. We're not a team that gets nervous or we're going to get scared to be in that moment. It feels like when we are behind or we are down, we seem to excel, which is a great quality and I think we've got to take that same quality when we're ahead. You have a lead, you've got to protect it and we've got to keep that same mentality that let's attack, let's go, let's win the game right here.

Q: The first interception, was the target Cruz or Bennett?
A: It was Martellus. They kind of fooled me on the coverage. I thought it was going to be two-man and the corner came off and I think Martellus saw it and so he slowed down to try to stop in the little hole right there and I didn't see the corner come off and he made a good play.

Q: Do you see defenses play prevent less?
A: On the first play of that two-minute, they played prevent. They dropped eight guys in the coverage. Throughout the game, they did a number of times where they were dropping eight guys into coverage. The first two-minute drive before halftime, they dropped eight guys probably three or four times and so they were mixing it up and they were mixing in that same coverage that they played. They were kind of playing both of those two dropping eight and then sometimes playing that man with the double on Vic and the safety is a little bit higher early on and we had run some out breaking routes with Vic, so this time I think he got a little aggressive trying to take away that and we split the double team.