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Eli Manning, Post-Game 09.05.12

Q: Were you surprised at all that you got off to a slow start offensively?

A: We got off to a little bit of a slow start. We had opportunities – obviously the first third down could have easily converted and we didn’t execute on that one. They were driving pretty well and had a turnover. We made a lot of mistakes – physical mistakes – that we need to improve on, and you’d rather have those. When guys are making mental mistakes and doing the wrong things – I think that’s harder to correct. With physical mistakes, sometimes you just have a bad day. That will be correctable and something we can work on; we can go back and have a great week of practice going into this next week and know that our guys will step up and make the plays the following game.

Q: Does the Wilson fumble shake your confidence at all?

A: No, it doesn’t. He’s a young guy and he’s got to learn. Hopefully it’s the last – it probably won’t be, though. He’s just got to learn to protect the ball. Turnovers are so crucial in wins and losses. He’s a young guy, he runs hard, and that’s just part of the growing pains of being a young player in this league.

Q: In any way did you feel you had kind of a "Super Bowl hangover?"

A: No. We came out, we fought at the end, and had a chance. They made a third and long conversion to seal the victory. It’s going to come down to a lot of games in the fourth quarter and hey, you might not play your best game those first couple of quarters, but as long as you’re keeping yourself in the game and not making the mistakes with the turnover – obviously we had one tonight – but if you can get to the fourth quarter, we’ve won a lot of games that way. You hope that it doesn’t always rely on that, but if it does, I like the way we fought at the very end. We gave ourselves a chance – went down there and scored, and obviously just ran out of time.

Q: Was that a better pass rush than you’ve seen from the Cowboys in the last three years?

A: They always have a good pass rush. They’re very talented. You have Spencer and Ware and Hatcher – they know how to get to the quarterback. It’s just a matter of trying to get great matchups with offensive linemen, trying to mix up with quick throws and throw down the field and try to slow that down. They’re very talented and it’s always a challenge.

Q: How much did that pass rush disrupt what you were trying to do tonight?

A: I don’t know if it did disrupt it a whole lot. Obviously they got some sacks, they had a big sack on a play action that got us and we were in pretty good field position, that obviously hurt. We still thought some things up, had some plays down the field and had opportunities for some plays. A lot of times it was the pass rush along with pretty good coverage by their DB’s that led to some of the sacks and some of the time that we didn’t have a good play.

Q: After the Boley interception, you have to settle for three, how much did that change momentum?

A: I don’t know if it changed momentum. Obviously you’d love to get a touchdown in that situation. You’re on the one yard line, you feel that you can pound that in, but we didn’t get that. We had a pretty good third down call and had an opportunity – Victor was trying to get off – it was a pretty physical play on Dallas right there. That’s the part we’ve got to execute better. We had three opportunities to score, we’ve got to get in the endzone on one of them.

Q: On the throw to Hixon, it looked like he got bumped early in his route, but do you feel like you just missed him?

A: The one in the end zone there at the end? Yeah, I just put a little too much on it. I think I might have thrown it just a touch early – I could’ve hung like a half a second and see where he was going to make his stick to know his angle, so I think I just threw it a little bit early and I wish I could have had it back. Obviously would have scored with a little bit more time on the clock.

Q: Coach said it was more than a hold on Victor [Cruz] in the end zone. What did you see?

A: Yea, I saw some jersey getting pulled. That’s just one of the steals and you’ve got to play the game. You’re going to get some calls, you’re not going to get some calls. That’s part of it. So we’ve got to be stronger and fight through it. I can throw a better ball and give us a better chance to catch it.

Q: Did you plan on having Wilson more involved tonight on the offense?

A: I think we tried to get him more carries than he had. Obviously as a running back and as a young guy, when you turn the ball over, that’s going to limit your carries.

Q: First and goal at the 1, Eli. What was the play?

A: Just one of our basic run plays. We’ve had great success against the Cowboys running that, but they played it well and we had to bounce outside. You hate to lose two yards down there at the one yard line. If anything, get back to the same line of scrimmage, get a half a yard, something. It’s tough when you lose two yards.

Q: Does it feel like the same game with the replacement officials?

A: Yea. We’ve got to go about our business. We’ve got to play better, and that’s the facts. We’ve got to have a great week of practice this week, we’ll have this weekend off a little bit to get some rest, get healed up, but we need to come back and know that we have to play better football.

Q: What were your thoughts on Romo today?

A: Tony played well. He’s a tremendous competitor and a good quarterback, and he made some great throws, buying time, running around. He played well enough to win the game.