QB Eli Manning
Conference Call, November 2, 2015
Q: What was the difference for you guys this week in the passing game? What did you think was the biggest difference after the last couple weeks when you guys were kind of in a little bit of a slump?
A: I thought we protected well, the offensive line played well. Thought we had a good down and distance, had some good play action, receivers were winning their one-on-ones. When the number one wasn’t open, had time to get to my second receiver or check down. I think it was a lot of first and second down production and we also had a lot of opportunities. Had a lot of possessions and we were able to take advantage of it. I thought in the Cowboys game we did some good things, had some big plays. In the Cowboys game, just didn’t have any possessions, only two possessions in the second half. It’s tough to do much on two possessions where you’re trying to score. So I thought we had a good game plan, good week of practice, and also having our receivers practice. Two weeks prior to that, Rueben and Odell did not practice all week, so it makes it tough. The other guys, the other receivers are running a lot of reps, they’re also maybe running positions that they’re not actually in in the game. They might doing other spots and moving all around. Come game time, they’re back to their original spot, which maybe they hadn’t been working at as much all week.
Q: A day later, is it kind of maddening that the offense had that kind of day and yet you guys couldn’t win?
A: That’s just football. Somedays the offense, everything is clicking; somedays, the defense is clicking. It’s a team and we’ve got to help each other out. We knew we were going against a good offense in the Saints, they’re going to be high-powered at home, they’re going to score some points—that’s just the way it’s going to be. We knew we were going to have to be productive offensively. As good as we were, we could have been better, we left some plays out there on the field and some possessions where we had three and outs and could have been even more productive, even as well as we did play.
Q: On that last drive of the game, did the Saints do anything differently or just change things up a little bit to confuse you guys?
A: No, I don’t think they confused us. First play, had a chance to hit a guy running down the field. And obviously in the game we’re getting field position right there. So took a shot to Rueben, just missed him off his fingertips. Next play, they were dropping everybody out a little bit, threw a little check down, which is fine. Third down just had Dwayne open on the left and I definitely could have thrown a better ball, but had an opportunity to hit him. I don’t think they did anything to really confuse us, had opportunities on every play to get a completion and get some positive yardage.
Q: Is any part of you able to step back and appreciate what you were part of yesterday? You and Drew Brees set an NFL record for touchdown passes in a game.
A: Yeah. It was a fun game to play in. Offensively, we felt good, we were moving up and down the field and had some big series where we knew we had to score and we were able to score. Kind of being down 14 a few times and firing back and tying it up. Defense gets the interception, take the lead. It was fun to be part of that, a high scoring game and back and forth and knowing we’ve got to keep going and feeling that we could keep scoring. Obviously we would have liked to have been on the winning side of it. But as an offense, you look at what you can control and we did a lot of good things, but it wasn’t enough. We could have been better, we needed to make a few plays we needed to make that we didn’t that could have been the difference. So we’ve just got to get back and get back to work and try to do better next week.
Q: When your team comes back the way it did, does that kind of tell you something about the quality of the teammates around you? You guys didn’t get down, you kept fighting back, you tied the score despite the fact that the Saints were piling it on. Did that kind of open your eyes a little bit more to the quality of fighters you have around you?
A: No, I mean I’m proud of the way we hung in there. We went down 28-14, under two minutes left to go in the first half but had a great two-minute drive right there, took it to 21. Come out the second half and score a touchdown quickly on a big play and we tie it up. Again, the fourth quarter, they score and take a 14-point lead and we respond back and tie it up. Defense gets a turnover and we take the lead. So it was a great fight and just hanging in there and keep going. Proud of the way we responded to kind of the ups and downs of the game. We’re playing teams tough and playing them close, we’ve just got to just find ways to win those close ones. We’ve done a good job lately of winning those close ones and let this one slip away.
Q: Is there a concern that this season is kind of evolving into a one step forward, one step back a little bit where you can’t get yourself on a roll at all? You have one good performance then you slip back each week, can’t find consistency.
A: No. I think we’re going to play in some close games and we’ve just got to find ways to get better. Just have great preparation for the next team we’re playing and just find ways to win. However way it comes up, you never know in this game which way it’s going to be. It’s going to be a high score and a low score or what plays or what series is going to make the difference. You’re giving yourself an opportunity to win and so we’ve just got to take advantage of those situations. We’re still in a good spot in the division and got a good bit of football left to play and all we can worry about is getting ready for Tampa this week and going down there and trying to play our best football.
Q: JPP, I know he’s on the other side of the ball, but he’s been back for a week. As a fellow player and teammate, is there an anticipation to see what he’ll be able to do once he’s out there on the field with you guys playing in a game?
A: I’m excited for the opportunity to get JPP back. He looked good in practice this past week, running the scout team defensive end and going against our guys, going against (Ereck) Flowers. He’s out there and he’s going to make Ereck better going against him in practice. He’s going full speed and trying to get back in playing shape. Excited when he can get back and see if he generates some big plays for us on the defensive side.
Q: Is there ever a time when a player of your stature on the team can cross the aisle and go over to the defense and maybe say a few things to them and try and get them going? Or is it strictly on the offense and they’re on the defense?
A: No. You can always lift up your teammates, just like they would do to the offense. If we struggle, they’re going to have our back. On games where they struggle a little bit, we’ve got their back. We’ll just stay positive, encourage them. They’ve made some huge plays for us and been a big part of us winning some games, and making stops and getting turnovers and doing a lot of good stuff. They went against a good offense that can do that sometimes. They can get hot and they’re at home and rolling and things were working. That’s why it’s a team game and everybody has got to do their part. Our offense was rolling, too, we were scoring a lot of points. It’s just the way it came down, ended up being a special teams play—they made a good play on special teams that kind of brought the game to its end. You go to overtime, you never know how it ends up.