Quarterback Says 1-6 Team Had To Start Somewhere And Must Build On It

NEW YORK (WFAN) — It was just one win, but as far as Eli Manning is concerned, it was absolutely vital.

Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesa during his usual time slot on Tuesday, the Giants’ embattled quarterback spoke in glowing terms of how his team took apart the Minnesota Vikings, 23-7 on Monday night for its first win of the season.

“It definitely makes these conversations more fun. The day after you smile a little easier and feel good about what we were able to accomplish,” Manning said. “From coaches to ownership and all the players, it was definitely an excited locker room and guys had something to cheer about, which we hadn’t had in a long time.”

Manning had 15 interceptions and four lost fumbles coming in, but avoided turning the ball over in a game for the first time this season. He told Francesa that even though the Giants are known for throwing the ball down the field, they can be successful playing a more conservative brand of football, using the clock and moving the sticks.

“We had a lot of positive plays and that’s what we need. When we get positive plays — whether it’s a one-yard gain or a two-yard gain or you get positive yardage — that’s when we get a chance to do something special,” Manning said.

“It kind of lets everyone know, hey, we can win a game; we can play well. We can play this style, do enough good things where our defense played outstanding and hopefully they can continue that. And that offense says, hey, we don’t have to throw the ball for 350 yards to win. … We can have long drives and control the clock and win some games,” he added.

Manning finished 23-of-39 for 200 yards and a touchdown, his best completion percentage since the Giants’ season-opening 36-31 loss in Dallas. Though Hakeem Nicks struggled (2 receptions, 28 yards) and Victor Cruz was relatively quiet (5-50), the Giants still found success through the air. Ruben Randle caught a TD pass in the first half and newcomer Peyton Hillis had 45 yards receiving to go with his 36 rushing, including a 1-yard TD.

It appears the Giants will go forward with Hillis and rookie Michael Cox complementing Brandon Jacobs when he returns from his injured hamstring, which could be as early as this Sunday against Philadelphia. The Giants also remain hopeful they will get backs David Wilson and Andre Brown back from injury at some point.

Manning said considering Hillis was basically brought in off the street on Wednesday he did a very solid job.

“I thought Peyton Hillis had a really good game,” Manning said. “He’s a guy who had been here less than a week but had been around the NFL for a number of years. He was in Tampa last year under the same offensive coordinator, so there was a lot of the same terminology. He did a good job picking up blitzes and did a really good job catching the ball out of the backfield.

“He will help us down the road on third downs, with pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield,” Manning added.

The Giants’ much-maligned defense did what it needed to do against a Vikings offense that is currently in disarray due to its issues at quarterback. Manning said his team wasn’t going to make apologies for pitching a shutout against Minnesota’s offense.

“In the fourth quarter we had a lead and were able to hold on to it and that always makes a difference, rather than you go to the fourth quarter, your down and still have to be aggressive, you still have to make plays,” Manning said. “It can change the scenario of the game. This time in the fourth quarter we had the lead and we only needed to throw it on a need basis.”

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