Down and Distance: 1st and 9 at DAL 9
Time: 2:42, 4th QTR
Personnel: 3WR, 1TE, 1RB
Situation: Trailing by 14, two timeouts remaining
The Play: (No Huddle, Shotgun) Eli Manning pass short middle in end zone to Martellus Bennett for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on DAL-Safety Barry Church, Defensive Pass Interference, declined.
What Bennett saw: “It was just a read route. We’ve run it a couple times. During the week, we already knew what the look was going to be, and I knew exactly where the ball was going to be, how he wanted to throw it and what he wanted me to do on the route because of the way we saw it on film, the way we talked about it all week. It’s just one of those things that just happened exactly how you talked about it.
“We knew that they were going to double outside and give me inside one-on-one. Usually I break across, but since he played me with inside leverage, we were just looking for the jump ball. I felt Church and then Gerald Sensabaugh. I couldn’t help but feel Church, he was right on me. I was just fighting to get his hands off me so I could get up and make a play. I was able to get up and get both hands on it. So it was just a great throw, great spot of the ball, couldn’t be any better, and I was just fortunate to make a catch.”
What Manning saw: “They played it earlier in the game down there. So we kind of went on the sideline and said, hey, if we call this play, this is what I’m expecting from you. And Martellus agreed. So that’s always nice when you know what the guy’s going to do, what his reaction is going to be to a defense, and he did a great job of doing the right thing on the same page and making a great catch.”
Bennett’s mindset when he came up in the end zone: “We were down and trying to get back in the game. We were only one touchdown away and there was still two minutes and change on the clock. That’s enough time to tie it up and win a game, so we were very excited for that. We came down, I think it was a 12-play drive, we scored, it took a little longer than we wanted but we got in the end zone. It was an exciting moment. We were still in the game.”
Bennett’s first experience in a fourth-quarter huddle with Manning: “Everybody in the huddle, on this offense, shows a lot of perseverance. So in the huddle nobody ever panicked. Everybody felt like we could make a play, but at the same time, we feel there is no reason for us to get behind the eight ball and we should try to keep ourselves out of that position.”
Outcome: Bennett’s first touchdown in a Giants uniform cut it to a one-possession game, but wasn’t enough as Dallas was able to pick up a first down on the ensuing possession and run out the clock. Giants lost 24-17.
Tags: Eli Manning, Martellus Bennett
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