Eli Manning credited teamwork for Sunday’s unexpected New York Giants win, but Orleans Darkwa said it was Eli’s pregame words that did it.
It’s not like he’ll be able to attend, but New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning earned himself extra bragging right against his brother for the Manning Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
By starting his 209th consecutive regular season game on Sunday, Manning’s streak now surpasses the 208 straight set by his older brother Peyton in Indianapolis from 1998-2011. The streak now stands alone as the 10th longest in NFL history, breaking a tie with his brother and Hall of Famer linebacker Derek Brooks. Manning will tie another Hall of Famer, former Raiders center Jim Otto, for ninth on the list should he take the field for Thursday’s holiday showdown with the Washington Redskins (8:30 PM, NBC). The Giants were able to commemorate the milestone properly, earning a 12-9 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
True to his selfless form, Manning was nonchalant when addressing his streak, even calling his individual effort a “team effort.”
“I’m more excited about this win than that,” Manning said. “Obviously I need my guys to keep me upright; my offensive line over the years, running backs, receivers getting open. I want to be there for my teammates each and every week, be accountable.”
Manning said that he didn’t need to pump the team up prior to a 10-play, 77-yard drive in the extra frame that concluded with kicker Aldrick Rosas‘s game winning 23-yard field goal. He had particular praise for receiver Roger Lewis Jr., who had a diving grab on 4th and 5 from the Kansas City 36 to set up Rosas’s finisher.
“No message, we’ve got to do our job. We had a great opportunity out there. I thought Coach Sully called an aggressive game in overtime,” Manning said. “(We) hit a couple of nice plays to Roger Lewis and Tavarres King and then obviously Roger with the big play on fourth-down down the left sideline. I thought the guys stepped up, were excited about the opportunity and we wanted to go get the win. We could smell it, we could taste it, it was there for us and we went and got it.
According to running back Orleans Darkwa, however, it was a talkative Manning that provided the Giants all the motivation they needed before taking the MetLife Stadium field.
Speaking on a Monday conference call, Darkwa referred to Manning as “the heartbeat of our team”, detailing a pregame monologue that fueled the Giants to their first home win of the season.
“He gave a fiery speech that got everybody riled up and to have a guy like that, that has been through so much, that’s got those two Super Bowl rings, we follow him,” Darkwa said. “We follow his footsteps in everything, so to have him come up there, it just shows the weight that he carries on this team and he’s definitely up for it. I think everybody tries to follow his footsteps because at the end of the day.”
Darkwa wound up with the Giants lone touchdown of the day, a one-yard punch that proved to be the game’s only touchdown. He wound up with 74 yards on 20 carries.
“You could sense the fire in his voice. But, at the end of the day, Eli is going to be Eli. He shouldn’t change the way he commands the room. He shouldn’t change the way he talks to us and that’s just how he is. That’s how he leads us and like I said, if the Super Bowl rings don’t hold any weight, then I don’t know what else should.”.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490