Eli Manning's so-called tired arm was so full of life and spirit on Sunday night that it wasn't used only for throwing footballs.
On a key play early in the first quarter of the Giants' 38-10 victory over the Packers, Manning scrambled for 13 yards to convert a third-and-7, electing not to slide after gaining the appropriate yardage but plowing shoulder-first into Tramon Williams for a few extra feet. Two plays later, he hit Rueben Randle for a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 lead.
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"It's kind of one of those circumstances where if I slide, I wasn't sure if I had enough yardage for the first down, and the new rule that if you do slide, it's from where you start your slide," Manning said. "I thought it might be close to the first down so I just thought I might have to go get an extra yard. I didn't think the guy was running at me, he was kind of stopped . . . so I just tried to make sure I got the first down. I'm sure I'll get some heat from it or maybe guys will be proud of me in the meetings tomorrow."
Tom Coughlin was proud.
"It sparked our sideline, that's for sure," he said. "That wouldn't be recommended on a normal basis, but in that case, to see him do that, I think, sent a message to the rest of our team as well, in terms of whatever you have to do to succeed, do it."
Hakeem Nicks felt the same way.
"That just goes to show you the effort," he said. "Everybody is all-in right now and it's the effort. Every effort play is going to count."
Still, Nicks did have one qualm with the end of the run.
"I was hoping he would use his other shoulder," he said.
As for the more traditional use of that shoulder, Manning completed 16 of 30 passes for 249 yards and three touchdown passes that gave him 200 in his career, breaking the franchise record.
"It felt good seeing him completing some footballs, getting some energy and getting some crucial third downs that we're used to making," Victor Cruz said. "It was good to see his arm come back alive and be able to hit us on some crucial plays, so it felt good."
There had been speculation that Manning's troubles before the bye week stemmed from a tired arm. Cruz seemed to validate that by noting the return of life to it, but he quickly backed away from that.
"Don't read too much into that," he said. "Tonight it was one of those games where he was alive and he was out there making some plays and distributing the ball the way we're used to him. I'm not referencing that his arm was faulty before or anything like that. I was just saying that he was definitely out here and he was playing with some excitement and he was completing some footballs, which was good to see."
"I never thought my arm was tired," Manning said. "I never felt like it in the last weeks, but after a week off and coming back to practice, it felt good. It felt live, the ball seemed to be coming out with a little extra pop on it, so that's always good. I think naturally after a week off with not throwing much, it definitely needed a little rest."