Eli Manning looked at Roger Lewis Jr. in the huddle and asked the two-word question.
“ ‘10’ was like, ‘You ready?’ ” Lewis said. “I said, ‘Yeah, you believe in me.’ I want him to believe in me, and that’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to make that play.”
With the game on the line and the Giants looking to go in for the winning score in overtime, the second-year receiver lined up to the left of the formation and waited for Manning to take the snap on fourth-and-5 from the Chiefs’ 36.
The play called for Lewis to run a “go” route, meaning he’d run straight up the field to await the pass. Manning took the snap and quickly recognized that the Chiefs were running a heavy blitz in an attempt to sack him and put the Giants out of field-goal range. He then released a high, arcing pass that Lewis — who appeared to lose his footing and was on the ground after being interfered with by cornerback Phillip Gaines — somehow managed to reach back for and catch.
“They were coming with an all-out blitz and so I had Roger one-on-one, fastest way to get the ball up in time, so I gave it a shot,” Manning said. “Make a play or get a pass interference. So he did a great job coming back to the ball a little bit and making a play.”
Although Gaines had Lewis’ right arm pinned, Lewis used that arm and his body to prevent the ball from hitting the ground, then got up and ran into the end zone. He appeared to score a touchdown because he caught the ball after Gaines had made contact, but the officials ruled him down at the 2. Two plays later, Aldrick Rosas kicked a 23-yard field goal for a 12-9 victory.
“It was huge,” Lewis said. “Everybody on this team wants to win, and it’s huge.”
It was all the more important that Lewis step up because of yet another injury to the wide receiver corps. Sterling Shepard experienced migraine headaches late in the week and was unable to play. The Giants already were without three other injured receivers — Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris.
“I found out this morning [about Shepard],” Lewis said. “That’s like my brother. He said he was going to be out, and I told him that I got him, that we were going to go out and get this win.”
Lewis called Sunday’s play the biggest of his Giants career. The undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green hopes to make more.
“Me being undrafted, I play with a chip on my shoulder no matter what I’m doing,” he said. “I practice hard and put in the work. Everyone in our room puts in the work. That’s what I come here to do, to make plays.”