EJ Manuel: "I was thinking touchdown"

Posted Sep 15, 2013

Bills quarterback EJ Manuel talks to the media after his first win as an NFL quarterback following the 24-23 victory over the Panthers.


On overcoming the two turnovers he had earlier in the game to lead the game winning drive:

The good thing about Coach Hackett is he doesn’t get flustered as a coach so when you go back and communicate with him on the headset, he’s not yelling and freaking out about the situation even though it’s a bad play. You just want to move on to the next drive. Just move forward from it. So he helped me out a lot.

On what stood out to him on the last drive:

We knew the situation. I didn’t feel nervous or anything like that. We practiced it time and time again. I’ve been in too many situations before, not just in the NFL or in practice but also in college. We won games like that before. You’ve just got to go out there and operate the offense. If you can’t get anything deep, which they took away, check it down and you’ll get yardage that way so the guys can get out of bounds.

On one of the last plays where he almost got sacked but dumped the ball off to CJ Spiller:

Honestly it was all happening fast and blurred. I could tell you probably tomorrow or the next day whenever I talk again. I think the biggest thing was just making a play. You have to keep the play alive. You don’t want to take a sack obviously in that situation, you have no timeouts. The biggest thing was to be elusive and get the ball down field.

On the pass interference call against Stevie Johnson and if he was his first read:

He was my first read. It was huge for us. Really I threw that ball because I had a feeling he might try to hold the guy on his inside cut and luckily we got the call for it and we were able to move down the field.

On the scramble run he made on the last drive:

I was thinking touchdown was in my mind, it was definitely in my head but I knew be smart, get out of bounds, obviously if I could’ve run the guy over get in the end zone but I didn’t, still gave him a good punch with my shoulder and got out of bounds. Kind of killed two birds with one stone.

On the game ball he was holding in the press conference:

This is the game ball right here. It’s going to my Dad right here. It’s his birthday and he flew up for the game so it’s a present for him.

On what he and his Dad said to each other after the game when they saw each other:

I think we were both crying and just elated about the situation, being that it’s the first win and like I said, it’s his birthday. My dad has been to all my games since I was six years old so nothing’s changed. To see his face up in there before the game is awesome. Like I said, to have him in this opportunity and this situation is great.

On if he was in disbelief to see Stevie wide open on the game wining touchdown:

Not really. I wouldn’t say disbelief but it think the biggest thing is like Coach Hackett always preaches, stick to your read. He was open. He ran a great route. The o-line did a great job picking up the blitz. It was an all out blitz so I knew I had to do something to get the ball off. Defense, they played lights out. To get those two last drives, get us the ball back and still have the opportunity to score a touchdown and win the game was huge.

On what was going through his mind when he saw Stevie cradle the ball for the winning touchdown:

I can’t even tell you how I felt. Honestly I just don’t know, I started crying there. I’m not usually an emotional guy. I want to enjoy those types of things because that’s what you’re (here for), I’m going to be able to tell my grand kids about that 20 to 30 years from now. It’s definitely a momentous part of my young career but moving forward I’m glad we got the win and we have to get ready for New York (Jets) now.

On Stevie’s slant route for a big gain in the third quarter and if he saw anything different from the first half:

Like I said, Coach Hackett made a great call. Stevie was my first read in that situation and he ran a great route. Got the corner off his feet just a little bit and he was able to make a huge play.

On what it was like in the locker room after the game:

I don’t think we would’ve cried if we just won by 14 but I think the fashion in the way that we won, no timeouts, I mean that’s how you draw it up when you’re outside playing with your buddies. You say ‘three seconds left’ and you want to have the game winning catch with a throw or whatever. To have it happen in the NFL, it doesn’t get any better than that.

On the play call for Stevie’s game winning touchdown catch:

Like I said, we practiced it before, not necessarily in that situation with two seconds left or six seconds left on the clock but we practiced that play many times in practice and it was the same as that way.

On the two point conversion to Robert Woods:

I thought Woody was going to make a great play and that’s what he did. That ball has to be thrown low and away from the defender so he got off the ball great and got inside and made a great catch.

On saying that he’s not used to losing earlier this week and if the loss last week was lingering in his head:

It wasn’t lingering in my head. I think we all processed the loss and moved on. I definitely felt like the whole team knew we could’ve won that game. We don’t want to be a shoulda-woulda-coulda type team. We don’t want this game to be as close as it was but we won the game and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

On if he feels like a different quarterback after the game than he was before this game:

I wouldn’t say different quarterback just a different young man. Having facing that adversity, and I’m not going to put it all on me. Like I said, everybody did their job. It was a team effort. The defense gave us an opportunity to win the game. If they have scored a touchdown we might’ve been out of it. They played lights out like I said. Just a great win.

On speaking with Jim Kelly in the tunnel after the game:

It was awesome. Like I said, that’s momentous to even get encouragement from somebody like Jim. To get texts from him during the week just asking how I’m doing, not necessarily about football but just seeing how I’m doing mentally, how I’m handling everything week in and week out. So that’s huge. To see him after the game, give him a big hug, he was very proud of me.

On if Coach Hackett made any adjustments during the second half, specifically with C.J. Spiller?

I wouldn’t say we made any adjustments, we just stuck to what we had practiced in the game plan and those things just started opening up and we were able to hit some big runs.

On if it’s his father’s birthday today.

Yup, September 15th.  This football right here (is his gift). I didn’t have a gift. My dad’s not big on gifts anyways. I know he’ll definitely want to take this home. Even if I didn’t want to give it to him, he’d be taking it home anyways.