Game Quotes: Panthers at Giants

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

General reaction to the nature of the game: "Very crazy football game and again, you've got to give them credit. They fought to the very end and that's a Tom Coughlin-coached football team—that's why.  That's a very good quarterback with some playmakers around him and they made some plays against us. We gave them an opportunity to get back in the game and they took it. They deserve to be in this football game by the way they played."

On being disappointed in his team's performance: "Very much so. Very disappointed in ourselves. We had an opportunity to close a team out and we didn't do it. Why? Because we didn't keep our focus and maintain our composure out there. Bottom line is you've got to stay focused when you play this football game. If you don't, that's what's going to happen. I'm referring to us as a football team. I'm referring to us as a football team. The whole football team."

On Cam Newton's game-winning drive and overall performance: "Well, he played very well with the exception of, really, the fumble. I mean, that, as far as I'm concerned, was really was the only blemish on what he had done all day. He missed a couple throws, but that's part of being a quarterback. You're going to miss some throws. But the only real blemish was on the wide read and you know for whatever reason we missed exchange in the fumble."

On Charles Tillman's forced fumble and interception: "It was very timely. I mean, that's who he is. He's a veteran guy. Very savvy; understands how to get the ball out. Play for vision and did some nice things."

Additional thoughts on Tillman and his return from injury: "I thought he had a very good afternoon. Did a lot more than we anticipated, you know, and he got into a little bit, he got into a little bit of a situation, we just kept him out."

On when his team lost their focus: "Oh, at the end of the third quarter…without a doubt in my mind. For whatever reason, we did not challenge back. At that point, we've got to be bigger than that and we have to be able to step up. If they're the ones who are pushing in terms of trying to win the game, they're going to do whatever it takes. We've got to understand that's what's happening out there. Their players want to win as bad as our guys do, our guys have got to understand – we had the lead. Don't give them any momentum, We gave them the momentum. shame on us, shame on me. I have to be able to control that better on the sideline."

Was that a big part of your postgame message today? "No, it will be tomorrow or Tuesday. I congratulated them. It's a tough victory. You win a football game, doesn't matter how you win a football game in this league. It's tough to win...when you win, it's a big deal. We'll discuss that when we get together on Tuesday."

On Cam Newton composure on the final drive: "That's what he's done all year. When we've been in tight ball games and we've had to get something done, he's been able to do it. That doesn't surprise me he made the plays that he did to put us in position to win the football game at the end."

On Graham Gano kicking the game-winning field goal: "I had no angst. I had total confidence for what he's done for us this year. He's kicked a couple gamers. He had to kick two against Indianapolis in the fifth quarter. I just feel real comfortable and confident with him. The big thing is we've got to be able to make sure we can protect or be able to change up the way we snap the ball. He really timed it out to see if Odell Beckham Jr. would try and jump the center. JJ [Hansen], I think, sensed it and he kind of held it before the snap and threw his timing off."

On Ted Ginn's injury:  "He felt something in his ribs or something like that. We'll see how he is. I really think Ted will be back."

On what going undefeated through 14 games say about the team: "It says a lot about us. The defense didn't help. The truth of the matter is, to win this one in this fashion after struggling like we did in the third and fourth quarters, but we had enough resolve to win at the end, that's huge. We should have never gotten to that point. Like I said, I give Coach Coughlin and his team credit for fighting the way they did. This is a very scrappy football team, it's a young football team with some dynamic playmakers. When they get it going, they're going to be very dangerous."

QB CAM NEWTON

On the late-game drama: "It shouldn't have been a thriller – I can tell you that. We just had to find ways. It's great for us to be in a game like this – it's kind of like our first dose of what playoff football is going to be about. We have to create that killer instinct. The Giants did an unbelievable job at the end, but for us we have to do better, and we will do better."

On his health and whether he was close to coming out of game: "It's never up to me when or how I come out of the game. It's always the coaching. During the game, it was looking like it was about to get out of hand, but it just tells you what type of team we were facing with the Giants. We knew they were that type of sneaky team that won't go away, and it showed. We did a terrible job with finishing this game out. and we've just got to create better habits here moving forward."

On the game-winning drive: "Just another situation that we've been put in all year, I feel like. We just wanted to get first downs. We knew they were going to pressure us and at the same time make us beat them with smart decisions. We just tried to take what the defense gave us. Greg (Olsen) made an unbelievable catch. Fozzy (Whittaker) started the drive off with a great scamper on the side, and that was it. It feels weird in the locker room now because we were so high in the third quarter and then we found our way back in the battle. But we're 14-0 right now, and that's a great feeling in itself."

On his demeanor for the last drive: "Something that I don't think should be seen on a quarterback's face is panic. It was just a matter of time until the tables turned. They had the momentum, and it was tough. We had a mishap in the running game that can't happen, but it did – and that's football. For us, that last drive, we practice it over and over again in practice and hopefully it showed today that it carried over."

On his receivers: "This is a receiving corps that has been bashed and talked about all year, especially the beginning part of the year; but it's great to see those guys compete each and every day. We're finally getting Benji (Kelvin Benjamin) back more around and we need his leadership more than ever. Jerricho (Cotchery) does an unbelievable job; Ted (Ginn, Jr.) does an unbelievable job. Philly (Brown) is morphing into a leadership role; (Devin) Funchess is just coming along and understanding his role. We didn't take him high like we did just for him to sit back and watch, and he's making a big impact just like everybody else is. As a whole, this team is finding ways where their puzzle may fit in the whole grand scheme of things, and we're all just trying to perfect our roles."

On the Josh Norman-Odell Beckham battle: "I spoke to Josh. It need not be spoken about what we talked about, but you've got two bulls going at it. Yhis is a physical sport, and you've got a field full of alpha males, they're not going to be playing 'patty cake patty cake' out there, I'll tell you that."

CB JOSH NORMAN

On improving to 14-0: "It was awesome, man. We are so blessed and fortunate to be in our situation right now. God cannot be more gracious."

On head-to-head collision with Odell Beckham: "The guy ran 15 yards down the field – a dead on collision. The play was all the way on the left side. He came back and was hunting; and it was malicious in every way. I hope the league office gets a chance to review the film and see what they can do, because players like that don't deserve to be in the game. I mean, it's ridiculous. I understand you want to play, but let's play within the confines of the league rules. Don't do all that extra stuff. I know you get a little rattled, that's cool. But if that's not your game, don't play somebody else's game. You're not going to win."

On Beckham's late touchdown: "I knew I was in a coverage to where it was just me and him. I knew it was going to be a double-move, which I read. I ended up pushing him to the outside, I got my hands on him and then I felt there was a push to the side. Then I tried to regain it, and as soon as I did, I tried to swipe the ball. Next I know he goes and catches the ball, and I'm looking to the ref and thinking you don't make a call from that? But I have to know and understand the situation of the game and know how everything goes. They don't want to make calls down there, when things get so close. They just want to let guys play. I've just got to be stronger and understand the situation better. And I will work on that, and I will be better."

TE GREG OLSEN

On finishing off opponents: "Obviously we need to do a better job of keeping our composure in the second half, and not letting them sneak back into the game. We just got away from ourselves a little bit. That's not who we are, that's not what we've done the last couple weeks. We've just got to learn from it, keep moving forward. We beat a team that had their whole season on the line at home, tough environment to play. Top level quarterback, it's a tough challenge for anybody."

On Cam Newton's performance: "That's pretty good. I saw that he rushed over 100, threw for five touchdown passes, I can't imagine that's been done a lot. Obviously that's really impressive. I feel good obviously for him, I feel good about it for our offense. Other than a couple little stalled drives there when they were creeping back in, I thought offensively we played pretty well."

On playing close to home: "It was fun. I had a lot of people in the stands that I knew. I've been in this stadium a few times now. Coming back home, you know only growing up twenty, thirty minutes down the road, it was a nice homecoming, especially when you win."

View game action photos from Carolina's 38-35 win over New York.

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