The New York Giants are officially rolling. After a complete beatdown of the 49ers in San Francisco last week, the Giants came back home to take on rookie sensation Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins and made it three straight wins with a 27-23 victory. Eli Manning threw for 337 yards, Victor Cruz made a huge play to get behind the defense for a 77 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and the Giants fought their way to 5-2 and the top of the NFC East division.
Key to Victory: Defensive ability to force turnovers and take points off the scoreboard
The Giants defense was far, far from perfect in this football game – but they came through in some of the biggest spots in the football game, and they helped New York do something Tom Coughlin always keys in on – winning the turnover battle. Even with a couple of interceptions from the Giants offensively, New York was able to be +2 in the turnover margin because the defense forced four turnovers including three fumbles that were recovered by Big Blue. For a defense that did a lot of bending on Sunday- giving up a whopping 480 total yards, the Giants did a great job of not breaking – and even better, they took the ball the other way and swung the scoreboard. No way the Giants win this game giving up that many yards without the takeaways.
- The camaraderie and chemistry on this Giants football team is a big asset. These are guys that play hard for each other, enjoy playing together, and really love to see each other do well and the energy rubs off. Tom Coughlin has done an incredible job making this a team rather than a group of individuals even with all the talent on both sides of the ball.
- Giants fans can't be happier about anything coming out of this game than a second straight impressive performance from the pass rush. Justin Tuck had what was by far his best game of the season after a frustrating first few weeks, Jason Pierre-Paul continues to make plays, and Osi Umenyiora had a sack of his own.
- Speaking of the defensive line, Linval Joseph continues to build on the most impressive stretch of games in his career individually. He's been very active and physical inside and has really been disruptive for this Giants front seven.
- Very good job on third down from the Giants offense hitting on eight of twelve conversion attempts. One of the most telling signs as to the efficiency of a passing game.
- Victor Cruz is just a big play waiting to happen every single game. Has some Eli Manning in him as well, in that he makes huge plays in huge spots. When Hakeem Nicks gets healthy, this Giants passing attack is going to get even scarier.
- Say what you will about Ahmad Bradshaw getting a little fired up and smacking guys on the helmet and yelling on the sidelines – this guy has been a lightening rod for this team all year. Tough, physical, feisty, and always inspired – Bradshaw is the kind of leader you want in your locker room.
- Even in his worst game of the season, Eli Manning continued to show that he might be the most clutch athlete in the history of any sport. Completely shook off two big interceptions, and yet again, remarkably, put the dagger in the Redskins with a 77 yard touchdown bomb to Victor Cruz in the final two minutes.
- Stevie Brown has made the loss of Kenny Phillips a little less damaging with his tendency to make impact plays. He's really taken advantage of his opportunities and helped this team win games.
- The Giants coverage teams on punts and kickoffs were very solid in this game. They had an advantage in the field position battle.
- Michael Boley is an underrated asset on this football team. Very athletic, very good range, a nose for the football and making plays on the ball, and just a legitimate impact linebacker in the front seven. Extremely impressed with the season he's having to this point.
- 480 yards of offense is absolutely unacceptable for this defense to give up. That is a recipe for tacking one on in the loss column nine times out of ten and this Giants defense knows it. They did an excellent job of making big plays that kept the scoreboard under control, but they've got to play better as a unit.
- 248 of those yards came on the ground, as the Redskins gashed the Giants front seven in this game. A lot of Giants just were not getting off of blocks, and it was more of an issue of gaping holes and a lot of open space for Alfred Morris and RG3 to work with than it was missed tackles.
- Eli Manning can't be happy with those two turnovers. One was on a ball that sailed on him a bit, and the other looked like it may have been a misread, which is a lot more rare for Manning. Either way, it'll be something he'll focus on cutting back on going into this game against Dallas.
- The ground game struggled a bit for the Giants offense, as their longest run all game was 15 yards and they averaged less than 3.5 yards a carry. That's got to be a bit disappointing for Coughlin as his team was running the ball a lot better as of late.
PLAYER OF THE GAME – WR Victor Cruz
Just a huge play to get behind the defense, keep concentration and put his team ahead with the game on the line. Big play machine. There's no other way to describe Victor Cruz.
OVERALL PERFORMANCE GRADE
You knew the Washington Redskins were going to come into this game and give the Giants everything they've got with an early to chance to make their mark on the NFC East race. But New York played very resilient football, and I was particularly impressed with the defensive line's ability to get to Griffin who is a very difficult quarterback to force into sacks and negative plays. The defense as a whole did not play well, but they made plays when they needed to, and the offense continues to be difficult to stop through the air led by ice cold Eli Manning. Not their best effort as a whole, but still a tough, resilient one that got them a W.
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