The New York Giants squeaked by a divisional opponent by the skin of their teeth yesterday, holding off a furious comeback attempt by Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten in an absolutely nerve-wracking 29-24 win…and boy, do we feel a lot like we did last week after Eli Manning held off a game-winning Robert Griffin III touchdown with one of his own.
So we find ourselves waking up again Monday morning, thinking about blown leads and failed red zone opportunities and the size of Bryant's finger. And then we remind ourselves: Hey, a win is a win is a win, baby.
First place, 6-2, fully in control of the NFC East. But more on that later.
What we saw yesterday
Much like last week's Washington Redskins game, the Giants were soundly outplayed for a large chunk of yesterday's game: although Tony Romo forgot what team he was playing for and gave the Giants a 23-0 lead behind a slew of interceptions, the Giants offense failed to convert most of those opportunities into touchdowns and did absolutely nothing while watching the Cowboys march back to a 24-23 lead.
We suppose you can say the offense did enough to win and that the defense stiffened when it mattered, but you're lying to yourself on both accounts if you want to believe it's that simple. Eli Manning suffered through his second off game in a row and the Giants defense was a doormat that gave up an eye-popping 437 yards to Romo.
How do we feel about it?
As we've said, we're having a bit of trouble stomaching a win that many are going to call lucky or undeserved. It was the second week a divisional quarterback has had his way with the defense and the second week the offense didn't look itself.
But it was also the second week they did enough to win, so what are we complaining about?
What it means
It means a firm grip on first place: they've erased the Cowboys tiebreaker and at 6-2, the Giants are more than two games ahead of the 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles and Cowboys and the 3-5 Redskins.
Going into the tough part of the schedule, the Giants have themselves where they need to be.
And the injuries, of course
Chase Blackburn popped a hammy, and we're of the mind that this is a multiple weeks to a month or so variety, as Blackburn was upset immediately and didn't bother trying to stretch it out on the sideline before heading to the locker room. Mark Herzlich acolytes, unite!
Keith Rivers apparently left the game with a calf injury. We'll see if it's serious or not, but plenty out there are rolling their eyes. Every time Rivers starts to work his way into the rotation he comes up injured. If Rivers misses time, the Giants are going to need Jacquian Williams back soon.
Antrel Rolle may have suffered a concussion yesterday (self-inflicted, if it happened on that play where he launched himself at a receiver who had already dropped the ball). If he misses time, the Giants are going to hope Kenny Phillips is ready to play next week.
Justin Tuck didn't leave the game, and he actually was made a few plays for the second week in a row, but we caught trainers on the sideline working his perennially achy shoulder. If he's suffering those stingers, it's going to be another long, painful year for Tuck.
Next week is the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. It will also be the Giants first chance to show they won't go into their annual midseason swoon this year. The Steelers defense isn't what it once was, but with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, they aren't anything to sneeze at.
A good test for a Giants team that has played down to plenty of opponents and can't say they've beaten many good teams.
A good test for a team that's barely passed the last two quizzes.
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