Giants Get Off the Schneid, Hold Off Falcons for Overtime Win

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer INovember 23, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Jeff Feagles #18 of the New York Giants celebrates as Lawrence Tynes scores the winning goal in overtime against the  Atlanta Falcons of the the New York Giants on November 22, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The last time the Giants won a game, they played in the Polo Grounds, wore leather helmets, FDR was president, the talking picture machine was all the rage, and the repeal of Prohibition healed a nation.

Or maybe they last won a game in October. But the former sounds more dramatic.

Yesterday’s win prevented Big Blue from being the first team to start a season 5-0 and then lose their next five games.

The win wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy, and it made Giants fans nervous, but it was a win. Since this isn’t the BCS, that’s all that matters.

The team needed to stop the snowball of losing that was careening down the mountain in East Rutherford, N.J. and pull out a win one way or another. And that’s what they did—pulled out a win not one way but the other. Getting that winning feeling back is all it takes to turn their season around (well, let’s hope so).

Eli Manning earned his money with his second quality game in a row. The team only rushed for 88 yards, so it was up to him to win the game, and he came through in the clutch. He threw for a career-high 384 yards, with three TDs (and one pick). He combined with all his receivers on a number of long-yardage plays.

He easily drove the team down the field in overtime to win before the Atlanta offense could even step on the field or before the game went into a shootout (isn’t that what happens after 15 minutes of scoreless OT?).

Kevin Boss impressed, with two touchdown catches (and five overall for 76 yards). After almost getting decapitated the past couple of games, he got his reward yesterday with his two scores.

Madison Hedgecock caught a TD pass as well (and is now my daughter’s favorite player because “Madison” is a girl’s name; I’m also supposed to mention that she spent half an hour yesterday morning trying to teach herself how to juggle and I should write one of my “sports articles” about that).

Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks made plays all game long, setting up touchdowns and field goals throughout the day. Manningham led all Giant receivers with six catches and 126 yards, while Nicks hauled in five passes for 65 yards.

I wrote at the beginning of the season (or maybe I just thought it and kept it to myself) that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Manningham and Nicks started flourishing later in the season, taking a few months to develop since they’re so young and inexperienced.

So yesterday’s passing game was promising and will hopefully be a sign of things to come (though the Falcons don’t have the best passing defense, so that played a hand in things too, of course).

Now let’s get to the troubling part of Sunday’s game: the defense. They played well for most of the day, even without Antonio Pierce in there (but with Aaron Ross finally seeing some action), and with the score 31-17 late in the second half, it looked like the game was over. But Atlanta did their San Diego impression, this time with two easy drives down field for scores to tie the game.

The Giants D can’t stop anybody when it counts. What would have happened if the Falcons won the coin toss heading into OT? Does anybody have any confidence that the Giants would have prevented them from scoring? The one-time dominant D is nowhere to be found this season.

Speaking of confidence, how about that Lawrence Tynes? He came through in OT but missed another chip shot earlier in the game. He’s no John Carney.

The important part of yesterday is that the Giants came up with the W, stopping their downward slide. The details don’t really matter, do they? There’s hope for the New York Giants yet.

Now they have a short week and take on the free-falling Broncos on Thanksgiving night. Channel 11 is showing Brian’s Song that afternoon, so tears surely will be flowing when Brian Piccolo dies yet again. I just hope I won’t be crying later that night when the Giants game comes to an end.

So as Billy Dee Williams/Gale Sayers might have said: I love the New York Giants. And I’d like all of you to love them, too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love them—and to make sure they beat the Denver Broncos.