The Giants were caught between a rock and a hard place.
Two straight losses to division foes left them at 6-4 and in desperate need of a win to stay on pace with Philadelphia, as well as keeping themselves in the mix for a Wild Card berth. They were in a world of hurt—literally and figuratively—with five offensive starters out with injuries and a turnover epidemic that was clearly costing them ballgames. With a makeshift offensive line and a receiving corps consisting of Mario Manningham, Derek Hagan, Duke Calhoun and newcomer Michael Clayton, it was up to Eli Manning and company to come through against all odds when the team needed it most.
The opening half was rough for the G-Men, as they gave up points on all three first-half drives by Jacksonville and could only manage two field goals from a couple of long, methodical drives. The defense could not contain Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars rushing attack. Even David Garrard and backup running back Rashad Jennings were breaking off runs for big chunks of yards at a time.
The Giants went into the locker room down 17-6, and it looked as if they were in store for one of those vintage New York Giant flops. You know, when Eli reverts to his rookie ways and the defense crumbles before our eyes, creating a snowball of negativity resulting in the downfall of our beloved Big Blue's 2010 season?
But, these aren't the same old Giants that have caused us unlimited amount of heartache and pain. This team has confidence in whoever they put on the field, and they don't dwell on what happened on the previous play, let alone the previous game.
New York came out a brand new team in the second half, immediately intercepting David Garrard, but the offense sputtered again and the Giants were only able to muster up a third Lawrence Tynes field goal. It wasn't until the beginning of the fourth quarter that the Giants saw the end zone when Manning connected with Mario Manningham for a 26-yard score. A two-point conversion tied the game up and really got the New York faithful at New Meadowlands Stadium back on their feet.
Following a 42-yard field goal by Josh Scobee with 8:26 to go in the fourth, the Giants trailed by three. They quickly went three-and-out, but forced Jacksonville to punt, giving them the ball with six minutes to go in position to tie or win the game.
Eli worked his magic again, hitting Manningham for a nice gain and finding Boss for the game-winning 32-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-10 to move New York to 7-4, back into a tie with Philadelphia for the lead in the NFC East.
Here are three thoughts on Sunday's key victory.