Giants vs. Cowboys: 6 Things We Learned from New York's 37-34 Win
No. End of story. (Looking at you, Tim Tebow fans.)
Manning has the best fourth-quarter numbers of any quarterback this season, proving why he is the Giants MVP—perhaps even a sleeper candidate for NFL MVP depending on how they and the Packers finish.
Down 34-22 with 5:52 left, Manning engineered yet another stunning comeback, aided by a rare stop from the defense that wasn't much of a stop.
You could say the Giants got lucky, but Tony Romo had been inaccurate all day and—with a chance to end the game—he over-threw Miles Austin on a go route with just under three minutes remaining.
The Giants forced a three-and-out, and with 2:12 remaining you could almost see it coming.
Here are five things we learned from Sunday night's incredible victory.
Giants' Defensive Injuries Have Caught Up to Them
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I'm going to start with a couple of negatives. For the first half of the season, the defense seemed capable of overcoming its massive amount of injuries it sustained in the preseason.
Judging by its performance so far in the second half, the injuries have caught up to the Giants. I understand they have played multiple top-10 offenses in a row, but that is no excuse to be as terrible as they've been the past month.
Eli Manning seems capable, but he can only bail them out so much, right?
Kevin Gilbride Will Never Abandon Plays That Do Not Work
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If you follow me on Twitter, which is not likely, you would have seen how disgusted I was with all of the shotgun draws Kevin "Killdrive" was calling in key moments.
For some reason he thinks this is 2008; he does not have the same offensive line athletes he had in the past and they do not run that play well in any way, shape or form—unless you need a two-point conversion in a huge spot. That has really been the only time it has worked this year.
And that is the problem: As long as it works occasionally, he will not abandon it.
The power running game was working and Eli Manning was taking advantage of the weak Dallas secondary—there is no need to call a play that doesn't work.
You'll notice how easily Manning moved the ball down the field when they went to the no-huddle—that's because he is making the calls on the field. Gilbride ought to try that more often.
The Giants Control Their Own Destiny
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Now that they are in first place with essentially a half-game lead over the Cowboys, the Giants have to take care of business and win the next two games.
If they win the next two and Dallas loses to Philadelphia, the Giants can clinch before they both meet again on Jan 1.
Tom Coughlin Made the Right Decision Benching Ahmad Bradshaw
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Despite being named in the starting lineup by NBC, Ahmad Bradshaw did not play the first half of this game. The word from the Giants to the NBC announcers was Bradshaw had a curfew related violation.
When asked by Michelle Tafoya about the incident, Tom Coughlin had a one word answer: "Principles."
As much as I thought it hurt the Giants in the red zone in the first half—they settled for field goals after moving to the Dallas 4- and 14-yard lines—I fully support Coughlin sending this message to his teammates.
It may have actually motivated the offense; Brandon Jacobs had his best game this season (which we'll get to later) with 101 yards and two touchdowns.
As a coach you cannot show special treatment to starters or not hold true to your rules just because it is a big game. Ballsy move by Coughlin, and one I completely respect.
The Running Game Has Finally Arrived
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Do not ask me to explain it, because frankly I have no idea why the running game has all of a sudden had two of its best games of the season.
Most of it has been Brandon Jacobs, who has actually been the only effective back the last two weeks and carried the load, but some of it can be attributed to a shuffled offensive line.
With Will Beatty and David Baas out with injuries, David Diehl moved over to left tackle (where he was the previous five seasons), Mitch Petrus got his first two starts at left guard, and Kevin Boothe started at center again.
For whatever reason this unit has been the best of all the groups the Giants have fielded this year. They are opening up better holes and protecting Eli Manning.
At this point they should stick with what works and let Baas figure out why he has been having headaches, which has caused him to miss the previous two games.
Eli Manning Has a Superman Tattoo
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So, that guy pictured is the one who supposedly doesn't show emotions? Interesting.
OK, so the slide title was lame, I'll admit that, but what Eli Manning is doing this season can be described as nothing short of miraculous.
In six of the seven victories this year Manning has led the Giants on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. On two separate occasions he has brought them back from double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter.
Three times the game-winning score came with less than two minutes remaining. The dude is filthy good in the clutch, and it is time he starts getting his due.