Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/2/11
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For Antrel Rolle it was homecoming. For Osi Umenyiora it was dj vu. For the New York Giants, Sunday's improbable 31-27 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium was another building block for what could be a special season. "I can't even explain how huge it is," said Rolle, the former Cardinal. Let's start with the impossible particulars. New York was down 20-10 entering the fourth quarter. Defensive end Justin Tuck was confined to street clothes with lingering neck and groin issues, despite "wishful thinking" that he "still had some heroic powers." Umenyiora, his fellow end, was on what coach Tom Coughlin called "a governor" of 30-35 plays in his 2011 debut after summer knee surgery. Arizona running back Beanie Wells was having his way with New York's defense in a career-high 138-yard, three-touchdown day and Arizona's defense was actually providing some proof for all that talk about offseason improvement. "It was an absolute struggle," Coughlin said. "Their pressure was very good tonight. It offset us many times and we weren't very productive." Then New York flipped a switch and recaptured the magic of its last appearance here when it toppled the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Quarterback Eli Manning led the Giants on three, fourth-quarter touchdown drives and Umenyiora posted a huge sack of Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb to all but kill the Cardinals' final drive. "We had to close the game," Umenyiora said. "The offense had done a good job of scoring those touchdowns. We had to finish. I wouldn't want to come out here and do nothing." Coughlin had warned all week that this was a potential trap -- a letdown game after an emotional win over the Eagles the previous week in which New York scored 15 fourth-quarter points. But as he walked through the tunnels on his way to the locker room after the game, Umenyiora experienced a far different feeling. "I was having dj vu," he said. "Flashbacks, I should say." The importance of Sunday's win pales in comparison to that Super Bowl upset nearly four years ago, but the Giants resurrected pieces of the same formula. The defensive line harassed Kolb all day, posting four sacks, and Manning was at his best in the clutch, completing 14 of 17 passes for 180 yards in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns and no interceptions. "These games are fun," Manning said. "I don't think you want to play in these games every single week and get down 10 and have to come back. But sometimes, it's good to know you can do that." The Cardinals were guilty of doing the opposite. Sunday's loss marked the second time in the last three weeks Arizona had a 20-10 lead entering the final period and blew it. It was also the third straight week Kolb had the game in his hands at the end and failed to deliver a win. At this point, it seems Arizona's prized offseason acquisition is digressing rather than progressing. "This is my first full season," he said. "I know there are a lot of challenges. This is one of them and I feel like I am a mentally strong person." Kolb, who had two interceptions last week in a horrid loss at Seattle, committed two more turnovers and one huge mistake Sunday. He fumbled the ball at the New York 17-yard line early in the first quarter after an Umenyiora sack. He threw a costly pick to Rolle in the fourth and he took a sack on the final drive that he never should have. "We tried to throw a screen. He should have gotten rid of it," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I'm not pointing the finger at Kevin. We've just got to get better at situational football." Arizona thought it might get a break when Giants receiver Victor Cruz caught a pass over the middle and put the ball on the ground without being touched on New York's final touchdown drive. The Cardinals thought they had recovered a fumble but officials ruled that Cruz "gave himself up" and called the play dead. When asked if he was worried the Giants might lose possession and a chance at the game, Coughlin nodded. "I was worried about everything under the sun," he said, promising to "pick my spot" to talk to Cruz in a "quiet moment." "There are a lot of things we can learn from this game, some of which we are not going to talk about in here," Coughlin said. "But for a team to be down and looking as if a lot of things aren't going their way... for us to come back... it's a real testimony to the guys for just keeping on playing."
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