It was just another one of those tough NFC East games. On the road against a team that needed a win, the Giants traveled down to Dallas where they faced their familiar foes the Cowboys for the second time this season.
After losing their Week one meeting with the Cowboys, the Giants really needed to win this game. You would never hear panic coming from Big Blue, but if you were to ask them now, they would probably tell you that this was their biggest game of the season so far. An unspoken goal for all of these NFC East teams is to avoid being swept by one another and the Giants were able to do that on Sunday.
The Giants picked off Tony Romo four times and fought off a vicious Cowboys second half comeback to win 29-24. With the win, the Giants improved to 6-2 on the season and built a comfortable 2.5 lead over the Eagles and Cowboys.
Although the Giants have consistently impressed week in and week out, Week 8 has to be their most impressive win of the season thus far. Eli Manning was held without a touchdown pass and the offense was not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. The win was most impressive because the defense stepped up and made their presence felt when the offense wasn’t playing to their normal consistency.
Games such as this will prepare the Giants for the torturous two months that they have remaining on their schedule when the play teams such as the Falcons, Ravens and Packers.
The win brought the Giants conference record to 2-2 on the season and may have been the biggest reason this was a huge win for the Giants. If they had lost, they would be 5-3 on the year with all three losses coming to division opponents. If the Cowboys or Eagles can stick around and remain contenders in the division, the division record could come in as a tie breaker.
If the Cowboys had won, they would be sitting pretty at 4-3 and only one game behind the Giants. This would be a much nicer place to be sitting because they would have already beaten the Giants twice this year and would have been 2-0 in the division.
Andre Brown (35) and Ahmad Bradshaw (44) shake hands after Brown scored a touchdown in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Giants. [PHOTO COURTESY: TONY GUTIERREZ/AP PHOTOThe Giants were able to win without their offense playing like they normally do. Manning was only 15-29 for 192 yards and an interception. Ahmad Bradshaw was held to a 3.5 yard/rush average with no touchdowns and Victor Cruz, who had been playing like the best receiver in the league, only had two catches for 23 yards.
The one thing that Manning was able to do despite his low statistical output was to yet again have a come from behind victory (The Giants were actually trailing 24-23 after they jumped out to a 23 point lead). The win was 20th time in Manning’s career that he engineered a 4th quarter comeback.
The Giants were also out-gained offensively 434-293 and the Cowboys ran 83 offensive plays compared to the Giants 58. This however is a deceiving stat because the Giants defense played arguably their best game of the year. They were able to force 6 turnovers for a +4 turnover margin and even scored a defensive touchdown when Jason Pierre-Paul returned an interception.
It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest game they have played this year but that is not going to happen every week. Giants fans should be very pleased with Sunday’s result not just because it was a win, but because it was a gritty win that showed that the resiliency that the guys in the locker room have. In a game where the offense wasn’t as spectacular as it normally is, the defense stepped up in a big way.
This is why the Giants are the class of the NFC East and one of the best in the NFL. Their defense might not play like this every week, but don’t expect the offense to play like this very often either. Good teams pick each other up when the offense or the defense struggles, and that is exactly what the Giants did on Sunday.
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Contributor – Dave Ragazzo – @DRagazzo_Sports
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