The Giants won five straight games to open the season, then took a month-long vacation.
Fortunately for them, the vacation is over thanks to one the best offensive performances of Eli Manning’s career. Manning, who threw for a career-high 384 yards in the 31-28 victory over Atlanta, fired six passes to receiver Mario Manningham. Mannningham averaged 21 yards per catch and totaled 126 yards on the day.
Receiver Steve Smith entered the game as the NFL’s fifth-leading receiver, and did not disappoint. Smith had a 51-yard reception to pace the Giants’ receivers. Tight end Kevin Boss broke out today by scoring two of the team’s four touchdowns in the game.
On the defensive side, the Giants were gasping for breath following the indefinite loss of linebacker Antonio Pierce. It was already difficult enough for this group to lose Kenny Phillips earlier this season. All in all, Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan has failed to live up to expectations since taking over for former coach Steve Spagnuolo. His squad gave up a last-minute fourth quarter drive for the second consecutive game. On a more positive note, Michael Boley recorded his first sack as a Giant and Michael Tuck also brought down Falcons quarterback Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan for a sack.
The Giants’ offense was on fire throughout the game and it was pretty obvious that they needed to win the coin toss in overtime in order to win this one. The defense was worn down from the Falcons passing attack in the fourth quarter and blew a 31-17 Giants lead in the final minutes.
On special teams, the Giants struggled with kickoffs. The team should consider signing a kickoff kicker because Tynes is struggling to get the ball past the 20 yard line. Tynes missed a field goal early in the game but redeemed himself with the game winning kick. Falcons’ kicker Jason Elam missed a field goal in the game as well, his sixth miss of the season. Tynes’ kick was his second career game-winning kick in overtime. If you are a Giants fan, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out when his first was.
The 6-4 Giants won’t have much time to celebrate their victory — they will be traveling to Denver to face the Broncos in just four days in a Thanksgiving showdown at Mile High Stadium. Pending the result of tonight’s game, the Giants are currently in position for one of the two wild card playoff spots in the NFC. Regardless if the Eagles win or lose tonight, the Giants control their own destiny for the NFC East title and the #4 seed in the playoffs. New York has two big divisional games remaining, both being at home. They also have another divisional game in Washington.
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* Game was not completed when this was published