Impressive. That's the best word I can use to describe Sunday' night's 33-31 victory by our New York Giants over the Dallas Cowboys. To win in that environment -- opening of JerryWorld, record-setting crowd, trailing until the final drive -- is a tremendous achievement.
Let's review as we always do, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Kudos to ...
- Lawrence Tynes: Nailed the game-winning 37-yard field goal -- twice. Barely made the first attempt right after Dallas coach Wade Phillips called one of those ridiculous last split-second timeouts. Drilled the second one right down the middle. Tynes made 4-of-5 field goals, missing only what should have been a chip-shot 29-yarder. You guys might not want to hear it, but Tynes is probably the perfect kicker for this team. An imperfect guy who drives you up the wall, but always seems make the kick that counts.
- Eli Manning: Drove the Giants 56 yards in seven plays, starting 1st-and-20 from the 15-yard line, for the game-winning field goal. Did you really have any doubt that Eli would get the Giants into position to have a chance at the end? I didn't. Manning was a brilliant 25-for-38 for 330 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Considering Tony Romo's brutal 13-for-29 with three picks on a day the Giants' pass rush rarely got near him, how can anyone argue right now that they would rather have Romo as their quarterback?
- Mario Manningham: Cris Collinsworth more or less anointed Manningham the Giants new No. 1 wide receiver during Sunday's game. I am not quite ready to say that, but the second-year player from Michigan is quite a player. Ten catches for 150 yards, including a beautiful juggling touchdown catch, a 49-yarder and lots of yards after catches on quick screens. A few more games like that, and he will be drawing double teams all the time.
Steve Smith: What can you say about this guy? You might argue that Wes Welker is just as good, but there is not a better slot receiver in the game. Smith also had 10 catches, totaling 134 yards. Short, long, third down, around the end zone, he did it all. The move Smith made to get open on his 22-yard touchdown reception was as good as you will ever see.
- David Diehl: Did you hear DeMarcus Ware's name called more than once or twice? I didn't. Zero sacks for the Cowboys after eight the last time the teams played, and Ware was not really a factor. That isn't all Diehl's doing, but since Ware lined up over him most of the time he sure had a lot to do with it. We keep trying to move this guy off left tackle, and he keeps doing stuff like that.
- Bruce Johnson: A Pick Six on a brutal throw from Romo. The undrafted free agent has now made a positive impact two weeks in a row. By the way, give a HUGE assist to Antonio Pierce on Johnson's pick, for changing the defense at the last second and leaving Romo throwing into a coverage he did not anticipate.
- Kenny Phillips: Please, Giants fans, include Phillips' knee in your prayers every night. The guy can hardly ever practice because of a lingering knee injury, but he sure can play. A pair of game-changing interceptions, and seven tackles, which tied him for the team-high with linebacker Michael Boley. A couple of those were beautiful open-field tackles that saved big plays.
- Michael Boley: An outstanding Giants' debut for Boley, the free-agent outside linebacker. He tied Phillips for the team lead with seven tackles, and did an excellent job in coverage.
- Corey Webster: Roy Williams, Dallas' No. 1 receiver, caught one ball. Yeah, this Webster guy is pretty good.
- Jeff Feagles: No punts off the scoreboard for the old man, but three punts downed inside the 20. Feagles will retire some day, but before he does the Giants need to clone him. As far as punters go, no team has ever had a weapon quite like this guy.
Wet Willies to ...
- Green Zone offense: The Giants were 0-for-5 Sunday night inside the 20. Yes, one of those was the game-winning drive for a field goal, but they are now 0-for-8 on the season in those situation. That failing nearly cost them Sunday night, and eventually it will. Seems the best tactic is to get big plays from Manningham and Smith BEFORE they get to the Green Zone. The Giants tried running, they tried throwing and they flopped at both. I don't know what the answer is right now, but they need to get touchdowns and stop leaving points off the scoreboard.
- Run defense: The Giants were absolutely abused by the Cowboys running game. Thank God Romo was doing his Brad Johnson/Brooks Bollinger impression every time he threw the ball. Every time the Cowboys ran it I was holding my breath hoping it wouldn't go for a touchdown. The Cowboys ran for 251 yards on 29 carries (an astonding 8.7 yards per play). I don't know what is going on with the run defense, but the Giants have been gashed for big plays two weeks in a row. They have to do better than that to be the dominant unit they are supposed to be.
- Flozell Adams: Old 'Trip' Adams knocked Justin Tuck out of the game with a very cheap tripping penalty. He almost got another one later in the game, I think on Osi Umenyiora. That's cheap, amateurish stuff -- especially when there is no way it was accidental.