Sunday's 29-16 victory by the New York Giants over the Philadelphia Eagles is the kind of performance that has has been missing from the Giants' resume for a while. In reality this is the first time since a 2009 victory over Dallas in Week 2 that the Giants have gone on the road and won a game they weren't supposed to win against a good team.
This is the kind of confidence-building victory that can propel a team to good things. Coach Tom Coughlin has been preaching eliminating mistakes and finishing games strong. The Giants accomplished both of those things Sunday in a game that showed that, despite all of their injuries, the Giants can compete with anyone in the league.
"We fought our way back," Coughlin said in his post-game press conference. "We just kept pounding away, and the other factor was we didn't turn it over.
"I was proud of the guys the way they went about their business."
Today's 'Kudos & Wet Willies' are after the jump.
Kudos To ...
Kevin Gilbride -- Many of you kill the Giants' offlensive coordinator week after week, and there are times when he deserves it. Sunday, though, Gilbride was brilliant. He used well-designed pass routes to attack the edges of the Philadelphia defense, called a beautiful play that resulted in a 40-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jacobs, stuck with the run and called a screen pass that resulted in an 18-yard Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown.
Victor Cruz -- A certain member of Big Blue View constantly asks for players to 'step up and make big plays.' Cruz, making his first start Sunday, did exactly that for the Giants. A 74-yard catch and run for a score and a terrific 28-yard touchdown catch in traffic at the goal line. Your quarterback looks better when receivers make plays for him, and Cruz did that for Eli Manning on Sunday.
Eli Manning -- Ended up with the highest quarterback rating of his career for a full game, 145.7. I can't think of one ball Eli threw that he really should not have. Manning was 16-for-23 for 254 yards and four TDs. It would be hard to play much better.
Jason Pierre-Paul -- Nine tackles, two sacks. The giants had apparently challenged JPP during the week, asking him to step forward. He did. As far as I'm concerned whenever Osi Umenyiora comes back he is a part-time pass-rush specialist. JPP deserves to start and play full time. By the way, is there an NFL rule we don't know about forbidding officials from calling holding on guys blocking JPP? For three games it seems every time I look at the TV screen somebody has a fistful of Pierre-Paul's jersey. The thing I never see is a flag.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs -- Bradshaw had 86 yards on 15 carries, including a punishing 37-yard run that brought memories of Ottis Anderson abusing would-be tacklers in the Super Bowl against Buffalo. Bradshaw, catching more passes this season, caught five sunday for 53 yards -- including a beautifully executed screen for an 18-yard touchdown and a 26-yard catch and run. Jacobs had only seven carries for 19 yards, but had a beautiful run to score a two-point conversion and made a nice catch to end up with a 40-yard touchdown reception from Manning.
Aaron Ross -- Give Ross credit. He took advantage of a tipped ball to intercept Michael Vick and stifle a Philly scoring opportunity in the first quarter. Then, in the fourth, did not bite on a double move by DeSean Jackson and came away with a nice interception of a Mike Kafka pass.
Kenny Phillips -- Through three games, KP is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Nine tackles, a forced fumble that unfortunately did not bounce the Giants way, and a game-clinching interception. I can't remember the exact circumstances, but Phillips also made one play that likely saved a long touchdown run by LeSean McCoy.
Jacquian Williams -- It is becoming increasingly obvious that GM Jerry Reese and the Giants' scouting department saw something no one else saw in this rookie linebacker, and that they were right. Nine tackles for Williams, who seems to be playing more and more. He has the speed and athleticism that is needed to play linebacker in the modern NFL, he seems to find the football, he can cover and it doesn't look like he misses many tackles.
Michael Boley -- Six tackles for Boley, and two that really stand out. One was a leap over the pile on the Giants' goal line stand to help stop Michael Vick inside the one-yard line. The other was a fourth down open-field tackle of LeSean McCoy that denied Philly a first down and started the Giants' fourth-quarter rally.
Red Zone Defense -- I was listening to Carl Banks on the radio during the pre-game and he prophetically said the Giants could not worry about the yardage they gave up, but that they had to play good red zone defense. They did just that, giving up just one touchdown in five Eagles' trips to the red zone. There was a Ross interception to stifle one drive, and a brilliant goal line stand from inside the one on another drive. Great work.
Tom Coughlin -- Nothing specific in terms of a play or a challenge, but you have to give Coughlin credit. With all the hits this team has taken, all the negativity from the media and the fan base and all the lingering memories from the 2010 debacle against the Eagles Coughlin has obviously managed to do one thing -- keep this giants team believing in itself.
Wet Willies To ...
Travis Beckum -- The Giants only looked Beckum's way once Sunday, and it was a disaster. Facing fourth and three from the Eagles' 31-yard line and trying to keep the ball away from the Eagles Eli Manning looked in Beckum's direction. Beckum made the catch, the only problem was that needing three yards Beckum ran a one-yard route, then stumbled and fell short, turning the ball over to the Eagles on a play that should have been an easy first down.
This is Beckum's third season, and the Giants have waited a loooooong time for him take advantage of his physical skills and become a reliable target. Mental mistakes like this at critical times won't gain anyone's trust.
Antrel Rolle -- A bad unnecessary roughness penalty on Rolle for the second straight week, putting the Eagles at the Giants' 11-yard line and setting up their first touchdown. Rolle has been in the league too long to contiune doing this kind of stuff. He let his emotions get the better of him two plays in a row in the second quarter, and the second one drew a flag. You simply can't let your personal feuds with a guy like DeSean Jackson spill over onto the field and hurt your team, and that is what happened to Rolle. He actually played well, particularly in run support, but you can't put your teammates in bad situations week after week.
Michael Vick -- For whining that the Giants were hitting him with cheap shots and that he does not benefit from the same calls other quarterbacks get. Really, Michael? C'mon, now. You took a lot of hard shots from the Giants, including the one from Chris Canty that broke your hand. I can't, however, recall any dirty ones. There weren't any helmet-to-helmet shots, nothing blatantly late, just good good, hard football.
The shot he took from Dave Tollefson after throwing the first-quarter interception was a legit hit. Vick was trying to go make a tackle, and he's fair game. Besides which, Vick does not play or run like any other quarterback.