The New York Giants believe they are in the NFC East race. They believe they can do what no other NFL team has ever done, go from 0-6 to the playoffs.
"Any time your in it, keep fighting," said middle linebacker Jon Beason. "You finish. It doesn't matter. 0-5, 0-6, mathematically we're still in it. You just get the first one and winning begets winning. 0-6 has not been done, but why not be the first to do it?"
The Giants still have weaknesses on offense and special teams, and they still struggled mightily on Sunday to beat an Oakland team that -- frankly -- has no offense whatsoever. The one strength they do have, however, is a resolve to go forward, a tremendous belief that they can get it right.
"Even at 0-6 we still felt as though we could still climb out of the hole we were in. We still are in the hole but obviously it feels good to have three in a row here and two more games in a row at home," said Justin Tuck. "We're starting to play with a lot of confidence and that's something that hopefully we can continue to build on and continue to get back in this race."
What else did we learn today? Really, we didn't learn much that we didn't already know. We did, however, see more evidence of many things we were already pretty sure of.
Andre Brown is a difference-maker
Brown's contribution, 30 carries for 115 yards, is more than anyone could have expected. In recent weeks Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis have helped the Giants' running game. Brown showed something Sunday that neither Jacobs nor Hillis has -- speed and explosiveness. It's no shocker that Brown will be earning 'Kudos' On Monday morning.
The Giants' special teams are terrible
Let's exempt DaMontre Moore. The blocked punt by 'DaMonster' in the first quarter that led to a 21-yard scoop and score by Cooper Taylor is the only reason the group wasn't a total embarrassment for the day.
-- Jerrel Jernigan coughed up the opening kickoff, helping the Giants into a 7-0 hole before the game really even started. The MetLife Stadium crowd actually cheered when Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski kicked the ball out of the end zone, preventing Jernigan from running it back.
-- Steve Weatherford punted four times for an average of 30.3 yards and had one partially blocked. He didn't hit a solid punt all day.
-- Rueben Randle foolishly caught a punt at his own 2-yard line while backpedaling and reaching above his head. He was fortunate to return it to the 15-yard line.
-- The Giants gave up kickoff returns of 41 yards and 36 yards.
Maybe the Giants should just send Moore out there by himself. Nobody else is getting anything productive done.
Terrelle Pryor is the new Tim Tebow
Pryor is a terrific running back trying to play quarterback. He is a horrific passer. Oakland does everything it possibly can to keep Pryor from having to throw the ball more than 5 yards down the field. Pryor went 11-for-26 for 122 yards with an interception and a fumble. He had a passer rating of 40.9. His few long throws were awful, and even his short ones weren't exactly on target.
The Giants' defense is good
Yes, Pryor is a terrible NFL passer. Yes, Josh Freeman is a terrible NFL quarterback. Yes, the Giants took advantage of an injured Michael Vick and an inexperienced Matt Barkley. Still, one touchdown allowed in 14 quarters is impressive. That touchdown, of course, came on a 5-yard drive by Oakland after Jernigan's fumble. That is hardly something the defense can be faulted for.
The Giants, with the help of a false start penalty, held the Raiders to a field goal after a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the third quarter. Terrell Thomas made a game-changing interception and 65-yard return in the third quarter with the Giants trailing, 21-14. They scored a touchdown to take a lead and never looked back.
The Giants sacked Pryor three times, forced a fumble and id a great job of keeping Pryor from getting outside the pocket while he was scrambling, holding him to 19 yards on five carries. More often than not they forced him to throw, when you know the Raiders would rather have seen him run.
Oakland had only 213 net yards and 12 first downs.