Give the New York Giants this much -- they certainly don't quit.
At 5-7 after Sunday's victory over the Washington Redskins, the Giants barely have a heartbeat in the race for the NFC East championship. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are 7-5 and both hold tie-breaker advantages over the Giants.
After last week's devastating last-second loss to the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium, which put their season on life-support, you could hardly have blamed the Giants if they had come out on Sunday night and put up a stinker at FedEx Field in front of a national TV audience.
When the Redskins jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter the Giants looked as if they were about to do just that. Their defense wasn't catching up to Robert Griffin III and the fact-paced Washington offense. The Giants' offense wasn't helping, either, going three-and-out the first two times the Giants had the ball.
From that point on, though, the Giants displayed what might really be the trademark of this team. They showed the resilience to fight their way back, even when you might have been willing to forgive them for thinking they didn't have a great reason to do that.
"It was a rough start, but we responded well," said quarterback Eli Manning. "There's no quit on this team. We're gonna keep giving it our best shot."
"I'm happy to win. The guys come out and fight and they knew what they were in for," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "They truly did show what they're made of."
There is no doubt this team has warts. Manning threw his 18th interception of the season Sunday night. The offensive line was a sieve in pass protection, particularly left tackle Will Beatty. The defense did allowed RGIII to run 12 times for 88 yards.
The Giants kept playing, however. Eventually, Justin Tuck found his way through the awful Washington offensive line for four sacks. Damontre Moore found a way to partially block a punt after a bad snap. The offense found some rhythm despite the pass protection woes with Manning going 22-for-28 and players like Peyton Hillis (6 carries, 45 yards) and Brandon Myers (5 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD) making contributions.
The fact that the Giants keep grinding, keep believing, keep giving effort even when the season seems to be a lost cause is a credit to Coughlin and the respect he commands from his players.
It isn't the quality of the football this team plays that makes it intriguing -- the Giants have won five of six but even those five victories have included a whole lot of less-than-spectacular play.
What makes this team intriguing is that it has stuck together. It is still giving effort. It is still believing.
"The guys on this team just keep coming to work," said Myers.
That seems like a little thing, and for those of us who grind away at making a living far less lucrative than these professional football players it seems like something you should be able to take for granted. It doesn't happen everywhere, however, and it is the most admirable thing about this team.