Instant Analysis: Five things we learned Sunday

Gregory Shamus

Instant analysis of the Giants' victory over the Detroit Lions.

Don't look now, but since starting the season 0-6 the New York Giants have gone 6-3. There are a myriad of problems on this team, and there will likely be a high number of personnel changes as a result of them, but the Giants can head into their final game against the Washington Redskins next weekend knowing that they backed up their words. They haven't just talked about playing hard down the stretch, they have managed to do it.

Here are five quick things we learned Sunday.

1. Jerrel Jernigan has seized his opportunity. With seven catches last week and six this week Jernigan has finally shown the play-making ability the Giants hoped to see when they drafted him in the third round three years ago. Jernigan made a terrific catch on fourth down in overtime, setting up the game-winning field goal. Eli Manning targeted him 12 times, showing that he has gained confidence in him. It took Jernigan a long time, but he is finally finding a place in the offense.

2. Will Hill can be star. Nine tackles, a game-tying interception return for a touchdown and a pass defensed. If Hill can just stay out of trouble long enough there are Pro Bowl appearances in his future. Antrel Rolle said Sunday was "one of the best games I've ever seen Will Hill play."

3. If Adrien Robinson didn't have bad luck ... You know how that finishes. He would have no luck at all. Robinson dressed for the first time this season Sunday and couldn't survive the game's first play without getting hurt. He suffered a sprained knee on the opening kickoff and ended up carted off.

4. Nice of you to show up, Mathias. It took defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka 16 weeks to realize the 2013 season was underway. Kiwanuka had six tackles, four on the first Detroit possession of the game, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. Where did that come from? Kiwanuka has done nothing all season, but turned in an inspired game days after admitting on the radio that there was tension between offensive and defensive players after last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Too bad this version of Kiwanuka was MIA during the Giants' first 14 games.

5. The Lions really are bad. Matthew Stafford let the Giants back into the game with the errant throw Hill returned for a score. Detroit could not, however, take advantage of Giants' turnovers near the end of regulation and in overtime. They don't deserve to be a playoff team, and Sunday's loss insured that they won't be.

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