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'Kudos & Wet Willies,' Playoff Edition

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Ahmad Bradshaw breaks away en route to his 88-yard touchdown run Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. (AP Photo)

It's a joyous day for New York Giants' fans.

Facing a 14-0 deficit Sunday and staring at another late-season collapse, the 10-5 Giants fought their way to a 38-21 victory and a third straight playoff appearance.

There are plenty of 'kudos' to be doled out, and a couple of 'Wet Willies,' so let's get started.

Kudos to ...

Ahmad Bradshaw: If you didn't know this is where I was going to start today, you weren't paying attention Sunday. Bradshaw had the breakout game the Giants and their fans have been anticipating, and he showed up just in time. His 88-yard touchdown run broke open a tight game and propelled the Giants into the playoffs. His 17-carry, 151-yard performance means the Giants have added another playmaker to their arsenal.

Brandon Jacobs: The big beast ran over the Bills for a career-high 145 yards on 24 carries, including a season-best 43-yard touchdown run. Maybe the best thing Jacobs did all day, though, was sprain an ankle and force the Giants to give the ball to Bradshaw.

Amani Toomer: In brutal weather conditions, Toomer was brilliant. On a day when Eli Manning completed just seven passes, five of them went to Toomer. He helped breath life into the Giants when it looked they were about to get blown out by Buffalo. A huge performance for a classy, underappreciated veteran.

Kawika Mitchell: His interception and touchdown return was the game-changing play for the Giants. Just when it appeared the Giants' offense was going to let them down, Mitchell's heads-up defense got the Giants points they desperately needed and changed the game. He also had a pair of sacks. Mitchell is a free agent at the end of the season. If the Giants let him get away, they're nuts.

Steve Spagnuolo: After watching his defense get run over for two early scores, the Giants defensive coordinator dialed up the pressure. New York sent six or seven rushers after Buffalo rookie quarterback Trent Edwards the rest of the game, and he eventually came unglued under the onslaught.

Tom Coughlin: He gets kudos for the three straight playoff appearances, and for his demeanor Sunday. With his team down, 14-0, there weren't histrionics. Instead, there was fire. There was passion. There was encouragement. And, at the end, there was a Gatorade bath and chest bumps with jubilant players. There was also a run it down Buffalo's throat game plan that was vastly different than the pass-happy plan of the previous week.

Lawrence Tynes: Drilled a 42-yard field goal despite the weather conditions, and knocked a few kickoffs through the end zone. Give the much-maligned kicker a star for Sunday's effort, despite drilling his opening kickoff out of bounds.

The Offensive Line: Opened holes for Jacobs and Bradshaw all day. Jacobs was untouched on his 43-yard scoring run, and both backs were often 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage before having to deal with defenders Sunday.

Wet Willies to ...

Eli Manning: Let there be no doubt -- the Giants won in spite of Eli Sunday, not because of him. I will excuse the 7-for-15 because the weather conditions were brutal, but not the miscues. The two interceptions were not 'weather' interceptions. They were safe play calls but horrible, off-target, ill-advised throws. And I haven't even mentioned the five fumbles -- yes, five -- two of which were recovered by Buffalo.

Good weather or bad, the Giants had better go into the playoffs planning to try and win with defense and their running game. It's sad to say at this point in his career, but it seems the best the Giants can hope for from Eli in the playoffs is that he doesn't screw up so badly they can't overcome it.

Steve Smith: It's official -- Smith has been struck by the curse of Giants' third wide receivers. Given his first extended playing time since early in the season due to an injury to the Giants' other disappointing young wide receiver, Sinorice Moss, Smith botched his chance. Wide open, he dropped a perfect Manning throw late in the first half on a long pass that would have given the Giants a 10-point halftime lead. He may become a great player, but right now Smith looks like Moss, Tim Carter and so many other young Giants' receivers before them. And that's not good.