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In defeat, Giants stood tall

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The Giants didn't do enough last night to ruin the New England Patriots' perfect season. They did, however, do enough to make themselves and their fans proud.

With nothing to gain in the standings, the Giants took their best shot at the Patriots and nearly pulled off a historic upset. All that prevented a Giants' victory were a couple of mistakes and the brilliance and determination of a great Patriots' team.

The Giants won 10 games this season and earned a playoff appearance for the third straight season. Yet, with all the ups and downs -- including some really ugly losses -- I've still been left to wonder if this is truly a good football team.

After last night my answer is unequivocally, YES!

Without a doubt that was the best, most complete game the Giants played all season. The offense was crisp, and that might have been as well as I have ever seen Eli Manning play. The defense surrendered 38 points, but harassed Tom Brady and played well most of the night. Special teams, led by Domenic Hixon, also played well.

With the playoffs beginning next week, you just have to hope as a Giants' fan that they can carry that type of effort and determination with them when they travel to Tampa Bay next weekend.

The only negative the entire night was the one thing you had to fear -- the Giants suffered a trio of injuries to important players. Linebacker Kawika Mitchell, center Shaun O'Hara and cornerback Sam Madison all went down. Cross your fingers and hope none of the injuries is serious enough to keep them off the field against the Buccaneers.

Other than worrying about that, though, Giants' fans should feel good this morning. Provided they can continue to play as well as they did last night, they will be a very dangerous playoff team.

More reaction

• Patriots know there is more work to be done. Yahoo! Sports
• Give Coughlin credit for going for the win. New York Post
• Eli follows big brother's advice. MSG
• Burress, Toomer rip officiating. New York Daily News
• Atmosphere at Giants' Stadium was perfect. Newsday