I know there was lots of gnashing of teeth Sunday during the New York Giants' 26-23 overtime victory over Cincinnati. I know the Giants are the better team and should have won by more than that.
I know. I know. I know. Yet, I am absolutely thrilled today. The Giants are 3-0 after winning a game that -- prior to last year's post-season run -- I have no doubt they would have lost.
The poise of Eli Manning late in the fourth quarter and in overtime was a welcome sight. There were no stupid plays, no bickering, no going backwards thanks to penalties.
Time and time again there was resilience. The Giants were challenged and responded. So, I feel great about what I saw Sunday.
Now on to the 'Kudos & Wet Willies.'
The Giants' Geritol Generation:
John Carney -- Two field goals, including the game winner. Carney has been perfect this season. I know guys should not lose their jobs because of injury, but I am campaigning as of now for Carney to remain as the Giants' field goal kicker for the rest of the season. It appears Carney will be gone soon, though.
Sam Madison -- The old man of the defensive backs, more assistant coach than player these days, came off the pines in the second half with Kevin Dockery getting whipped to make a couple of big plays, including an open-field tackle and knocking a pass.
Reuben Droughns -- He's an afterthought among Giants' running backs, but he scooped up a bouncing kickoff Sunday and returned it 34 yards. He also made a nice solo tackle on a kickoff return. You have to love Droughns. He has been a big-time player in the NFL, but now he does whatever the Giants ask him to do.
- John Carney -- Two field goals, including the game winner. Carney has been perfect this season. I know guys should not lose their jobs because of injury, but I am campaigning as of now for Carney to remain as the Giants' field goal kicker for the rest of the season. It appears Carney will be gone soon, though.
- Eli Manning: The numbers are great (26-of-43, 289 yards, one touchdown) but it was the fourth quarter and overtime performance that was special. He led a late drive to bring the Giants from behind, then made a brilliant throw to Amani Toomer in overtime while getting smashed in the mouth to put the Giants in position to win. Eli has grown up, there is no question about it.
Derrick Ward: Go ahead and keep calling for more Ahmad Bradshaw, but if that means less Ward that's not really helping the Giants.Sunday he had 9 carries for 80 yards and three catches for 26 yards. Seems like every time they hand him the ball Ward is ripping off huge chunks of yardage.
- Kevin Boss: The second-year tight end finally made an impact on the Giants' passing attack, and did it in a big way. A 26-yard catch, the go-ahead touchdown catch in traffic late in the fourth quarter and three catches total for 51 yards. Stop worrying about the tight end position, Giants' fans.
- Steve Smith: The second-year wide receiver has become the Giants' primary possession receiver. He is always open and he always catches the ball, allowing the Giants to continue to move the chains. Sunday Smith had a career-high seven catches for 60 yards.
- Amani Toomer: Gotta give it up for Toomer, making the brilliant catch along the sideline in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. Oh, and five catches for 64 yards is not a bad day's work.
Antonio Pierce: Twelve tackles for the Giants' middle linebacker, one of his best days as a Giant.
- Giants' pass rush: Six sacks, two from Fred Robbins and one each from Barry Cofield, Corey Webster, Mathias Kiwanuka and Dave Tollefson.
Wet Willies to ...
- Kevin Dockery: I know some of you guys are going to argue with me on this one. Dockery did have nine tackles, so his stats looks fine. Fact is, though, most of those tackles came chasing down wide open receivers he failed to cover. The Bengals attacked him -- successfully -- until defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo gave him a seat in favor of Madison.
- James Butler: I really didn't want to give him a 'Wet Willie.' I thought he played pretty well, but he did give up the 17-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh that nearly cost the Giants the game. Even if he did have pretty good coverage on the play.
- Brandon Jacobs: The big fella had 14 carries for 35 yards, a 2.5-yard average. Maybe not all his fault since the Bengals stacked the line to stop him, but the numbers are what they are.