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Giants vs. Texans, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' Review

Let's look back at Sunday's Giants-Texans game in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.

Victor Cruz scores a touchdown on Sunday
Victor Cruz scores a touchdown on Sunday
Al Bello

Let's review, and celebrate, the New York Giants' 30-17 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style. There is, without doubt, much to feel good about.


Rashad Jennings -- The numbers speak for themselves. Jennings took the ball 34 times and ran for 176 yards, both career highs. It was the most carries by a Giants back since Joe Montgomery had 38 carries Dec. 5, 1999 against the New York Jets and the most yardage since Ahmad Bradshaw gained 200 yards in a 2012 game against the Cleveland Browns. Jennings ran hard, he ran through tackles. Jennings didn't make a lot of guy miss with fancy footwork. He just pushed the pile and ran over would-be tacklers. He may not be a superstar, but this is the kind of player Tom Coughlin loves. Giants fans should, too.

Eli Manning -- Can Manning play any better than this? I really don't know. His timing was impeccable. The 61-yard catch-and-run by Victor Cruz was a perfectly timed and thrown slant that allowed Cruz to catch the ball without breaking stride at all. The fourth-quarter touchdown throw to Daniel Fells was an an incredible throw. Manning finished 21-of-28 for 234 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 123.2. On 'Mike & Mike' Monday morning Mike Ditka said Manning's play Sunday was "mind-boggling." Let's just stop the 'can he play in this offense' nonsense. When he is well protected he can play in any offense.

Victor Cruz -- This is how you answer your critics. This is how a great player responds after some poor play. This is how a leader should lead. By coming up big when your team has to have you. Cruz caught five passes in six targets for 107 yards and made a tremendous effort to get into the end zone on a 26-yard catch-and-run.

Offensive Line -- Let's just give credit to the entire group. Truth is, what we saw Sunday is the best performance from a Giants offensive line in a long, long time. A clean pocket mostly all day for Eli Manning. Places for Rashad Jennings to run. Justin Pugh battled J.J. Watt all day, giving up one sack but holding his own. Will Beatty was terrific. John Jerry was burying people pulling out in front of Jennings. J.D. Walton and Weston Richburg were making, and staying on, their blocks. It's hard to imagine they could play much better than that.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- This was the DRC the Giants paid $35 million for in the offseason. He had an interception, and had a miniscule 18,8 passer rating against, giving up four completions in eight targets for only 28 yards. Most impressive? For the second straight, Rodgers-Cromartie's physicality. He isn't known as a hitter, or a run defender, but he has been doing both. Credit to him for that.

Defensive Line -- Impossible, and probably unfair, for me to single out one or two guys. Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers and Johnathan Hankins were all monstrous at the point of attack. JPP was especially terrific against the run. Kiwanuka is also playing like last season was a bad dream, showing up as a force both against the run and in the pass rush. The more you watch Ayers, signed to replace Justin Tuck, the more you have to be impressed. As for Hankins, he is simply a monster in the middle.

Tom Coughlin -- Yes, partially for his third-quarter challenge on a Ryan Fitzpatrick scramble that took away a Houston first down. That allowed Damontre Moore to block a Shane Lechler punt, pretty much ending the Texans' comeback. Also for his handling of the pressing Giants, lightening the mood at practice to help his 0-2 team relax and come through with a terrific effort.

Wet Willies

Zak DeOssie -- C'mon, man! A field goal snap that barely got off the ground and skittered its way under the hands of Steve Weatherford cost the Giants three first-quarter points. That was after a Donnell fumble probably cost them seve. DeOssie has one job on the Giants. He has to do it better than that.

Stevie Brown -- Back in his eight-interception 2012 season, Brown displayed a penchant for not only making big plays but for giving them up as well. Two seasons later, after missing 2013 with a torn ACL, Brown isn't quite as explosive and isn't yet making those big plays. He is, however, still giving them up. Brown allowed Houston's Demaris Johnson to run right by him for a 44-yard touchdown strike Sunday. Can't have that from your deep safety in center field.


Larry Donnell -- The young tight end caught six more passes for 45 yards as mostly an underneath target on Sunday. He now has a team-high 18 catches and has become a huge part of the Giants' offense. You just can't fumble and cost your team points.

Let me know who I left out, Giants' fans.