It wasn't pretty, but the New York Giants managed to get their first win of the season on Monday night by the score of 23-7 over the Minnesota Vikings. Eli Manning and company still showed a lot of the warts that have plagued the team through its season-opening six-game losing streak, but there was improvement in some aspects.
For example, Manning was only sacked twice and for the first time this season played a game without throwing an interception.
"I just wanted to get that winning feeling back," said Manning after the game, "You work so hard each and every week and you try to have a good game. You keep playing and you go and compete hard and try to make plays, and feel like you put a lot of work into it, and not always get the results that you want."
The Giants also had a couple of role players step up against the Vikings. Second-year wide receiver Rueben Randle leapt over a defender to make a touchdown catch in the second quarter. The recently signed halfback Peyton Hillis didn't find much success on the ground, but he scored a touchdown there and added 45 receiving yards.
"I thought Peyton played really well," said Manning, "Coming in here on a week's notice, he did a good job just understanding protections, blocking when you had to, getting out on the routes, a couple big completions and third down conversions."
"He's going to be a help for us. He's a big, strong, athletic running back, and that will be good on third downs."
New York's defense also played well on Monday night. Much of Minnesota quarterback Josh Freeman's troubles were blamed on the fact that he was playing with a new team for the first time, but there's something to be said for shutting out the opposing team's offense. The Vikings' only points came on a Marcus Sherels punt return touchdown in the first quarter.
"The defense was outstanding," said Manning, "When they're dominating, the line of scrimmage and the game, and the offense can't get much going, it does help the offense. If we've got to punt and back them up, it's going to be tough for them to go 80 yards for a touchdown."
The Giants will need another solid defensive performance if they hope to emerge victorious next week, when the team takes on the Eagles in Philadelphia. The teams just faced each other earlier this month with the Eagles winning 36-21.