“These are the games you just hope to win,” center Shaun O’Hara said. “As long as you pull it out, you’ll take it.”
“Our players came with one thought in mind – to win the game,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
As much as the Giants were heavily favored to slap around the winless Dolphins, it certainly didn’t come easy.
“I’m very happy we won,” DE Michael Strahan said. “That game could have gone either way.”
For CB Sam Madison, he was just glad to get the whole experience out of the way. A former Dolphin who was playing in his wife’s home city, Madison obviously had a lot on his plate.
“I’m definitely glad this game is over,” he said. “It’s been on my mind since the schedule came out. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
With a 6-2 mark at the break, kicker Lawrence Tynes thinks his club might just have something special going on. He said that he believes the Giants have what it takes to go all the way.
“It’s early but when you win six in a row, people start to open their eyes,” Tynes said. “The two teams we lost to (Dallas and Green Bay) are both good teams.”
Madison noted this is definitely not last year’s Giants.
“It’s a totally different feeling from last year,” he said.
Hosts with the most: Coughlin was very pleased with the reception his team got upon taking the field.
“I smiled when we walked in the stadium as visitors and no one booed,” he said. “I thought that was great.”
It sounded as if a lot of the Giants were surprised at how well the fans understood what was going on.
“The atmosphere was phenomenal,” DE Michael Strahan said. “It was great. Honestly, it was like being at home, being at a home game. It was a lot better atmosphere than I anticipated.”
However, the locals clearly didn’t understand why New York kneeled down to run out the clock at game’s end.
“When we kneeled down the last couple plays, I know they were upset,” WR Amani Toomer said.
“I guess you’d have to know football to understand that,” Coughlin said.
Weather or not: No one made any excuses for the lousy playing conditions, especially QB Eli Manning, who clearly had some throws sail on him.
“That’s football and you just have to deal with it,” Manning said. “We were able to run the ball well and made enough plays to win the game.”
“I don’t have any excuses about the conditions,” Coughlin said. “The weather forecast was right on the money.”
Some Giants felt the fans lost out as a result of the rain and slippery conditions.
“We wanted to show what American football was all about and we didn’t really get a chance to do that,” Toomer said.
“I wish we had drier weather so we could have put on a better show,” Tynes added.
Medical report: After the game, Coughlin named only CB Kevin Dockery as an injury concern. Dockery was unable to play in the second half due to an injured shoulder that Coughlin said he hoped wasn’t serious. Both Jeremy Shockey and Michael Strahan required sideline treatment, but neither missed any playing time.
Sounding off: One of the most interesting and entertaining quotes in the Giants locker room is center Shaun O’Hara. Things were no different in London.
When asked about the close game, O’Hara responded, “It can’t always be a blowout. If it weren’t for Eli’s speed, it would have been a closer game.”
O’Hara, of course, was referring to Manning’s 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“As I started running, I saw the goal line and eventually I got there,” Manning cracked.
O’Hara also took his fellow offensive lineman Rich Seubert to task for failing to gain any yardage after recovering a Brandon Jacobs fumble in mid-air.
“He definitely let us down,” O’Hara smiled. “In my opinion, recovering the fumble is just half the job. If it were me, I would have scored. My speed trumps Richie’s.”
Numbers game: Manning passed for only 59 yards. Jeremy Shockey was the Giants leading receiver with three catches for 26 yards. Madison led the Giants with six tackles and Fred Robbins recorded New York’s only sack.
Rest for the weary: The Giants are now 15-4 in games prior to a regular-season bye. The victory tied them with the Seattle Seahawks for the second-best record in such circumstances. Dallas, at 16-3, is tops before a bye.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin is now 8-4 in pre-bye games, including 3-1 with the Giants.
Schedule change: The Giants were victims of the NFL’s first week of flexible scheduling. New York’s Nov. 18 game in Detroit has been moved from 4:15 p.m. to a 1 p.m. start.
On the rebound: The Giants, who have won their last six games after an 0-2 start, became the fifth team in NFL history to begin a season with two losses followed by six successive victories. The last team to pull off the feat – the 1993 Cowboys – went on to win the Super Bowl.
Keep it going: The Giants had mixed emotions about their weekend off coming while they were riding a six-game winning streak.
“When you’re on a streak, you want to continue – you want it to continue,” Strahan said. “You hate to have a break. But at the same time we need a break. It’s been long for us. We’re tired and we need a break.”
“We just have to stay focused, stay humble and keep grinding,” Madison said.
Inactives: The following Giants were deemed unnecessary in London: WR Steve Smith, RB Derrick Ward, S James Butler, OT Adam Koets, DE Dave Tollefson, DT Manny Wright and G Kevin Boothe. Jared Lorenzen was the third quarterback. Smith was expected to finally return to action after being out with a shoulder injury, but he tweaked his hamstring during the week of practice. Ward was unable to go due to a bothersome ankle.