The Giants absolutely, positively needed to knock off Atlanta to maintain any legitimate postseason hopes. Yet, they surely weren’t acting that way as their sieve-like defense allowed the Falcons to score two late touchdowns.
The Giants entered the extra session with absolutely no momentum of which to speak – except for the fact that Eli Manning, who threw for a career-high 384 yards, and their offense was unstoppable.
As predicted, the Giants got the ball and marched right down the field, moving 49 yards in eight plays to set up Lawrence Tynes for atonement. The Giants shaky kicker was given a chance to make amends for a previous miss that helped send this one into extra time to begin with.
Tynes’ 36-yarder was true and the Giants are still alive.
“Knocked it home, we made it to win the game,” Tynes said. “There wasn’t a whole lot to it. I started towards the right a little bit more than I would’ve liked, but eventually it went in. It’s a good win for our team. It gets us going in the right direction again. Very happy to have gotten that opportunity after what happened earlier in the first half.”
However, if that game had gotten away from Big Blue, Tynes would hardly have been the only culprit. That dishonor would have also fallen on any defender not named Michael Boley, who turned in just a huge game against his former team. If the Falcons coaching staff had any doubts about why they pushed him aside last season, they surely realize they made a colossal mistake by this point.
Not surprisingly, the key Giants defenders stated that they would have had full confidence had they had to go out there and try to prevent the Falcons from scoring in overtime. But what else could they say? There’s really no possible way to positively state the defense, after basically failing all afternoon long, was going to come through – besides the basic law of averages, that is. And that usually doesn’t fly in the National Football League.
“Even if we didn’t win the toss, we were so fed up that we felt like we were going to go out and destroy them,” Osi Umenyiora said. “I feel like we haven’t won in forever. I feel that if it came down to it we would have made the stop.”
Of course they would have. Just like when they ‘stopped’ WR Eric Weems, who scored on a four-yard catch to cut the Giants lead to a touchdown with a tick more than six minutes to play. And just like they ‘stopped’ Tony Gonzalez from catching a beauty of an 11-yard TD with only 28 seconds to play to force overtime.
But give the boys credit for their positivity. After all, they really had no other choice.
But the moral of this one was simple: Thank heavens for Eli and the offense. The club’s offensive mastery in overtime, which was mostly buoyed by Mario Manningham’s 29-yard catch-and-run, was enough to lead New York right back into the WildCard pack. To be honest, the Giants were one Washington field goal away (the Skins missed two FGs that would have salted the game away) from jumping back into a tie with Dallas for first in the NFC East.
“Hopefully this will be something of a building block for us,” Justin Tuck said. “But we have to learn how to finish out games.”
Yes, they most certainly do.
So, Justin, did this win save New York’s season?
“I hope so,” Tuck answered.
Knowing full well that he only had his offense and a flip of the coin to thank.