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Giants Finally Show Some Growth

Doing things differently was the key on Sunday

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter.

    It's funny how quickly perception can change because of one play.

    If Corey Webster doesn't come down with an interception near the goal line with just over four minutes to play on Sunday afternoon, there's a good chance that the Giants lose to the Bills and that we're sitting here discussing the bleak future of the Giants.

    Instead of being 4-2 and in first place in a mediocre division, they would be 3-3 and stuck in the muck of a division that would look even worse.

    One play that takes the Giants from being back page buffoons for the second straight week to being the subject of fawning work from columnists who certainly had the knives out before Webster's pick.

    And let's not forget the dropped interception of an Eli Manning pass on third down before the winning field goal when we discuss shifting perceptions as Manning would be skewered instead of praised simply because another player held onto a pass.

    Let us not write any grand narratives then about what Sunday's win means about the Giants because it is too easy to see the flaws in storylines so easily altered by the work of others. Instead, let's focus on the bigger picture for the Giants because that shows the growth we've been begging to see from the team for several seasons now.

    The best thing about Sunday's game was the way the Giants fed the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw on the ground. Bradshaw has never had more carries than the 26 he got on Sunday and there's little question that those carries were the biggest reason why the Giants were in a position to win the game in the end.

    Not because Bradshaw was particularly successful running the ball -- he finished with 104 yards, a number inflated by a 30-yard scamper on the final drive -- but because every one of his carries churned clock that kept the Bills offense off the field for large portions of the game.

    Webster's two interceptions aside, the defense was having a hard time making stops (mostly because they can't tackle) when the pass rush didn't get to Ryan Fitzpatrick so keeping his chances to a minimum was certainly a good strategy.

    Manning has been very good this season, but it seems impossible not to associate a rare turnover-free performance on Sunday with the fact that the Buffalo defense had to take the running game seriously.

    That's not something other Giants opponents had to do this season as the Giants used excuses about injuries and departures as a reason to ignore half their offense.

    It is tempting to compliment Kevin Gilbride for coming around, but it is hard to believe the thickheaded offensive coordinator actually came up with this game plan on his own. The fingerprints of Tom Coughlin, always preaching a style of football that the Giants rarely play, were all over this thing.

    That's the best sign for the future because Coughlin is a very good football coach. It would have been a positive sign even if the Giants were 3-3 and being slammed by all the same people smiling and patting them on the back right now. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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