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Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Win

The margin of victory will ultimately matter less than the victory

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Near misses for the Cowboys and a big win for the Giants.

    The easiest way to raise the ire of the Giants and their fans is to suggest that luck and/or the mistakes of other teams have played an outsize role in any of their victories over the past two seasons. 

    You could probably get away with making both suggestions this week. If they're honest, you'll even get agreement from the Giants and their backers. 

    There's no escaping the role that fortune and Cowboys errors played in the 29-24 Giants victory. The fact that the Cowboys were an inch away from winning the game on Dez Bryant's near catch in the end zone with seconds to play despite turning the ball over six times tells you everything you need to support the previously controversial assertions about the fates smiling at the Giants. 

    No one would suggest that the Giants didn't play a role in creating those turnovers, but their otherwise pedestrian defensive effort certainly points to the Cowboys playing a major role in their own demise. And the Giants had nothing to do but hope that Bryant's finger grazed the end line on his circus catch at the end of the game. 

    It did graze the line and the Giants were able to hold off through three more chances at the end zone to leave themselves at 6-2 with a commanding 2.5-game lead in the division at the start of the second half. While there are things for the Giants to work on coming out of the game, the end result is what ultimately matters whether it was the result of luck, great play or the good fortune of playing a team that couldn't stop cutting its own throat. 

    That's the part of the puzzle that gets ignored while people rage about assigning levels of luck to Giants wins. The winning is the important part and all the rest is just window dressing because, as we've learned over and over again, each week in the NFL is its own story. 

    In Week Eight, the story was that the Giants won a game by pretty much letting it come to them by whatever means necessary. Here's the good, bad and ugly from that win.

    GOOD, BAD and UGLY: You can dress things up as much as you want because of the two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, but the truth is that Eli Manning was bad on Sunday. And ugly, too, on the pass that almost led to injury for Victor Cruz and did turn into an interception after Gerald Sensabaugh removed the salsa man from the ball.

    If you're hellbent on putting a positive spin on it, you can credit Manning for not letting his struggles knock him totally off track. It would still be nice to see him play a strong game from beginning to end a bit more often. 

    GOOD, BAD and UGLY: Tony Romo's whole career could be pretty much summed up by Sunday's game. Brilliance (437 passing yards and a slew of plays made by virtue of his athleticism), failure (four interceptions) and the near miss at the end encapsulated the entire book of Romo. 

    GOOD: Stevie Brown was part of the crew responsible for allowing all of those passing yards, but he also had two picks and a fumble recovery to continue the trend of big plays made in the absence of Kenny Phillips. With Antrel Rolle possibly suffering a concussion, Brown could be in the lineup for a while longer.

    GOOD: Jason Pierre-Paul was active once again and his interception return for a touchdown early in the second quarter seemed to signal the end of the competitive portion of the game. It wasn't, but JPP is still back on track after a slow start. 

    BAD: Jason Witten caught 18 passes for the Cowboys on Sunday, most of them coming on one or two different patterns that the Giants were powerless to stop. It's tough to stomach getting beaten when you know exactly what's coming, but that's just what the Giants did on Sunday. 

    UGLY: Pretty much every Giants incompletion came with a Giants receiver whining for a flag from the officials even though there was rarely any cause. We know where it comes from, since Tom Coughlin spent his postgame press conference moaning about the clock operator even though there was nothing close to untoward going on with the time. 

    GOOD: Lawrence Tynes has won some big games for the Giants, but his leg has rarely been bigger than it was on Sunday. A missed field goal would likely have cost the Giants the game, but Tynes banged home all five kicks and the Giants flew home winners.

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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