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Sunday started with both the Giants and Jets harboring hopes of extending their seasons with a playoff run.
It wasn't as easy as just winning for the Jets, but they needed a win to have any chance to move into the tournament. The Giants had the simplest task in the business: Just win, baby.
The response to those situations couldn't have been much different. The Giants went out and played their best game of the entire season, jumping out to a big lead before weathering a brief storm and then scoring the final 10 points of the night to put things out of reach.
Whatever ugliness came before this season (and it did get mighty ugly), the Giants found themselves with enough time to change the script and give themselves a 1-in-12 chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Maybe that doesn't come to fruition, but they have a dog in the hunt and there weren't many people who thought that was possible when they lost to the Redskins in Week 15.
Down in Miami, the Jets took the completely opposite approach. They stepped up to their moment of truth and got revealed as total frauds.
The team played like they were looking for an excuse to blow the whole thing up, right down to Santonio Holmes' shameful attempt at sabotaging the team from the inside.
In a season filled with disappointing moments, the Jets outdid themselves on Sunday and made sure that this will be an ugly offseason for the boys in green.
That's about all you absolutely need to know about Sunday. But the rest of the details unfold below.
GOOD: Cruz was the deserved focus right after the game, but Eli Manning had himself a pretty good game. After two bad weeks, Manning was back on track Sunday night and making plays under pressure when his team started to look like they were interested in blowing the contest.
BAD: The Jets offense is going to be the focal point of much anger in the coming days, but that defense shouldn't be let off the hook. The Dolphins grabbed the lead with a 21-play, 94-yard drive that soaked up 12-plus minutes and featured six third-down conversions against a group that was never nearly good enough this season.
UGLY: You can't ever support quitting on your team the way that Holmes allegedly did on Sunday, but it says something about the state of the Jets that you can sympathize with his complaints about being stuck on an offense led by Mark Sanchez. Any hopes of cutting Holmes will probably die when the financial realities of cutting him are recognized, but he's not going to be a real popular character around these parts for a long while.
GOOD: The Jets only had one player who stood out for the right reasons on Sunday and that was Jeremy Kerley. Kerley caught passes, returned kicks and threw for a 41-yard gain in a performance that raises some hope that he might be Brad Smith 2.0 once next season rolls around.
GOOD: It certainly looks like the Giants defense has found its footing, although we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the Cowboys moved the ball just fine whenever they blocked the pass rush. That wasn't nearly often enough, obviously, so if the Giants can generate pressure they will be a competent defensive team.
BAD: Brandon Jacobs is many things. He is loud, crass, overconfident and a terrible short yardage runner. Why the Giants don't realize that is a great mystery, but watching him fail to convert twice against the Cowboys makes you wonder if Ahmad Bradshaw violated curfew again.
UGLY: Mark Sanchez. Need there be anything more said?
UGLY: The Jets offensive line false started five times in the first half in a quiet stadium in the 17th week of the season. Good job keeping 'em disciplined, Rex.
GOOD: We started on this point and we're going to close on it. The Giants saved their best for last, which either extends their maddening inconsistent streak or means they are peaking at the right time. We'll start finding out next Sunday against Atlanta.