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Are the Giants ready to take the next step?


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Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress (below) have great chemistry this year, but Manning says he'd like to play from ahead after two comeback wins in three games.

 

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Read Ralph Vacchiano's The Blue Screen

 

Being labeled the Comeback Kid isn't so bad for Eli Manning. He would just prefer the Giants didn't have to keep coming back all the time. Despite the excitement of three straight wins, Manning knows the Giants (3-2) are playing a dangerous game since two of those victories came after they trailed in the fourth quarter.

 

That's good, since it means they have been at their best when it matters most. But it also means they've gotten off to maddeningly slow starts in each of those games, especially on offense. They just wish they could somehow get things started earlier in their games. "No, you don't want to be known as (a slow-starting team)," Manning said yesterday, one day after he engineered a come-from-behind 35-24 win over the Jets. "But I think it's also good to be known as a team that in the fourth quarter they're playing at their best.

 

Usually that's where you're going to win games." That's exactly what the Giants weren't doing during their 0-2 start, when they were outscored in the fourth quarter 35-16. In the three games since, they've won the fourth quarters 28-3. And that's nothing new to Manning and the Giants. Since he took over as the team's starting quarterback midway through the 2004 season, he has overcome fourth-quarter deficits to tie the game or take the lead in 10 of his 44 starts. That would be an impressive total, except that the Giants won only six of those 10 games.

 

"We don't want to have to rely on (coming back) all the time," Manning said. "You'd like to go out there and build a lead to where you can run the ball and control the clock. We've got to work on coming out there and being sharp and playing better in the first half."

 

"We shouldn't have to play that way to win a football game in the fourth quarter," added Plaxico Burress. "We should have that attitude from the opening kickoff and not have to go in at halftime and make adjustments. We should start the game fast, the way we ended it. If we could start games the way we ended it, who knows how good we can be?"

 

That question nagged at them in the aftermath of the victory over the Jets, considering they trailed 17-7 at the half and 24-21 in the fourth quarter. One big reason for the slow start was that Burress admitted to being "real ginger" on his sprained right ankle in a first half in which he had no catches and Manning was just 3-for-10 for 22 yards. In the second half, Burress said, "Screw it. I'm just going to go out and play and see what happens." He finished with five catches for 123 yards and that highlight-reel, 53-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter on which he stiff-armed Jets cornerback Andre Dyson just six yards into the play. His ability to bounce back from a shaky start was impressive.

 

Tom Coughlin felt the same way about his entire team. "There is great confidence that comes out of that," Coughlin said. "But as I told them at the end of the game, we certainly don't need to spot the other guy a 17-7 (lead)." "I think we'd like to come out and get a better start and find a way to be more in sync in the first half,"

 

Manning said. "But we're fighting. We're not getting frustrated. We're not getting down, and that's good to see." "When we have to go out and play, we go out and play," Burress added. "When we need to go out and do something, we do it. But it shouldn't have to be that way all the time."

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It's all about the defense. Let's hope they keep getting better every week, and perform this way against a good offense. I don't want to take anything away from them, but these last 3 opponents are not exactly offensive juggernauts, and Philly was without Westbrook and a played backup LT. I think Washington is the best of the 3 offensively, but they have a rookie QB. We need to keep the heat on these weaker teams and gain confidence for Nov. 21st, when the 'Boys come to town.

 

The offense, I think, will be fine. Having Jacobs back there with Ward running well should open up endless play action opportunities for Eli and Plax. We need some speed at WR though. What's up with Moss?? We need to run, run, run, and run some more, keep the defense fresh so they will have their chances to attack aggressively when the game is in the balance.

 

We need better kickoff and punt returns too. The shorter the field, the better.

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No, because consistency is something Giants football is never about. Maybe they are ready for the thext step if they go into the bye 6-2 (like a good team would, fall for no traps) and then STOMP the Cowboys at home after the bye. Then, they'll be a legit SB contender. Anything less is weak and they'll be one and done again if they are that lucky.

 

Tynes/Alford will cost us a game this year and the WHOLE special team unit needs to get FUCKTONS better.

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No, because consistency is something Giants football is never about. Maybe they are ready for the thext step if they go into the bye 6-2 (like a good team would, fall for no traps) and then STOMP the Cowboys at home after the bye. Then, they'll be a legit SB contender. Anything less is weak and they'll be one and done again if they are that lucky.

 

Tynes/Alford will cost us a game this year and the WHOLE special team unit needs to get FUCKTONS better.

 

 

For the life of me I can't understand why we seem to always have field goal/snapper problems...it seems like it's every season!

 

I guess letting go of Jay Feely, who is right up at the top of the field goal kicking pack, and the other snapper getting injured has a lot to do with it.

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