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Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Win

It wasn't easy, but the Giants got their first divisional win of the season

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    "Better Late Than Never" would be a good title for Eli's memoirs.

    There's an old saying about the NBA that argues one only needs to watch the final five minutes of a basketball game to see the part that matters. 

    Giants games haven't been reduced quite so much, but it's starting to feel like a gigantic waste of time to watch their contests until the fourth quarter. After all, what's the point of allowing the knots in your stomach to grow larger and larger while watching stuff that turns out to be totally inconsequential?

    No one is spending much time thinking about Eli Manning firing wide to an open Victor Cruz in the end zone or his two awful interceptions that kept the Redskins in the game after that 77-yard game-winner to Cruz at the end of the game. It doesn't much matter that the heroics were only necessary because Manning had been off his game, because the NFL is about the final score and the Giants wound up on the right side of it. 

    You can feel free to complain about the continually bizarre play calling by Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride when the team is leading games in the closing minutes, but only if you're also going to pay short shrift to Manning's ability to deliver the strike the Giants needed to win the game.

    The Giants have decided to live or die based on Manning's ability to deliver and that's going to mean they pass the ball when you might like them to run. 

    It's time to just get used to it and accept that Manning is able to make up for all kinds of bad coaching, bad blocking, bad defense and even bad quarterbacking in a matter of plays near the end of the game. The glories are worth the agonies. 

    Manning was bad and ugly for most of Sunday's game, but he was very good on the play that wound up deciding the result. Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly from Sunday. 

    GOOD: Jason Pierre-Paul is having fun again, as evidenced by the gangnam style dances that followed both of his sacks. In general, the Giants' pass rush is back to being lively and that made a huge difference in creating the four turnovers that helped save the day in the Meadowlands. 

    BAD: Pierre-Paul's aforementioned dancing needs to wait until plays are actually over. One of his teammates recovered the fumble JPP caused on his second sack, but a different bounce while JPP danced could have led to a different result on Sunday. 

    UGLY: The run defense improved a bit in the second half, but it was another bad day on that front overall. The Giants were clearly confused by the myriad looks the Redskins gave them, but they were also rather easily blocked by the Washington line. 

    GOOD: Fault the Redskins for not keeping a safety over the top on the game-winner, but credit Cruz for continually getting clean releases at the line of scrimmage when teams try to press him. The improvement has been so steady that there's no longer surprise about anything Cruz brings to the table. 

    GOOD: Michael Boley didn't make too many plays that jumped off the screen, but he made a variety of them over the course of the day and provided a reminder of how important he was to last year's success. If Chris Canty can also recover his mojo now that's returned to action, the Giants defense will be in much better shape. 

    GOOD: Robert Griffin III's arrival revitalized football in D.C. and it took one game for him to revitalize the long slumbering rivalry with the Giants. Superlatives rain down when talking about RGIII and his play only guarantees that many more are coming for a player who, much like Manning, did everything he could to get his team a win on a day when he made some early mistakes. 

    RGIII's presence, and that of rookie running back Alfred Morris, promises more games like this to come. As long as Manning keeps being the guy to land the final blow that should work out just fine for the Giants and everybody watching. 

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