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Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Win

Convincing 26-3 win in San Francisco puts Giants back into the elite class

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    An emphatic spike for an emphatic win.

    After all of the cheering and celebrating died down in the wake of the Giants' overwhelming 26-3 victory over the 49ers on Sunday, there was one thought left to kick around minds. 

    What's Tom Coughlin going to do now? 

    About the only negative outcome of Sunday's win is that Coughlin will now have to find a new motivational tool for a team that everyone believes in now that they handed such a thorough beatdown on a certified contender in a road game. It will take at least two more bad losses for the Giants to even whisper about being an overlooked or underrated team. 

    It should go without saying that this is a nice problem to have. The Giants will probably spend the week kvetching about being 0-2 in their division and finding miniscule things wrong from the win, but they can't keep playing the same chip on their shoulder that they rode into San Francisco. 

    Frankly, a team this good shouldn't need any such motivation to bring out their best play. It remains a baffling part of this Giants team that they seem to be incapable of playing to their potential without some perceived slight from the outside world, but you'd rather have the talent without the motivation than the alternative. 

    Everything about the rest of the day was awfully rosy for the Giants as you'll see in our rundown of the rest of the good, bad and ugly from Sunday. 

    GOOD: The play of the offensive line against the Browns was impressive, but it barely registers compared to what they pulled off yesterday. The leap in defensive quality was immense and the Giants line was just about flawless on a day when every phase of the offense clicked. 

    BAD: If you want to really nitpick, you could quibble with the Giants' failure to do more with the two interceptions they got in the third quarter. It's hard to question their desire to take risks when the potential downside was allowing the 49ers back into the game, though. 

    GOOD: The Giants pass rush slept through the first five weeks of the season, but sprang to life with six sacks on Sunday. The impetus was some schematic changes from Perry Fewell, including playing Adrian Tracy on the edge, and perhaps a sign that this year's Giants defense won't and can't just rely on the front four to wreak havoc.

    UGLY: This is the new and improved Alex Smith? His first pick allowed the Giants to get into the game and his other two made it impossible for the 49ers to come back, which is probably why people are talking about potential quarterback changes in San Francisco. 

    GOOD: While the Giants' claim to be outraged by the amount of talking other teams do is undermined by the fact that they rarely seem to be keeping their own mouths shut, they never seem to follow up the constant stream of chatter with anything but a good performance. That's a good quality to have and one that makes you think Coughlin will be able to find some kind of motivational tool even with his favorite one banned for the near future. 

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