By Paul Dottino
It was the Giants’ most complete game of the season.
Coach Tom Coughlin was so pleased with the team’s fourth straight win that he allowed them to have a “victory Monday” — which means they were allowed to circumvent their usual full work day following a game.
Indeed, the 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers still was not perfect, by any means, but it was a strong, unified and sound effort in all three phases that has put the Giants smack in the middle of the race for the NFC East at 4-6 with the Dallas Cowboys (5-5) coming in this weekend. As long as we’re scoreboard watching, the first-place Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) have a bye week.
GAME BALLS — OFFENSE
Wide receiver Victor Cruz: He registered his first 100-yard game in six tries after reaching the mark in three of the first four contests this season. The Packers tried a variety of coverages, but his precision route-running resulted in eight catches (on 11 targets) for 110 yards. He was responsible for four first downs, including two third-down conversions. His most critical catch came with five minutes left in the third — a 25-yard grab near the right sideline in traffic on 3rd and 4 that brought the Giants to the Packers’ 32 — on the third play of a 10-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that put the Giants up 20-6.
GAME BALLS — DEFENSE
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: No fooling. More than one player admitted that JPP predicted his game-sealing interception for a touchdown in the huddle before he picked off Scott Tolzien and raced 24 yards into the end zone to end the scoring with 10:49 left in the game. JPP lined up at right end and correctly read a pass intended for tight end Anthony Quarless in the left flat, stood up in the passing lane, grabbed the ball and raced to the goal line with the Giants’ first defensive touchdown of the season.
GAME BALLS — SPECIAL TEAMS
Linebacker Spencer Paysinger: It’s been a horrible season for this unit, but Paysinger made one of the biggest stops of the winning streak when he tripped up M.D. Jennings a bit short of a first down during a fake punt on 4th and 7 from the Giants’ 43. Trailing 13-6, the Packers started at their own 13 and methodically marched seven plays into Giants territory before setting up to punt. A penalty on Louis Murphy (see below) gave them a second chance to think about it and they opted to run a fake — with Jennings taking off around the right side and he would have made it if not for Paysinger reaching out to make an athletic stop.
GASSERS — OFFENSE
Wide receiver Louis Murphy: Eli Manning, as usual, will never point a finger at a teammate, but it certainly looked as if Murphy was responsible for an interception inside the Green Bay 15 with less than four minutes left in the half. On 3rd and 11, Manning fired a bullet to the outside and Murphy turned inside, which allowed defensive back Tramon Williams to stretch out for an interception that kept the Packers only down 10-3.
GASSERS — DEFENSE
Corner Trumaine McBride: He played a solid game, but bit on Jarrett Boykin’s stop-and-go route in the fourth quarter that turned into a 52-yard completion to the Giants 13, setting up an Eddie Lacy touchdown that cut the lead to 20-13.
GASSERS — SPECIAL TEAMS
Murphy: Not good. He made contact with punter Tim Masthay’s leg on a 4th and 12 from the Giants 48 with seven minutes left in the third quarter. It resulted in a five-yard penalty, but Paysinger bailed out Murphy by stopping the ensuing fake punt.
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