EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. No sweat.
That was the feeling in the perspiration-free Giants locker room after Sunday's 26-23 overtime victory against Cincinnati.
No, it wasn't as easy as some had predicted it might be, and the hapless Bengals showed some oomph on both offense and defense for the first time this season. But these aren't the Giants of a year or so ago, the ones who hadn't proven their mettle.
These are the Super Bowl-tested Giants. So a Week 3 game against the Bengals in which they trail 20-16 with 4 minutes, 39 seconds left in the game?
“I don't think I was nervous the whole fourth (quarter), the last drive, the overtime,” receiver Amani Toomer said. “It was kind of like, we've done it so many times.
“Nervous,” he added, “is for the fans watching.”
So it was without so much as a pursed lip that the Giants made another fourth-quarter comeback and another overtime victory seem rather routine.
Eli Manning hit Kevin Boss for a 4-yard touchdown pass that capped a nine-play drive to give the Giants a 23-20 lead with 1:50 remaining, and even after the Bengals kicked a field goal at the end of regulation to send it to overtime and the teams swapped short possessions, the Giants simply went 62 yards in seven plays and set up John Carney's winning kick from 22 yards.
“It's something you can't really coach, you can't teach,” Manning said of performing under what others might consider pressure. “For some reason, when it's clutch time and we need to make some plays, we tend to find a way to make plays.”
In this seven-game winning streak, the Giants have now trailed in the fourth quarter in three of them and managed to beat the Packers in overtime of the NFC Championship Game. What makes a team good at coming from behind?
“I don't know,” Manning said, “and I don't know if I want to know.”
The answer, more and more, is becoming Manning himself. After a lackluster three quarters in which the Giants tried to run the ball against the Bengals' stacked-up defense and Manning completed 14 of 25 passes for 147 yards, the quarterback took over in the fourth quarter and overtime. In those four possessions, he completed 12 of 18 passes for 142 yards.
“He's our general, he's our captain,” running back Derrick Ward said of Manning. “He's who we follow behind.”
Back in action after his admitted incorrect call last week, NFL referee Ed Hochuli worked Sunday's game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Hochuli's call last Sunday played a key role in Denver's 39-38 win against San Diego
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was taken to the locker room with an ankle injury in the second quarter of Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.
Westbrook appeared to injure his right leg while hurdling a teammate. He limped off the field and was attended to on the sideline before walking to the locker room.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher tied Sid Gillman with 123 career wins – 26th on the all-time list.
Rams defensive end Leonard Little was out with a hamstring injury. Rookie Chris Long moved to left end, and James Hall started at right end. Starting offensive guard Jacob Bell (hamstring) was also out, giving Adam Goldberg the start.
Koren Robinson's return for Seattle will have to wait at least two more weeks. The former No.1 draft choice signed out of his house in North Carolina on Tuesday was inactive with a knee injury suffered in practice Wednesday.
A CT scan on Ravens safety Dawan Landry indicated that he was OK after being taken from the field on a cart Sunday after taking a knee to the helmet during the second quarter against Cleveland. Landry was hurt trying to tackle Jamal Lewis, whose knee hit Landry in the head.
Washington's Santana Moss has a touchdown catch in six straight games (including last year's playoff game), tying Bobby Mitchell's franchise record set in 1964.
Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez had three catches for 35 yards, leaving him 50 yards from breaking Shannon Sharpe's NFL record of 10,060 yards receiving for a tight end.
This marks the first time a team other than New England is on top of the AFC East since Week4 of 2005, when Miami was 2-1 and the Patriots were 2-2.
Raiders defensive tackle Gerard Warren did not return after suffering a neck injury in the second half.
Bills left tackle Jason Peters was briefly benched in the second quarter after being beaten by Kalimba Edwards, who forced a fumble by Trent Edwards. Peters was playing his second game since ending his offseason-long holdout.
Get a pie. And get in line.
The Lions are becoming the NFL's answer to banana cream in the face, a clown at a carnival, the mule you kick, the man you dunk by throwing a baseball at a lever and – splash! – down he goes.
Take a number, take your shot. The two men doing the shooting Sunday were guys who used to work for this franchise but got out, former Lions, also known as “lucky ducks.”
Mike Martz used to coach the Lions' offense and J.T. O Sullivan used to ride the bench as a backup quarterback. Both were let go last season; Martz with a firing, O'Sullivan without an offer.
And here they were with the 49ers on Sunday, already ahead by 15 points, and sitting on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The safe bet is to kick the field goal, make it a three-score lead.
But why bet safe when you know the outcome?
Detroit Free Press
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