At first glance, yesterday’s Giant’s 29-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers looked like the kind of unimpressive win we’ve all seen before — prior to last years playoff run. The kind of win that could have been, and would have been, and should have been, a lot more convincing.
The Giants still seem a too enamored of the passing success they found against the Seahawks and it looks like they keep trying to recreate it each week; first against the Browns and yesterday against the 49ers, too often forcing the ball to Plaxico Burress.
They seem to forget a running attack that averages about 6.5 yards per touch and pounds the opposition into submission. They had 11 penalties. And, then there was Plaxico’s T.O.esque meltdown. Ucch, how stupid! The Giants let the 49ers hang around too long and, if not for 3 Frisco turnovers, the game could easily have gone the other way. But, that’s at first glance.
A second glance might remind us that a win is a win and not chopped liver. NFL wins don’t come easily — check out Dallas and Philly and New England.
The Giants did sack J.T. O’Sullivan 6 times while holding Frank Gore, to a measly 11 yards on 11 carries — and the whole team to 35 yards rushing. And the Giants won with 2 backup linebackers. The Giants are 5-1 and still very much on track for the playoffs. Which means they recovered nicely after having been embarrassed last week in Cleveland.
In pro sports, most team wins aren’t blowouts. They aren’t all no-hitters just like most boxing wins aren’t all knockouts. The opponent usually scores some points, too and more often than not, the other guy hits back.
What’s important is the consistent — even if unspectacular — compilation of split decisions and one run ‘squeakers’ that lead to championships. Every team facing the Giants this year has — and will — bring their ‘A’ game. So, maybe a second glance tells us the win over the self-destructive 49ers deserves a bit more credit than it’s receiving.
All that said, however, the really tough part of the schedule begins next week in Pittsburgh; 10 games against the some of the best teams in the NFL.
The Giants simply can’t be sloppy against better opposition — again, see Dallas — and if they manage to go 7-3 or 6-4 or even 5-5 over that period, they’ll be 12-4 or 11-5 or 10-6 and will, most likely make the playoffs. And, if those next 5 or 6 or 7 victories aren’t blowouts or massacres, it won’t matter because the ultimate goal is the playoffs.
So, while — at first glance — we might not be particularly impressed with yesterday’s less than stellar Giants win, we should remember what some old guy out in Oakland once said — before he went senile and while his teams were racking up championships — “Just win, baby! Just win!”