Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Air of Confidence

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Air of Confidence

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- The Giants started talking quietly amongst themselves at halftime about which player would step up and turn around the game.

The Raiders had just stunned the MetLife Stadium crowd of 80,366 with Tracy Porter's interception of Eli Manning that he returned for a touchdown and a three-point lead with 1:18 left in the second quarter.

The fans responded by chasing the Giants off the field with boos, an obvious reminder of how slim the margin for error remains following their historically bad 0-6 start.

Then Tom Coughlin entered the locker room and changed the mood.

Coughlin's message was short and sweet, yet not without impact, summed up after the game in the words of linebacker Jon Beason like this: "Hey, this is our house. We know we're better than this. We're leaving plays out there. Let's go out and take it."

Not just a missive from their head coach for the remainder of Sunday's 24-20 triumph over the Raiders during which the Giants rallied, but the lingering sentiment for the rest of the second half of what once was a seemingly lost season.

It was the third straight win for the Giants (3-6), who returned from their bye and overcame nearly three quarters of sluggish play to remain in contention in the NFC East.

The Raiders (3-6) turned their three turnovers - a fumble by Jerrel Jernigan on the opening kickoff and another by Peyton Hillis, not to mention Manning's league-worst 16th interception - into 17 points.

"We did everything we could to give it away in the first half in all three phases," Beason said.

The fact the Giants actually have a season worth saving is remarkable enough, considering how flawed they have been. The NFC East is not running away; in fact, with the Cowboys losing 49-17 in New Orleans on Sunday night, the Giants find themselves just 1 1/2 games out of first place behind Dallas (5-5) and Philadelphia (5-5) and tied with Washington (3-6). The Giants play Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers next Sunday and, if they can win, with Dallas on a bye, they'll be in position to pull even with the Cowboys when the two meet at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 24. The Eagles host the Redskins next before their Nov. …

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