Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cruz Control

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cruz Control

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - The Giants opened the regular season with a significant victory of which the centerpiece was Victor Cruz's return to the NFL.

This one was all about redemption, and not just for Cruz but for the entire team, and in every facet.

Cruz took a potential crushing late-game interception from the hands of Saints cornerback Ken Crawley, and that 34-yard reception set up Josh Brown's winning field goal from 23 yards as time expired in the Giants' 16-13 triumph before 77,727 at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants have opened the regular season with two victories for the first time since 2009. Only two players from that team were in uniform Sunday (Eli Manning, Zak DeOssie) and Cruz was a senior at Massachusetts back then -- not a Super Bowl champion and former Pro Bowl wide receiver looking to punctuate his comeback to the Meadowlands with another decisive catch.

"He fought for that ball, for us to win that game, and that's what this team is about right now: fighting and finishing," guard Justin Pugh said of Cruz, whose 3-yard touchdown catch was the game- winner in the Giants' Week 1 victory over the Cowboys. "That's two games in a row that we've finished with huge plays. Beat Dallas by 1; they beat us by 1 last year. Come back and beat the Saints by a last-second field goal; they beat us by a field goal last year.

"It's the Redemption Tour, man. We're working our way back. When we thought we had a real chance to make a run in the division last year, the Redskins beat us and took off, so looking forward to the next stop on the tour."

A year after losing a shootout in New Orleans in which the teams combined for 101 points, the Giants (2-0) repeatedly shot themselves in the foot offensively Sunday in what turned into a grind-it-out affair. They committed three turnovers in the first half -- including a fumble by Cruz in the open field after his 40-yard catch- and-run -- and failed twice to get in the end zone with seven chances inside the 11.

But Manning, Cruz and the Giants rallied again for what stands as their 30th fourth-quarter comeback in the career of their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback.

Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. …

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