In common sport's vernacular, the New York Giants got off the schneid last night, playing cleaner football than they had previously this season, en route to a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.
According to Giants.com, New York Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin had this to say when asked if his team needed its first win, "Do I have to describe that? We needed it all along. The guys have been really great. We take a Monday, we look at the game and we don’t pull any punches and then we start to build it back up on Wednesday. It’ll be good to win and correct. That’s always been a much better way to teach."
In typical Gaints fashion, New York teased its fans by engineering a 17-play, 68-yard drive that consumed the first 9:36 of the game, that only resulted in a Josh Brown 35-yard field goal as the G-men took a 3-0 lead. Eli Manning had a fade pattern go off the finger tips of Hakeem Nicks at the goal line, so New York had to settle for a consolation field goal.
Who could blame Giant fans for mumbling to themselves, as poor special teams play once again put Big Blue behind the eight ball. The Vikings' Marcus Sherels returned a Steve Weatherford punt 86 yards late in the first to put the Vikes ahead 7-3. Weatherford was flagged for a questionable horse collar tackle call at the end of the punt, but he was the only Giant to not give up on the play either.
It was the third time that New York has given up a punt return for a touchdown in seven games this season.
The fans at MetLife Stadium were undoubtedly waiting for the other shoe to drop, as the G-men have been less than stellar in overcoming adversity this year. But a Manning to Rueben Randle 24-yard touchdown catch gave New York a 10-7 halftime lead.
Sherels returned the favor to the Giants, by dropping a sure-fire pick six, and providing a gift to New York by causing his own fumble on the three yard line. Newly signed Peyton Hillis then scored from one yard out to increase New York's lead to 17-7, midway through the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier's decision to start newly signed Josh Freeman at quarterback hurt Minnesota's chances at a comeback. Freeman looked the same as he did at the helm of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by going 20-53 for 190 yards and one interception.
Freeman's 40.1 quarterback rating was only surpassed in ineptitude by his 37.7 completion percentage. With Frazier's dubious decision announced on Wednesday last week, New York's defensive game plan centered around stopping Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson and making Freeman beat them.
Peterson only rushed for 28 yards, and Freeman consistently missed receivers all night.
Two fourth quarter Josh Brown field goals from 23 and 36 yards, cemented the Giants first win of the season 23-7.
Coughlin was forthright with the media after the game taking seven weeks to gain the team's first victory of the 2013 NFL campaign. The super bowl winning head coach said, "I feel really good about our guys. I’m happy for our coaches, happy for our players, happy for our owners. We’ve got to move on. Again, it’s not about me, but I sure do feel good winning."
Up next for New York is a trip down the New Jersey Turnpike to meet division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, who may be down to third-string quarterback Matt Barkley for the contest.