Quick Take: Giants 26, Bengals 23
The Bengals let the Giants off the hook at the end of regulation with questionable clock management. Sort of stunned it didn't come up on the broadcast. The Bengals are sitting there with a timeout in their pocket, and Carson Palmer throws an underneath pass to the 4-yard line instead of throwing in the end zone. It's not like Shayne Graham needed four or five more yards to make the field goal.
That said, Eli Manning led two brilliant drives, one at the end of regulation and another on the second possession of overtime. He spent a lot of time in training camp working on the deep ball, but he missed a wide-open Domenik Hixon in overtime. But instead of being rattled, he came back and threw a brilliant pass to Amani Toomer on the sideline.
The Giants dodged another bullet on that tipped pass that hung in the air forever. It was a valiant effort by the Bengals, and it's too bad they didn't use good judgment at the end of regulation. T.J. Houshmandzadeh ended up having a huge afternoon, despite the fact that Carson Palmer was sacked six times.
At some point, we need to start talking about Giants defensive tackle Fred Robbins. He had two more sacks today and he's been dominant at times this season. That's why defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can afford to be so creative with how he deploys defensive end Justin Tuck.
Some of you might expect Tom Coughlin to be upset that his team barely beat the Bengals. But I don't think that's the case. Palmer and Houshmandzadeh exposed some weaknesses in the Giants. And kudos to Chris Perry for continuing to pound the ball into the line even when nothing was there.
Derrick Ward came to the Giants' rescue today with nine carries for 80 yards and three catches for 26 yards. The Bengals did an excellent job stacking up Brandon Jacobs. Oh, and Ahmad Bradshaw only had two carries. Coughlin can't seem to find a way to work him into the rotation. In the long run, getting pushed like this will make the Giants a better team.
Can't say enough about how well the Bengals played, though.