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Giants content to keep winning ugly

"I'll take an ugly win versus playing good and losing any day," Keith Hamilton said. <BR><BR>

Amen to that.

The Giants looked like world-beaters at times against the Jets. They also looked like the same ol' Giants at others.

You know what? It really doesn't matter. They came up with the win – pretty, ugly or otherwise – and they're now right back in the thick of the NFC East race.

A loss would have done Big Blue in; now they're .500 and readying to face an undermanned 1-7 Falcons club led by former Giants coach Dan Reeves, who has been stuck on 199 career victories practically all season. Yes it's despicable to blow a 14-point lead in the final quarter. It's also leading a charmed life to get two opportunities in overtime to win a ballgame.

That's just what the Giants did. They fought for close to 75 minutes and came away victorious. That's the name of the game, folks. Unlike college football, you don't get any extra points for winning big or pretty, and you don't lose any for blowing leads or stumbling to the finish line.

However, this style of play is going to take years off the head coach's life.

"This is making an old man out of me real quick," said Jim Fassel, who was very pleased with his club's attitude and effort.

"I don't think anybody put their head down or anybody quit. We're no different than anybody else. We're going to have to fight our way through tough times. We just have to dig ourselves out of a hole one shovel at a time. And don't anyone get tired."

"No one asked me for the day off (Monday). That shows me they're right where they should be."

At 2-4 and headed to Minnesota to face the unbeaten Vikings, then matching up with the Chad Pennington-led Jets, no one really gave the Giants a legitimate chance at evening their mark at 4-4. But they certainly did.

"Our team persevered," Omar Stoutmire said. "It says a lot about the character of this team."

"It was the first time this year that we did believe that we could finish and we finished," Michael Strahan said. "We did whatever it took to finish it and guys made big plays when we needed it. Will Allen at the end with that blocked kick was huge for us. The offense moved the ball down the field at the end and made it look easy. I'm glad that we have them on our side and I'm glad that they played well today."

Tiki Barber said the Giants benefited from some of the craziness they endured earlier in the season.

"I guess we are learning from going through these things in the past but it was a tough game," Barber said. "You have to give the Jets credit because down the stretch after our defense had played well all day, they found a way to get in the end zone and push it into overtime. It was nerve-wracking to say the least but we pulled it out.

"We thought we had the game in hand and they worked back. To persevere through it is a testament to the character of this team because it is easy to fold; once the momentum changes in this league it is hard to get it back. It is easy to fold – we could have folded but we didn't, we fought through it as a team and we came out on top."

As usual, New York's signal-caller was proud of his troops.

"However we have to do it we have to do it," Kerry Collins said. "That's one thing throughout all of this, I'm proud of our guys, we kept our heads and we haven't lost our composure. We easily could have lost our composure out there, being up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, they come back, overtime, the missed field goal. There are a lot of things that could have caused us to lose our composure and I'm really proud of the way our guys hung in there. Like I said we did what we needed to do."

Collins gave a lot of the credit for the modest two-game winning streak to Fassel.

"Jim is very good at keeping us going in the right direction," he said. "There were times this year when we could have cashed it in and gone down the tubes, but we didn't." That's because Fassel wouldn't let them. Just like he wouldn't – and won't – let them quit. "If we're not good enough, then we're not good enough," Fassel said. "But there will be no surrendering."

* * * Michael Strahan appeared to be the only Giant to even feel the least bit sorry for his Jets counterparts. Strahan is very friendly with several members of Gang Green, including Wayne Chrebet, whom Strahan lists as one of his best friends.

"We said it was a game for the fans and it was; they got their money's worth today," Strahan said. "It definitely is a game for the fans, but you want to win. But at the same time after a game like this I feel really badly that those guys have to lose. I have a lot of friends over there and I know the season has been tough for them. The Giants won the game today, but you have to take your hats off to them because those guys are fighters."

Jim Fassel was thrilled with the Giants representation in what was a 'home' game for the Jets.

"The Giants fans were loud; you could hear it," he said.

Two of Big Blue's offensive stars admitted afterward that it was a special game, a point that everyone on both sides tried to downplay during the week prior.

"It was a really fun game, just the hoopla surrounding it," Kerry Collins said. "Two teams who have struggled and are trying to get back into it. The Jet fans who I think are some of the most passionate fans and they really made it a fun game. The way the game went, the way we both fought and it just turned out to be a really fun game."

"It was a very unique game to say the least," Tiki Barber said. "One, it was in our stadium but it was all Jets fans – but there were a lot of Giants fans there too. I think it turned out like the 'Gangs of New York' with battles back and forth, back and forth. No one ever really got the upper hand. They made mistakes but they overcame those and then in overtime when it came down to it we made the plays we had to to win it."


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