Winners and Losers From the Giants' 19-17 Win vs. Cincinnati

Who stood out one way or the other in the Giants win over the Bengals?
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The Giants are in first place in the NFC East.

This is not a drill or a typo, either. It is a fact. The Giants--New York Giants--are in first place in the NFC East.

Now, as defensive back Logan Ryan pointed out, so what? That could easily change after the Monday Night Football meeting between the Eagles and the Seahawks. It could change next week or the week after. No one really knows.

What we do know is that, for the most part, the Giants have indeed made progress and gotten better as a team. They're also now in a position where they are playing meaningful football games in this last month of the season.

If that's not something to celebrate after spending most of the last decade trying to get through one miserable season after another, then I don't know what is.

Winners

Colt McCoy: Players always talk about being ready at all times if their number is called. Well, credit veteran McCoy, who is probably one of the most underrated backups in football, for being ready to step in when Daniel Jones strained his hamstring. McCoy didn't do anything spectacular in his 30 game snaps, and other than for him running out of bounds to give the Bengals an extra timeout, he also didn't do anything that hurt the team.

Niko Lalos: Lalos only played eight snaps on defense, but he made as many as possible count. Lalos had an interception, and he was also the one who disrupted the tight end, which allowed Logan Ryan to force and then recover a fumble.

Cam Brown: If Cam Brown doesn't make that tackle on the Bengals final punt return (the one that went for 29 yards), chances are Adam Erickson would have gone all the way, and we'd be talking about a much different outcome. Good heads up hustle by the rookie.

Wayne Gallman: I have been saying for years that I like how Wayne Gallman runs, and a big reason I say that is his ability to get yards after contact. This week, 76 of his 94 rushing yards came after contact as Gallman continues to prove that the previous coaching staff made a huge mistake in trying to bury him on the depth chart.

The Offensive Line: I think it's safe to say that any concerns about a position coach switch made in mid-season can be put to rest, as the Giants offensive linemen allowed just three total pressures (and no sacks among them). Among those pitching complete shutouts this week, according to PFF: left tackle Andrew Thomas, center Nick Gates, and guards Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux.

Losers

Cam Fleming: Three penalties, including two on third down? Come on, man.

The Kickoff and Punt Coverage Teams: Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the special teams meeting room this week, as you know head coach Joe Judge, he of the special teams background, is going to have some choice words for a kickoff coverage team that gave up a 103-yard return for a touchdown that tied the game in the first quarter, and a punt coverage team that were it not for Cam Brown, came dangerously close to losing the game for them when they couldn't contain punt returner Adam Erickson on his final punt.

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