Bob Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He was Newsday's football writer covering the Jets
All things considered, the Giants have to consider themselves fortunate to go into their bye week with a 4-2 record and the likelihood that several injured players will be available when they face the Dolphins at home Oct. 30.
Then again, had it not been for that meltdown against Seattle last week, just imagine how much better things would have looked. Or look at it the way Justin Tuck, who missed his third straight game Sunday with a neck injury, sees it: "We think we should be 6-0," Tuck said, "but that's not the case."
Even so, the Giants should be delighted to be 4-2 after Sunday's 27-24 win over the Bills. After all, had they not gotten a lucky break on an official's call in Arizona two weeks ago, and had Eli Manning's goal-line pass been intercepted and not knocked down by Buffalo cornerback Leodis McKelvin, this team easily could be 2-4.
First place in the NFC East at the bye? After all that roster turnover before training camp? And all those Dream Team free-agent signings in Philly? And all those preseason injuries? And the in-season ones, too?
Job well done, fellas. Enjoy the respite . . . at least until the next season-altering turn of events, which you know will happen somewhere down the road. After all, it's never easy with Tom Coughlin's Giants.
As was the case when they held off the Bills after a shaky start that included surrendering two early touchdowns on botched defensive plays.
They fought back nicely by applying a heavy pass rush on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was sacked as many times (three) as he had been by the Bills' first five opponents combined. Add in two terrific interceptions by Corey Webster, whose fourth-quarter pick near the goal line kept the score tied at 24. And throw in the efficient passing of Manning and the gritty running of Ahmad Bradshaw, who had a career-high three touchdowns to go with 104 rushing yards.
"I love winning before a bye, because it's just a long two weeks [if a team loses] where you're thinking about what you could have done, where you needed to get better," said Manning, who didn't have any interceptions after throwing three against the Seahawks. "4-2, feel like we're in a good spot."
They are. And not just because of the record. After the bye, they're likely to get several injured players back, including Tuck, running back Brandon Jacobs (knee), cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot) and wide receiver Ramses Barden (ankle).
For Tuck, it can't come soon enough. "I'm not looking at the George Washington Bridge and having funny thoughts about jumping off it anymore," he cracked after the game. "I'm playing against Miami."
When reminded that he has made similar proclamations about previous games, only to miss four of the team's first six, Tuck said: "Look in my eyes. Look at my face. I . . . am . . . playing . . . against . . . Miami."
It is a testament to how well the pass rush has performed without Tuck that he actually feels somewhat awkward about returning. In the four games he has missed, the Giants have 17 sacks; in the two he played, they had four. "Hopefully, I can come back and add to that," he said. "I hope I won't be a distraction or anything of that nature."
Tuck, arguably the Giants' best defensive player, a distraction? "We're rushing the passer very well," Tuck said. "JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] is having a breakout year. Osi [Umenyiora] is having another breakout year. I don't want to be that guy they think they have to throw out there in passing situations and it messes up our rhythm."
No worries. Just rest up and be ready. It won't be easy. After Miami, there are no gimmes left. Enjoy first place, because there's plenty of time for more drama. You know it's coming.