Giants' offense finally hits top gear

Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz celebrate Hicks' touchdown

Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz celebrate Hicks' touchdown in the first half of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Sept. 16, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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Victor Cruz wasn't keeping track of the numbers while the game was going on, but as the Giants offense kicked into overdrive against the Bucs in the fourth quarter Sunday, he could sense there was definitely some magic on the field.

"You can get that feeling that we accomplished something big here, and you can just tell by how the game was flowing that it was going to be one of those games where it was going to be a high passing yards game," Cruz said. "Us as receivers, we're just making plays every time we touch the football, and that was a good feeling. You kind of get the feeling that it was going to be something special at the end."

It turned out to be historic. The Giants churned out 604 yards, 510 passing, and got 25 of their 41 points in the fourth quarter. No Giants team had compiled those kinds of numbers in more than six decades.

Now the Giants are going to try to do it again four days later.

Not that anyone expects such an outpouring of offense for a second week in a row. But after it took seven quarters of football for the Giants to finally start playing up to their potential, the key will be maintaining it.

"It definitely was a confidence builder,'' Cruz said, "and it definitely was a game that we needed to win and get some momentum." He had 11 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown and is tied for the NFL lead in receiving yardage (237) with teammate Hakeem Nicks.

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Eli Manning, who led the comeback from a 27-13 deficit by throwing for 239 yards in the fourth quarter, said it's important to recognize there will be little carry-over from one game to the next. Build the bridge was supposed to be the season's theme, but on a week-to-week basis, he said, not so much.

"You still have to go out there and perform this week," he said. "It's a different defense, they have different styles, they do different things. Everybody just has to know their assignments, and hopefully, the guys can continue to get open, and I'll try and hit them."

Manning said he didn't have much time to celebrate his historic day. By the time he came in Monday morning, the Giants were already in hurry-up mode for Thursday night's road game against the Panthers.

"There's no time to focus on it," Tom Coughlin said. "You're excited, but the extent to when you're happy is that evening right after the game because . . . things have to be done."

Perhaps that rush, too, will help carry the momentum from one game to the next. It is easier to start a lawnmower in the middle of the summer after it's been used regularly than with that first pull of the spring.

The Giants have shown they can move the football. They even produced some rushing yardage, although it was dwarfed by the passing. Keeping it going shouldn't be as difficult as starting a cold engine, right?

"We were able to get some things going, which was encouraging," guard Chris Snee said. "You just hope to build off that, don't take a step backward."

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