Maybe no one needed this win more than Tom Coughlin.
The Giants' coach, who admitted earlier in the week that it was difficult to stay positive and brooded about having to stay out of touch with the rest of the world to avoid the negativity frothing from all corners of the media and public, walked into his postgame news conference with a message.
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"We won," he told reporters. "So smile!"
Coughlin was flashing plenty of his pearly whites during and after the 32-21 win over Washington on Thursday night. He was spotted grinning after the 30-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. in the fourth quarter gave the Giants a 25-6 lead.
"I did?" he said. "I'd better watch out."
There was a lot of that kind of relief from the Giants.
"You definitely don't want to be here in New York especially and keep having that goose egg," Prince Amukamara said. "It's 0-1, then 0-2, then you end up the only team with no wins. You just don't want that type of energy or atmosphere here. I'm glad we got the win out of the way and we can focus on winning more."
The end of the game wasn't pretty as the Giants gave up two touchdowns in a 32-second span, including one on a 101-yard kickoff return. The offensive touchdown came on a 4-yard pass to Chris Thompson, and even that was clouded by what has become Giants-like confusion late in games.
After replays indicated that Thompson's knee was down before he scored but the officials did not review the play, Coughlin threw an illegal challenge flag. That cost the Giants their final timeout and voided any review of the play.
"Was his knee not down?" Coughlin asked in his postgame news conference. "They picked up three flags on us and then they didn't give us that one."
Then he slammed his hand on the podium, smiled and walked out.
"I'll get fined."