Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Even though the Giants beat the Cowboys last Sunday, they were still upset about allowing 251 rushing yards. They knew the Bucs had gashed the Cowboys for 174 rushing yards in Week 1 and they were determined to slow them down. Well, they did more than slow them down. The combination of Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward combined for 10 yards in the game.
And Bucs quarterback Byron Leftwich couldn't get anything done either. It was a dominant defensive performance against a woeful team. On the other side of the ball, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs both had big days, helping the Giants rush for 226 yards. Eli Manning was efficient in throwing for 161 yards and two touchdowns, and he was able to watch most of the fourth quarter from the bench.
Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the league at using adversity as a motivating factor. The team got the news Thursday that starting safety Kenny Phillips would be placed on injured reserve. It's an obvious setback, but the defense didn't miss a beat Sunday.
The Giants will travel to Kansas City to face a winless Chiefs team next Sunday. It might sound like the perfect time for a letdown (see: Cleveland in 2008), but I don't think it will happen. I think the Giants are the best team in the league right now, although you could certainly make an argument for the Baltimore Ravens. Last week, the Giants' front seven was embarrassed by what the Cowboys accomplished in the running game.
On Sunday, Ward had two yards on five carries. His former teammates were happy to see him. Maybe a little too happy. Nice win for the Giants all around. And it was good that this banged up group could get a little rest after the Sinorice Moss touchdown. By the way, that guy seems to make the best of his limited opportunities. Pretty impressive to get in there and score a touchdown on his only catch.
The Giants will get some players back from injury in the coming weeks -- and they could become even more formidable.