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David Wilson #22 of the New York Giants celebrates his third touchdown of a game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on December 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Giants Kept Their Heads Above Water

There was a brief, scary moment late Sunday afternoon. The Cowboys had won on a last-second drive, the Redskins had stolen an improbable overtime victory, and, at around the same time, Eli Manning had just watched Elbert Mack pick his pass and march it 73 yards into the wrong endzone. At that second, there was a pang of fear that the Giants might crumble and fall into a tie with Washington and Dallas.

The fear didn't last long. On the ensuing kickoff, David Wilson ignited a breakout performance by knifing right through the gut of the New Orleans special teams, blazing 97 yards for a touchdown. Manning collected himself amid some rapid back-and-forth action and led two scoring drives to put the Giants up 21–13 at halftime, but it was Wilson who really poured it on.

With Ahmad Bradshaw hobbled, Wilson got not only the returns, but the carries Giants fans had been begging for and slalomed through the sorry Saints defense with ease. Wilson finished with three touchdowns — two on the ground in the second half — and 327 all-purpose yards (including two more 50-plus-yard returns and a 52-yard touchdown run), shattering the New York record. Good Lord, that man is fast.

As we suspected they would, New York gave up a few big plays, but easily overcame any defensive lapses by just dismantling that Saints defense. It was a big, highly necessary win, on a day when the scoreboard-watching didn't go so well. All told, they're still one full game above the Redskins and Cowboys. Now things get genuinely tough with a trip to the Georgia Dome to face the 11-2 Falcons next Sunday. The Giants will have to manage that one while Washington and Dallas face lighter competition in the Browns and Steelers, respectively.

Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images