Odell Beckham Jr. stepped up with two touchdown catches in the Giants' 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. (271210)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

With a record of 1-7 going into this past Monday’s Week 10 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers, the Giants were once again on a bullet train headed for a last-place finish in the NFC East division and a top-five pick at worst in next April’s NFL Draft.

Their path held many similarities to last season, when they ended a painful campaign 3-13 and secured the No. 2 overall pick. The offensive line was a shambles. Eli Manning, laboring behind the line, was getting a heavy dose of the blame for the Giants’ failures and calls for his benching from fans and the media were boisterous. The defense was inconsistent and devoid of a strong pass rush.

The most obvious distinction is first-year general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur, also in his first year with the franchise, have little worries about their immediate job security. Conversely, by mid-November of last year, former general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo had a strong sense their days were numbered, heading a team that was 1-8 and ironically had come off a 31-21 loss to the 49ers on the road Nov. 12.

Exactly a year to the day, the Giants’ emotional 27-23 comeback win over the 49ers Monday— in the shadows of the horrific wildfires ravaging parts of Northern California and other areas of the state—led by the beleaguered Manning, was a much-needed infusion of positivity to the collective psyche and spirit of an organization desperate for a feel-good moment.

Trailing 23-20 late in the fourth quarter, Manning and the Giants offense engineered a nine-play, 73-yard drive that covered one-minute and fifty-three seconds capped by a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sterling Sheppard. The 49ers got the football back with less than a minute to play but were kept out of the end zone by the Giants’ defense. The victory moved the Giants to 2-7, as they look to build on their uplifting night when they host the 3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers—who are in last place in the NFC South—this Sunday at home at MetLife Stadium.

“I said, ‘We’ve worked too hard not to be rewarded with wins,’” Manning noted Monday, recalling his comments to the media in the days before facing the 49ers, who are 2-8 and at the bottom of the NFC West.

“We’ve kind of stayed true to the course, though, and each week prepare hard, practiced well, play hard in games, and we just weren’t able to get some of the outcomes or make some of the plays we needed to win. And today we were able to do that. We scored some touchdowns early instead of settling for field goals…

“[The] defense did a good job getting us some turnovers, and then did a great job making them settle for a field goal at the end, giving us enough time.”

Although Manning was only 19-31 for 188 yards, his three touchdown passes, two to Odell Beckham Jr., and no interceptions were the most significant numbers.

The Giants are still on course to be near the top of the draft. Earlier in the week, Beckham said the Giants’ goal was to win their final eight games. It won’t happen. Nonetheless, the old sports adage one-game-at-a-time is more than just an overused cliché when applied to the remainder of the Giants’ season.