EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- You just don't know what to think about these 1993 New York Giants. Just when they look like they can't get it done, they find a way to prove they can.
That has been the scenario throughout most of this surprisingly successful season of rebirth under Dan Reeves. But it reached the extreme yesterday afternoon at Giants Stadium when a clutch third-downconversion and Brad Daluiso's powerful right leg helped the Giants steal victory from defeat while conjuring memories of the 1986 and 1990 Super Bowl seasons.
Who knows if Reeves' rookie season with the Giants will end with similar success? But don't blame the Giants for feeling like a team of destiny after Daluiso kicked a 54-yard field goal with 32 seconds left to give the Giants a 19-17 come-from-behind win over the snake-bitten Phoenix Cardinals, who have lost 10 consecutive games at Giants Stadium.
"The 1990 Giants won four or five games like this," linebacker Corey Miller said. "Maybe it's going to happen like that again."
Somebody must be smiling on these Giants. Daluiso isn't supposed to kick game-winning field goals, and the Giants really didn't deserve to beat a gritty Cardinals team that deserved a better fate. But the Giants improved to 8-3 when Daluiso split the uprights with a perfect kick that, aided by an 11-mph wind, probably would have been good from 60.
Used primarily as a kickoff man, Daluiso has made three field goals in seven attempts during his three-year career. His last conversion came in 1991 with the Atlanta Falcons. He had missed his only two attempts this year, from 50 and 52 yards. David Treadwell, the Giants' regular field-goal kicker, kicked three field goals yesterday, but doesn't have the range from 50 yards and beyond.
That's why when the Giants' final drive stalled at the Cardinals' 37, Reeves summoned Daluiso, who makes about two of every three kicks from that range in practice, but had yet to prove he could do it in a game. "When I saw Daluiso on the field, I knew it was desperation time," Miller said.
There also was a 1986 flashback. Remember Minnesota?
Daluiso's kick was made possible after the Giants converted an improbable third-and-18 situation that threatened to kill the game-winning drive almost before it began. Phil Simms connected with wide receiver Mark Jackson on a 23-yard pass for a first down at the Cardinals' 47. "All I could think about was get the first down," said Jackson, who caught seven passes for 113 yards, his first 100-yard day as a Giant.
Seven years ago, the Giants' drive to their first Super Bowl took root when they converted a fourth-and-17 situation in the final minutes of a 22-20 win over the Vikings. Simms found Bobby Johnson for a 22-yard gain that led to Raul Allegre's
game-winning field goal.
"These type of wins help bond teams together," linebacker Carlton Bailey said. "It shows that no matter how tough a situation is, if we hang in there, good things will happen."