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Giants Fans earn Game Ball

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Eli Manning threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 136.7; Victor Cruz caught six passes for 178 yards, his seventh 100-yard game of the season; and Osi Umenyiora returned to record two of the Giants' six sacks of the Cowboys' Tony Romo.

But the only statistic that mattered to Big Blue was 81,077.

That was the attendance during the winner-take-all game on Sunday night, and the Giants thanked their fans by presenting them with the ceremonial game ball after clinching the NFC East title.

"It was everything I expected and more," defensive end Dave Tollefson said. "I knew it was going to be a real rowdy crowd. It was awesome, man. Especially in this new stadium and as long as I've been here, that's about as riled up as they've been. I'm just excited about this playoff game, and I expect that and more because, as you can see up front, we fed off that. We feed off that energy."

"The fans and the atmosphere were great," said Jason Pierre-Paul. "The defense, special teams and offense all came together and we're happy that we came out with the win and victory."

After the game, Cruz stayed on the field a little longer than usual, soaking up the atmosphere.

"It was just surreal," Cruz said. "I've come a very long way. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life. It was just exhilarating to see all of the fans. Essentially, part of this game is that we do it for them. It's for them to be around to keep us in the game. They're a big part of this game as well. I wanted to show them some love and go over there and talk to them a little bit and stuff like that. That's what that was."

"It was a big deal," Kevin Boothe said. "They were tremendous. I think they helped us get out to that great start. When we needed in the third quarter, they came through for us. It was a big deal having the crowd out there and having their full support."

The win propelled the Giants into the playoffs and guaranteed at least one more home game this Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Atlanta Falcons.

"Pile in," Tollefson said. "Have people sitting on your lap. Let's fill that baby all the way over the brim and get it loud."

"It's big," Boothe said. "It doesn't happen often. We look to take advantage of it. Hopefully the crowd will be right there behind us."

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