After 28 minutes of uninspired Giants football Cruz's catch invigorated the team with 2:12 left in the first half. It was a second wind which carried over into the following thirty minutes.
The un-drafted Cruz sucked the air out of a pumped up Jets home crowd inside MetLife Stadium with his spectacular score after the Jets just let the inefficient Giants hang around.
Cruz became the 13th player in NFL history to have a 99-yard catch, subsequently, making Manning the 13th player to throw one. The speedy wide-out is have a Pro-Bowl season and makes the loss of Steve Smith a long lost memory.
The stunned crowd could only watch in awe as Cruz raced down the field— after slipping free of the Jets Antonio Cromartie at the 12-yard line and hopping over safety Eric Smith— and turned what looked like a simple 11-yard gain into an additional 88-yard sprint.
The Jets secondary wasn't talking smack after that play.
Manning hit his new favorite target earlier in the game to get down to the Jets three-yard line where the G-Men settled for a field goal.
Up until Cruz's catch and sprint, the Giants looked flat and gained 83 net yards on the previous 25 plays.
Meanwhile, the Jets Mark Sanchez-led offense was riddling the Giants defense for 185 yards but could only muster a lone TD in first half.
After the break, the Giants came out looking a little more inspired than the Jets and scored a touchdown with :13 left in the third quarter to make it 17-7.
Ahmad Bradshaw scored the TD on a 14-yard run after Brandon Jacobs went outside for 28 yards and Cruz made an unbelievable 36 yard catch.
Cruz's third catch gave him the Giants most receiving yards in a season and eclipsed Amani Toomer's team record.
Sanchez started the fourth quarter by making a foolish throw to mid-field which was picked off by the Giants Kenny Phillips and returned 31 yards to the Jets 13.
The Giants turned the goof into a field goal for a 20-7 lead.
Then the Giants defensive line turned up the pressure on Sanchez.
After Plaxico Burress nullified a TD catch after pushing off a Giants defender, Sanchez looked like he was sacked and fumbled at the Giants 40-yard line but, after a Rex Ryan challenge, it was ruled an incomplete pass.
Just when the Jets looked like they were going to make a game of it, on third-and-two, Sanchez didn't get the snap from his center Nick Mangold and the ball rolled into the end zone where the Giants Jacquian Williams pounced on it for a touchback.
Not to make it to easy on themselves—and with only their running game going anywhere—Manning immediately threw a pass which was tipped by Darrelle Revis into the arms of a Jets linebacker David Harris who ran it back to the Giants 10-yard line.
On first-and-goal from the one, Sanchez scored on a naked bootleg to bring the Jets within six, 20-14, with 7:17 remaining in the game.
Giants fans waited for the inevitable collapse but, like a Christmas miracle, things actually swung the Giants way.
There was a safety on Sanchez and a late score by Ahmad Bradshaw. The only piece of coal in the stocking was D.J. Ware being pushed out-of-bounds and into the hip of his head coach Tom Coughlin.
The win keeps the Giants playoff hopes alive and Coughlin might have saved his job as well—at least until next week.
Destiny is now in the Giants own hands.
On New Year's Day, the Dallas Cowboys come to MetLife Stadium. A Giants Do-or-Die victory would give them the NFC East title and an playoff spot.