NEW YORK The New York Giants' narrow victory over the winless Cincinnati Bengals taught the Super Bowl champions that no team is a pushover, coach Tom Coughlin said on Monday.
"It's just a good thing we won," Coughlin said. "These kinds of things can send the right message, the things that we preach all of the time -- that in every game in this league the potential is there for someone to beat someone else."
The NFL champions defeated the Bengals 26-23 in overtime on Sunday to move to 3-0 for the first time since the 2000 season.
Although the crowd at the Meadowlands erupted at John Carney's game-winning 22-yard field goal with 8:39 left in overtime, few thought the Bengals would make it that close.
"We played hard. The effort was there," Coughlin told reporters. "It's just that some of the things that we have done very, very well we didn't do quite as well yesterday.
"You have to give the Bengals some credit for that."
New York have a bye week on Sunday before returning on Oct 5 to host the Seattle Seahawks at Giants Stadium.
Coughlin said last year's unexpected run to the championship gave the Giants the confidence that they can win the tight games.
"You have a team that's been in that situation before, has performed under that kind of pressure," he said. "You always feel like if the opportunity is there, we're going to take advantage of it.
"However difficult it may be, (we feel) we're going to go out in those pressure situations and make something happen that gives us a chance to win."
Eli Manning tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss to give New York a 23-20 lead with 1:50 to play. But the Bengals' Shayne Graham kicked a 21-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Cincinnati, 0-3 for the first time since 2003, will host the rival Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
(Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; editing by Miles Evans)