A quick, elusive, 5-foot-10, 170-pound pass receiver named Lionel Manuel scored the only two touchdowns of the match at the Coliseum Sunday on two throws from quarterback Phil Simms.
Thus, in a sense, Manuel won it for the New York Giants, 14-9, though he was in the open just those two times.
This was a game in which the Raiders surprised him.
"They weren't as physical as we expected," the littlest Giant said afterward. "Lester Hayes is kind of a cheap-shot artist, so I was watching out for him, but he didn't do anything dirty all afternoon. No (Raider) did."
Their 0-2 start this season had strangely made the the Raiders warier, not angrier, in the view of Manuel, who was born in Los Angeles in 1962 and who not long ago played for Bassett High School in LaPuente.
"We were preparing ourselves all week for their intimidation," he said. "But I'm glad to say they laid off. On (Manuel's first) touchdown play, I anticipated that Lester would at least hit me as I was running through the end zone. I sort of juggled the ball waiting for him. But he didn't touch me."
The Giants trailed at the half, 6-0. By then, though, it was clear to quarterback Simms that the Raiders weren't going to intimidate him, either.
They sacked him a couple of times, but they hadn't hurt him, and in the second half, accordingly, he came out firing boldly to earn the two winning scores.
Still, it shouldn't be assumed that the Giant offense won this game and the Raider defense blew it. In the National Football League, a 14-9 game is never lost by the team that yields a meager 14 points.
It is lost by the offense that scores only nine points, and, Sunday, that was the Raiders.
Quarterback Jim Plunkett's return was a success in terms of yards gained and passes completed. On a day when the Giants netted 334 yards, the Raiders had 318.
But his long layoff robbed Plunkett of his touchdown punch. This was his first outing in a year. The next will be better.
When the Raiders see the films today, they will note that they were done in by the Giants' defense, not their offense.
The deciding play was made in the third quarter after New York marched into a 7-6 lead and the Raiders countermarched to the Giant 12-yard line.
Plunkett threw some big passes on that drive, but midway he lost Marcus Allen to an ankle injury. And on second and 10, after Steve Strachan failed to gain on the first down run that would have been made by Allen had he been in there, Plunkett was sacked into the fumble that ended both the drive and the Raiders' best chance to win.
The Giant who sacked him on a free safety blitz was Terry Kinard.
"Terry blind-sided the guy," said linebacker Harry Carson, the New York defensive signal-caller.
Actually, the Giants' defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, called a two-man blitz.
Linebacker Lawrence Taylor joined Kinard and the Giant line to storm Plunkett with six pass rushers. And it was Kinard, who got there from the right or weak side. He blew in on Taylor's hip to make the big play.
"The (Raiders) picked up Taylor," Belichick said. "Plunkett never saw Kinard, who was coming right behind."
It was a daring call at the time and place. But Kinard and the other Giants had the skill and savvy to execute it.
This has become one of the NFL's liveliest defensive teams under General Manager George Young, who showed the nerve last April to draft defensive players with his first six picks.
The Giants won by shutting down Allen and basically taking out all Raider wide receivers. Minus their strengths, the Raiders couldn't score enough to win.