Stat worth noting II: The league’s two most penalized teams finished with a
combined 17 infractions for 124 yards.
Turning point: With the Giants clinging to a tenuous 10-7 lead midway through
the second quarter, Eli Manning uncorked a terrible pass to Plaxico Burress,
with the ball bouncing to the wide-open receiver. Not to be denied on a
third-and-six, Manning went right back to Burress on the next play and the
Giants’ go-to receiver caught the pass, beat safety Stuart Schweigert and
sprinted to a 78-yard TD to give New York a more comfortable cushion.
Play to remember: With the Giants backed up at their own 5-yard line midway
through the opening period, Tiki Barber took things into his own hands and feet.
He took a handoff up the middle, bounced outside and swept all the way down the
left sideline for a 95-yard score and a 7-0 Giants lead. Barber used good
patience in waiting for downfield blocks, especially from Plaxico Burress, who
walled off multiple potential tacklers in escorting Barber to paydirt.
Play to forget: With the Giants sitting on a seemingly insurmountable 27-14
lead late in the third quarter, Kerry Collins and Randy Moss combined to get the
Raiders right back into it. Collins fired a laser and hit Moss in stride
streaking down the right sideline for a 44-yard TD.
By the numbers
0: Previous number of games played this season by Kevin Lewis, who was signed
only days earlier and posted four tackles as New York’s starting middle
2: Number of sacks by Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who finished with
14.5 on the season.
5: Years since the Giants donned NFC East Champion hats and t-shirts.
25: Total number of rushing yards by the Raiders, on 17 carries.
What they said
“We won the game and we are the NFC East divisional champions and we’re very
proud of that.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
What went right
Tiki Barber was, well, um, Tiki Barber. He set the game’s tone early on with
the longest run of his career, a 95-yard sprint, and continued to help New York
work the clock and salt the game away.
The Giants played turnover-free football. Eli Manning navigated his way
through a pick-free evening and the Giants were fumble-free as well. No TOs on
the road is a good recipe for success.
Chad Morton made the game-changing play. Late in the third quarter, Morton
retuned a punt 58 yards all the way to the Oakland 3-yard line. That led to New
York taking a 27-14 lead.
The Raiders are pretty bad, which turned out to be huge for Big Blue because
the silver and black played like they were the club with postseason positioning
on the line.
What went wrong
Kerry Collins was loaded for bear. He threw downfield early and often and was
able to keep New York’s secondary running around all evening long. The former
Giant finished with 331 passing yards.
The Raiders didn’t look for Randy Moss often, but when they did he hurt them
badly. Moss finished with seven catches for 116 yards while Doug Gabriel added
100 yards on eight grabs.
The Giants offensive line was unable to stop Derrick Burgess from breaking
the Raiders all-time single seasons sack record. He recorded his 16th sack of
the year late in the third period.
The Giants still need some work sharpening their killer instinct. Time and
again it appeared New York was primed to pull away, but every time Big Blue let
the Raiders right back into it.