Stat worth noting II: The Colts converted 11-of-16 third-down opportunities for a whopping 69 percent success rate. They converted four alone during their opening drive.
Turning point: Trailing by two, the Giants looked to have all the momentum in the world when R.W. McQuarters picked off a Peyton Manning to give Big Blue the ball at the Colts 46-yard line. But two plays later, Tiki Barber and Eli Manning botched a handoff, with the loose ball recovered by Robert Mathis. Eight plays later, Dominic Rhodes dove over the top to give the Colts a 23-14 lead early in the final period.
Play to remember: Plaxico Burress posted two acrobatic catches, but his 34-yard TD was a thing of beauty. He beat Nick Harper just shy of the goal line and tipped it to himself, corralling the pass before Antoine Bethea could get to it just as Plax crossed the goal line.
Plays to forget: On a second-quarter series, Burress, who had earlier dropped a pass, was flagged for two penalties that negated two big runs – an illegal block above the waist that wasted Brandon Jacobs’ big run and a crack-back that wiped away a big gainer by Tiki Barber.
By the numbers (50 words)
1 – Total sacks in the game, quite a surprise considering both clubs planned to put heavy pressure on the opposing QB.
3 – Number of dropped interceptions by the Giants. James Butler, Corey Webster and Antonio Pierce all had chances to swipe Peyton Manning passes.
8:53 – Length of Colts game-opening drive, which ended in a 26-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
9.8 – Difference between Eli Manning’s QB rating (88.7) and Peyton’s (78.9).
“We put ourselves in position – we didn’t win the game, but we certainly had a chance to do that and we have no one to blame but ourselves.” – Tom Coughlin
“We didn’t play our best but we were able to get a win.” – Tony Dungy
What went right
Eli Manning played very well, with the exception of one poor INT. The Giants protected him well as he wasn’t sacked and rarely hit.
Tiki was Tiki. Showing absolutely no signs of being 31 years old, Barber was brilliant. He averaged more than six yards a carry en route to 110 rushing yards. Barber added 61 yards through the air.
Brandon Jacobs averaged close to 7 yards a carry in spelling Barber. He showed the excellent running ability that he displayed this summer in rolling up 54 yards and a TD on only eight carries.
The Giants defense did a great job of bending but not breaking in the first half. While the Colts were seemingly moving the ball at will they had to settle for three points on three of their four first-half possessions.
Despite a relatively quiet preseason the LB tandem of Antonio Pierce and Carlos Emmons was superb, combining for 19 tackles and a pass breakup.
The fact that this game is finally over and that we no longer have to discuss the Manning brothers facing off.
What went wrong
The terrible phantom pass interference call on Tim Carter will be remembered as what cost the Giants this game. Despite no contact between Carter and the defender, the Giants had their third-down conversion taken away and Eli Manning was picked off on the next play.
The extent of Chris Snee’s ankle injury was not known as press-time. But the sight of Snee on crutches and in a walking cast after the game wasn’t a pretty one.
The Giants still haven’t shaken the penalty bug. While it was a major offseason goal of Tom Coughlin to cut down on their hankies, the Giants were still flagged 10 times for 64 yards.
The Colts had the much better kicker. In a close game, Indy’s Adam Vinatieri nailed all four of his field goals, while Jay Feely missed his only try – a 40-yarder that sailed wide left.
LaVar Arrington was quiet as a church mouse. Everyone was waiting for Arrington’s coming out party, yet he only posted four tackles, and wasn’t much of a factor on defense at all.