Giants record: 1-1
This time last year: 2-0
Time of game: 3:56
Stat worth noting: Despite being under heavy pressure on every play, Eli Manning was seven-for-seven in overtime in leading the Giants to victory.
Stat worth noting II: The Eagles had a total of only 45 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime, when the Giants stormed back from a 17-point deficit.
Turning point: What with all the big plays and mistakes in this game, no play and decision was more significant than Eagles coach Andy Reid’s call to go for it on a fourth-and-one from the Giants 38-yard line with 8:49 to play. New York was still trailing by 10 at that point when Gibril Wilson stopped Correll Buckhalter in his tracks for no gain. Had Buckhalter gotten the yard or Reid opted to try to pin the Giants deep with a punt, most likely we’d be singing a totally different tune at this point.
Play to remember: Amani Toomer’s 37-yard TD that opened the scoring. Manning play-faked to Brandon Jacobs, rolled right and fired a perfect pass to a wide-open Toomer, who had snuck behind Eagles safety Michael Lewis, for the score. This was definitely the way the Giants had hoped to start the game.
Plays to forget: Brian Westbrook’s 12-yard TD was entirely too easy. He bounced to the right and easily outran Carlos Emmons to the pylon. Philly’s second score was just as easy as Donte Stallworth ran right by a basically stationary Sam Madison for a 20-yard TD.
10 – Years since the Giants last opened a season with two consecutive losses (1996). They narrowly avoided it this time around.
12 – Career high number of catches for Amani Toomer, who ended up with 137 yards and a pair of TDs.
36 – Years since the Giants last came back from such a huge fourth-quarter deficit and emerged victorious.
“That’s why it’s a four-quarter game. If it’s a three-quarter game, you can write that they kicked the hell out of us.” – Giants RG Chris Snee
“That loss right there, that’s my responsibility. I didn’t have our guys ready to go in the second half.” – Eagles coach Andy Reid
What went right
In the face of constant heavy pressure, Eli Manning totally came of age in this contest. One week after falling ever so slightly to his older brother, Manning finished this game completing 21 of his final 26 passes – including all seven in overtime – to lead the miraculous comeback.
Amani Toomer’s still got something left in the tank. He was the main reason Big Blue was able to hang tough and pull out this game. A dozen catches? Can’t ask for much more from your ‘secondary’ receiver.
Eagles defender Trent Cole totally lost his cool. Kicking Kareem McKenzie in the family jewels with only 15 seconds to play was inexcusable. That turned what could have been a lengthy Jay Feely field goal attempt into a 35-yard chip shot that forced overtime.
The Eagles tried to sit on the lead. Andy Reid admitted afterward that he was too conservative. But give the Giants credit for capitalizing.
The Giants finally had a game where their opponent committed more penalties than they did. The Birds were flagged 10 times while the Giants were ‘only’ caught for nine penalties.
What went wrong
It took the Giants quite some time until they started covering anybody. Eagles receivers were running wide open for most of the afternoon. Tight end L.J. Smith posted only his second career 100-yard game with 111 yards on seven catches.
For most of the second game in a row, the Giants defense did nothing to force the issue and sat back and watched an opposing QB pick them apart. Until Philly got a big lead and turned conservative, Donovan McNabb had all day to choose where he wanted to throw.
Tiki Barber could never get untracked. The Giants star back only gained 51 yards, averaging a very unBarber-like 2.4 yards per pop. The Eagles did a great job of closing up Barber’s running lanes.
The Giants offensive line has certainly had better afternoons. Granted, the Eagles were often bringing multiple defenders, but the Giants allowed Manning to get sacked eight times and hit on countless other occasions.
Eagles LB Jeremiah Trotter got away with interfering with Barber on Manning’s only INT of the game.