Their record is 1-1, perfectly acceptable after two tough games, but it
should have been 0-2. If that had been the case, a loss to the powerful Seahawks
might have begun to sound a death knell.
Now it's on to the upper Northwest to find out just how good they really
are. In a way it's as re-visit to their worst regular season game last year, one
in which kicker Jay Feely missed three field goals -- two in overtime -- that
would have given the Giants a victory and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
During the week of preparation, however, the Giants must find out what went
wrong with their usually dependable offensive line. Quarterback Eli Manning was
sacked a disturbing eight times (twice in overtime) for 53 yards in losses. He
had not been sacked at all the week before against Indianapolis with the same
five starters going roughly the full game.
Right guard David Diehl gave up two sacks and was not playing well. He
allowed several penetrations by left defensive tackle Mike Patterson, a first-round
draft pick rookie. Defensive end Jerome Kearse had 2.5 sacks, tackle Trent Cole
had two and Patterson 1.5.
But head coach Tom Coughlin's decision to use more and more of his no-huddle
offense in the second half apparently forced the Eagles to simplify what their
defense was doing and, as a result, gave Manning more time to throw.
It also opened the running game just a little for the Giants' running game,
which was held to 37 yards in the regulation game and 86 including the
The Seahawks' defense, among the NFL's best, will use everything on tape to
see exactly what cracks in the Giants' offense can not only be found but
exploited. Look for multiple sets and more all-out blitzes than they normally employ
and several complicated variations designed to befuddle the still-learning
Manning, who is starting only his second season as the starter (third overall).
The Giants fell behind, 24-7, and spent the first 55 minutes or so playing
terribly. Then, suddenly, they fought back and turned it around. "I started to
see some glimpses of that old Giant pride," crowed head coach Tom Coughlin, who
was once again unnecessarily syrupy. Suffice to say the Giants' offense
suddenly decided to stop making mistakes and the defense began covering receivers and
tackling the running backs.
Perhaps the key penalty of the game was committed by linebacker-defensive
end Trent Cole, who was flagged 15 yards with seconds to play in the fourth
quarter when he kicked Giants' right tackle Kareem McKenzie after a play had ended.
The dead ball foul for unnecessary roughness added 15 yards to an eight-yard
pass from Manning to tight end Jeremy Shockey and put the ball on the Eagles' 17,
from where Jay Feely kicked a 35-yard field goal that tied the score with 0:10
Manning, despite the eight sacks, completed 31of 43 passes for 371 yards and
three touchdowns. He was intercepted once and finished with a 111.7 rating. He
threw 12 times to veteran wide receiver Amani Toomer for 137 yards and two
touchdowns. The game-winner, a 31-yarder, went to the other wideout, Plaxico Burress, who had six catches for 114 yards. Tiki Barber ran 21 times for 51 yards and
caught seven passes for 57 more.
--QB Eli Manning said he couldn't remember taking a team back from a
17-point deficit. "It is kind of remarkable," he smiled, "so I'm sure I'd remember the
last time." Ironically, that was almost the same response to the same question
from Coughlin, who said, "maybe once, but I'm not sure, and that is so
memorable I'm pretty sure I'd remember."
--WR Plaxico Burress, on his game-winning 31-yard TD catch in overtime. "It
was supposed to be a 'go' route and he was supposed to throw it to the outside,
in the corner [of the end zone]. But he got rushed and just unloaded the ball
and it was thrown to my inside. Luckily I had time to make the adjustment."
--C Shaun O'Hara was ready to admit guilt not only for his lackluster
performance but for the line as a whole. "We didn't play well and it shouldn't matter
if that's a good defensive front," he said. "We are a good offensive line and
should be able to adjust."
--WR Amani Toomer was the game's receiving leader, catching 12 passes for
137 yards. "I don't remember a game this satisfying," he said. "Not only did we
beat a division team and avoid an 0-2 record but we came back from a huge
deficit and showed that, well, that we could."
--RT Kareem McKenzie, who was kicked by DE-LB Trent Cole, which resulted in
a dead ball foul that added 15 yards to an eight-yard pass completion and
allowed a chip shot 35-yard FG to tie the game in regulation, dead-panned it. "Did
he kick me? I'm not sure I remember. You know, maybe he did."