Giants playoff record: 0-1
Last year’s playoff record: 0-1
Time of game: 3:16
Stat worth noting: What has done New York in all season continued to rear its ugly head. The Giants only scored two TDs in four trips into the ‘green’ zone and failed to punch it in during their only goal-to-go scenario.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants committed the game’s only turnover, but it directly led to three points, the game’s final margin of defeat for New York.
Turning point: The Giants had just tied the game with five minutes to go and had all the game’s momentum. On the next play, Brian Westbrook ran around right end for 11 yards. All told, Westbrook gained 33 of Philly’s 46 yards on its game-winning march.
Play to remember: You have to give this one to Tiki Barber, who busted out for a 41-yard gain in the middle of the second quarter. Barber took the ball around left end and was headed for the end zone. He got all the way to the Philly 3-yard line before Lito Sheppard knocked him out of bounds.
Play to forget: Early in the second quarter, Eagles RB Brian Westbrook took off around right end and didn’t stop until he was in the end zone 49 yards later. Westbrook broke several tackles, most notably that of Will Demps, who took an awful angle, before he barely beat R.W. McQuarters to the right pylon for the tying score.
0 – Playoff games Tom Coughlin has won in his three seasons as Giants coach.
3 – Number of times David Diehl jumped offsides in Philly. Diehl’s hat trick was eerily reminiscent of Luke Petitgout.
38 – Length in yards of David Akers’ game-winning field goal as the clock expired.
“I honestly don’t think they were the better football team, but they were better today.” – Giants WR Plaxico Burress
“Our offense came down and did a great job moving the ball and kicking the game-winning field goal.” – Eagles LB Jeremiah Trotter
What went right
With their season on the line, Eli Manning put together a big-time drive, completing six-of-seven passes in leading the Giants 80 yards in 13 plays. Foolish penalties put the Giants into a first-and-30 hole, but three consecutive passes to Plaxico Burress for 18, 14 and an 11-yard touchdown got them out of it and tied the game at 20.
The Giants took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards to a 7-0 lead. Manning connected with Burress on a 17-yard TD pass, as New York overcame penalties on David Diehl and Shaun O’Hara during its game-opening scoring march. Burress caught a 29-yard pass to kick-start the drive.
New York was able to put together an 11-play, 78-yard drive that led to a game-tying Jay Feely field goal midway through the second quarter. However, they were unable to punch it in despite having a first-and-goal from the Eagles 3-yard line.
The Eagles had a 56-yard Brian Westbrook punt return for a TD nullified by penalty. Philly LB Torrance Daniels was caught for blocking Adrian Awasom in the back midway through the third quarter, leaving the Birds with a 17-10 lead.
What went wrong
The Giants defense had no answer for Brian Westbrook, who rumbled for 141 yards and a 7.1-yard average. Westbrook was especially unstoppable during Philadelphia’s game-winning drive. As good as Barber was in his finale, Westbrook was just a little bit better.
Eli Manning threw one right into the breadbasket of CB Sheldon Brown, who picked it off near midfield and returned it seven yards. Manning was looking for a double-covered Plaxico Burress and his miscue led to a David Akers field goal that gave Philly a 10-7 lead.
New York blew multiple chances to increase its early lead in the opening period. Big Blue started in Philly territory twice and from their own 48 on their final three possessions of the first period. However, the Giants didn’t even come close to scoring, gaining only 10 yards on those three ‘drives.’
The Giants clearly got hosed in the second quarter when Jon Runyan drew two 15-yard flags for cheap shots on Barry Cofield and Sam Madison while Cofield only received one for retaliating on Runyan, yet the officials declared them offsetting penalties.