Stat worth noting: A week after struggling mightily inside Philly’s 20-yard line, the Giants scored touchdowns on their first three trips inside the green zone against the Jets. New York reached the Jets 20 a fourth time at the very end of the game, but Eli Manning knelt down to run out the clock.
Stat worth noting II: New York played very disciplined football, being flagged only three times against the Jets for 37 yards.
Turning points: Super rookie Aaron Ross turned in two game-changing interceptions during the final quarter. With the Jets leading 24-21 and driving deep in Giants territory, Ross picked off Chad Pennington just shy of the goal line. The Giants went on a 98-yard, penalty-aided march to take a 28-24 lead. Then Ross picked off an awful Pennington pass in the flat and returned it 43 yards to seal the game with 3:15 to play.
Play to remember: Brandon Jacobs giveth. In his first game since opening night, Jacobs returned to action and had a big impact on this game. Early in the third quarter, he capped an 80-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run. Jacobs took the ball, veered right and didn’t stop until he reached the corner pylon. He fought off a tackle attempt and scored to bring New York within 17-14. It was the tough style of running the Giants are looking for from Jacobs. Surely Jacobs felt as if he had to atone for his earlier mistake.
Play to forget: Brandon Jacobs taketh away. On only his second carry of the ball-game, Jacobs was separated from the pigskin, single-handedly giving Gang Green their first score of the day. On a third-and-one play from the Giants 17-yard line Jacobs was hit by Jets safety Kerry Rhodes at the line of scrimmage. Not only did Rhodes stand Jacobs up, but he forced a fumble that Rhodes picked up and ran in for an 11-yard touchdown.
By the Numbers
3 – Consecutive wins by Big Blue following an 0-2 start.
5 – Average yards per carry for Brandon Jacobs, who made quite a smashing return to the lineup.
57 – Minutes it took the Giants defense to record their first sack, one week after they bagged Philly QB Donovan McNabb 12 times.
“We made enough plays in order to go ahead and win the game and I was very pleased for our players that we were able to come back and do that.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
“You always have to give credit to your opponent when they beat you. The Giants did a good job of giving different looks on every snap.” – Jets QB Chad Pennington
What went right
For the second time in three games, Plaxico Burress had a very quiet first half and then erupted after intermission. After having only two balls thrown in his direction during the first two quarters, Burress caught five passes for 124 yards in the second half. Included in that outburst was the game-winning 53-yard TD.
New York’s first opportunity to employ its two-headed running back worked like a charm. Brandon Jacobs rolled to 100 yards and a touchdown and Derrick Ward chipped in with 56 yards and a TD.
Despite giving up nine-of-15 third-down conversions, mostly through the air, the Giants secondary posted three interceptions off Jets QB Chad Pennington. Rookie Aaron Ross picked off a pair of Pennington passes and Sam Madison got his hands on another. Ross had an exceptional second half after being benched for the first half due to a team rules violation.
Jets kicker Mike Nugent missed a 42-yard field goal wide left in the first quarter.
What went wrong
The kickoff coverage team continued to be a comedy of errors. Early in the third quarter after New York had cut its deficit to three points, Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Washington took it right back up the middle, eluded a weak tackle attempt by kicker Lawrence Tynes and raced to paydirt. All told, the Giants allowed a 40-yard average on five Jets kickoff returns.
Eli Manning made his one awful throw of the game with only 33 seconds to play until halftime. While Tom Coughlin took the blame for the play call, Manning still never should have thrown the ball right into the midsection of Jonathan Vilma. That led to a 47-yard Mike Nugent field goal, which enabled the Jets to take a 17-7 halftime lead.
Kevin Dockery, who was forced into action while Ross was being disciplined, was beaten badly by Brad Smith for a 16-yard touchdown late in the first half.
Despite having a superb second half, Plaxico Burress dropped a pass that could have gone for a touchdown on a free play in the third quarter. Burress had two steps on his defender going down the sideline, but was unable to come up with the ball.