Stat worth noting: The Eagles were a miserable two-of-13 on third-down opportunities, yet the Birds converted two-of-three fourth-down tries.
Stat worth noting II: After six combined Eli Manning interceptions the last two games, Manning threw nary a pick in Philly.
Turning point: The Giants were probably lucky to be down only 7-6 at halftime. But it appeared their luck was going to change for the worse early in the third quarter when Brandon Jacobs fumbled and gave Philly the ball at the Giants 8-yard line. However, the defense rose up and held the Eagles to only a field goal. By the end of the third quarter the Giants scored to take a 13-10 lead they would not relinquish.
Play to remember: The Giants only scored one touchdown all game in Philadelphia, but it was enough for the victory. Eli Manning dropped back and fired a beautiful slant pass to Plaxico Burress, who caught the ball on the run. Plax collected the short toss, split the Philly defense and turned it into a 20-yard touchdown.
Play to forget: Trying to extend a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, Brandon Jacobs’ coughed up the ball for the second time – at the Eagles 10-yard line no less. Jacobs had just rumbled for a 21-yard gain before he was hit by Juqua Thomas, who knocked the ball loose. Thomas also fell on the free ball at the Eagles 5 and the Birds, due to Jacobs’ huge mistake, were still alive.
By the Numbers
3 – Number of times the Giants had a first down inside the Eagles 10 and failed to score a touchdown.
4 – Number of fumbles lost by Brandon Jacobs this season, in only eight games.
10 – Number of TD catches by Plaxico Burress this season.
“We always make it harder than we need to but we always pull it out.” – Giants WR Plaxico Burress
“It was a tough game and a heck of a battle, but we came up short. We didn’t do it enough today.” – Eagles coach Andy Reid
What went right
David Akers’ game-ending 57-yard field goal try hit the right upright and harmlessly clanged away.
The Giants improved in the turnover department. A week after escaping Chicago with a victory despite a minus-four turnover differential, Big Blue toppled Philly with a minus-1. Brandon Jacobs lost two fumbles, although one was very questionable.
New York played a very disciplined game, committing only three penalties for 15 yards in losses.
As he so often does, Plaxico Burress tore up the Eagles. In a tight, low-scoring contest, Burress was as much the reason for New York’s victory as anyone. He finished with seven catches for 136 yards and New York’s only TD.
New York’s rookie safeties held up well. Michael Johnson and Craig Dahl each posted five tackles and Donovan McNabb’s longest completion went for only 19 yards.
Kawika Mitchell led New York in tackles for the second consecutive game. Mitchell finished with 10 tackles, eight of which were of the solo variety.
What went wrong
New York struggled mightily in the red zone. On three different occasions, New York had to settle for Lawrence Tynes field goals despite having a goal-to-go scenario. The worst of them all came in the second quarter when New York had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line and couldn’t score.
New York couldn’t punch it in during its first trip into Philly’s red zone. After Reuben Droughns’ 35-yard run moved the ball to the Eagles 1-yard line, two ineffective Droughns run and an errant Manning pass to Jeremy Shockey forced the Giants to settle for a 19-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal.
New York wasn’t able to mount anywhere near as strong a pass rush as it did during the first meeting when Big Blue sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times. This time around, the Giants were only able to drop McNabb on three occasions, with Osi Umenyiora, Barry Cofield and Jay Alford turning the trick.
The Eagles started the game by marching right down the field, almost as if the Giants defense wasn’t on the field. The Birds moved 68 yards in only six plays for the only TD of the first half. Brian Westbrook ran three times for 30 yards before catching a short McNabb pass and turning it into an 18-yard score.