X's and O's: Giants vs Eagles
Eli Manning connected on four-of-six passes for 83 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown throw to WR Plaxico Burress, on the Giants' two second-half scoring drives. TE Jeremy Shockey was open in the end zone early in the second quarter, but Manning put a little too much on the throw and a diving Shockey couldn't catch it. Down 7-0, the Giants settled for a 19-yard FG two plays later. Bottom Line: Manning didn't commit any turnovers.
RB Brandon Jacobs' lack of concentration and intensity allowed MLB Omar Gaither to force a fumble on a screen pass early in the third quarter. DT Mike Patterson recovered the ball at the Giants' 20 and returned it 12 yards. Had RB Reuben Droughns continued running early in the second quarter, rather than slowing down at Philadelphia's 5 to try to stiff-arm FS Brian Dawkins, he probably would've been tackled in the end zone. He was instead stopped at the Eagles' 1 and the Giants, down 7-0, settled for a 19-yard FG four plays later. Bottom Line: Coughlin will have to teach Jacobs the Tiki techniques to stop fumbling.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
WR Plaxico Burress' athletic ability allowed him to slip the tackle/strip attempt by LCB Lito Sheppard and he ran for another 20 yards to finish with a 41-yard reception that moved the Giants to Philadelphia's 24 late in the third quarter. Burress ignored his injured ankle yet again and accelerated hard on it to make sure he scored after making an easy catch in front of RCB Sheldon Brown at Philadelphia's 12. The 20-yard touchdown helped put the Giants ahead for good (13-10) with 5:59 left in the third quarter. Five of Burress' seven receptions went for first downs, while another went for a score. Bottom Line: Imagine if Burress were healthy.
LT David Diehl was slow sliding his feet left and RDE Trent Cole raced around him for a four-yard sack on a third-and-three play from the Eagles' 34, which forced a punt late in the second quarter. Diehl allowed a similar eight-yard sack to Cole on a third-and-six play from the Giants' 36 early in the first quarter. Bottom Line: Diehl's day aside, the offensive front was reasonably effective.
DT-DE Justin Tuck snuck his right hand in to punch the football from the grasp of falling RB Brian Westbrook, who was trying to gain more yardage after a short screen pass. RCB Sam Madison recovered the ball at the Giants' 43 with about 7:15 left in the third quarter, and the Giants went ahead for good on their ensuing possession. RDE Osi Umenyiora fought through two Philadelphia offensive linemen to dump Donovan McNabb for a pivotal six-yard sack early in the third quarter. Umenyiora's timely play moved the Eagles into a second-and-19 situation from the Giants' 19, and they settled for a 29-yard FG and a 10-6 lead two plays later. Bottom Line: They put pressure on McNabb regularly.
Lunging MLB Antonio Pierce got his left arm around Westbrook's left leg to limit him to no gain, creating a third-and-five situation with less than three minutes to play in the game. Two plays later, Pierce appeared to touch WR Jason Avant a little early, but the pass he defended from behind on a fourth-and-sixth play from the Giants' 44 with two minutes left in the game helped secure the Giants' win. Bottom Line: A gimpy Pierce played well late.
RCB Sam Madison read the play perfectly, penetrated the Eagles' backfield and tripped up Westbrook for a one-yard loss that forced the Eagles into a game-deciding fourth-and-six situation from the Giants' 44, right at the two-minute warning. Bottom Line: Their second-string safeties didn't hurt them.
P Jeff Feagles handled a high snap from LS Jay Alford and still placed it perfectly for K Lawrence Tynes, who drilled a 19-yard FG right down the middle with 11:06 left in the second quarter. RB Ahmad Bradshaw returned a kickoff 35 yards early in the third quarter, but the Giants' three other returns didn't afford them good field position (16, 20 and 19 yards). Bottom Line: Tynes kept all four of his kickoffs on the playing field.
Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride showed solid timeout management and smart play-calling to get in a position to come within one point (7-6) on Tynes' 23-yard FG at the end of the first half. Bottom Line: They're 6-1 on the road.
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