Not to worry, Giants fans. Your 2008 Big Blue team is already moving through its schedule with the blustery force of a category two hurricane – especially with quarterback Eli Manning
's occasional 96 mph fastballs. Just ask Manning's corps of airmen: Domenik Hixon
, Amani Toomer
, Steve Smith
, Sinorice Moss
, and Mario Manningham
That's right. Both Moss and Manningham got into the mix with a few firsts. Moss scored his first 2 TDs of his NFL career with catches from Manning and backup QB David Carr
. And Manningham was activated for the first time, netting his first NFL reception early in the second quarter with a 6-yard catch. Hey, it's a start!
Before being sidelined with a concussion following a 16-yard catch, Hixon was on his way to a possible 200-yard game. In just the first half alone, he caught 4 passes for 102 yards and the game's first TD.
"I was just excited," said Hixon, "Just excited to come out. A great opportunity to play and take advantage of the opportunity."
Hixon didn't hesitate to shine. After a 44-yard run by RB Brandon Jacobs
on the first possession, Hixon ran a hitch and go and found himself in the clear near the corner of the goal line for a 32-yard score. "I ran a double move and Eli put it where only I could catch it," said Hixon. "It was great timing on our part."
"He played well," said Manning about Hixon. "He had to come out, but other guys stepped up and played really well also."
Guys like the "other" Moss, and we don't mean Randy. We're talking Santana's little bro. Sure, Toomer was his steady self with 4 catches for 64 yards, and Steve Smith grabbed 2 for another 27 yards, but the big news was Moss finally getting his hands warm in the far too cool end zone.
Now in his 4th season, Moss caught 4 passes for 45 yards including a 23-yard TD rope from Manning. Later in the 4th quarter, he got his second-career score 5-yards out from Carr.
"I've been working hard since I've been here. Working hard all year and all preseason," said Moss, "So to finally have the opportunity to go out and make some plays, it was really my time to come out and step up."
As a former second-round pick in 2006, along with the expectations of being Santana's brother, Moss had been viewed as a bust by many in the media. Still, he never lost confidence:
"Coming from a good family (helps)," said Moss. "I speak to my mom and my day every day. I talk to my brother. It's really trying to stay grounded. There's always something good that will come out of hard work."
Knowing the depth at receiver, Giants coach Tom Coughlin and coordinator Kevin Gilbride decided there was no need to scale back the offense due to the absence of Burress.
"We really tried to incorporate the bigger plays, the big plays, because we had studied and knew some of the thoughts of us strategically playing the game that way," said Coughlin. "We felt we could get some things vertical done."
Even though Burress is invaluable to the Giants, giving the other receivers a chance to step up can only strengthen the team.
"All our guys, we all work hard," said Hixon. "We come in every day and put the hard hat on. We took it as another work week."
A wind-swept work week that netted 44 cool points!
With Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress
serving a one-game suspension, the question on everyone's mind was which receiver would step up in his place? The answer: Domenik Hixon, who got to start in number 17's absence. Hixon put up big Plax numbers with 4 catches for 102 yards and a TD in the first half before getting tagged on a helmet-to-helmet shot from Seahawk's cornerback Josh Wilson
. He did not return, but others like Sinorice Moss stepped up with his first 2 TDs of his career.
This one's for Dick
The family of former Giants great Dick Lynch, who passed away September 24 after a long illness, was honored before the game as special guests of the Giants. Although most Giants fans know Lynch at the team's color analyst for 40 years, he was one of the all-time great Giants players for 9 seasons from 1958-66. He notched 37 interceptions and led the NFL twice in thefts in 1961 and 1963. A Giant in our hearts forever!
Carney the Magnificent
It's election year so here goes: Giants coach Tom Coughlin said it would be a game-time decision about who would be his kicker, popular candidate John Carney
or incumbent Lawrence Tynes
? Coughlin played it smart and went with the red hot 44-year-old Carney, who went into Sunday's game with a perfect 9-for-9 in field goals, including Week 3's game winner over Cincinnati. Now with his lucky 7th team, Carney delivered again going 3-for-3 in field goals and drilling 5-for-5 PATs. Carney is still perfect on the year.
Eli Manning continues to blossom before our very eyes. There's no Super Bowl hangover for this young man or, for that matter, the rest of the Giants. Manning finished the first half with a near-flawless 15-for-18 completions for 224 yards and a TD. His final game stats: 19-of-25 for 267 yards and 2 TDs.
Just as the sun broke out two minutes before half-time, running back Derrick Ward
delivered with a bright burst up the middle for 21 yards. The run gave Carney another chip-shot 33 yard field goal to give Big Blue a commanding 27-3 lead.
Alexander the Ghost
Although the Seahawks running game has been outstanding this season, ranked 2nd in the NFL with 166.3 yards a game going into Sunday's matchup, it's difficult to watch Seattle without scratching your head about the omission of the 2005 NFL MVP, Shaun Alexander. Even with back-to-back injury-plagued seasons in 2006 and 2007, it's incredible that not one team has called Alexander in 2008. Even troubled former Bear, Cedric Benson
, who put up fewer yards than Alexander last season, was signed last week by the Bengals. Maybe Detroit and Indianapolis, ranked 31st and 32nd, respectively, in rushing should find Alexander's cell phone number.
The Giants improved their paltry post bye record to 5-15 with the smashing 44-6 victory. With both Seattle and New York having enjoyed a bye last week, it was great to see the home team wasn't sleepy-byed.
The Giants now hold a 8-5 series lead over the Seahawks, and a dominating 6-1 advantage at Giants Stadium. For scoring, this game definitely beat the Giants 9-6 field-goal-fest game during its last home appearance vs Seattle on September 22, 2002. The last time the two teams played, the Seahawks won a thriller 42-30 in Seattle in 2006.
The Giants' inactive players were kicker Lawrence Tynes, receiver Taye Biddle, safety Terrell Thomas
, running back Danny Ware
, cornerback Sam Madison
, linebacker Jonathan Goff
, tackle Adam Koets
, and defensive end Jerome McDougle
There's one thing for sure – players love the bye week. It gives them the chance to refresh sore muscles and rejuvenate their senses from the non-stop season that is today's NFL. Of course when you're 3-0 going into the bye and come out a week later as the NFC's only unbeaten team, then fans, coaches and even the players hope they don't lose that momentum when the team tees it up again.
There's one thing for sure – players love the bye week.