PHILADELPHIA – Chase Blackburn might have made only one tackle in Philadelphia, but it was by far…
Game Story: Giants 36, Eagles 31
Stat worth noting: Brandon Jacobs averaged 5.7 yards per carry against a stout Philly run defense.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants had the ball for an amazing total of 39:10.
Turning point: Having basically handed the Birds a 7-0 lead after a costly Eli Manning interception, the Giants offense calmly and coolly just went right back to work. The unflappable Manning orchestrated a classic 10-play, 80-yard drive that got the Giants right back into the game. Unbowed by the raucous, well-lubricated crowd, Manning capped the march with a 17-yard perfectly thrown post pattern to Plaxico Burress. Plax had little trouble getting open in the end zone on Brian Dawkins, who was left to battle the dangerous Burress because the Eagles defense was in a blitz.
Play to remember: It wasn't so much a play, as a Tom Coughlin challenge that will always be remembered in this Giants win. A Giants drive that had reached the Eagles 3-yard line in the middle of the third quarter apparently died when Eli Manning was flagged for throwing beyond the line of scrimmage on a third-down pass. However, video review showed that while the ball was definitely over the line of scrimmage by plenty, Manning's back foot was not. As a result, the 17-yard Manning to Kevin Boss connection stood up and two plays later in the Giants were in the end zone with a 27-24 lead they would not relinquish.
Play to forget: The Eagles' first touchdown was a mismatch in the worst way. Two plays after Eli Manning was intercepted by Mike Patterson, the Birds lined up with receiver DeSean Jackson in the shotgun and quarterback Donovan McNabb split wide left. Jackson took the snap and sprinted right. He followed Jon Runyan's crushing block on Aaron Ross before diving and sneaking into the corner of the end zone for a 9-yard TD and a 7-0 Eagles lead.
What went right
The Giants fumbled three times, but only lost one of them.
The Eagles challenged – and lost – back to back plays in the fourth quarter, both times questioning potential Brandon Jacobs fumbles.
Sam Madison went up high to pick off a Donovan McNabb pass in the second quarter. McNabb underthrew DeSean Jackson and Madison did a great job of climbing the ladder, grabbing the ball and returning it 21 yards inside the Eagles 15. Madison's pick set up John Carney's 26-yard field goal to make it 20-14, Giants.
Getting little work on offense, Ahmad Bradshaw decided to make an impact on special teams. While covering a first-quarter punt, Bradshaw forced Quintin Demps to fumble. The loose ball was recovered by Chase Blackburn, who returned it to the Philly 13-yard line. That set up a John Carney field goal that gave Big Blue a 10-7 lead.
Tight end Kevin Boss leapt up and over Eagles safety Quintin Mikell late in the third quarter. The 253-pound Boss made the 206-pound Mikell look awfully silly.
What went wrong
New York had basically no answer at all for Philly's offense, which gained 300 total yards and 17 first downs.
Eagles DT Mike Patterson made a tremendously athletic play to intercept Eli Manning on New York's first drive. Manning was looking for Steve Smith on a crossing pattern, but the ball never got there. Patterson jumped and batted the ball to himself before he corralled it and returned it 21 yards to the New York 9.
Brandon Jacobs foolishly left his feet near midfield, was blasted by Chris Gocong and fumbled. The Eagles recovered and converted that turnover into a touchdown that sliced New York's lead to 17-14.
Philly marched basically effortlessly to start the third quarter. McNabb moved his offense 60 yards in only six plays as the Eagles grabbed a 24-20 lead. A 20-yard Correll Buckhalter run preceded Hank Baskett's 7-yard TD catch.
Michael Johnson was foolishly flagged for holding during what would have been a 73-yard punt return for a TD by Domenik Hixon. The Giants receiver was already in the clear well past Johnson when the infraction was committed.
1 – Number of catches by Plaxico Burress, but it was a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
2 – Number of games by which the Giants lead the NFC East (Washington) with seven contests to play. Big Blue has a three-game cushion on Dallas and Philly.
4 – Consecutive victories by New York, which improved to 8-1 on the season.
"Sometimes you can throw the skill right out of the way; it took a lot of will." – Giants DE Justin Tuck
"We were close and didn't win it tonight. We didn't play our best game and they came out and moved the ball pretty well. It was just a hard loss." – Eagles WR Jason Avant
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