Stat worth noting: The Giants averaged 6.3 yards per carry against the league’s top-ranked run defense.
Stat worth noting II: Running back Derrick Ward was New York’s top receiver, catching four passes for 54 yards.
Turning point: Tom Coughlin continued his success on challenges late in the third quarter. The Ravens had just scored to cut New York’s lead to 20-10 and appeared to have an interception, when Samari Rolle was apparently able to come up with a ball that Steve Smith couldn’t handle at the Baltimore 40-yard line. However, Coughlin challenged the original call, which was overturned despite the fact that replays appeared inconclusive. Five plays later, Aaron Ross returned an interception 50 yards for a game-sealing touchdown. You know what they say: sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Play to remember: The Ravens were looking to get on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter. However, Fred Robbins clearly had other ideas. He blocked Matt Stover’s 32-yard FG attempt. The free ball bounded back 45 yards where it was finally downed at the Baltimore 33-yard line. Giants CB Sam Madison was unable to get a clear handle on the loose pigskin, but it didn’t matter as Brandon Jacobs scored to give New York a 13-0 lead five plays later.
Play to forget: Joe Flacco made the previously-undented Giants defense look silly on one play in the third quarter. He took the snap and looked left, while allowing Le’Ron McClain to get into the open. Flacco calmly let the play develop before tossing a short pass to McClain, who was able to waltz into the end zone for a 10-yard Baltimore touchdown, their only TD of the game.
What went right
We can’t talk about the Giants running game enough. The Ravens entered the contest allowing only 65.4 yards per game on the ground, yet Big Blue got contributions from all three of its backs en route to a 207-yard afternoon.
Plaxico Burress caught a huge pass on New York’s first drive to set the tone that Big Blue was going to be able to move the ball on Baltimore. Facing a third-and-15 from the Ravens 35, Eli Manning tossed a perfect strike to Burress at the left sideline for a 21-yard gain.
After allowing a couple catches in front of him, Aaron Ross was able to jump a Joe Flacco pass and intercept it at the Giants 37-yard line. That thwarted a second-quarter Ravens threat – and helped send New York into the locker room up 20-3. Ross struck again in the third quarter, returning an interception for a score.
Ross’ two picks allowed New York to win the all-important turnover battle. His two INTs were countered only by one interception from Eli Manning, which came late in the first half with the Giants already leading 20-3.
What went wrong
The Giants couldn’t contain Joe Flacco on the ground. Often times, good coverage and pass pressure led to Flacco hurting the Giants with his feet. For the game, Flacco took off and ran six times for 57 yards, including a long gain of 30 yards.
From the obvious nitpicking department, the Giants only got to Flacco once. He was hurried on several occasions, but a 10-yard Mathias Kiwanuka sack was all the pass rush had to show for itself on the post-game stat sheet.
It wouldn’t be a Giants win without Big Blue overcoming its usual litany of penalties. This time it was eight flags for New York, resulting in 65 yards in losses. It has to be getting harder and harder for Tom Coughlin to preach about the dangers of committing penalties.
While he seemed to be feeling just fine after the game, you never want to see Brandon Jacobs leaving the game after taking a hit directly on his knee. Fortunately for the Giants, their depth is so good at RB that you barely even noticed BJ was out.
1 – Number of catches and touchdowns this season for Darcy Johnson, who grabbed a one-yard TD from Eli Manning in the second quarter
5 – Consecutive wins by New York, which continues to lead the NFC with a 9-1 mark
77 – Number of yards of Ahmad Bradshaw’s breakaway run in the fourth quarter
“Anytime when you have an opponent coming into your house and all they are talking about is their defense – and not your own – you want to come out here and prove to yourself that your defense is pretty good, too.” – Giants LB Antonio Pierce
“I sure wish we could’ve given the Giants a better football game. That’s a heck of a football team, and they proved that today.” – Ravens coach John Harbaugh