No ifs, ands or buts about it. With Pittsburgh’s comeback victory over Dallas, the Giants clinched their first NFC East crown since 2005, Tom Coughlin’s second year at the helm.
fact that New York was unable to wrap the division up on its own merit
meant little. Big Blue accomplished its first goal of 2008. This is
the first time in franchise history that the Giants have reached the
postseason in four consecutive seasons.
the division title, the Giants still need to win in Dallas next week
in order to clinch a first-round bye. After that, the next order of
business will be wrapping up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Despite the disappointing loss to Philly, it sure appears as if the
NFC’s road to Tampa goes through Giants Stadium.
it now stands, the two teams closest to New York in the NFC standings
are the Panthers and Buccaneers, who both stood 9-3 heading into their
matchup last Monday night. A host of 8-5 clubs sit right below the NFC’s
top three – the NFC North-leading Vikings, the NFC West-leading Cardinals,
Falcons and Cowboys. The Redskins were 7-5 heading into their Sunday
night tilt against Baltimore.
We beat ourselves
Brandon Jacobs rarely minces words. Last Sunday was no exception. And big number
27 didn’t exactly praise the Eagles for a game well-played. Instead,
he blamed his Giants for New York’s second loss of the season.
beat ourselves,” Jacobs said. “We just couldn't get it going. We
Blue won 11 of its first 12 games by outthinking and outmuscling its
opposition. It was unable to do either against the Birds.
weren't as physical as we can be,” Jacobs said. “I think there were
a lot of mistakes that we made; a lot of bad reads by the running backs.
Just all-around, everybody didn't play as well as they could.”
not only made headlines with his quotes, but his knee as well. He was
forced from the game due to the same knee injury that forced him out
of action against the Cardinals on Nov. 23.
didn't cause any more damage to (the knee),” Jacobs said. “It was
a little pain. I (hurt it) it every game. This time I did it real good.”
was asked if he was healthy enough to return to the game.
could have, but why?” he asked. “We couldn't get anything going.”
they couldn’t. Unfortunately Jacobs wasn’t the only casualty on
the day. CB Aaron Ross was also forced to the sideline with an ankle
in the wind
least Eli Manning didn’t throw any interceptions. Besides that, though,
Manning was unable to get into any rhythm against Philadelphia. While
the wind was obviously a major factor, Manning, who completed 13-of-27
passes for only 123 yards, refused to use the elements as an excuse.
obviously it was windy out there and tough to get the ball down the
field,” Manning said. “We had to try and throw underneath a little
bit and throw in the middle. When you start throwing stuff down the field
and outside, the wind will affect it. We still could’ve thrown it better
than we did. I didn’t throw the ball well; our passing game wasn’t
effective. We didn’t convert on third downs (three-of-11) and it just
made it tough for us.”
perhaps the biggest miscue of the entire game came on a beautiful Manning
pass. He had Plaxico Burress’ replacement, Domenik Hixon, streaking
down the middle of the field. However, Hixon, who had beaten Eagles
CB Sheldon Brown, was unable to handle the pass. The Giants were never
the same from that point on.
excuses,” Hixon said afterward. “I should have caught the ball.
Didn’t look it in. I just didn’t look the ball in.”
was still smarting after the contest.
tough,” he said. “We knew what was at stake.”
Giants scored their first points on Kevin Dockery’s 71-yard return
of a Justin Tuck blocked field goal. It was their first touchdown on
a blocked field goal return since Oct. 1, 1978, when George Martin brought
one back 78 yards at Atlanta. The field goal block was the Giants’
second this season; Fred Robbins blocked a 38-yard try by Baltimore’s
Matt Stover on Nov. 16.
touchdown was the second of Dockery’s career. He scored on a 96-yard
interception return at Dallas on Oct. 23, 2006.
led the Giants with 52 rushing yards to increase his total to 1,002
yards. It is his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. He ran for 1,009
yards in 2007.
Giants beat the Eagles on Nov. 9 in Philadelphia, 36-31, so the two
teams split their season series for just the fourth time in the last
24 years. The teams also split their season series in 1990, 2002 and
2006. The Giants won both games in 1985, ‘86, ‘87, ‘93, ‘94,
‘97-2000, 2005 and this year (11 sweeps). Philadelphia swept the series
in 1988, ‘89, ‘91, ‘92, ‘95, ‘96, 2001, 2003 and 2004 (nine
to say, much of the numbers to come out of this one weren’t pretty.
Giants’ streak of victories over teams with winning records ended
at six, one shy of the NFL record set by the 1970 Minnesota Vikings…
Giants, who entered the game with an NFL-best 29.3 points per game,
did not score an offensive touchdown until 15 seconds remained…
Giants gained 211 yards, their lowest total since they had 142 yards
vs. New Orleans on Dec. 24, 2006…
Giants’ 88 rushing yards was their third-lowest total of the season
(83 at Pittsburgh, 87 at Arizona) and their 123 passing yards was their
second-lowest total (119 vs. Dallas)…
Giants’ time of possession of 25:06 was their lowest of the season.
The previous low was 27:35 at Cleveland on Oct. 13, the only other time
they held the ball for less than 30 minutes this season.
Giants’ inactive players were kicker Lawrence Tynes, running back
Danny Ware, cornerback Sam Madison, tackle Adam Koets and defensive
linemen Jerome McDougle, Jeremy Clark and Leger Douzable.
not just issuing this correction because we’re scared of Derrick Ward,
although that might have just a little something to do with it. In last
issue’s Game Notes, TGI reported that it seemed as if Ward implicated
himself and placed himself at the scene of the Plaxico Burress crime.
We feel slightly better knowing that the NYPD also named Ward as the
third Giant present, along with Burress and Antonio Pierce. However,
it was actually Ahmad Bradshaw, not Ward, who was at the Latin Quarter
nightclub on that most fateful of evenings. Our deepest apologies go
out to Ward. Please take it easy on us, Derrick.