Stat worth noting: Arizona ended up plus-two in the all-important turnover battle. New York coughed up the ball four times to only two for Kurt Warner and the Cards.
Stat worth noting II: It’s almost impossible to commit seven penalties, yet only be penalized 30 total yards, but that’s what New York did against Arizona.
Turning point: The Giants had already coughed up their halftime lead, but were trying to get it going offensively late in the third quarter. After his second delay-of-game penalty of the game, Eli Manning uncorked a pass that DE Calais Campbell tipped right into the waiting hands of S Adrian Wilson for a crucial interception. Three plays later, the Cards were in the end zone with a 24-14 edge.
Play to remember: Hakeem Nicks continues to make exciting catches. Cards CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did a superb job of covering Mario Manningham, deflecting Eli Manning’s pass away at the last moment. However, the batted ball went right to Nicks, who corralled it and raced 62 yards for a 14-7 Big Blue lead.
Play to forget: New York didn’t have the almighty momentum much in this one. That’s because of plays like this: one play after Nicks’ long TD, the Giants defense allowed a 44-yard catch-and-run by Anquan Boldin. The rock-solid Cards receiver was able to get behind Giants CB Bruce Johnson to turn in the big play.
What went right
Brandon Jacobs easily had his best game of the season, banging his way for 76 yards on only 13 carries, a gaudy 5.8 yards per carry average. Most will focus on the short-yardage third down on which Jacobs was stopped. But besides that, he ran tougher and with more conviction than we’ve seen for most of this season.
For as bad as the Giants offense was converting third downs (4-of-15), the Cardinals were even worse. Give credit to New York’s defense for getting the Cards off the field on third down on 11-of-14 occasions.
The Giants were able to keep the Cardinals out of the end zone right before halftime. New York’s red zone defense was dead last in the league entering the game as far as allowing TDs inside their own 20-yard line.
While no receiver had a huge game, you like to see the balance that New York had with three WRs (Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham) catching four passes apiece and TE Kevin Boss chipping in with three grabs.
What went wrong
Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled at the end of a nice run with the Giants driving to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Bradshaw had no idea that Matt Ware was coming from behind him. Ware punched the ball loose and Adrian Wilson recovered to give Arizona the ball back, thwarting a late-game Giants drive.
The Giants pass rush was better, but still nowhere near what it’s capable of. After failing to sack Drew Brees at all in New Orleans the week before, Arizona’s Kurt Warner was mostly able to sit back in the pocket and throw with ease. New York did hit him seven times, but was only able to wrap him up for a sack on two occasions.
You can live with scoring a touchdown and a field goal in two trips inside Arizona’s 20-yard line. What you cannot live with – or win with – is only advancing inside the enemy 20 two times in an entire game. By contrast the Cards scored three TDs and a FG in four trips inside New York’s 20.
0 – Games starting CB Aaron Ross has played this season
15 – Games since the Giants last blew a halftime lead
15 – Combined number of punts in this battle between two of the league’s top offenses
“I think any time you turn the ball over four times you don’t have much of a chance to win and that’s what we did tonight.” – Giants Coach Tom Coughlin
“This is a huge game. Not only to come on the road, but to beat a team like the Giants; they’ve been one of the best teams in the league over the last couple years.” – Cardinals QB Kurt Warner