Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants Shock Eagles
What in God's name just happened?! Outgunned, outmatched but never outworked the G-men rolled into Philly, knocked Michael Vick around, made some very un-Giant like offensive plays and escaped with a huge, gutsy win. The New York, G-MEN!
The game started with a thud as the Giants took the ball and took to the air. C'mon! I told you to run the ball! The G-men looked rattled early with a Victor Cruz drop and a forced punt. The defense looked equally pensive as the Eagles began a systematic march down the field. It was here that the early theme began to develop. The Giants were reading plays perfectly, finding themselves in the perfect position to make the tackle. They'd do everything, except make the tackle. The Giants also seemed reluctant to rush the passer. Perry Fewell, that dive-teaching junk, seemed happy to let his secondary try to cover. UNBELIEVABLE!
But then the unthinkable happened. Fewell came with a blitz and the secondary made a play. THE SECONDARY MADE A PLAY! That hasn't happened in years! Perry Fewell. THAT GENIUS! Aaron Ross, who had been benched last week, came up with the tipped-ball interception and the G-men were back on O. This possession featured a more balanced attack, though I would have liked to have seen Mr. Gilbride punish the Eagles with Bradshaw and Jacobs a little more. However, Eli Manning had Big Blue - donned in the white today - on the move. It was by far the most efficient this offense had looked all season, with pin-point passing from Manning and huge holes to run through for the backs.
The Giants would put a bow on the drive with a touchdown pass. Manning dropped back and threw a perfect pass to the...soft handed(?)...fleet footed(?) Brandon Jacobs who glided his way into the endzone. 7-0 GMEN! Following a shockingly deep Tynes kickoff the Eagles offense took to the field against a much more solid Giants defense. Some good defense, despite a few missed opportunities to get off the field on third down, and a Pierre-Paul sack (on his second try) resulted in a fourth down and the G-men were back on offense. Fewell. Brilliant.
Coming into the game the question had been who would replace Domenik Hixon, who so often would be silent until he made one stunning play that made us all take note. Well, in the first quarter we found his replacement. It was 2010 pre-season all star Victor Cruz. Eli Manning recognized the blitz and threw a quick pass to Cruz who broke a few tackles, watched two Eagles tackle eachother, got some good blocking down field from Hakeem Nicks and rumbled his way to a big Giants touchdown. 14-0 Giants. Who knew?!
Defensively the Giants were still not blitzing enough and were still not making tackles at the point of attack. The Eagles, via LeSean McCoy, were running the ball down the Giants' throats. McCoy broke tackles all the way down the field and into the redzone. However, like last week the G-men held firm and forced a field goal. 14-3. After a poor Giants drive that featured a Cruz drop and Travis Beckum tripping over the chalk to not convert on a fourth down, the Eagles took the ball back. With good field position the Eagles moved the ball at will, both through the air and on the ground, the Giants could do nothing to stop them as LeSean McCoy took the ball into the endzone 14-10.
A horrific Giants offense drive inside of two minute and a horrific Weatherford punt then gave the Eagles the ball inside Giants territory (<--Yip, that sums it up). Momentum was firmly on the side of the Eagles now, with everything working against the G-men. Despite Vick taking some big hits the Eagles were still moving the ball, however, with the clock on their side the Giants defense was able to hold the Eagles to a field goal as the first half ended. 14-13.
This was about as good a half of football as you could look for as a Giants fan. The offense looked the best it had looked all season with two great touchdown drives and another that stalled on a fourth down attempt. Still the Giants needed to run the ball more to control the game. Defensively, the Eagles were moving the ball, but we knew they would. The Giants were getting a lot of hits on Vick and were holding firm in the red zone. However, they were being sliced and diced by McCoy and the Eagles running game. They'd need to fix it to get the win.
Or so I thought. The second half opened with dynamic running from the Eagles, but great coverage by Webster forced a fourth down and a punt. Poor, poor Giants offense, including terrible offensive line play lead to the ball being handed back to Philadelphia. It was then that the game began to look bleak. The G-men were still leading, but the Eagles were picking apart that Giants secondary and running the ball through the apparently apathetic defensive line. The poor defensive play would lead to a field goal and Philadelphia's first lead of the game 16-14. However, this drive yielded something more significant. Michael Vick suffered a broken hand which would knock him out of the fourth quarter for the second straight game.
Vick or no Vick however, the Giants would need to make plays defensively to get the win. A great play by Aaron Ross to force the fourth down was just what the doctor ordered. The G-men took the ball and began the fourth quarter with their first efficient drive of the second half. That drive would be capped off with what was probably an ill-advised pass to Victor Cruz. Cruz however, channelling his inner David Tyree, would shrug off the pass interference and make a circus catch, spiking the ball over the endzone for the touchdown. Cruz! Finally showing that promise he showed to anyone who bothered to stay awake for the second half of the 2010 Giants-Jets preseason game. 22-16 with the two point conversion.
Mr. Mo Mentum had changed his address back to New York. The defense was playing better now, making tackles at the line of scrimmage and taking advantage of the hurt Michael Vick. A blitz by the Giants forced a poor pass by Kafka which was intercepted by Ross for his second of the game. The ensuing Giants possession was nothing short of beautiful. A combination of great running and good passing moved the Giants down the field, however the drive stalled forcing a field goal attempt. The play of the game, however, would come before the kick ever got away. The Giants used a hard count on the field goal. Oh, that's right. The hard count. On the field goal. GENIUS! The entire Eagles line jumped offside and gave the G-men a first down.
This brilliant, incredible, savvy, game-changing (I loved the play, can you tell?) play would lead to an Ahmad Bradshaw screen pass taken for the touchdown - the dot on the preverbal exclamation point that was the Giants' fourth quarter. 29-16. G-MEN!!!!!! The remaining minutes of the game would click by with yet another Giants interception and a few kneel downs that gave them a stunning, gutsy win that puts the Giants near the top of the NFC East at 2-1. Boom! I think the Giants got fortunate in the beginning of the game, the Eagles looked out of sync, but they once again took what was given to them and made all of the plays when they needed to. A superb win.
Grades: Offensive Line - B: The unit played very will in the running game, opening up huge holes for the backs, but they gave up some costly sacks and didn't give Eli enough time. A good game, but it could certainly be better.
Running Backs - A: Once again this was the best unit for the Giants. They ran hard, ran well and routinely made something out of nothing. Bradshaw and Jacobs shined for the Giants this week, though they didn't get the ball as much as I hoped (he complains after his team wins in a huge surprise). Neither turned the ball over and both scored touchdowns. Excellent game.
Wide Receivers - B-: The receivers did come up big for Eli today though they had some drops and one inexplicable fourth down play when the receiver wasn't able to get the first down. Victor Cruz gets an A (despite a drop or two) but the squad, a B-.
Eli Manning - A: Manning didn't turn the ball over, threw four touchdowns and managed the game perfectly. He made a few bad passes, but I'm overlooking that in what was a stellar performance for the much maligned man from Ole Miss.
Special Teams - A+: A PLUS! Why? Simply because of that savvy play to draw the Eagles offsides. Yes, there was one truly horrific punt, but the Giants kept themselves from getting hurt against an Eagles special teams that can kill you. Excellent.
Defensive Line - B-: They got good pressure on the quarterback, knocking Vick out of the game, but they were gashed by McCoy and the Eagles running attack. They did their job, but a better job against the run is preferred.
Line Backers - C: Destroyed in the running game. Not bad play, but not good. Boley had another great game, though.
Defensive Backs - C+: The backs made some great plays knocking down passes and breaking up big plays. I mean, they had three interceptions. But when the Eagles wanted to they passed the ball at will. Not the best game, but what an improvement!
Not a lot else can be said. It was a big time win for the Giants who will fly cross-country to take on the Cardinals next week. A perfect win? No. But Hallelujah, Hallelujah, the Giants won. Good night everybody!
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