Fast Facts: Cardinals vs. Giants

Stat worth noting: This was the most points the Giants have scored on opening day since they hung a 42-40 loss on Green Bay on Sept. 19, 1971. The last time New York scored more than 42 was on Dec. 22, 2002 during a 44-27 victory in Indianapolis.

Giants record: 1-0

This time last year: 1-0

Time of game: 3:17

Attendance: 78,387

Stat worth noting II: The Giants allowed only 31 yards rushing against Arizona, surrendering a measly 1.5 yards per carry.

Turning point: The Giants had just taken a 14-13 lead after a Brandon Jacobs TD run to open the third quarter. On Arizona's next play, Kurt Warner dropped back to pass, made a terrible throw and Gibril Wilson was more than happy to pick off the errant toss. Wilson returned the ball 17 yards to the Cardinals 21-yard line. On the next play, Tiki Barber ripped off a TD run and the Giants were set.

Play to remember: The Giants looked a lot like last year's offensively offensive version during the first half. That all changed on the third play of the third period when Eli Manning uncorked a long pass to newcomer Plaxico Burress. Plax beat David Macklin for a 44-yard gain to the Arizona 11. Two plays later, New York took the lead for good.

"Throw it and I'll come down with it," Burress said. "The coaches probably had a smile on their face because we've been working on that all week."

Play to forget: Early in the second quarter with the Giants holding a 7-3 lead, Eli Manning threw toward David Tyree, who was unable to gather in the pass. Tyree tipped the ball and Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby made a terrific play to intercept it, then rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown to give the Cards the lead.

By the numbers

3:12 – Amount of time it took Big Blue to turn a 13-7 deficit into a 21-13 lead with scoring runs from Brandon Jacobs and Tiki Barber.

8.1 – Average yards gained by Tiki Barber on his 15 touches – 13 rushes and two receptions

11 – Game-high tackle total for new MLB Antonio Pierce, who looked every bit as good as the numbers would indicate

98 – Consecutive games before Sunday's opener in which Amani Toomer had at least one reception, dating all the way back to Dec. 6, 1998.

What they said

"Anytime you score more than 35, it is a great day. Especially when you think about how many points you scored in the second half. The first drive was good. But then we kind of sputtered. I expected a little of that in the first game. We scored 42 points, but we can still do better, that is the great thing." – Giants center Shaun O'Hara

"We came out here to get a win but we just didn't get it done. The Giants did a good job of changing things up on us in the second half. They played well and you have to tip your hat to those guys." – Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald

What went right

Brandon Jacobs delivered as advertised. He moved the sticks three out of four times and also barreled through for a five-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Jacobs, who drew loud cheers whenever he entered the game, has already established him as a fan favorite.

The pass rush was effective, compiling three sacks of Kurt Warner and getting near the slow-footed signal-caller on several other occasions. Michael Strahan rebounded in fine fashion with 1.5 sacks.

The Giants stormed to a touchdown on their first series of 2005, as Jeremy Shockey's 20-yard catch capped an 81-yard drive. Shockey badly beat Cards LB Karlos Dansby on the scoring play before handing the ball to a police officer in the stadium tunnel.

Two special teams scores. Can you believe it?

The secondary held up well enough without the services of starting CB Will Peterson. Both Gibril Wilson and Frank Walker turned in picks, with Walker returning his 71 yards all the way to the Cardinals 16-yard line.

What went wrong

The pass defense often did allow way too much cushion to receivers and at times Kurt Warner was able to pick them apart. Larry Fitzgerald had an unfathomable 13 catches for 155 yards.

Eli Manning wasn't exactly sharp, completing only 10-of-23 passes for 172 yards with a pair of TDs and pair of INTs.

Two key offensive starters – TE Jeremy Shockey and RT Kareem McKenzie – left the game with injuries.

After storming to a game-opening TD, the Giants offense went stagnant with five consecutive empty trips. They finished the first half with five drives halted by three punts and two interceptions.

Ball control wasn't exactly a strong point for Big Blue, as they totaled only 24:15 in the time of possession battle.

They don't get to play the Cardinals every week. Those, yours truly included, that thought Arizona would be much improved this season, sure look pretty silly right about now.


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