Whitfield, Whittle give O-line shot of life

The Giants offensive line has been nothing if not durable this season. That all changed against Philly, when left tackle Luke Petitgout left the game with a knee injury and center Shaun O'Hara was felled by a sprained ankle. However, the front five didn't miss a beat, as Bob Whitfield and Jason Whittle took their place on the front wall and fared as well as the men they were replacing.

"Oh, they played outstanding," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Whitfield played very well and Jason Whittle to have to go into the game … obviously he was ready to go and he went in and did his job."

"That's what they pay us the little money for," said Whitfield, only half-joking. "I was happy with my performance. The rust shook off really quickly. When they call my number, I'm ready to go."

It was obvious once Whitfield entered the contest, as he began yapping with several Eagles, especially rookie LB Trent Cole, and getting his own mates pumped up in the process.

"Me and Jay brought a level of excitement, a little exuberance," Whitfield stated. "I think they rallied around it. I think the team fed off it."

Right guard Chris Snee said he wasn't the least bit surprised by how quickly and how well the veteran duo chipped in.

"Those guys have been in the league over 20 years combined," he said. "They stepped in and played well. Depth is key to being a good football team."

Quarterback Eli Manning was the main beneficiary of the super-subs.

"Both of those guys did a great job," he said. "Whittle coming in at center is a guy that I take snaps with every practice so I was confident with him. He came in, did a good job of organizing everything, making the calls, and making good blocks. Whitfield as the left tackle is a guy that you have to trust in blocking so he had a big duty in front of him. Both of those guys did a great job."

Ponder out

Willie Ponder was "surprised" when he showed up and saw that he was inactive for last Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

"It was a numbers thing," said Ponder, inactive for the first time this season. "We have some banged up linebackers."

Ponder, who was a totally healthy scratch, was replaced on kickoff return duty by Chad Morton.

"Well, we had made the decision earlier in the week to go with Chad (Morton)," Coughlin. "So, today we played Chad at punt returner and kick returner."

The rest of New York's list of inactives read as follows: CB Will Peterson (back), S Shaun Williams (hamstring), LB Reggie Torbor (hernia), G Rich Seubert, DT William Joseph (elbow) and DE Adrian Awasom. As usual, Jared Lorenzen was the club's third QB.

600 club

The victory was the 600th in the history of the Giants franchise (regular and postseason games combined). The Giants, at 600-511-33, are the third team in the NFL to reach the 600-win milestone, joining Chicago (667) and Green Bay (638, going into last Monday night's contest with Minnesota).

"It was a good football game for the New York Giants, our 600th win in the history of this franchise, which is, when you stop and think about it – what an amazing accomplishment it is," Coughlin said. "And to have this 600th win fall as we honored Preston Robert Tisch is something we'll all remember."

500 club

Amani Toomer and Tiki Barber became the first Giants in history with 500 career receptions. Toomer reached the milestone first, catching a 15-yard pass for his first reception of the day with 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Barber, who entered the game with 498 career catches, picked up his 500th catch in the waning moments of the second quarter. He finished the game with exactly 500 catches. Toomer caught six passes and is at 505.

"To say I was the first (to 500) is going to be something I'm definitely never going to forget," said Toomer, who has been with the team for his entire 10-year career. "This team has been around a long time, so I'm very happy about that."

Quite a challenge

Coughlin fell to 1-5 in replay challenges this season. On a third-and-15 from the Giants' 49-yard line in the second quarter, Manning threw a pass to Plaxico Burress, who was ruled out of bounds on the right sideline. Coughlin challenged the ruling, claiming Burress got both feet inbounds. After reviewing the play, referee Tony Corrente upheld the call on the field.

Quote of the Game

"That was the motto all week from Coach Coughlin. If you want to be the champion, you have to beat the champion. Regardless of what their record is, they're the four-time defending NFC East champion and we had to go through them. We played well enough today. We didn't play perfect but we played well enough defensively and offensively and our playmakers made the plays when they had to." – Giants RB Tiki Barber

NFC East

The Giants improved to 7-3 and kept pace with the Cowboys, who had an easy time with Detroit, for the division lead. The Redskins (5-5), who stumbled at home against Oakland, dropped two games off the pace, while the 4-6 Eagles are on as thin ice as they've been in years.

"It's a tough, tough division," Coughlin said. "It's right back where it was X amount of years ago when week in and week out, everybody's scratching, fighting, and biting just to try and get ahead of the other guy. In a sense, it's great to have this kind of competitiveness where each team battles each other. But I'll tell you week in and week out, it's tough duty."

Michael Strahan, who suffered a stinger and was still in pain after the game, said the Giants were in no position to make claims that they put the finishing touches on the Eagles.

"We're not good enough to gloat or kick dirt on anybody," said Strahan, one day shy of his 34th birthday.

Next up

The Giants embark on a tough cross-country trip to face off against the Seahawks, the class of the NFC West and very much a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Next Sunday's kickoff is set for 4:15 EST.

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