So the next week they return home, stand off the Dallas Cowboys in a battle for first place in the NFC East, and all of a sudden they are a team in trouble.
Why? Because the offense faltered and sputtered against Dallas, and in this
case, the offense is Eli Manning, the young quarterback.
He was missing passes Sunday. He was over throwing and under throwing. He
was making poor decisions. His receivers, especially wideout Plaxico Burress,
didn't help much. Burress ran a wrong route in the Cowboys' end zone and on
another pattern didn't move back for the ball, allowing a defender to swat it away.
A reserve wide receiver, Tim Carter, dropped a sure first down and perhaps a
long, long gainer. He is the fastest player on the team -- and has hands like
But it ultimately comes back to Manning, and the danger here is to be too
critical of a kid who hasn't yet completed his first season as a starting
quarterback. It seems as though he has been behind center for a long time, but it was
only the last seven games in 2004 and the 12 played so far this season.
"I still have a lot to learn," said Manning. "My recognition of defenses is
getting better. I am learning to read my receivers, to anticipate them. But it
isn't all there yet. I know I can get a lot better."
Based on what he has already shown, if he indeed gets "a lot better" there
will be "another Manning" on the horizon.
--While the Giants suffered no serious injuries in the Dallas game, the hard
truth is that DT William Joseph (elbow) is still at least a week away, and RCB
Will Peterson (lower back), according to coach Tom Coughlin, "is close to being
shut down for the season."
--RB Tiki Barber needs 72 yards per game to surpass what had been his career
high for a season, 1,518. He set that last year and currently has 1,233 with
four games to play.
--QB Eli Manning saw his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass for
12 consecutive games come to an end vs. Dallas. During the run he had moved
into second place on the team's all-time list, but fell three short of tying Y.A.
--RB Brandon Jacobs, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound rookie, scored his sixth
touchdown of the season, a 1-yard slam up the middle vs. Dallas. It was retribution
in a way. "I got that chance (from the 3-yard line) when we played them down
there," he said, "and I fumbled. We lost the game (16-13 in OT) and I have been
--WR Tim Carter, the first reserve, dropped a certain touchdown pass and has
had a history of that in his almost four-year career. He is the fastest player
on the roster and, at 6-feet and 200 pounds, has the body. But other players
are wondering how long his chances will continue.
--TE Jeremy Shockey, who has 50 receptions for 733 yards and seven
touchdowns, has the chance to record the team's top season numbers for his position. He
already has more than any tight end in team history (74 in 2002) and will need
eight per game for the next four games to equal WR Amani Toomer's record of 82
--PK Jay Feely made one and missed one against Dallas, making it four missed
field goals in his last five attempts. He missed the last three he tried the
week before vs. Seattle, any one of which would have won the game. "It's nothing
mechanical," he said. "I'm just in a slump."
--DE Osi Umenyiora leads the NFC with 11 sacks, 1.5 more than the Giants'
other end, Michael Strahan. They have the most sacks of any two ends on any team
in the league. There is growing speculation that both will be named to the Pro
Bowl, which would be a first -- two defensive ends from one team in the same
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