GI Staff: Xs & Os

QUARTERBACKS Eli Manning inexplicably nearly threw a ball right into the arms of MLB Kawicka Mitchell, who blanketed TE Jeremy Shockey near midfield with 7:27 left in the game, but dropped the ball. Manning made an awful, short throw toward WR Plaxico Burress, who was running a post route into the end zone while double covered.

 The throw was so short, backup CB Dexter McCleon barely was able to intercept it at the Giants' 2 with 8:38 left in the third quarter. Manning missed WR Tim Carter streaking down the Giants' sideline and instead underthrew Burress, who was also open near the Giants' sideline on a second-and-seven play from the Chiefs' 32 midway through the third quarter. Bottom Line: Eli's lack of accuracy is very alarming at this point.

RUNNING BACKS

Tiki Barber broke the tackle of reserve DT Junior Siavii at the line of scrimmage, darted toward the end zone and carried FS Greg Wesley for the final few yards en route to his second score. Barber broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, then raced 55 yards down the Giants' sideline during a drive that resulted in a 35-yard, go-ahead FG by Jay Feely late in the third quarter. Barber constantly kept his legs moving and broke four tackles to score a 41-yard touchdown down the Chiefs' sideline with 2:47 left in the first half. Barber began the day with six yards on his first seven carries, so he had 214 yards on his final 22 attempts. Bottom Line: Larry Johnson was not the best running back on the field Saturday.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Amani Toomer somehow managed to keep his right knee from touching the FieldTurf, despite that SS Sammy Knight was dragging him down and ROLB Kendrell Bell was pursuing him from behind early in the fourth quarter. Toomer sprung up, shook Knight's tackle attempt and raced to the end zone for a 31-yard score that helped put the Giants in front 20-10 with 12:52 to play. Tim Carter made a terrific leaping catch on a high throw by Manning, a 16-yard gain late in the first half that helped set up a 41-yard Feely FG that put the Giants in front 10-3. The throw was a little high, but Carter got both hands on the ball and should've caught a Manning pass on a third-and-four play from the Giants' 46 very early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Toomer's touchdown catch was amazing.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LT Bob Whitfield blocked RDE Jared Allen inside to create a huge hole on the left side, one Barber used to gain nine yards on the Giants' first scoring drive late in the first half. After a false start by RT David Diehl and a questionable personal foul on C Shaun O'Hara on back-to-back plays in the first quarter, none of the five offensive linemen committed a penalty. Bottom Line: Manning was sacked only once and Barber ran wild.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Backup LDT Kenderick Allen never stopped moving and shed RG Will Shields to trip up QB Trent Green for a two-yard sack that forced a Kansas City punt early in the first quarter. Bottom Line: RDE Osi Umenyiora and LDE Michael Strahan were less disruptive than usual.

LINEBACKERS

WLB Nick Greisen stopped RB Larry Johnson's momentum and MLB Chase Blackburn shed a blocker to help drag him down, as the Giants completed a goal-line stand on a third-and-goal play from the Giants' 1 with around seven minutes left in the first half. The Chiefs had to settle for a field goal. Blackburn stopped Johnson for no gain on a second-and-four play from the Giants' 24 on the aforementioned drive. SLB Reggie Torbor stood up Johnson and tackled him for a two-yard loss on a first-down play late in the first quarter. Bottom Line: You couldn't expect more without Antonio Pierce and Carlos Emmons.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

RCB Curtis Deloatch's jarring hit from behind prevented what would've been a first-down reception by WR Eddie Kennison on a third-and-five play from Kansas City's 31 at the very beginning of the fourth quarter. SS Gibril Wilson missed an easy tackle at the Chiefs' 15, which enabled Johnson to turn a 13-yard run into a 28-yard gain on a third-quarter drive. Deloatch used his right arm to strip WR Samie Parker, whose fumble was recovered by FS Brent Alexander at the Giants' 36 late in the second quarter. On a third-and-12 play from the Giants' 47 late in the first quarter, Alexander blasted extended TE Tony Gonzalez to break up what would've been a reception of more than 30 yards from Green down the middle of the field. Bottom Line: Green only threw for 176 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The coverage units were stingy, as star returner Dante Hall couldn't bring back any of his five kickoffs for more than 26 yards. Hall only managed seven total yards on two punt returns as well. SLB Reggie Torbor wrapped up the elusive Hall late in the first quarter and dropped him for no gain at Kansas City's 41 after Hall escaped the grasp of Deloatch. KR Chad Morton averaged 23.5 yards on four kickoffs, not much of an improvement over WR Willie Ponder, who didn't return any for more than 20 yards the previous week. Bottom Line: They neutralized Hall.

COACHING

Offensive coordinator John Hufnagel should stop calling the reverse for Carter. It never fools a defense and actually cost the Giants two yards in the second quarter. Tom Coughlin's decision in the first quarter to challenge a Manning fumble seemed reasonable, but replay officials declared that he hadn't begun his throwing motion when LDE Eric Hicks stripped him at Kansas City's 28. Bottom Line: They're 10-4 and beat the supposedly superior Chiefs without four starters.


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