Toomer Lays it All on Line

Amani Toomer could barely even walk through the Giants locker room after the game. He needed help from members of the team staff getting undressed. His slow limp to the shower had Tom Coughlin shaking his head in amazement. Toomer needed four IV bags to recuperate from this one.

Here was the Giants' most prolific receiver, at the ripe old football age of 32, putting his body on the line as the Giants went after what everyone knew – but was afraid to publicly admit – a must-win match in Philadelphia. While this game will always be remembered for Plaxico Burress' 31-yard TD catch in overtime, none of it would have been possible without Toomer's contributions of 12 catches – a career high – for 137 yards and a pair of scores.

"He's made a ton of plays over the years and he was big today," Coughlin said. "He got his body going north when he did make the catch, he had the two touchdowns, and he controlled the underneath stuff for us."

By the time the game ended, Toomer couldn't get his body going at all. He cramped up in all sorts of places and was lying on the ground as Big Blue emerged victorious.

"I went across the middle (on the last play) thinking ‘I'm open, I'm open' but my legs told me ‘your game is over,' " Toomer said. "I looked to the sideline for someone to get me and everybody was jumping around and celebrating."

Toomer opened the game by leaving Michael Lewis in the dust for a 37-yard touchdown. Then he punctuated his standout performance by displaying beautiful footwork on his 22-yard score that brought the Giants within 24-21 with 3:28 to play.

"Amani's one of those guys that we depend on," Burress said. "I'm just happy for him."

The proud Toomer couldn't help but gloat a little. He's been counted out time and again, yet he saved his biggest game for one of the club's biggest spots.

"It was important to me," he said. "I feel like I could still do things that I could (before) but when you do it on the field you prove it."

Toomer proved once again that he's no second fiddle on this team. Here's hoping he enjoys every second of it.

Coming out party

Eli Manning has officially arrived. Sure he's had other big games and led other comebacks, but the poise and skill Manning showed in leading his troops back from 17 points down on the road against the blitz-happy Eagles takes the cake. And after the game you could see tons of excitement on the usually unflappable Manning's face and in his usually monotone voice.

"It was a huge win, it wasn't a pretty one, it was downright ugly at times," he said. "We got it into overtime somehow. This was a sweet one, one you'll always remember."

With a career-high 371 passing yards and a ridiculous QB rating of 111.7, Manning stared into the face of adversity time and again and calmly completed 31 of his 43 passes.

"Sometimes when things do not look good Eli is able to get the job done," Michael Strahan said. "He is going to be a great quarterback for a long time in this league."

With only 35 seconds to play and the Giants out of timeouts, Manning made perhaps his best play. With an Eagle defender draped all over his legs, he connected with Tim Carter for a 22-yard gain to the Philly 40-yard line.

"He's improving every day," Burress said. "People will be talking about us 20, 30 years down the road."

While everyone wanted opening night to be his official coming out party, Giants fans surely didn't mind one ounce that they had to wait one more week.

"I think we can definitely go far with him," Strahan said.

At this point anyone who doesn't agree clearly needs a refresher course in the game of football.

Timmy Hustle

While heroes and goats were aplenty, Tim Carter's recovery of Burress' fumble in the end zone to bring New York within 10 points early in the fourth quarter seemed to ignite the Giants.

"It's probably one of the best fumbles I've ever had," Burress laughed. "It kind of got us started."

Burress caught Manning's 23-yard pass in stride before he was nailed by Brian Dawkins and lost the ball. Visanthe Shiancoe did a great job of tying up Philly safety Michael Lewis in pursuit of the free ball that was bounding into the end zone. That's when Carter came swooping in for the score.

"We needed something like that," Carter said. "We needed something to happen. I was blessed with the opportunity and the ball ended up in my hands."

Actually in this case, the hard-working, hustling Carter made his own luck.

Final thoughts

While this is a game that could catapult the Giants onto much bigger and better things, the players to a man seemed to be focused on the fact that they played horribly for the first three quarters – and rightly so. That sign of maturity is exactly what Coughlin and Giants fans alike want to see.

As much as this classic victory will likely serve as the springboard for a playoff run, what must not be overlooked is that the defense once again played soft and had a weak gameplan, that the offense couldn't pick up a blitz to save its life and that they'd never get away with this type of performance this Sunday in Seattle.

That said…enjoy one heck of a comeback victory.

The Giants Beat Top Stories