Giants vs Eagles: X's and O's

Here is a position by position analysis for how the Giants did against the Eagles.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning wasn't even close to accurate in overthrowing leaping, open WR Plaxico Burress on a third-and-seven play from their own 36 early in the fourth quarter. Manning also telegraphed an ill-advised throw toward slipping TE Jeremy Shockey, and MLB Omar Gaither intercepted it at Philadelphia's 8 to end a scoring threat late in the second quarter that could've put the Giants ahead, 14-0. Manning put the throw where only Burress could catch it on his 9-yard TD in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Manning made only three or four bad passes.

RUNNING BACKS

Three of RB Derrick Ward's 12 first-half touches accounted for first downs, but only one of 10 touches in the second half moved the chains. RB Reuben Droughns didn't gain more than three yards on any of his five carries. Bottom Line: Ward was steady, Droughns was not.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

WR Amani Toomer created enough separation to draw a pass interference flag against RCB William James, a 32-yard infraction that moved the Giants to the Eagles' 10 late in the third quarter. K Lawrence Tynes booted a 29-yard FG four plays later to put the Giants ahead, 10-0. He was well covered, but WR Plaxico Burress used his height to reach over RCB Sheldon Brown and catch a 9-yard TD pass that put the Giants ahead, 7-0 with 11:09 left in the first half. Earlier, on the first play of the second quarter, Burress allowed a deep pass from Manning to slip through his fingertips, despite beating Brown down the Giants' sideline for what would've been at least a 40-yard gain. They punted two plays later. Bottom Line: They were efficient if nothing else.

OFFENSIVE LINE

RT Kareem McKenzie allowed LDE Jevon Kearse to blow by him for a sack that backed the Giants into a second-and-16 situation with less than two minutes left in the first half. Bottom Line: The front five kept Manning clean other than the aforementioned sack.

DEFENSIVE LINE

For good measure, RDE Osi Umenyiora blew by LT Winston Justice one last time on a fourth-and-18 play from the Giants' 24 with 2:24 to go in the game. Umenyiora's sixth sack ended any chance the Eagles had at making an improbable comeback. DE Justin Tuck was knocked to the turf by RG Shawn Andrews, but managed to trip up QB Donovan McNabb as he fell for a 9-yard sack that forced K David Akers to try a 53-yard FG on the ensuing play with 12:51 left in the fourth quarter. Bottom Line: They accounted for three-quarters (nine) of their absurd sack total (12).

LINEBACKERS

WLB Kawika Mitchell showed awareness and athleticism in scooping up McNabb's fumble and returning it 17 yards for a touchdown that gave the Giants a 16-0 lead with 1:30 to go in the third quarter. SLB Mathias Kiwanuka's effort was exceptional when he shed the block of Andrews just enough to lunge and catch McNabb's heel for a 1-yard sack in the third quarter. Bottom Line: Mitchell has hit his stride.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

LCB Aaron Ross moved inside, out of position, which enabled RB Correll Buckhalter to run untouched around right end for a 16-yard gain that moved Philadelphia to the Giants' 16 with three-plus minutes left in the game. Ross reached in with his right hand to break up a pass from McNabb to WR Jason Avant, which would've amounted to a significant gain on a second-and-19 play from Philadelphia's 48, with the Giants ahead, 7-0 and about 30 seconds to play in the second quarter. Bottom Line: Ross was a huge improvement over Corey Webster.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Lawrence Tynes' lack of focus and technique forced him to hit the left upright on a third-quarter extra point attempt and made him hook a 34-yard FG attempt to the right in the first quarter. Jeff Feagles dropped a well-placed, 31-yard punt at Philadelphia's 4 when the Giants were up by only a touchdown near the midway mark of the third quarter. Rookie LB-LS Zak DeOssie downed the punt. Bottom Line: What was wrong with Jay Feely, exactly?

COACHING

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo showed creativity in aligning RDE Osi Umenyiora in the middle on certain plays, which resulted in two of Umenyiora's team-record six sacks. Spagnuolo has also made wise use of natural DE Justin Tuck inside. Despite drops in recent games, getting the ball to TE Jeremy Shockey only once doesn't seem like the best use of his abilities. Bottom Line: They've bounced back admirably from a staggering start.

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