Eli Manning should've seen LDT Mike Patterson, who appeared to stand directly in his line of sight on the Giants' first drive of the game. Patterson returned an easy interception 21 yards to the Giants' 9, which set up WR DeSean Jackson's 9-yard touchdown run just 1:42 into the game. Bottom Line: He played well after the interception.
RB Brandon Jacobs was consistent, but he let go of the football on three occasions. Only one of those instances resulted in an official fumble, though. Jacobs tried to jump over LCB Asante Samuel, but the leap left him susceptible to a punishing hit by SLB Chris Gocong, who made an exposed Jacobs fumble after a 10-yard gain. Patterson recovered the ball at the Giants' 44 and the Eagles cut the Giants' lead to 17-14 on WR Jason Avant's 10-yard touchdown catch six plays later, with 4:01 to go before halftime. Bottom Line: Their three backs combined for 219 rushing yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
TE Kevin Boss showed athleticism and concentration in diving to catch a 1-yard touchdown pass in the end zone, just beyond the out-stretched arms of MLB Stewart Bradley. Boss' score helped give the Giants a 17-7 edge early in the second quarter. WR Plaxico Burress' slight fake outside sold a slant route, which left FS Brian Dawkins turned around and out of position to defend Burress' post route, which led to the 17-yard touchdown catch that tied the game (7-7) at the 8:21 mark of the first quarter. Bottom Line: Boss and WR Amani Toomer were especially effective.
C Shaun O'Hara flattened Bradley in space to spring RB Ahmad Bradshaw for a 23-yard run through the right side of the line that brought the Giants to Philadelphia's 17 early in the fourth quarter. The Giants went ahead 36-24 on Jacobs' 3-yard run to end the drive. LT David Diehl allowed RDE Trent Cole to get around him and drop Manning for a 9-yard sack that backed the Giants into a second-and-19 situation from their own 35 early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: The Giants rushed for 219 yards and Manning was sacked just once.
RDE Mathias Kiwanuka's hold of TE L.J. Smith at the line of scrimmage negated rookie CB Terrell Thomas' interception at the Giants' 45, which could've sealed the Giants' victory when there was just 2:35 left to play. Bottom Line: LDE Justin Tuck was neutralized by RT Jon Runyan and occasional helpers.
WLB Chase Blackburn blew through a hole in the Eagles' line and dragged down RB Brian Westbrook to limit him to no gain and stop Philadelphia on fourth-and-1 from their own 45 just after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. MLB Antonio Pierce could only get one hand on what could've been an interception near the Giants' 25 on a second-and-4 play near the midway mark of the fourth quarter. The Eagles got within five points (36-31) five plays later. Bottom Line: Blackburn's lone tackle was extremely timely.
Backup RCB Sam Madison made a good read and a leaping interception of an underthrown McNabb pass he brought back 21 yards, to Philadelphia' 14, just 2:05 before halftime. The Giants extended their lead to 20-14 on a 26-yard FG by Carney that concluded their ensuing series. LCB Aaron Ross dropped an easy interception at the Giants' 34 early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: They were average.
FS Michael Johnson's blatant tackle of Avant at Philadelphia's 30 cost PR Domenik Hixon a 73-yard return down the Giants' sideline for a TD early in the fourth quarter. KR Ahmad Bradshaw's technique enabled him to use his left hand to punch loose the football from KR Quintin Demps in the first quarter. Blackburn recovered Demps' fumble at Philadelphia's 13. The Giants went ahead 10-7 on Carney's 27-yard FG four plays later. Bottom Line: These units weren't consistent.
Tom Coughlin's successful challenge of Manning's illegal forward pass enabled the Giants to take a 27-24 lead on Jacobs' 3-yard run, with 5:56 to go in the third quarter. Coughlin and his staff determined Manning's right foot was behind the line of scrimmage, thus his 17-yard pass to Boss was legal and they didn't settle for a FG try. WR DeSean Jackson's left foot appeared to go out of bounds, albeit barely, between the Giants' 2- and 3-yard lines, on his first-quarter touchdown run. Coughlin opted not to challenge it, despite that a reversal would've put the Eagles in a third-and-goal situation. Bottom Line: Coughlin has a much better feel for challenges than Andy Reid.
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