X's and O's

Here is a break down, position by position, of how the Giants performed against the Eagles.


Eli Manning's throw over the shoulder of WR Domenik Hixon was perfect and accounted for a 34-yard gain on a critical third-and-5 play from the Giants' 36 in the third quarter. With LDE Juqua Parker about to hit him, Manning's quick and awkward release resulted in a throw over the head of Hixon, who had a step on RCB Sheldon Brown as he headed toward Philadelphia's sideline. LCB Asante Samuel intercepted the pass and weaved his way to a 25-yard return that gave Philadelphia the ball at the Giants' 2 around the midway mark of the first quarter. The Eagles went ahead 7-3 three plays later. Bottom Line: Manning regressed to his 2007 regular-season form.


Brandon Jacobs chose the wrong running lane on a pivotal fourth-and-2 play from the Giants' 47, with 6:28 left in the game. Had he run left, where there was a huge hole, rather than right, where there was little room, he would've picked up the first down. The Giants, down 20-11, turned the ball over on downs and couldn't recover from that failed drive. Other than a 14-yard run, Derrick Ward was ineffective (11 carries, 32 yards). Bottom Line: They didn't gain the necessary yards when it counted.


TE Kevin Boss beat MLB Stewart Bradley to Philadelphia's sideline for a 21-yard reception that advanced the Giants to Philadelphia's 29, with about 10 minutes to go in the first half. WR Steve Smith blew by Brown down Philadelphia's sideline, but Manning overthrew him inside Philadelphia's 10 at the 13:29 mark of the second quarter. Bottom Line: Manning was so off, even Plaxico Burress might not have helped.


C Shaun O'Hara and RG Chris Snee got good enough push and created enough space for Manning to gain six inches on a fourth-down play, with 12:29 to go in the game. Manning failed to get his pad level low enough to gain the first behind them. Bottom Line: They created enough holes and they protected Manning well (no sacks; only one official hurry).


DT Fred Robbins made sure to secure an interception with both hands, following WLB Chase Blackburn's tip early in the third quarter. Robbins' 17-yard return to Philadelphia's 33 led to Carney's 36-yard FG, which put the Giants ahead 11-10 five plays later. LDE Justin Tuck ran right around RT Jon Runyan and forced QB Donovan McNabb into an intentional grounding infraction that resulted in a safety, because McNabb was in the end zone when he released the ball early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: They failed to sack McNabb yet again.


MLB Antonio Pierce's illegal contact with TE Brent Celek near the Giants' 10 accomplished nothing, other than getting K David Akers five yards closer at the end of the first half. Akers' 25-yard FG gave Philadelphia a 10-8 edge entering halftime. SLB Danny Clark wrapped up a leaping Westbrook in the middle of a pile to stop him from crossing the plane on first-and-goal from the Giants' 2 in the first quarter. Bottom Line: Pierce's poor play should be a concern entering the offseason.


RCB Corey Webster got away with pass interference on WR Kevin Curtis at the 2:56 mark of the third quarter. Webster held Curtis' left shoulder with his left hand, preventing Curtis from making a 12-yard catch on a first-and-10 play from the 50. WR DeSean Jackson beat Webster for a 48-yard catch to the Giants' 1 that sealed Philadelphia's win with about six minutes left in the game. Bottom Line: This wasn't their best work, but there were other culprits.


With the Giants down, 13-11, K John Carney pushed his failed 47-yard FG to the left with 4:20 to go in the third quarter. Earlier, he booted his 46-yard FG attempt to the right, which left the Giants down 7-5 at the 8:53 mark of the second quarter. CB R.W. McQuarters' illegal block to the back of LB Torrance Daniels on a punt return cost the Giants 17 yards of field position at the end of the first quarter. Bottom Line: Carney's timing was as bad as his accuracy.


Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's decisions to run Ward wide right, when they were in the shotgun on third-and-2 from their own 47, and then Jacobs up the middle on fourth-and-2 were inexplicable. The Eagles were winning the battles at the line of scrimmage, thus the Giants should've thrown on at least one of those two plays. Tom Coughlin's decision to challenge the spot on Ward's 2-yard gain was extremely costly. The Giants had already burned a timeout by the 12:39 mark of the fourth quarter and there wasn't a shred of video evidence that indicated Ward gained more yardage than the spot suggested. Having only one timeout when they went down 23-11 with 3:58 to go hurt them tremendously. Bottom Line: Tiki might not say so again, but they were out-played and out-coached.

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