Healthy Manning, Bradshaw put Hurt on Raiders

Tom Coughlin was not trying to be Eric Mangini by not disclosing his starting QB before the game. Unlike the former Man-genius (boy, was that ever premature!), Coughlin knew whom he wanted behind center. But the question remained: Do you risk injury to your star QB in a game that only Al Davis thinks Oakland can win?

Manning missed practice all week, except for Friday's session and Saturday's walk-through. He warmed up before the game and looked good. Still, why not go with David Carr? The former first overall pick could probably beat the Raiders left-handed.

But Manning got the nod and never looked back.

In less than two quarters, Manning led the Giants to four consecutive scores in an 8-for-10, 173-yard, 2 TD performance.

"We know Eli was going to do everything he could to be out there," LT David Diehl said. "It's no coincidence that he has a starting streak like he does."

"That's Eli. He's a competitor," WR Mario Manningham added. "I wasn't surprised at Eli's performance."

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin was obviously relieved to have his Pro Bowl signal-caller at the helm.

"Eli played and played well," Coughlin said. "He was able to put some points on the board, then we got him out of the game. I felt good about that."

They way Coughlin sounded, he was probably happier to get Manning out of the game healthy than with the points that he scored.

Of course, he had some help; mostly from running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

Bradshaw ran the ball only 11 times, but those carries took him over the 100-yard mark for the second time this season. His 110 yards gave him a 10-yard average. But the biggest impact was his 2 TDs. The first was a fourth-and-one romp up the middle. The second, a 19-yarder where he took a pitchout, got a great block from Madison Hedgecock, and cut straight up the middle seemingly untouched.

Pretty amazing considering he's spent the past couple weeks wearing a protective boot to help heal his ankle/foot before practicing on Fridays.

"He's playing very, very well," Coughlin said. "He's had the same routine. Practiced Friday. But he's running the ball very well. Very tough, very physical. Makes a lot of people miss."

If you ask Bradshaw who his favorite running back was growing up, he would say Emmitt Smith, the all-time rushing leader who is nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

But, Coughlin might think of another guy. His teammate at Syracuse, Floyd Little, who went on to star for the Denver Broncos and retire as the seventh-leading rusher in NFL history. Like Smith, Little is also nominated for the Hall of Fame this year as one of two Seniors Candidates.

Little was a smallish back like Bradshaw who, coincidentally also wore 44. Bradshaw, like Little, is a tough inside-outside runner who can do some damage catching passes. Bradshaw's 55-yard reception off a screen pass was vintage Little.

With Brandon Jacobs struggling to regain last year's form, Bradshaw appears to be quickly becoming the new featured back. Jacobs rushed for 67 yards on 21 carries for a 3.2 average. Still, why mess with success? Regardless of whether Jacobs is churning up the yardage, he is softening the defense so Bradshaw can continue his rushing assault.

Of course, in the NFL it's all about what's next. And the Giants may not have the easiest time down in the Big Easy next week. The unbeaten Saints present the biggest challenge of this young season.

Game Notes

Painless Performance

Despite Eli Manning's painful plantar fasciitis, that some people believe is more painful to try to pronounce, the injury did not affect his performance one iota: Manning finished 8-for-10 for 173 yards and 2 TDs, with a QB rating of 158.3.

7-11

Ahmad Bradshaw made the most of his seven first-half carries. The 5-9, 198-pound dynamo rushed for 82 yards, scored 2 TDs and sported an eye-popping 11.7-yard average. He finished with 110 yards on 11 carries (10-yard average), plus one catch that went for 55 yards.

Fran-tastic play!

With former Giants greats, such as Bob Tucker, in attendance, the former tight end must have thought his old teammate Fran Tarkenton had sneaked into the lineup early in the third quarter. That's when QB David Carr dropped back to pass, spun around to avoid a sack, then looped around to his backside, faked like he was going to throw, and bounded 12 yards into the left corner of the end zone for a TD.

Just Tuck

There's the Tuck rule, but when it comes to Justin Tuck the mindset for opposing quarterbacks is "Just Tuck!" Tuck notched 6 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble to lead all G-men defenders.

Manning to Manningham

Nice ring to it, huh. Mario, the second-year pro, is becoming a formidable go-to receiving option for Eli. The two "Mannings" hooked up for a perfect 30-yard scoring strike on the first play of the second quarter.

Good Tynes

Despite missing some easy field goals earlier in the season, Lawrence Tynes was perfect against the far-from-perfect Raiders. He was three-for-three on field goals, booting a 25-yarder, 33-yarder, and a 37-yarder.

Davis's Raiders?

How far has Al Davis's Raiders fallen? The only redeeming thing to say about Oakland in 2009 is they actually have a victory, a 13-10 win in Week 2 at Kansas City. Sunday at Giants Stadium, the Raiders rushed for just 60 yards with a 2.4 average. QB JaMarcus Russell passed for an even 100 yards with a 1-11 third-down success rate. Their best player is clearly punter Shane Lechler.

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