X's and O's: Giants 17, Cardinals 24

Here is a look at how the Giants did, position by position, against the Cardinals.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning was twice called for delay-of-game penalties. But that was hardly the worst of it as Manning's hat trick of picks doomed New York. His third and final INT snuffed out Big Blue's potential last-minute game-tying drive. It was certainly not a good night to have Manning as your fantasy football quarterback.

Bottom line: Obviously Manning can't continue to lead every possible comeback; perhaps the Giants should stop falling behind all the time.

RUNNING BACKS

RB Brandon Jacobs just bulled over Gerald Hayes on his second-quarter TD run, which served as the game's first points. He later burst through a slight crease to convert a fourth down in the fourth quarter. However, on the ensuing third down near the goal line Jacobs was stood up by a handful of smaller players and the Giants had to settle for a field goal.

Bottom line: Perhaps Ahmad Bradshaw should've saved some of his ‘punch' for his carries, and not used it all after he was dropped for a key loss late in the game.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Mario Manningham dropped what would have been a sure touchdown early in the fourth period. Manningham, who earlier ran an awful route on a long ball, has had better nights. TE Kevin Boss took the hit of the game and still held on for a 25-yard gain late in the fourth quarter. Hakeem Nicks' 62-yard score was the most exciting play of the game.

Bottom line: The Giants need Steve Smith to become a factor a lot sooner than the fourth quarter.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Overall the O-line could have and should have played better. The RBs combined to barely top 100 yards and Manning was sacked three times and hit on five other occasions. C Shaun O'Hara and LG Rich Seubert did a great job of opening the hole on Brandon Jacobs' game-opening, 4-yard TD run.

Bottom line: Will Beatty could have done a lot worse in his professional starting debut; not bad, rook.

DEFENSIVE LINE

DE Justin Tuck did a great job early on of wrapping up Tim Hightower for a loss and forcing a fumble in the process that New York recovered. Fred Robbins failed to hold his water and was flagged for encroachment to kick-start a key fourth-quarter Arizona drive. After the D-line was mostly held in check all night, Mathias Kiwanuka sacked Warner late in the fourth quarter.

Bottom line: The pass rush was certainly better than it was in New Orleans, but the DL pressure clearly hasn't improved commensurate with New York's level of competition.

LINEBACKERS

A blitzing SLB Danny Clark came untouched and was able to drop Kurt Warner for a key sack in the middle of the second quarter. Clark bit on the play-fake but recovered in plenty of time for the sack. Antonio Pierce hardly played the perfect game but after trying to talk his club up all week, at least he answered the bell with 10 tackles, including one for loss.

Bottom line: They sure do miss Michael Boley.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

CB Terrell Thomas did a great job of staying with Steve Breaston on a deep route and batting the ball away at the last possible moment, although the play was called back due to an Arizona penalty. Thomas later picked off an underthrown Kurt Warner pass intended for Fitzgerald. Thomas, who broke up a total of four passes, also had his difficulties in coverage, posting an up-and-down evening.

Bottom line: They are who we thought they were – a secondary without Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kevin Dockery almost made a critical mistake when he blocked his man right into Giants PR Domenik Hixon, who was unable to hold onto the ball, which, fortunately for Dockery and the Giants, harmlessly rolled out of bounds. Dockery at least made three specialty stops.

Bottom line: About as bad a game from Jeff Feagles as you'll ever see.

COACHING

Tom Coughlin wisely challenged a Tim Hightower fumble early in the game, enabling the officials to reverse the original call and putting a quick end to Arizona's opening drive. Bill Sheridan's defense was more aggressive, but not a whole lot more effective.

Bottom line: The fact that even the television announcers have figured out what Manning's "Omaha" call means illustrates clearly that it's time for some new terminology in the playbook.

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