X's and O's: Giants 38, Eagles 45

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

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning made a beautiful throw to Mario Manningham to convert a fourth down late in the game, even though the game appeared to be out of reach at that point. Manning did a great job of hanging in there against the heavy Eagles pressure, but even all his heroics still couldn't get it done.

Bottom line: Manning was the least culpable of the 53 guys on the roster.

RUNNING BACKS

Brandon Jacobs coughed up the ball when he allowed Trent Cole to knock the ball free from behind on New York's first drive. A few minutes later, Jacobs made amends when he bulled his way for two yards on a fourth-and-one play on which he would not be denied. Ahmad Bradshaw chipped in a few nice runs and a TD as well.

Bottom line: The RB duo combined for more than 100 yards in less than 30 carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Mario Manningham did a great job of going up and getting the ball but was unable to come down with both feet in bounds late in the first quarter and the Giants were forced to settle for a field goal. Hakeem Nicks will be replaying his drop over in his head for weeks. Nicks was wide open and dropped what would have been an 84-yard TD early in the second quarter. However, a few plays later he shook off two would-be tacklers en route to a 68-yard TD pass.

Bottom line: While inserting Hakeem Nicks into the starting lineup sure had its shaky moments, it definitely paid off overall.

OFFENSIVE LINE

You have to love the play call to throw the ball to tackle eligible Kevin Boothe in the third quarter, but Eli Manning's pass sailed over big number 77's head. Two plays later, RG Chris Snee did a great job of occupying multiple defenders to lead the way for Brandon Jacobs' fourth-down TD run. LG Rich Seubert was nailed for holding in the third quarter and C Shaun O'Hara in the fourth.

Bottom line: You can nitpick here, but the O-line was a major reason New York put up 38 points.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Osi Umenyiora showed great speed and quickness in getting around Eagles LT Jason Peters and forcing Donovan McNabb into a forward fumble that turned out to be one of most confusing plays of the game. Justin Tuck, no surprise here, was New York's best D-lineman, posting six tackles and batting away a pass.

Bottom line: One sack and two QB hits sure isn't going to get it done.

LINEBACKERS

Jonathan Goff did a great job of grabbing Donovan McNabb's errant throw for a third-quarter INT on a pass intended for Brent Celek. Bryan Kehl was in the starting lineup due to his speed, and played decently, making four tackles.

Bottom line: Michael Boley had about as quiet an 11-tackle game as you can have.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Aaron Rouse made a great play to knock away a Michael Vick pass into the end zone that was intended for Reggie Brown. Rouse just tipped the ball enough to break up the play. Aaron Ross was helpless to stop DeSean Jackson on his game-changing 60-yard TD catch in the third stanza.

Bottom line: Ross, a cornerback by trade, wasn't awful in his first start at strong safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS

A very foolish 15-yard penalty on Terrell Thomas hurt the Giants late in first quarter. Thomas rode Philly gunner Quintin Demps way out of bounds and was flagged as a result. Thomas was later penalized for running into the kicker after an extra point. A trio of Giants – Bryan Kehl, Zak DeOssie and Domenik Hixon – was unable to bring down DeSean Jackson on his back-breaking 72-yard punt return for a TD. Fred Robbins penetrated and got his right hand on David Akers' extra-point try at the end of the first half.

Bottom line: Once again, New York's specialty units were more a part of the problem than the solution.

COACHING

You can keep questioning whether it's the fault of the players or the coordinator, but the bottom line is that this Giants defense has become a total embarrassment. Forty-five points with the division title on the line? The Giants Stadium faithful was especially ‘pleased' with Kevin Gilbride's early fourth-quarter call for an inside handoff to Ahmad Bradshaw on a third-and-five in Eagles territory that gained absolutely nothing and led to a punt.

Bottom line: Yeah, it might be time for DC Bill Sheridan to stop having Michael Boley drop into coverage as a safety; ask Brent Celek how well that worked.

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