Big Blue Topples Angry Birds In Another Fairy Tale Win!!
For the second consecutive meeting at the University Of Phoenix Stadium, the New York Giants defeated the Arizona Cardinals. Prior to these last two games, the Cardinals had a 7 game winning streak, in Arizona, against the Giants. While the numbers were high for Larry Fitzgerald and company, the points on the scoreboard were not high enough.
It was a rough start for the G-Men. Three incomplete passes, (one being called back due to a 5 yard false start penalty on Hakeem Nicks) and a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw led to the Cardinals putting the first points on the board – a 27 yard field goal by ex-Giant Jay Feely. It would be the only score of the first quarter by either team.
The Cards began an 18 play drive at 2:17 of the first quarter that lasted a total of 7:57, eating up nearly half of the second quarter clock and putting another three points on the board. Of course, these were the only points that the Big Blue Wrecking Crew would allow Arizona to gain. At that point, the Giants’ defense had not allowed a single touchdown in four quarters.
On a 10 play (5 run, 4 pass) drive, Ahmad Bradhsaw scored on a 13 yard run to put the Giants out in front, 7-6. New York closed out the first half with a 5 play, 61 yard, 28 second drive to push their lead to 10-6. Eli threw 9 incomplete passes in the first half (20 ATT, 11 CMP, 113 YDS).
The red zone defense of the NY Giants, who were previously immaculate for 4 quarters, broke down in the second half – giving up two 3rd quarter TD’s and one in the 4th quarter. But the real story of the day was Eli Manning, who has not thrown an interception in the last two games. In fact, he has not thrown an interception in the last 11 quarters and only has two interceptions thus far.
Last season, Eli led the league in interceptions with 25. Turnovers were a major problem for the Giants last year. It was a problematic area that Tom Coughlin was devout to fixing. It appears as if he has done just that. Is it too early to credit Manning for his lack of turnovers? Certainly not. He is tied for 2nd least amount of INT thrown. His QB Rating (105.6) is the 3rd best in the NFL, behind Aaron Rodgers (124.6) and Tom Brady (111.3). This has been a long time coming Giants fans. Eli has been scrutinized for the vast amounts of his poor decisions, bad throws and interceptions. It seems as if he just may have turned the corner.
One of the other issues that had fans pulling their hair out over the last couple of years is not being able to score in the red zone. Let me rephrase that. Touchdowns in the red zone were not as plentiful as we would have liked. Well, here is one of those stats that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The Giants are ranked dead last in field goals. The Gmen only have one FG for the year on two attempts. Eli has 8 TDs for the season. The Giants have 5 rushing TDs. Getting touchdowns does not seem to be a problem this season…yet.
Manning finished the game with 40 ATT, 27 CMP, 321 YDS, 2 TDs and a QB Rating of 108.4. Of course, he couldn’t have done it alone. Hakeem Nicks was targeted 14 times, hit 10 for 162 YDS and 1 TD. Victor Cruz, the hometown hero of Paterson NJ, caught 6 passes for 96 yards. The running game wasn’t much to speak of, not for the Giants anyway. Cardinals RB Beanie Wells gave the defense a run for its money yesterday – putting 138 YDS of rushing and 3 TDs on his resume. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw collectively ran for 57 YDS and 1 TD a piece.
This was the second week in a row that the Giants had to come from behind to win the game, and they did so magnificently. We hear the phrase, “ugly win” quite frequently where Big Blue is concerned. Eli Manning had this to say after the game,
"“We’ve had some good games here and this was a great game, a great win. Not the prettiest at times, but we got into that second half and were going no-huddle on the ball. Simplified things a little bit, which I think slowed down the pass rush, guys were getting open and guys made a lot of big plays.”"
On The Other Side Of The Ball:
While the defense gave up some big plays and scores, they stepped up when they absolutely needed to, at the end. After New York’s 7 play, 80 yard drive to shorten Arizona’s lead to 3 points and then their 2 play, 48 yard drive to regain the lead the Cardinals were left with plenty of time to wrap the game up.
Osi Umenyiora, who has missed the last three games due to injury, sacked Kevin Kolb for a loss of 10 yards on what was beginning to look like a predetermined Cardinals touchdown. On the lasy possession for Arizona, a 4th and 2, Corey Webster helped break up a play to Larry Fitzgerald. A few knees from Eli and the Giants found themselves at 3-1, tied for 1st in the NFC East.
It was another Cinderella win for Big Blue. Was it the “perfect win?” Well, I am not even sure what that is. Were there mistakes and areas that need improving upon? Absolutely. But what I think we are witnessing is a team beginning to come into its own. These last two games were against some very formidable opponents including our most hated and competitive rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.
There are two more games before the bye week – the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills. The next three games are at home. There isn no reason we should not take 2 out of those 3. The schedule after that is not pretty. The so called “trap games” that we play are must win situations and there are only 2 of those coming up. The rest of this year is going to be more than just a title bit tough.
One thing that works in our favor is the fact that of our remaining 12 games, we play 8 of them at home. We are now one quarter of the way done with football season. The Giants are 2 games ahead of the Eagles, 1 game ahead of the Cowboys and down one to the Washington Redskins. We’ve got a long way to go yet. But I think we just might see this Giants team continue to improve. Who were your unsung heroes of the game?
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