Dottino: Giants Cruz To Victory
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By Paul Dottino
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Big play after big play after big play. Are you sure that team was the Giants?
Coach Tom Coughlin’s club, which usually subscribes to a winning formula that requires domination in the trenches, instead made big plays on offense and defense throughout Sunday afternoon and knocked out quarterback Michael Vick to upset the Philadelphia Eagles, 29-16.
The Giants got two unlikely long TD catches from Victor Cruz, a 40-yard TD off a flat pass to Brandon Jacobs and an 18-yard screen to Ahmad Bradshaw. (Think about this – Bradshaw’s TD was their shortest scoring play of the day.)
On defense, the Giants came up with three interceptions, including two by Aaron Ross, who worked his way out of Coughlin’s doghouse. The Giants also held the Eagles to three field goals and a TD on four trips inside the red zone and, in the fourth quarter, made a fourth-down stop at their own 43. And they consistently pounded Vick, so much so that he suffered a broken hand and twice had to come out of the game.
So let’s get to our weekly review:
Offense – WR Victor Cruz. Wow. What else can you say?
He came up with three catches for 110 yards and two spectacular touchdowns – with Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha involved in both of the scoring plays. Late in the first quarter, Cruz caught a short pass along the left sideline, bounced off safety Kurt Coleman – who then collided with Asomugha , and completed a 74-yard catch-and-run to put the Giants on top, 14-0.
The play took a lot of starch out of the Eagles’ crowd, seeing its team down by two scores. Midway into the fourth, Cruz hauled in a 28-yard jump ball as the Giants regained the lead, 22-16. Cruz ran down the left side and outwrestled Asomugha and safety Jarrad Page for the ball, crossing the goal line before the ball was stripped from his hands.
Defense – CB Aaron Ross. He came down with two interceptions, less than a week after being pulled during a bad performance against the Rams. His first theft came off a tipped ball with nearly 9 minutes left in the first quarter and short-circuited an Eagles’ scoring threat on their opening drive (which went six plays for 73 yards).
Former New York receiver Steve Smith deflected the ball and Ross hauled it at the Giants 8. Then, as the Eagles tried to respond to the second Cruz TD, Ross snared a weak Mike Kafka pass down the right side intended for DeSean Jackson at the Giants 44 to set up the clinching drive.
Special teams – P Steve Weatherford. Although the Giants could not have been pleased with his 27-yard shank that set up the Eagles at the Giants 46 with 1:12 left in the first half, he did not make any herculean mistakes.
Philadelphia turned his one poor punt into a field goal and went into the half down, 14-13. Weatherford finished with four punts for a 41-yard average and a net of 37.8.
Offense – TE Travis Beckum. He cost the Giant a scoring opportunity when he tripped over his own feet on a fourth-and-3 from the Eagles 31 with nearly 5 minutes left in the first half and the Giants up, 14-3. Beckum was open in the left flat and somehow fell a yard short of the marker.
The Eagles responded with a seven-play, 71-yard TD drive (more on this below).
Defense – S Antrel Rolle. He had two horrible plays on the final three snaps of the Eagles’ lone first-half touchdown drive.
On first-and-10 from the Giants 33, LeSean McCoy ran around the right side for 9 yards and Philadelphia was moved half the distance to the goal (Giants 11) when Rolle was flagged for scuffling with TE Brent Celek. Two plays later, McCoy ran into traffic up the middle then darted around the left side – where Rolle whiffed – for an 11-yard TD to slice the lead to 14-10.
Special teams- LS Zak DeOssie. The Giants actually get a big thumbs up for playing the Eagles’ special teams to a draw, but DeOssie whiffed on DeSean Jackson’s lone punt return – a 13-yard dash in the first period.
How about those Giants? Sound off on their Week 3 win below…