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One thing we do know is that the Giants came out flat on Sunday and were thoroughly beaten at their own game by the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
On a cold, windy day at the Meadowlands, the Eagles did to the Giants what the Giants normally do to the league: punished them physically. Sticking with their running game, which is something Andy Reid is normally quick to abandon, Westbrook was able to find holes behind his mammoth line all afternoon.
Late in the second quarter, when the Giants put nine guys into the box, Westbrook was able to sneak through a hole and go untouched for a 30-yard score to put the Eagles up 10-0.
A major reason that the Eagles’ offense was able to create such rhythm was because the Giants were without starting LCB Aaron Ross from the end of the first quarter on. With fourth-string CB Kevin Dockery forced to play on the outside, the Giants kept a safety back to help in the passing game and the Giants were unable to bring a man up to help out vs. the run and bring extra pressure at McNabb.
The Giants on the hand, never found their rhythm on this day. The media will question Burress’ loss and what it meant to the offense, but New York had its chances. In the beginning of the second quarter, from their 15-yard line, Manning threw a beautiful pass 50-yards down the field that should have resulted in an 85-yard TD.
Only the football went right through Domenik Hixon’s hands. It was that kind of day all afternoon.
Then trailing 10-0 right before the break, the Eagles tried a FG attempt which would have put them up 13-0. Instead, DE Justin Tuck broke through the line, got his hand on the football, blocked the attempt, and it was picked up by CB Kevin Dockery and returned 71-yards for the score. 10-7 at the break.
The Giants felt this might have been the play to ignite their sluggishness but that wouldn’t be the case.
In the ever important third quarter, when the Giants would have the wind with them, they only managed one drive and six total plays because McNabb and Westbrook methodically executed in the running game and short passing game and kept converting third downs to move the chains.
And to cap off the third quarter, after holding the ball for over 12 minutes, on a 3rd-and-11 from the 40-yard line, McNabb was able to buy time and locate his fourth read on the play, Brian Westbrook out of the backfield, and he raced away from Antonio Pierce for the 40-yard TD reception.
The Eagles moved to 7-5-1 and kept their slim playoff hopes alive and the Giants, who actually won the NFC East Division a short time later when the Steelers reallied to beat the Cowboys late, moved to 11-2 and still hold a one-game lead for home field advantage throughout.