Hey everyone. I was supposed to write the weekly beat report for the Giants way back when beat writing was just starting. I did it for a few weeks but thats when the sites popularity started dwindling and I stopped writing. But I have more free time now along with a desire to start writing again so I am going to be back at armchair much more frequently. So anyway here it goes...
The New York Giants came into the game with a 7-1 record and a chance to really distance themselves from the division by beating the Philadelphia Eagles especially while the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys were on a bye week. The Eagles, on the other hand, came in and riding a 3 game winning streak with hopes of moving within one game of the division lead. The game was played in Lincoln Financial Field, where Eli Manning has had some of the best games of his career. The game, however, did not start on such a high note for Eli when he was picked off by Mike Patterson (first career interception) on the opening series of the game. As it turned out, this night, Eli would not need to do much to carry the team as the running game was once again dominant and carried the team to a 36-31 victory. The trio of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 219 yards, the fourth time this year they have reached the 200 yard mark. In rushing for so many yards the Giants easily completed another one of their goals, to win the time of possession battle. They held the ball for almost 40 minutes and were able to keep the Eagles off of the field. When the Eagles offense was on the field the Giants were able to accomplish there #1 goal, to shutdown Brian Westbrook. Westbrook was only able to run for 27 yards and is another in a long line of running backs that the Giants have shut down this year.
Two big turning points of this game were both on plays that were challenged. The first was a play where it appeared that Eli Manning had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing an illegal forward pass to Kevin Boss. Upon further review it could be seen that Manning's right heel was behind the line of scrimmage. It can't really be argued that the official wound up making the right call, but what can be argued is whether or not the rule should be changed. I, for one, believe that if the ball is past the line then it should be an illegal forward pass but regardless of what the rule should be this play set up a Brandon Jacobs 3 yard touchdown run that put the Giants ahead by four points. The second turning point play came on a Brandon Jacobs touchdown (his second of the night) when Jaqua Parker ripped the ball out just as he crossed the goalline. After reviewing the play the official failed to find indisputible evidence that the ball was out and Jacobs' touchdown still counted and the Giants had a 36-24 lead.
The one scary thing for the Giants this game was the inability to put the Eagles away, although the Giants were the dominant team from start to finish the Eagles still had a chance to win the game on the final drive before they were stopped by Chase Blackburn on a 4th and short (the Eagles inability to pick up a yard in close games is a whole different article for another time). The Eagles were in the game because the Giants two turnovers led to 14 easy Eagles points. The Giants also failed to convert Eagles turnovers into touchdowns and instead were forced to settle for field goals. This is an issue that the Giants have had on and off throughout the year where they fail in the "green zone" and settle for short field goals.
Still, regardless of some "green zone" struggles, the Giants were able to improve to 8-1 and now have a little more breathing room in the NFC East. They will host Baltimore next week in a game that should feature tons of smashmouth football. Brandon Jacobs colliding with Ray Lewis should make for some highlight reel quality hits and the Giants running game will face a very tough test. The Ravens have been hot of late and Joe Flacco has been coming into his own. It will be interesting to see how he does when he faces a pass rush of the Giants caliber.