Where Did My Brain Go?

Electrifying Victory for Giants

New York Giants showed their potential last night, with an electrifying, 34-28, overtime win over Carolina Panthers at Meadowlands. Victory earned Giants a first round “bye”, and home field advantage in playoffs.

It was a quintessential Giants win. Giants really played like World Champions in fourth quarter and overtime.

Giants were led by Derrick Ward, who rushed for 82 yards on their 87 yard winning drive. Ward finished with 215 yards, on only 15 carries, gaining 154 yards in second half. Brandon Jacobs, added 87 yards, including three touchdowns. Giants rushed for over 300 yards for the first time since 1959.

DeAngelo Hall scored all points for Panthers, on 4 rushing touchdowns of 13, 5, 1, and 30 yards. The last player to score four touchdowns against Giants, was Emmitt Smith, in 1995.

Crunch Time

Carolina had a chance to win, at the end of regulation, but kicker John Kasay missed a 50 yard field goal attempt.

Both teams punted once in overtime, before Giants winning drive. Ward began the drive with a 51 yard run to Carolina’s 36. On third and seven, with Giants looking at a 53 yard field goal attempt, on a windy night, Ward took over, and Giants only needed three plays to score, and win.

Ward gained 14 yards, for a Giants first down, then 17 yards to move ball to Panther 2. Brandon Jacobs scored winning touchdown on next play.

Giants also helped themselves, by only committing two penalties, for ten yards, during this game.

Eli Manning Sets Two Records

Eli Manning completed 17 of 27 passes for 181 yards, with no interceptions. Kevin Boss, who has become a reliable target for Manning, caught one touchdown. Some of Manning’s passes sailed in the wind, but he played well, especially on two point conversion, which tied the game.

This was Eli Manning’s 70th consecutive start, which is a new record for Giant quarterbacks. Old record was held by Fran Tarkenton, who started 69 games, from 1967–1971. Manning has now passed for 3,119 yards this year, and is the first Giants quarterback to have four consecutive 3000+ yard seasons.

Defensive Letdown

I do not know why Justin Tuck played, because he had the flu, and took himself out several times.

Antonio Pierce should have stayed home too. Pierce missed several key tackles. For example, DeAngelo Hall ran right by him, on a 30 yard run, to score his fourth touchdown. I would like to know if he stayed out late, with his (hopefully) now–unarmed buddy, Burress, on Friday or Saturday night. Pierce needs a curfew.

To be fair, defense held Panthers, to a crucial 3 and out before Giants fourth touchdown. Defense also stopped Panthers on two series in overtime, before Giants scored winning touchdown.

If I had to pick a defensive star, it would be Corey Webster. He covered Panther’s talented receiver, Steve Smith, and kept him out of the end zone. Smith almost scored one touchdown, but it was overturned by a Tom Coughlin challenge. Coughlin is 6–2 on appeals this year.

Special Teams

Terrell Thomas downed a Jeff Feagles punt on 1 yard line, in fourth quarter, which helped setup tying touchdown.

Giants are lucky to have Feagles, as well as John Carney. Carney has scored 130 points for Giants this year, while replacing the formerly injured Lawrence Tynes. Tynes is now listed as “inactive.”

R.J. McQuarters muffed a punt that almost cost Giants the game. I would rather see Ahmad Bradshaw return punts.

The Hixon Watch

Domenik Hixon made up for his recent disappointments, on two key plays.

Hixon drew Carolina’s first pass interference call of the season, which left Giants on Panther 1, and later caught pass for two point conversion, which tied the game.

It was Giants first successful two point conversion since 2005.

One Year Later

Last year, Giants played their starting lineup, while losing final regular–season game to undefeated Patriots. Then Giants improved each game, during four successive victories, against Tampa, Dallas, Green Bay, and New England, to win Super Bowl XLII.

This year’s situation is different. I think this game is just another chance for Giants to be injured. However, this game is important to Vikings, who make playoffs if they win, or Packers beat Bears.

We will find out if this game is important to Coach Coughlin, on Sunday, at 1 P.M. EST.